Best Cameras for Live Streaming
Video technology has come a long way, resulting in various camera choices that fit every budget and every level of expertise. Streaming doesn't require breaking the bank for expensive, complex camera equipment. However, there are several factors to consider before deciding which camera is the most suitable for your live stream goals.
Essential Camera Features
Video/streaming cameras range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the level of specifications and features. Every day live streaming productions do not use the same level of controls and features that professional-grade cameras costing ten times would use. Here is a basic rundown of the minimum features every camera should have.
Clean HDMI outputWhile all video devices have an HDMI output, a clean output does not contain the onscreen data typically found in many recordings such as recording status, exposure setting, battery charge, etc.
AC adapter optionLivestreams can run for varying amounts of time. As a result, an AC adapter option should be available since batteries work for a limited time.
Option for unlimited filming timeMany cameras have an automatic shutoff feature after about 30 minutes of inactivity. To live stream uninterrupted, this feature must have the option to be toggled off.
Output resolutionDepending on your goals, you may want to consider a camera that supports 1080p. There are services (Melon is one of them) to offer that resolution and while it may not be something you want today, you can grow into it.Try Melon Free
Types of Cameras For Live Streaming
Several varieties of cameras are used for live streaming including webcams, camcorders, DSLRs, mirrorless, and action cameras. These cameras contain different features and functions to control the quality of the video stream.
WebcamsMany computers include built-in webcams but may not be as high quality as the new external cameras that connect via USB. Today's webcams are capable of producing quality videos with the proper amount of lighting. Many also have advanced features such as digital zoom and background replacement. Webcams have a user-friendly plug-and-play capability making them easy to install and quickly go online.
DSLR and mirrorlessWhile DSLR and mirrorless cameras use substantially higher video quality at 4K, they are primarily geared for static photography and are generally not suitable for video recording. Many do not have a clean HDMI out and tend to overheat. Additionally, the considerably higher price tag on DSLR cameras may make them out of reach for nonprofessionals. However, they can be a nice upgrade for videographers who produce a substantial amount of video content.
CamcordersCamcorders offer a distinct advantage over the above cameras for live streaming. They have longer battery life, are easy to use, and have no time limitations.
1. Logitech C920 and C922 Webcams
The C920 HD Pro is a highly rated webcam that records high-quality 1080p video with a wide-angle field of view. It features dual-microphones for clear stereo audio and Logitech's proprietary RightLight technology that adjusts to any lighting conditions. The C920's only disadvantage is that it cannot swivel to capture different angles. Walmart features the C920 for $79, making this model an excellent starter webcam for new video streamers.
The C922 HD Pro is a step up from the C920, offering excellent video quality with Logitech's background replacement app. The C922 also features a quality low-light performance with faster HD. Unlike the C920, the C922 comes with a tripod and features a 360-degree swivel mount. The C922 is a perfect choice for streamers wanting to upgrade their video quality for only $94.99 at Amazon.
2. Razer Kiyo Webcam
The Razer Kiyo features a unique ring light that ensures high-quality images in low lighting. The lighting is adjusted by simply turning the dial to control the brightness. The Kiyo also has high color saturation and sharpness, contributing to vivid images. The Kiyo is just $87 available at both Amazon and Walmart.
3. Canon Vixia R800 Camcorder
For those streamers in the market for a budget camcorder, the Canon R800 is compact, packed with useful features, and has good picture quality. It runs cool with no worries of overheating, making it an excellent choice for longer streams. The R800 is easy to control and fits into a standard tripod. A few drawbacks to the R800 are subdued colors, noisy video in poor lighting, and soft focus. However, it is a popular option for those just getting started in streaming. The R800 can be purchased at Walmart for $249.Try Melon Free
4. Canon Vixia HF G50 Camcorder
Pro streamers seeking a higher-end camcorder will find the HF G50 full HD system offers many features that contribute to sharp and vivid videos. There are many controllable settings, including aperture, brightness, focus, exposure, and more. Advanced optical stabilization compensates for any shaking. The HF G50's drawback is that its HDMI connector is prone to breakage. The Canon Vivix HF G50 retails for $999 at Amazon.
5. Panasonic Lumix G7 Camera
The Lumix G7 is a high-resolution SLR camera with a mirrorless design that creates cutting-edge video and audio. The camera features a tilt/swivel display to adjust the screen, and high-speed auto-focusing. The G7 is smaller and lighter than traditional DLSRs, with accessibility to all the common functions. The Lumix G7 also includes a bundle with a tripod, replacement battery, camera microphone, and 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 II Lens. The camera and bundle are $599.99 on 's website.
6. Sony A7 III Camera
With its over $1,600 price tag, the Sony A7 is geared towards professional streamers who seek a high-quality ultra HD camera. The camera features sharp 4K HDR video, a highly sophisticated autofocus system, and many other video-centric features. The camera comes bundled with a flexible travel tripod, extra battery, camera case, and a set of five video-photo editing software packages. The Sony A7 III is available on Amazon for $1,698.Try Melon Free
- From webcams to professionally-rated SLRs, there are a wide variety of video camera choices available today. Prospective video streamers should consider factors such as ease of use, camera flexibility, and video quality before deciding which camera is right for them.
- Additionally, future live streaming goals should be considered before purchasing the camera, so as not to outgrow its use in the short term.