The Best Webcam For Streaming 2017

With so many streamers active today, finding ways to establish your brand is more important than ever. Maybe the best way to do so is by being more transparent and allowing viewers into your life. A webcam is a must to achieve this, to show the audience the face behind the stream.

This is the first release of this article and it was published on June 6, 2017

The Best Webcam For Streaming 2017: Logitech C922 Pro Stream

Logitech C922 Pro Stream ReviewLogitech C922 is the best webcam currently on the market. It’s a worthy upgrades to the widely popular C920. The webcam features 1080p with 30fps or 720p in 60fps.

The newer version also features background removal. The low-light performance has also been greatly improved and is now best in class.

Best Premium Webcam 2017: Razer Stargazer

Razer Stargazer ReviewRazer Stargazer is our runner up for the best webcam in 2017. This model features Intel Realsense for superior background removal.

The Razer Stargazer is not ready for prime time just yet, but it is a serious contender for the future.

Why you need the best streaming webcam

The streaming market has exploded in recent years. Content producers need to bring their best game in order to break through the noise. One way of doing this is to be more transparent and get really personal with your audience.

This is when you need a webcam to show the face behind the screen. Technology is moving fast and the audience today expect to have high definition video on all platforms. We have been spoiled with good selfie cams in our phones and streamers need to at least match this resolution and image quality.

While laptops have shipped with built-in webcams for the last 10 years or so. The quality i often pretty bad even on the high-end models. Game streamers use desktop pcs to have access to the most powerful hardware, and external gaming monitors almost never have a built-in webcam.

To get easy access to a direct video feed of your face without using professional video equipment streamers need to buy an external webcam that can be mounted on top of the screen or on a tripod placed on the desk.

Read this: The Best Gaming Monitor 2017

How we found the best webcam for streamers

We have done extensive research on the current market. As usual we started off by investigating the most popular influencers and esports professionals in the streaming space. We believe these people who use these webcams to make a living demand the best possible quality.

After collecting a list of a few interesting models we started comparing them using various professional reviews we found online. These revered journalists have the tools necessary to compare the technical aspects of computer hardware, as well as the means to compare the results against similar products.

Logitech C922 Pro Stream Review – The best webcam for streamers 2017

Logitech C922 Pro Stream Review

Features

“Logitech’s C920 has been the go-to webcam for enthusiastic broadcaster and streamers, for many years now and it was only a matter of time before its successor would arrive. So, is the new C922 a worthy replacement for the highly revered C920? Yes, it is.” – David Michelson, Vortez

Not much has changed regarding the looks of the Logitech C922 Pro Stream webcam. The company logo has been updated to match their new branding.

On the technical side the camera offers dual omni-directional noise cancelling microphones. Any serious streamer should probably use a dedicated mic instead, but it’s good to have it nonetheless.

The C922 is also equipped with a H.264 video compression codec to off-load the CPU in order to support good framerates during live game streaming.

The provided USB-cable is thin but has decent length, 6 foot. This makes positioning of the webcam more flexible, and the 3-part L shaped joint mounting mechanism allows  the Logitech C922 to be mounted on top of your monitor.

Resolution

This version has an updated option to use the webcam with 720p and 60fps. This could be a really good option since the webcam window is usually pretty small, and it is more important to have a smooth refresh rate.

There is still the option to use the webcam with 1080p and 30fps. The pictures gets a lot better but if the user moves around in the frame the image could get a little bit blurry. Hopefully the next version comes with 1080p and 60fps, fingers crossed.

This resolution is maybe not the highest on the market. There is already a few webcams with 4k support. However those are often optimized for wide-angle conference calls and not necessarily preferred for live streaming. As long as you are not primarily focusing on filming yourself in fullscreen, the current offering is good enough.

Image Quality

The image quality is best in class. The picture is sharp even in just the dimmed light from the monitor. There is no artifacts to be found, and the background does not have any of the graininess that can be found on competing models.

Low-Light Performance

The low-light performance of the C922 is best in class. No other model currently on the market can compete. An important aspect of game streaming as most people sit in their dark rooms, with only having the light from monitor to rely on.

In dark environments the Logitech C922 struggle to keep 60fps in 720p mode however. Some of the processing power in the webcam needs to be allocated to image quality. This is not a dealbreaker, it’s probably a good idea to have a reasonable lit room anyway when streaming.

