You could very well use your phone's camera or your laptop's built-in webcam to livestream, but you'll likely find that the video and audio quality isn't up to snuff. The best cameras for streaming have HD video quality — at least 720p, but 1080p is even better — and a built-in microphone.
Different cameras are compatible with different operating systems, so always make sure the one you choose will connect to your device of choice. In terms of physical setup, most of the cameras on this list are designed to clip onto your laptop or computer monitor, but if you plan to stream from someplace other than your desk or don't want to take a laptop with you, be sure to find a portable option that is compatible with a tripod or can stand up on its own. Additional features like auto-focus and built-in lighting can make your life easier as you livestream. Some of the built-in mics also include background noise reduction features, which can come in handy if you'll be in a busy spot.
Whether you're streaming video games at your computer, your beauty routine in your bathroom, or even your wedding vows, keep scrolling to check out four of the best streaming cameras available today.
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1. The full setup
- Resolution: 1080p
- Compatibility: Windows 7 and higher, Mac OSX 10.10 and higher, XBox One, Chrome OS, Android 5.0 and higher
For those who are pretty serious about their streams, the Logitech C922x is a great option. Designed specifically with streaming in mind, it offers a full setup with an HD 1080p camera with a glass lens, auto focus, and light correction technology. A pair of built-in stereo microphones offer high-quality sound with noise reduction capabilities. This option can be clipped to a monitor and is also compatible with standard tripods — plus, the plug-and-play USB connectivity makes the camera easy to set up.
One reviewer wrote: "Great picture and microphone for Zoom calls and other video applications. Easy to set up and use on my LG monitor. A little expensive but the quality of features make it worthwhile."
2. The budget one
- Resolution: 720p
- Compatibility: Windows 7 and higher, Mac OSX 10.6 and higher, Chrome OS
For a quality camera that's under $40, this Logitech webcam has great specs and features. Along with 720p image quality, you'll get low-light correction and a built-in mic with some background noise reduction. It isn't compatible with a tripod, but thanks to the USB connectivity, you can plug and play without additional software.
One reviewer wrote: "This camera is exactly what I needed. I teach online and needed something that would connect to my new laptop, focus quickly and produce a reliable video stream. This camera does all of that and required very little set up."
3. The one with built-in lighting
- Resolution: 1080p
- Compatibility: Windows 7/8/10 and higher, Mac OS 10.6 and higher, and more, according to customers
Lighting can make a world of difference, especially for those who stream tutorials or shows, and this Angetube webcam features a built-in ring light with three different brightness levels. Plus, it offers quick and accurate auto-focusing. It has a built-in microphone designed to filter out sound past 3 meters, and the compression encoding offers high-quality streaming without taking up all your bandwidth.
One reviewer wrote: "This product is used for my DJ Live stream shows. It works right out the box and the quality was great for that end. I have used it and received compliments on the quality of the show because of it. I would recommend it and the fact that it has the LED ring light around it makes it a no brainer."
4. The one for live events
- Resolution: 1080p
- Compatibility: Android, iOS
The compact Mevo Start is one of the only cameras on the market that's specifically designed for livestreaming. Yes, it's an investment, but if you're streaming a once-in-a-lifetime event (like a wedding) and want to capture it in high-quality video, it's worth the splurge. The built-in microphone with spatial processing doesn't feature noise cancellation, but many reviewers noted that the sound quality is good as it is — and for even crisper sound, you can also add an external mic. This option works alongside all major platforms to deliver 1080p streaming (and recording) over Wi-Fi — or via ethernet with the ethernet power adapter add-on. The bottom of the Mevo Start is specifically designed to screw onto a standard tripod, but you can also simply set it on a tabletop.
One reviewer wrote: "Awesome live-stream camera that makes me look like a professional videographer [...] I love being able to pan, zoom, add titles, and more-- it's like having a TV production facility all on a small camera linked to my Iphone. So easy to use. Impressive picture. Ability to plug in microphones to get better sound. I'm really excited by this product."