While most people with laptops have a built-in webcam — those cameras rarely provide a satisfactory level of performance, particularly in terms of resolution and audio quality. That’s why we’ll take a look at a couple of excellent dedicated webcams for this very purpose!
Among all of the cameras that we’ve tested while finding the best camera for online teaching, we’ve selected the following five as top contenders:
- Logitech C920 Hd Pro Webcam
- Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam
- Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Webcam
- Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera
- Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam
Our first pick is the Logitech C920 webcam. First of all, we have to mention that this camera is excellent for taking photos. While this isn’t as important for online teaching, you may find yourself in situations where you need to take a picture of a whiteboard or a presentation that you’re showing to the class.
Even in low-light conditions, the 5-megapixel camera found on the C920 provided color accuracy, detail, and astounding clarity. And if you have any kind of lighting near your desk, the picture quality is more than satisfactory.
The camera doesn’t disappoint when it comes to video chat quality either — though we do have to mention that it only supports 1080p Facetime on Windows. If you’re using a Mac, you’ll be locked at 720p. The videos are still quite clear, though the colors aren’t as vibrant as they come out in the photos.
Speaking of support, the C920 can easily be used with the Webcam Software created by Logitech for Windows. While the manufacturer claims that the webcam works with Android, Chrome, and Mac OS devices as well — the software isn’t supported on those platforms.
And this software is quite important because it lets you pan the camera or zoom in when you want to. During lessons, this is practically a necessity.
- Clear audio and video
- Great picture quality
- Lack of 1080p support on Mac
Our next pick is another camera from Logitech. In fact, the C922 is just an iterative, slightly more expensive upgrade compared to the one that we’ve previously reviewed here. It came out four years after the original C920 model, and it went on to become the next staple in online streaming. Of course, before it was one of the best cameras for online teaching, this camera was primarily used for game streaming rigs.
However, its main distinguishing feature is one that all teachers will appreciate — background removal. You can remove your background via the Logitech software automatically, without any green screen.
This model uses a shape recognition technology based on machine learning algorithms to determine what belongs to the removed background; so there’s no hardware-based depth sensing. Unfortunately, that means that you might find your edges against the removed background being somewhat rugged.
Still, the main advantages of the C920 remain here — though the C922 produces 1080p videos at 60FPS, which is a better framerate than its predecessor was capable of.
- Better framerates for 1080p videos
- Background removal
- Not that big of an improvement on the C920
The third model from Logitech that falls under the best camera for the online teaching category is also the company’s best offering — the BRIO Ultra HD. Unlike the previous two models that were merely iterations upon one another, this is light years ahead. We’re talking about a camera that supports 5X zoom, HDR recording, and 4K videos. It’s safe to say that it’ll satisfy any online teaching needs you have — and then some.
This is primarily recommended for teachers that need to do a lot of visual presenting; math, physics, or chemistry will all be visible quite clearly on any whiteboard you use for formulas. Many tech enthusiasts, vloggers, and streamers appreciate its amazing resolution and gorgeous colors.
You can use the camera to capture extremely sharp still shots as well. It behaves excellently in low-light conditions, and the 4K resolution is definitely a huge improvement that justifies the steeper price.
- 4K resolution
- 5X zoom
- More expensive
The next model we’ll take a look at doesn’t come from Logitech, and it’s not exactly a webcam at all — it’s the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera. Now, while this camera will offer you a superior resolution to every other pick on our list barring the BRIO webcam; you should know that using it for streaming online classes will require some tinkering. And we don’t recommend getting this unless you’re a fan of video making and photography in general — the camera itself will set you back a lot more than other webcams would.
If you do opt for this option, the process of connecting it to your computer is relatively straightforward. Just adjust your settings wheel to the Movie option, and then connect the camera and the computer via a micro HDMI cable. This should work with both Mac and Windows devices.
Once you turn on your camera, all that’s left to do is to set it on a tripod or on a flat surface. When you’ve adjusted your recording angle, open up the software that you’ll be using for your online lessons — in most cases, this is Skype, Zoom, or Hangouts. All of them have an option for selecting the video and audio source — choose the Cam Link setting. After that, you just hit “Play” on your camera, and you’re all set.
- Better resolution than webcams
- More expensive
- More elaborate setup
Last but definitely not least, we’ve got the Razer Kiyo Streaming Webcam. Moving away from the Sony mirrorless model, this is another honest-to-god webcam that you can use straight out of the box. It’s a model that tries to contend with the C920 and C922 Logitech models — and we do have to say that it does so wonderfully.
So, on the one hand, it’s more expensive than the C920 model — setting you back about a hundred bucks, it’s definitely more along the lines of its younger, more advanced sibling. However, while the Kiyo’s image quality is superb, the maximum resolution is stuck at 2688 x 1520; far below the coveted 4K mark. Keeping that in mind, how does the Razer Kiyo explain its higher price?
In a game-changing move, Razer has included a light ring around its camera — a built-in piece of lighting equipment, eliminating the need for additional purchases. If you’re someone who records online lessons in a badly-lit environment, this camera is definitely what you need. It’s far more financially reasonable than a camera of its quality and an external light ring. The camera itself performs amiably well, somewhere between the C920 and the C922.
- Excellent picture quality
- Light ring
- No 4K video
Keeping everything above in mind, what is the best camera for online teaching? We’d have to say that, if you can afford to spend a hundred bucks or more, it would have to be a pick between the Kiyo and the C922. And both are fine models — you just need to decide whether you care more about image quality or lighting.