Best Camera for Streaming Live Video
Whether you’re teleconferencing on Zoom or creating live videos for YouTube, this guide will help you find the best camera for streaming.
For work or play, the best streaming cameras are a big step up from ‘built-in’ webcams, offering better image quality and additional features.
Many successful YouTubers and Twitch streamers use premium webcams to transmit live video around the world.
Thankfully, webcams are affordable and simple to operate, and if you’ve got the budget, you can upgrade to a camcorder, GoPro or mirrorless camera for even better results.
We’d also recommend investing in some good lighting to provide soft and even coverage to make your face look its best!
(Or you can try facing a window during daylight for a budget solution that looks good.)
Here are the top cameras for live streaming on Twitch, Facebook, Mixer, YouTube Live, Zoom and Google Meet.
Table of Contents
Best Cameras for Streaming in 2021
|Logitech C922 Pro||View Price →|
|Razer Kiyo||View Price →|
|Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro||View Price →|
|Mevo Start||View Price →|
|GoPro Hero9 Black||View Price →|
|Panasonic Lumix G7||View Price →|
|Panasonic HC-V770||View Price →|
|Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000||View Price →|
1. Logitech C922 Pro
- Sharp video quality
- 2 mics for stereo sound recording
- Great autofocus
- Automatic light correction
- Not precise background deletion
- It doesn’t have a privacy cover
- Not much difference from the previous model
The Logitech C922 Pro streams and records HD 1080P video at 30fps or 720P at 60fps – more than enough frame rate options and resolution for the average live streaming session.
You’ll never have to worry about sharpness or low light performance since the C922 Pro has premium autofocus and automatic light correction.
The two integrated mics record your voice in stereo for the best quality sound. It’s ideal for social gaming and video streaming.
If you don’t want to use this HD camera on top of your monitor or laptop, you’ll find a tripod included in the package that gives you complete versatility to place your camera wherever you need it.
2. Razer Kiyo
- High-performance sensor
- Plug and play
- Wide-angle lens with adjustable FOV
- Lens cover not included
- Custom controls are only possible via Windows software
The Razor Kiyo Pro streams high fidelity video Full-HD uncompressed 1080p at 60fps, ensuring high picture quality even in bad lighting thanks to its ultra-sensitive CMOS sensor with STARVIS technology.
It’s easy to use as it’s a plug and play device, but if you like to have more control over the image, you’ll need to use the Razor software, which is not available for Mac – you can download third party solutions for it, though.
The L-shape mount sits very stably on top of your computer and doubles as a tripod if you prefer to have it on your desk.
You can still attach it to a tripod if you prefer to have more versatility – this can be with or without the L-mount because they both have the standard tripod mounting hole.
It comes in at a close second place as one of the best live streaming camera options of the year.
3. Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro
- 4k video
- Built-in privacy lens cover
- Windows Hello support
- Overkill for most streaming needs
- No optical zoom
Because of its 4k resolution, Logitech Brio Ultra HD Pro is the best camera for live streaming professionally. If this is your profile, you’ll probably want to get control over the settings – for this; you have to install the Logitech software.
For non-professionals who just want to plug it in and use it, this is also possible. With the autofocus and HDR capabilities, you’ll be sure to capture excellent quality video under any conditions – low light performance is up there with the best camera options.
The Brio has dual omnidirectional microphones that ensure that the audio has as much quality as the video. You can adjust the field of view up to 90 degrees and set different resolutions.
Whether or not the average live streaming session requires 4k video is questionable, so it may be overkill for non-professional uses. However, with image quality this good, it’s hard to argue.
4. Mevo Start
- 4-6 hour battery life
- Stream and record simultaneously
- Remote control from your smartphone
- Digital zoom can create some artefacts
You can use the Mevo Start with a smartphone to stream at 1080P to all the major streaming platforms and record a backup to the SD card.
It has an 84-degree field of view with digital zoom and three internal mics with an extra audio input for an external microphone – it’s definitely one of the best all-in-one streaming camera options if you have the budget.
With the Mevo app dedicated to iOS and Android, you can control the camera via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. In it, you can move the zoom and see a preview that shows you the audio input.
It also has face detection that gives you the opportunity to switch from one person to another for a more dynamic stream – you can leave it in auto, and it will switch to the person who’s talking.
If you have high live streaming goals or just want something that delivers a unique viewing experience for your streaming audience, this is the best camera we’ve seen.
5. GoPro Hero9 Black
- 5k resolution
- Front screen
- Incredible image stabilization
- Front screen lags in 5k
The GoPro is still one of the best action cameras for live streaming. It’s dedicated to professionals who mainly want to record and stream outdoor activities, although it can also double as a webcam.
It has 5k resolution and a frontal screen to use for your favourite selfie pose. However, the frontal screen is a bit laggy used in 5k – it doesn’t affect the live streaming or the recording, though, and it’s definitely a nice feature to have to check your framing.
