It can be daunting to have to settle in on a daily driver webcam that you intend to use for remote work in 2022. There are so many options that it can be hard to know you’ve chosen the best one, and not get stuck with buyer’s remorse!
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New cameras are continuously being released, and, in general, they do get consistently better over time just like most technology products do. There’s a lot of jargon that gets thrown at you when combing through options to pick out the camera you are going to use as a video conference webcam.
To get a handle on deciphering all the lingo and learning how the technical details of how digital cameras work, check out our article on how to choose a good webcam.
For our purposes for choosing the best webcam for video conferencing available in 2022, we’re only going to consider three things:
We’ll split these into entry-level, mid-tier, and top-tier categories to talk about.
These cameras are well-received by popular reviews and are too low-cost to let you ever regret buying them. An entry-level webcam should cost around $20 USD.
Entry-level cameras are good options for travel, where the likelihood of losing or accidentally breaking one of these cameras is substantially higher than in a home or office setting. They perform well enough to be used in most environments but perhaps aren’t the appropriate options to choose from if you are intending to host webinars or represent a marketing brand.
Many entry-level cameras are available by third-party manufacturers and have been rebranded. Occasionally these rebranded products are available on sometimes cheaper but less reputable e-commerce sites, where customer satisfaction is not as guaranteed as it is from mainstream e-commerce platforms.
As we recommend with any purchase, be careful where you buy from– and always ensure that there is a return policy in the case of user dissatisfaction.
This web camera has an average of 4-stars from user reviews and is priced as low as $14.99 USD. It is plug-and-play by requiring no drivers, and it also features a protective dust-cap to keep the lens from getting smudged in transport. It also includes a built-in microphone.
Due to its exceptionally low price, wide availability, and high user satisfaction rate, this reliable camera makes it the first recommendation in the entry-level cameras group.
Available at pricing as low as $24.99 USD, this generic but well-received camera fits comfortably in our entry-level section. This camera is tested to work with all major video conferencing software platforms, comes with a warranty, and even has a built-in LED light to help illuminate your face consistently on stream.
Because of its built-in lighting, this handy camera makes a viable recommendation for budget-friendly options.
Perfect for tablets and laptops, this entry-level camera comes loaded with features that make it unique! The Kano cam is also under $30 USD, which makes it available for entry-level buyers.
This camera’s features include a movable gooseneck to freely point or orient your camera, a built-in LED illuminator, and even a togglable macro lens to magnify what the camera is looking at!
This makes it an excellent choice for hands-on people who work with small parts that they may want to show on stream. No wonder Adafruit sells them!
A very affordable webcam that works! The Nuela C902 comes in at a very low $9.99 USD!
At that very low price, you still get a built-in microphone, a high-definition video stream, and a convenient clip-on computer monitor mount! Very convenient!
Because of its exceptionally low price and reasonable performance, the C902 by Nuela can hold up to any entry-level Logitech camera for video conferencing.
This is a generic camera module that is weatherproof, illuminated, and versatile. It is used in many applications including as a web camera. It is very affordable, at $16.99 by some vendors.
User reviews vary from site to site and listing to listing. This may be because this camera module is provided by many different competing third-party manufacturers and is, at this point, a very generic general-purpose digital camera option.
Due to its low cost and prevalence, it is considered to be a viable entry-level camera option. Its performance as a webcam probably does not compare well to cameras in other categories, though.
These are cameras that are still quite popular and are priced between $40 - $90 USD. They are expected to perform better in picture quality than entry-level cameras, and at least come with return policies to ensure customer satisfaction.
Mid-tier webcams have convenience features that make them easy to use– but do not include features that may offer some benefit at the expense of bringing any potential for the hassle to the end-user. You should never have to google how to use these; they should just work, and work well.
This webcam is a respectable option that costs $70 USD and is available from many sources.
It is a monitor clip style camera so that it does not require a tripod or mounting solution, which brings it to the same level of convenience as most other web cameras. It also has good picture quality and user reviews. These factors make it an appropriate choice for participation in professional video conferences.
This is a webcam that costs about $70 USD, and also comes in a common configuration. It has a sleek, unobtrusive design, and clips onto desktop or laptop monitors.
Viewsonic is a recognisable brand, though it is not a market leader. This camera is available from many e-commerce websites and comes with above-average user reviews.
This camera is available for $59.99, making it a mid-tier camera. It offers professional video quality that is suitable for business video conferencing and comes with an onboard microphone that has usable clarity.
This camera is popular and comes from the recognised industry-leading brand, Logitech. It comes in a familiar form factor that is very simple to use.
Top-tier webcams should excel in picture quality and have convenient features, thoughtful design, and should always come with customer service support. Top-tier cameras will typically cost more than $150 USD.
These are the recommended options available to select from if you are intending to represent a company or brand. Video hosts will choose from cameras such as these or even, potentially, professional video production setups.
A top-tier video conferencing camera is still technically a consumer product but should be among the best consumer products available for the purpose of live video streaming.
At $130 USD, this camera is the most affordable of the high-quality web cameras. It still comes in the standard webcam format, without any surprises for convenience factors.
However, what qualifies this as a top-tier camera is the quality of its components. Its onboard microphone is exceptionally good, and its lens hardware is made in Germany.
This camera is among the best options available for generic webcam designs. It is also affordable because it comes without any additional convenience factors.
This camera comes on a really cool articulating arm that makes showing physical objects a pleasure. It also includes a very high-quality light to illuminate what you are looking at.
Priced above $100 USD, this camera comes with exceptional physical build quality and picture performance. It is very convenient for streaming physical documents from a desk such as homework, or certain types of design or artwork.
This webcam costs around $200 USD. It holds many good user reviews coming from many e-commerce websites. This camera is set up similarly to other common webcams.
It comes with a common screen clip mount. Another point of convenience is that it has a detachable USB cable, so that if the cable is ever damaged, it can be replaced. Many webcams do not have this simple feature and break at the cable.
Like most logitech cameras, this one follows the familiar functions of what is commonly expected of web cameras with a good name brand, a manufacturer-backed warranty, and good support. It is a webcam that is better than most other webcams. A respectable choice as a professional video conferencing camera.
This webcam has good reviews and costs about $270 USD. Its main feature is that it physically keeps you in a frame by using AI to adjust its pan, zoom, and tilt. This unique convenience, coupled with its outstanding performance as a webcam makes it a very good option for streamers who are more animated in their presentations.
Obsbot is an emerging brand that specialises in AI-accelerated products but is not a recognisable brand yet to many consumer markets. However, their performance and availability on mainstream e-commerce websites make these cameras with their auto-tracking feature a good and convenient choice.
Most web cameras come in generic form-factors that clip onto monitors, have a built-in microphone, and are plug-and-play over a standard USB interface. The only meaningful variations for these type of cameras is price and audio-visual clarity.
Another standard feature that is common but not ubiquitous for standard webcams is built-in lighting solutions. These, too, vary on how good they are, and whether or not they are present as a feature on the camera at all.
Some web cameras come with convenience features or quirks, such as a unique form-factor, or mounting solution that makes them able to specialise in recording certain types of video content, such as documents or very tiny details.
While camera equipment can vary considerably, what is most important is your availability to participate in video conferencing with others. Modern cameras are plug-and-play, but in practice, familiarising yourself with your streaming environment and conference software is the most important factor in determining how productive you can be when participating in remote collaboration.
We at Digital Samba aim to help people reach or exceed their productivity goals with online work and remote learning. We maintain an active blog with many useful points of advice for readers to draw inspiration from. Also, most crucially, we keep a helpful support network for users learning how to video conference most effectively.
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