Live streaming has taken off over the past couple of years with numerous platforms offering live broadcast features. Whether you’re on Twitch, YouTube, or even Facebook Live, there’s a platform out there that you can use to grow your audience and become the next big thing in streaming.
But in order to do that, you’re going to need a great live streaming camera. These days, buying any old webcam from your local tech store isn’t going to be enough. Users demand great camera quality and there are loads of unique features from each camera that can help improve your stream quality.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best live streaming cameras available today.
We have two honourable mentions to share before we get into our camera roundup.
The frugal option: Your laptop webcam – £0
If you’re using a laptop then the frugal option would be to go with the built-in webcam. Unfortunately, these webcams can vary wildly in quality and they also can’t be moved around. If you game and stream on your laptop then it’s a perfectly fine choice for getting started, but you should really consider an upgrade if you want to take live streaming seriously. There are just far too many limitations to deal with and you’re better off spending a bit of money on a budget laptop.
The resourceful option: Your smartphone – £?
There are actually a number of ways to use your smartphone as a webcam for streaming. If you’re not using your smartphone then it probably has a fairly decent camera that can be used as part of your streaming setup. However, most streamers will use their smartphone to look at alerts, messages, and even interact with their chat. If so, then you’ll need another smartphone and at that point, you may as well just buy a decent camera. There are a couple of apps that let you do this but they’re outside the scope of this article. However, we wouldn’t recommend this as it can be finicky to set up.
With these two mentions out of the way, let’s take a look at our top streaming camera recommendations.
The best live streaming cameras
The budget option: Logitech C270 HD – £24.99
So you’re just getting started with live streaming and want a cheap and cheerful webcam to get started with. In this case, the Logitech C270 HD is your best bet at just £24.99–and that’s without a sale price. If you get this on sale, you’re probably looking at a great webcam for under £20 which is an absolute steal.
This webcam features a 720p resolution at 30 FPS. This is perfectly acceptable though the lowered resolution is going to reduce the quality of your feed. However, this is going to be fine if your stream runs at 720p anyway, so this isn’t a major problem for the price. It also has a noise-reducing microphone though we don’t expect many streamers to use this over a dedicated microphone. It also has HD light correction but this isn’t very useful for streamers since you can make adjustments with your broadcasting software.
With a 5 ft cable, you might struggle to put this on your monitor if your computer is a little far away. It also doesn’t come with a camera mount, but this is fine for most people as you’re probably going to clip it to your monitor anyway. There really aren’t many downsides to this camera considering the cost, but there are plenty of upgrade options if you’re looking to pay a little more.
The budget upgrade: Aukey FHD Webcam – £30.99
If you’re looking to get started with live streaming then the Aukey FHD Webcam is an excellent choice for newcomers. At just £30.99 on sale, it’s one of the best fully-featured 1080p webcams available on the market. It has a 2-megapixel camera which isn’t the greatest quality, but it makes up for it with a solid 30 FPS refresh rate which will provide a smooth feed to go along with your stream. It also has a built-in microphone with noise reduction, but you typically aren’t going to use this in a streaming setup.
- Full HD Video: High-definition 1080p 2-megapixel webcam with 1/2.7” CMOS image sensor and built-in stereo microphones. Delivers sharp, smooth video…
- 3-Level Adjustable Brightness: The touch-sensitive LED ring light offers 3 levels of brightness ensuring high performance even in the darkest of…
- Live Streaming & Recording: Excellent video quality with 1080p streaming and recording at 60fps. The built-in stereo microphones can capture clear and…
It’s easy to install on both Windows and Mac OS, and it comes with a 5.9ft-long USB cable that is plenty for most setups. You’ll also get the convenient clip-style mount that allows you to attach it to the top of your monitor. A nice added bonus is the camera-style mount at the bottom of the clip, meaning you can hook it up to a tripod or any other camera-mounting frame or device.
The only fault that we can mention at this price is that the quality isn’t that great, but for £30.99 this isn’t something we can really complain about. This is the perfect entry-level camera for most streamers and will serve you well for many years to come.
The mid-range option: Logitech C920S HD Pro – £84.99
You may have noticed a considerable jump between this product and the last. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much in terms of good-quality webcams around the £50 price range. This is because none of them really build on the Aukey FHD or Logitech C270 HD in terms of features or quality, and the majority of webcams around this price point are more designed for business or personal use and not streaming.
As such, the next step up for a mid-range option would be the Logitech C920S HD Pro. It’s important that you don’t mistake this for the C920 HD which is actually £5 more expensive but is pretty much the same camera. The main difference is that the C920S actually comes with a privacy filter which is great if you need to temporarily hide your camera and don’t want to risk misclicking something on your computer.