You can pull a 14.7 MP still picture out of the 5k video, or you can take 23.6MP photos in RAW or JPEG. It also has the possibility to swap out lenses, and has great low light performance for a small sensor camcorder.
To use the GoPro 9 as a webcam, you can also stream directly on Twitch – this wasn’t possible previously with the Hero 8, reviewed here . You can also live stream to Facebook and YouTube and GoPro’s own platform.
Buying the latest GoPro just for live streaming may seem like overkill, but if you intend to shoot video outdoors or in extreme environments, it’s the best streaming camera you’ll find.
6. Panasonic Lumix G7
- Professional photo & video
- Interchangeable lenses
- Remote control with your phone
- Expensive (for a live streaming camera)
- Big & bulky (compared to a webcam!)
- Slow autofocus
You might think that a mirrorless camera is the most complicated choice for streaming or video calls, because you’ll need external devices and software to do it.
However, this isn’t the case for the Lumix G7, as Panasonic has been trying to enter the webcam market for some time now.
When you download the LUMIX Webcam Software, you can use the Gy with all the most popular live streaming platforms.
The 4k resolution ensures great quality video from which you can extract still images right on the camera. There’s also every external output option you’d ever need, with multiple ways to record or display video and audio to an external device.
Obviously, very few people buy a Lumix G7 with the sole purpose of live streaming video. However, if you’re considering upgrading your dedicated camera in the near future, why not get one like this which offers the ability to do more than just photo and video.
7. Panasonic HC-V770
- Optical zoom
- Flip out – 180 degree rotate screen
- Long battery life
- Camcorder design not suited for everyone
- Not great internal audio
This camcorder records in Full HD 1080p,and has a prime lens that provides excellent quality. The best feature is the 20X optical zoom which allows you to retain quality and detail while drawing in objects from far away.
The more focal lengths and in-camera effects you can mix in to your live streaming session, the more engaged your viewers will be – the HC-V770 offers ways to make this happen, despite being a somewhat outdated camcorder design.
The internal audio can sound a bit compressed, but it has an extra audio input to attach an external microphone.
Overall, the HC-770 is a cross between a camcorder and a basic point and shoot camera, which makes it perfect if you don’t know how to control exposure manually.
8. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000
- Affordable price
- TrueColor Technology
- OBS sound
- Easy to use
- No zoom
- No custom settings
If you’re looking for a quality webcam that’s budget-friendly, this is the option for you. It offers 720p HD video that uses TrueColor Technology to optimize quality under different light conditions – useful when live streaming at home where lighting conditions are usually less than optimal.
The HD-3000 is compact in design, and has a universal attachment that will fit easily on all monitors, or simply sit on your desktop.
It has a built-in microphone with OBS sound. Open Broadcaster Software is a free piece of software that is designed for streaming and recording audio and video sources on Mac or Windows.
This affordable Microsoft webcan is plug and play, meaning it’s super-simple to set up. It doesn’t offer much in the way of custom settings or control, but it’s easy to use and has enough quality for video conferencing and casual video streaming.
What to Look for in the Best Streaming Cameras
Finding the best camera for live streaming will depend on what you need it for. For example, you won’t have the same needs for a video conference at home as streaming live while you skydive!
One of the first things you need to check when you buy a camera for streaming is the video quality. Your choices range from 720p as standard HD, 1080p which is Full HD, and then 4k up and 5k.
Obviously, higher resolutions come with a bigger price tag, so it’s important to know how much you actually need for live streaming your content.
Frame rate is a spec that often goes hand in hand with the video quality. For example, some cameras stream at 60fps at 720p but 30fps in full HD. This determines the number of images captured per second: the more images you have, the smoother the video.
If you want to use a camera that you already have, or that can double as photographic gear – such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera – make sure it sends a clear signal. Most of these cameras are meant to record video, not to stream live, so don’t take this as a given.
The field of view is also important. This refers to how big the area is that can fit the frame. If you want to live stream an event on Facebook, you need a bigger field of view than the one you need to stream just yourself in front of the computer.
If you think you’ll need a wide range, some of the live streaming cameras discussed above allow you to adjust it.
Image stabilization is something really important in a camera for live screaming outdoors or handheld. Of course, if it’s going to be sitting on your monitor, you can overlook this feature.
The internal microphone usually produces low to medium quality audio on entry-level cameras and medium to high on professional cameras.
If you intend to use your camera as the main audio source, then look for the highest quality you can find. Many live streamers opt for external microphones for a more professional setup – again, it depends on what you want to stream.
How Do I Start Streaming?
If you’re wondering what do you need to stream, here are our simplified 6 steps to start streaming your content to the world.
- Decide which platform you want to use – YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch… they all have different contents, guidelines and support different settings. Before you decide on your content or buy equipment that might not work well or has overkill, start by defining your channels.
