How to Choose a Web Camera

Last update August 14, 2020

Webcams are items that many people haven’t really thought about for a while. Although they were common purchases more than 10 years ago, nowadays pretty much every laptop and mobile device comes with some kind of a camera built-in. Even many desktop systems, including those that are of the all-in-one design, have them built-in as well. However, a built-in webcam can often be of limited use, and can’t easily be used for multiple purposes such as arranging the best recording angles for filming videos, or even for security purposes, which means that those who can’t use their system’s built-in webcam will need to find one that will be suitable for their purposes. If you’re not sure about what features or capabilities to look for in a webcam, then you have come to the right place!

How to Find the Right Webcam

Camera features that need to be considered

Anyone who isn’t extremely technically-minded might have trouble with finding the right webcam that will perfectly meet their needs. After all, specifications and feature lists for webcams are not often considered to be common knowledge. All that most people demand of a webcam is that they are suitable for providing a clear image that will be streamed or uploaded on the Internet. However, there are quite a few characteristics of any webcam that will highly affect not just the image quality, but how you can use it. For instance, anyone who wants to use a webcam in a fashion similar to the best baby monitors will want to make sure that the camera has the same feature set that will meet their requirements.

So, what features are necessary for a webcam? You will have to decide that based on what your primary uses will be for it. Since webcams can have many different uses, different models may include features that are meant to accommodate those specific uses. If you’re not familiar with the various features and characteristics of webcams, though, don’t despair! Below we will explain the most common features included in webcams and then help you decide on the best overall model that can meet a multitude of different use cases.

Resolution

Resolution

The most common characteristic that is listed for any webcam is the resolution of the image that it captures, which determines the overall sharpness and detail that it provides. Unfortunately, the resolution is often listed in several different ways, which can be confusing for those who aren’t technically minded. The most common way that the resolution is measured is in the number of pixels across by the number of pixels down, much like how a computer monitor’s resolution is listed. For example, the majority of good quality webcams now will at a minimum support a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which matches the standard HD quality image that many computer monitors and televisions provide. 

Not all webcams measure resolution in this manner, however. Early webcams often used the megapixel designation, which counts the total number of pixels included in the image rather than the dimension as listed above. Many higher-end models, on the other hand, use a similar (but not the same) method of describing the resolution, such as those that support a 4K image that can be useful for high-end monitors and televisions. The 4K designation, however, does not mention the total number of pixels in the image. Rather, it is meant to designate the horizontal resolution of the image. The actual resolution of a 4K image is 3840 x 2160, which is essentially double the vertical and horizontal resolution of a standard HD image.

Frame Rate

Frame rate

The second most common characteristic of any webcam is the highest frame rate that it supports. The frame rate indicates the number of “frames” that the webcam captures each second, measured as “fps”. For example, a webcam that lists its frame rate as “30 fps” means that it captures the image 30 times each second. This can be very important for those doing high-end video work, as the higher the frame rate, the smoother the video capture will be. Webcams with a lower framerate may record video that will appear to be choppy and not very smooth, which can lead to disastrous results for those who require an extremely smooth image.

Lens Quality

Lens quality

This particular characteristic of a webcam is one that is most often lesser-known, even to those who are more technically-minded, yet it can also have a drastic effect on the overall quality of the captured video. In fact, this information can often be difficult to find with many types of webcams. The biggest thing to keep in mind here is that a webcam with a glass lens will typically provide better quality results than those with a plastic lens.

Optical Sensor Technology

Optical sensor technology

This is another characteristic of webcams that can have a big effect on the overall image quality. Various webcams will have different types of sensors that pick up and reproduce the images that they record. There are quite a few different types of optical sensors used in various webcams. However, nowadays most of the best models use a CMOS sensor, as these typically provide the best quality image.

Video Compression

Video compression

Most webcams need to use some kind of video compression for the video that they record. After all, raw captured video can be quite large, and often will simply be too much to be smoothly streamed online. That is why the type of video compression that the webcam uses is important. It needs to use a type of compression that provides the highest quality image while still being of a reasonable size. The most common type of compression that the best webcams use nowadays is the H.264 video compression standard, which provides high-quality image reproduction in a low file size. This, in turn, allows you to stream high-quality video without worries of the stream being too large for anyone to smoothly playback without stuttering or constant buffering.

Integrated Microphone

Integrated microphone

It is probably difficult to find a webcam now that doesn’t include some kind of integrated microphone. However, the quality of these integrated mics can vary by quite a bit, with many of them simply not being up to par for professional use. The best integrated mics will often include such features as stereo recording as well as noise-canceling technology to help reduce the amount of background noise that is picked up during recording.

Connectivity

Connectivity

How to connect the microphone to your computer is often taken for granted, as the vast majority of webcams nowadays will connect through your computer’s USB port. However, since the USB standard has been changing, you will want to make sure that the USB technology used in the webcam is compatible with your computer. For instance, if the webcam uses USB 3.0, then you will want to be sure that you plug the device into a USB 3.0 or higher port. Those that require USB 2.0 or lower can be connected to any USB port of a higher standard. Just take note, however, that the new USB Type-C ports use a different connector than the older USB standard, so you will want to make sure that whichever webcam you choose can be connected to your USB ports.

Other Features

Other features

The Best Webcam Model

Best webcameras

Despite a large number of different webcams out there, and also despite the fact that many of them will contain the modern features listed above, we can recommend a specific model that will work great for a variety of different needs. The Wansview 1080p Webcam is one model that hits all of the marks that most people want or need in a high-quality webcam. The high image quality that it provides, along with the multitude of different features added into it, make it one of the best all-purpose webcams that we’ve seen. Below are a few of the features that have caught our attention, and are sure to catch yours too.

2 Megapixel Resolution

The Wansview camera resolution

Those who want or need a webcam that provides sharp image quality with detail will certainly love the 2 Megapixel resolution (1920 x 1080) that this model provides. All images recorded with it will be rendered in full HD picture quality, which will be suitable for playback on any computer monitor or HD television.

30 FPS Recording

Along with its high resolution, this webcam records all video at up to 30 frames per second, providing extremely smooth playback instead of the constant stuttering or blurring that is often a hallmark of many other models.

CMOS Optical Sensor

CMOS optical sensor

This webcam utilizes the latest in optical sensor technology by including a CMOS optical sensor, which gives you bright, vivid colors with excellent overall video reproduction that will make your video look like it was recorded with a much more expensive model. It will also have the added benefit of not requiring any touch-ups in post-production should you record video that will be edited later.

Noise-Canceling Microphone

Noise-canceling microphone

The built-in microphone provided with this webcam will give you crystal clear audio that will pick up your voice perfectly while also using its noise-canceling technology to minimize the amount of background noise that will end up in your videos of calls. You won’t have to worry about sub-standard audio that many other webcams with integrated mics are known for.

High Compatibility

Compatibility with OS versions

Regardless of what kind of computer you use, you can rest assured that this webcam will work for you. This model is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Windows from XP to Windows 10, as well as the latest versions of MacOS. This camera is even compatible with a number of different Android TV devices, so there should be very few computers or other devices that it doesn’t support.

Furthermore, this webcam can plug into any USB port and be instantly recognized, without requiring the installation of any additional software in order to start working immediately with your existing video calling or video recording applications.

Conclusion

Finding the best webcam really isn’t that difficult, especially when you are considering the Wansview 1080p Webcam. With this model, you can expect crystal clear audio and video quality with an extremely detailed image and smooth playback that comes from an easy-to-use device, giving you the ideal webcam that will be most suitable for a wide variety of different applications.