In terms of features, you’re getting an amazing 78° field of view which makes it easy to fit you into the picture plus anything else that you want to show. This makes it great for IRL content where the main focus is on the streamer and not gameplay or anything else. It’s also a 1080p/30 FPS camera, meaning you’re getting great resolution and solid frames. It also comes with Logitech’s RightLight 2 technology which automatically adjusts to your lighting conditions. This is great if you don’t want to fiddle around with the colour settings on your broadcasting software and is one less thing to think about. This also means that it’s great for dim conditions if you prefer to stream with the lights low.
Overall, the Logitech C920S HD Pro is a great camera for streamers. It’s one of the best live streaming cameras around, but there is a catch; it’s hard to find! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, webcams have been sold out all over the place and Logitech has been hit quite hard by the shortage. As such, you might find this camera (or its variants) being resold on eBay or even on sites like Amazon. We suggest you don’t pay more than the £84.99 retail price if you can help it.
The IRL streamer option: Razer Kiyo – £99.99
Razer is one of those well-known gaming brands that everyone either loves or hates. But regardless of what you think about their marketing strategies and antics, it’s hard to deny their quality products. The Razer Kiyo is a 4-megapixel camera that has all of the typical features you’d want. 1080p resolution, 30 FPS frame rate, and even an option for 720p 60 FPS. Like many other webcams, it also comes with a microphone though we can’t expect many streamers to use this. It also features multiple mounting options so you can attach it to your monitor or even a tripod.
- The Razer Kiyo maintains even and flattering lighting and eliminates harsh shadows with a multi-step ring light with adjustable lighting levels
- With 720 p resolution at 60 fps, the Razer Kiyo maintains visual fidelity during streaming
- The Razer Kiyo supports streaming on popular platforms like open broadcaster software and Xsplit
The unique feature of the Razer Kiyo is actually the ring light around the lens. The purpose of this adjustable light is to brighten your face and make it stand out from the background. This helps to highlight your face and makes you more prominent in the scene which can be important for IRL streamers that want the focus to be on them instead of the gameplay. Whether you’re doing a chatting stream or want your streams to be about viewer interaction, having a camera that highlights you is a huge plus. This is a lot more convenient than installing a large studio light behind your monitor and it’s surprisingly affordable, making it a great mid-range choice for up and coming streamers.
There aren’t many faults with the Razer Kiyo. It’s a quality webcam that offers a unique lighting feature that no other webcam offers. However, if you’ve already got studio lights then you may want to go for another camera since you’re essentially paying for this unique feature and the Razer brand name. Overall, we think that £99.99 is an acceptable price for the Razer Kiyo, but we’d be more inclined to recommend it when it’s on sale. Razer does make excellent products, but you have to be willing to pay for the premium that it comes with.
The versatile high-end option: Logitech StreamCam – £139.00
The Logitech StreamCam is the next step up in terms of versatility and features. The StreamCam is a fairly small camera that comes with lots of mounting options, making it easy to point it in the direction that you want. It also features pristine image quality and an excellent microphone, making it worthy of use as your dedicated sound device if you don’t have a separate microphone to use.
The Logitech StreamCam is a powerful camera that runs at 60 FPS, making it extremely smooth with crisp details and amazing clarity. It has a brilliant auto-focus and auto-exposure feature to maintain excellent image quality, and it can even be used in portrait mode if needed. This gives it amazing versatility and it’s easy to use as your main camera for almost anything streaming related. An interesting feature of the Logitech StreamCam is that it also comes with a fully-featured software suite that allows you to add little graphics to your webcam feed, making it a fun little option for streamers to play around with.
There are no real downsides to the Logitech StreamCam. You’re getting the full package in terms of mounting options, quality, framerate, and versatility. If you’re serious about streaming and want one of the best live streaming cameras available, then the Logitech StreamCam should be your go-to choice.
The professional option: Logitech Brio Stream – £219.99
And with another big price jump, we’ve hit the apex of current webcam technology–the Logitech Brio Stream. With an Ultra HD 4K capture resolution, 1080p/60fps video and outstanding quality, you’re getting the best features available to take your stream to the next level. There’s no doubt that this is the best live streaming camera available at this price point and it comes with all of the features that you need. With a plethora of mounting options, incredible software support and streaming-optimized hardware, this is the webcam that streamers should be aiming for.
With an adjustable field of view, background neutralization features and even a 12-month premium XSplit license, you’re getting the full package here to boost your live streaming career to the next level.
In short, the Logitech Brio Stream is the cream of the crop in terms of webcams for streaming. If you want to spend any more to increase quality, you’re going to see diminishing returns because you need to invest in a prosumer camera or camcorder which connects via a HDMI cable and a capture card. This adds many points of failure and further complicates a streaming setup for a small quality bump. As such, we wholly recommend the Logitech Brio Stream as the endgame webcam for streamers of all sizes.
Webcams have come a long way over the past few years, giving us loads of unique features and little extras to make our live streaming a whole lot easier. However, it’s clear that Logitech is the dominant brand in this space and there are only a handful of competitors that can give them a run for their money. Thankfully, there are webcams that cover the entire price range from budget options to high-end professional-grade cameras. So whatever you decide to pick, you’re going to get excellent value for money.