- Plan your content – to stand out as a streamer amongst the many millions that are out there, you need to have good quality content. It’s more important than having the most expensive equipment, so invest time and research to make sure people will watch and follow you.
- Get the right equipment – as you’ve seen in this article, the best camera for live streaming can be a different one for each person, so choose the right one for your needs. You’ll probably need an external microphone too and a ring light for a more professional look and better quality video.
- Set up your space – If you’re going to be streaming from your home, make it look professional or interesting. Always keep it clean and tidy. Otherwise, buy a green screen and use some professional overlays. You’ll also need to invest a little in lighting for your background, or even create a DIY backdrop. If, instead, you’re streaming outdoors, find the right location.
- Grow your viewers – once you have your content online, you need people to watch it! Use different marketing strategies and different channels to direct viewers to your stream.
- Revise, learn and improve – success doesn’t arrive from one day to the next. You need to be patient, persevere, and, most importantly, keep learning. Whatever you’re doing well, focus on it and improve it; whatever you’re doing wrong, change it or ditch it. The ability to be self-critical will get you further in your career.
How Do You Look Good on Live Stream?
We all like to look good when we step out of the house, receive visitors, or when we’re having our picture taken – why wouldn’t this apply to your looks on live stream?!
It doesn’t matter if you have a video call, you’re gaming or featuring a review on YouTube; you want to look your best. To help you out, here’s a list of tips and tricks.
1. Choose a simple background. If you’re streaming at home, you can use a plain backdrop – like the ones used for photography. This way, the viewer can focus only on you. If, instead, you’re streaming outdoors, find a location where there aren’t many distractions in the background.
2. Avoid clothes with busy patterns. Continuing to keep things simple, you should avoid busy patterns, since they don’t look good on camera. If you must use them because it’s part of your look, keep them on small accessories and not the shirt or the dress.
3. Don’t wear anything shiny. Shiny materials can create strong reflections that will look like hotspots on camera, either on the backdrop or on your clothes. They are distracting, and they give an unprofessional impression.
4. Choose natural and mid-tone colors. When you’re choosing the backdrop or your clothes, give preference to neutral colors. On streaming, colors can look more saturated than they actually are, and that’s why strong colors are not recommended.
5. Double-check what you have behind you. Unless you’re using a backdrop, you should always double-check behind you. At home, make sure there isn’t a mess or a cluttered table. Outdoors make sure you don’t have a big advertisement or a store logo that you’re not sponsoring – that kind of thing. Everything that is showing on the frame is a reflection of you and what you want to communicate.
6. Put your camera at eye level – This serves two purposes. First, it will avoid distortions, making you look good. Second, it will give the effect of having eye-contact with the viewer – which makes it more engaging.
7. Use a frontal soft light – for example, a ring light. Low light will make your video look unprofessional and will lower the image quality. With a simple light that comes from the front, you’ll avoid any unflattering shadows.
8. Find the right focal length. When you’re streaming from your desk where it’s just you, and you’ll be close to the camera, you’ll want to avoid wide-angle lenses that distort your face. Instead, if you’re streaming a live event, a wide-angle lens is great to cover the entire location and fit more people inside the frame. There isn’t one perfect lens; it will depend on what you need.
9. Don’t put your camera too close to your face. Stepping away from the camera will be more flattering. If you’re using a webcam, you can sit a little bit further from the desk. If it’s an external camera, try setting it on a mini tripod behind the monitor.
10. Be yourself. The most effective way to look good is to just be yourself! This way, you’ll look natural and confident, and this will make the viewer engage with you and what you’re saying.
Remember, if you’re streaming casually with friends or family, you don’t need to be super careful. However, if you want to do this professionally, you are your brand – and you should pay attention to every last detail.
Cameras for Live Streaming FAQs
Can you use a DSLR for streaming?
You can, but it’s not recommended. Most DSLR cameras are not designed for live streaming, so you’ll need extra cables or devices that overwrite the battery-saving mode, capture cards,etc. If you decide to give it a try, though, make sure it offers a clean HDMI output and that you can record for long periods of time.
Where should I put camera for streaming?
Normally, for videos calls, conferences or videos where you’re talking directly at someone, you put the camera on top of the monitor in the center. Then, you can tilt or pan the camera (or the monitor if it’s a built-in camera) to center yourself in the frame. If you want to stream as a gamer, a popular choice is to use it at head level to the side.
Which GoPro can live stream?
You can live stream with GoPro Max, Hero7 Black, Hero8 Black, and the one we recommend the most: Hero9 Black. To see more about its pros, cons and price, check out number 5 on the best camera for live streaming list at the beginning of the article.
Do I need a Capture Card for streaming?
Not necessarily. Most cameras for live streaming don’t need a capture card. If you want to use a two computer set-up, consoles or use a DSLR, then you might need one.
I hope you found this guide useful. Live streaming is a great way to stay connected, make some extra money or work from home.
If you have any more questions or recommendations, let us know in the comments section.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.