If you want to improve the quality of your videos, take a closer look at your webcam. Older or entry-level models may not have HD, auto-focus, noise-canceling and other technology necessary to provide the sharp images and clear audio achievable with more advanced models.
Top contenders in the webcam marketplace are Logitech, Microsoft and HP.
All three offer quality HD webcams designed to perform a variety of tasks (internet chat, recording, etc.). I’ve chosen 5 of the most popular webcams, listing features, price, pros and cons, for a quick side-by-side comparison.
1) Logitech C525 – Features 720p HD, widescreen, autofocus, auto light correction and noise canceling. Webcam tilts forward/backward and rotates 360 degrees. Portable and affordable at $45-$50. Pros: Quality audio and video, price. Cons: Single mic.
2) Logitech C920 – Features 1080p HD, widescreen, H.264 HW compression for faster uploads/downloads, premium 20-step autofocus, top-quality Carl Zeiss optics, noise cancellation, dual mics for stereo recording. Portable and more pricey at $90-$100. Pros: Clear, smooth video quality, excellent audio quality, great optics, 1080p HD. Cons: No real negatives other than the price tag.
3) Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 – Features 720p HD, widescreen, good quality video in well-lit conditions, noise cancelling mic, universal base (desktop, laptop, notebook). Good quality, basic webcam, affordably priced at around $40. Pros: HD video, price, overall good video quality. Cons: Video quality below average in lower lighting, no auto-focus, noise cancelling needs work.
4) Microsoft LifeCam Studio – Features 1080p HD, widescreen, crisp video quality, natural color balance, auto light correction, improved audio over it’s predecessor LifeCam Cinema, flexible 360 degree mount. Comes in at $100. Pros: Great video quality and color, good audio, 1080p HD. Cons: Lacks noise cancellation, single mic, price.
5) HP Webcam HD 5210 – 1080p HD, attractive design, stereo mics, clear audio, good video quality, tilt-swivel mount. Priced at $100. Pros: Stereo recording, excellent audio. Cons: Video quality is good not excellent, frame rate slightly below the comparably priced Microsoft LifeCam Studio and Logitech C920, noise cancellation buggy, price.
Determine a price range before you webcam shop, and remember lower price doesn’t necessarily mean low quality. Affordability may mean foregoing some nice-to-have-but-not-necessary features to get the video and audio quality you want.
Side Note: At Covideo we primarily use Logitech webcams. Current models at work in our office include the QuickCamPro, Pro 9000, C525, C310, C910 & C920. Our renegade IT Director, has a Microsoft LifeCam HD3000 he uses for testing.
For comprehensive reviews of these and other webcams, a great resource is PCMAG.com.
Jamie Bidwell is a team member at www.covideo.com. Covideo provides video email software that helps companies build relationships quickly and reinforce their brands more effectively with easy-to-make video emails that truly communicate. firstname.lastname@example.org.