“The C922 upholds that legacy and then some, with Logitech touting its low-light performance as one of the main upgrades. While that’s maybe not a huge draw for corporate users, I’m sure it’ll come as welcome news to a generation of Twitch streamers broadcasting out of dark bedrooms.” – Hayden Dingman, Pcmag

Background Removal

The Logitech C922 offers background removal through the provided software called Personify. The technology is called Intelligent Shape Recognition. This solution is not as good as the hardware technology built into the Razer Stargazer.

“Hair. It’s is the Achilles heel of the C922. Even in optimal, well-lit scenarios, the C922 has a tendency to clip off hair in interesting ways, or shave off part of my face as I turn sideways” – Hayden Dingman, Pcmag

The Logitech C922 Pro Stream struggles the most with long hair, which usually get’s cut. Also if you show the profile of your face be prepared for some additional odd behaviour.

Razer Stargazer Review – The best background removal webcam 2017

Razer Stargazer Review

Features

The main feature of the Razer Stargazer is obviously Intel Realsense. This technology gives the webcam capabilities to analyze depth perception which helps with background removal. All of this is made with hardware and is far superior to the software solution on the C922.

Razer Stargazer also requires Windows 10 and 6th generation of Intel CPU. While it’s nothing exceptional, most seasoned streamer’s have already invested in a good CPU for smooth frames. However if you are just starting your career as a streamer and content producer you need to make sure that your computer is up to date.

The webcam also has a braided cable that’s a little bit stiffer than the one on the C922. Some reviewers say this gives the webcam a more premium feel. We are sceptical and think a stiff cable might actually make it harder to keep the webcam in place.

Resolution

Razer Stargazer features the same 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps as the Logitech C922. Nothing extraordinary to report here. At the same time there is currently no need for higher resolution in the streaming business. The picture is usually a small square in the corner of the streamers viewpoint. Smooth fluid picture is more important after a certain point.

Image Quality

The image quality on the Razer Stargazer is worse than the one on C922. This is the one point where we think the Logitech webcam wins the competition for the best webcam for streamers. The background is grainy even in good lighting.

Low-Light Performance

Unfortunately the low-light performance is also lacking on the Razer Stargazer. When the user is sitting in front of their computer, with no other light sources in the room this becomes a problem. Dark rooms causes the camera to present both flicker and artifacts in the picture.

Background Removal

The background removal on the Razer Stargazer is outstanding. It’s also really fast when the user is moving around in the picture a lot. This is all thanks to the hardware accelerated depth perception in the Intel Realsense technology.

“RealSense works better. There’s no doubt about it. I’ve been testing both the C922 and Stargazer for about a week now, with all sorts of lighting setups and across multiple programs. Without fail, Stargazer has a more accurate idea of where I am and what constitutes removable background filler, and it reacts faster to sudden changes (i.e., if I bring my hands into frame, it realizes it’s a hand and allows it on-screen faster than the C922).” – Heyden Dingman, Pcmag

Where the Logitech C922 has problems with cropping out hair, the Razer Stargazer does a good job of removing the background and keeping the hair on the person in front of the lens.

All of the above required software support however. While Xsplit has supported Intel Realsense for a while, OBS just got a plugin for this functionality to work. We are looking forward to follow the development of the software, the hardware is already outstanding.

The Competition

Logitech C920

The Logitech C920 is still a very good option if you can find it cheaper than our first pick, the newer C922 Pro Stream. If you have a tight budget and are able to find the C920 at a good price, buy it. While it does not feature 60fps in 720p the picture quality is still really good!

C920 has been on the market for many years and has proven it’s worth for streamers all over the world. This model is still the preferred webcam in a many of the roundups that we have researched when making this article.

The Future

We expect Intel Realsense to go mainstream pretty soon. Most of the reviews we have analyzed say that the current streaming software does not support Intel Realsense but that has since changed. The latest version of OBS provides a plugin for the technology and Xsplit has supported realsense from the beginning.

It may take a while for 4k webcams to enter the market. There is still no indication that Twitch or Youtube may introduce 4k streaming anytime soon. The people that are recording high definition content for their recorded content on Youtube are usually using a proper camera or DSLR camera already, or even their phone.

The next upgrade however is possible going to be 1080p in 60fps. Twitch has recently upgraded their service to allow for such resolutions and streamers are eager to jump on the train.

Sources

Logitech C922 Pro Stream, Logitech, June 6 2017

Razer Stargazer, Razer, June 6, 2017

VortezJune 6, 2017

PcworldJune 6, 2017

Kimber Streams, The best webcams, Thewirecutter,  June 6, 2017

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