A Quick Guide to Evaluate and Select the Best Webcam!

The capability to virtually communicate and collaborate instantly with colleagues, partners, and customers regardless of location is a critical need in today’s business world. Unified communications, personal video collaboration, and team video conferencing are replacing face-to-face meetings, thereby reducing the need for business travel. Since collaboration is instantaneous, businesses and individuals are realizing real improvements in productivity and cost savings.

For the virtual experience to be as close to the real in-person experience as possible, the choice of video and voice collaboration becomes very important. From the perspective of video collaboration, majorly all Laptop manufacturers offer an inbuilt camera, which serves the purpose of basic video collaboration. And, because of design, form, and cost constraints, the inbuilt camera seems lacking in the desired quality and functionality required for professional delivery. Hence, video collaboration using a webcam is gaining momentum to deliver a quality video experience to the audience during an online meeting eg. virtual team meetings with colleagues, vendors, customers, etc.

In this reference the following comparison of the embedded camera with the external Webcam will help you to differentiate the two:

FactorEmbedded CamerasExternal Webcams
CostAs the laptop/PC market is highly competitive, built-in webcams are likely to be basic.While they necessitate expense beyond a laptop or PC, external webcams are apt to have higher-quality components that allow for fine-tuning.
Size of ComponentsEmbedded cameras are typically small; small components directly impact the level of camera performance and image quality.Since their design is not dictated by space constraints, external webcams typically have higher quality components, providing for better resolution, speed, fluidity, color balance, and noise reduction.
LensEmbedded cameras do not have room for a multi-piece lens stack, so image quality may not be the best.Some external webcams have a multi-piece lens stack, greatly enhancing their level of image quality.
Focal Length (Focus/Defocus Ability)As embedded cameras typically don’t have multiple lens components, the focal length is limited, making images in shorter distances not as crisp.Higher-quality external webcams have autofocus and can adjust the focal length for near or far so that the subject is always in focus
Field of ViewThe field of view offered by embedded webcams is most suitable for one-on-one communications.External webcams typically allow for a wider field of view, so more than one person can participate at any endpoint.
Light SensitivityEmbedded cameras may not adjust or fine-tune in lower light environments, causing reduced image quality.Some cameras can fine-tune in lower-light environments to generate better-quality images.
Ability to PositionEmbedded cameras provide little freedom to adjust camera position and minimize the scene to one view, such as a face.Being able to position and adjust a webcam as desired is integral to business-grade video calling. External webcams typically provide this functionality with varying clip technologies.
HeatThe heat generated by a laptop can affect the sensor of embedded cameras or increase the noise in an image.External webcams are usually larger, with space around the circuit board to allow heat to disperse.
Stereo Quality SoundThe quality of microphones embedded in computers varies, according to microphone location and the overall computer solution.Some external cameras have built-in stereo microphones offering a high-definition-like audio experience.
CertificationsEmbedded cameras are often not designed to perform to certification standards for video calling platforms.Some external webcams are built to work seamlessly with top video-calling platforms. The resulting certifications help ensure that cameras offer speed, performance, quality, and other enhanced features to enable a quality experience.

Once you ascertain the need for an external camera, another challenge for you would be to identify, evaluate and select a suitable one.  Since a huge number of Webcam brands are available in the market, you may find it difficult to filter out cameras for initial consideration and then for a detailed evaluation to converge to a single choice.

Webcam for Video Collaboration

Video collaboration is a technical matter, you may need to understand your application area and the respective technical and functional requirements before purchasing a webcam. As a buyer, you must assess whether you need the video collaboration solution for business or education applications OR seeking certain special features say Auto-focus feature, OR looking for specific compatibility with some business communication platforms like Microsoft teams, etc. in the product.

Classification and Specifications

Application Area

In this regard the following specifications and classification will help you to prepare evaluation criteria based on the utility of features or functions in their application area/requirements:

  1. Business
  2. Education
  3. Personal

Features

  1. Autofocus
  2. Digital Zoom
  3. Pan + Tilt
  4. High Dynamic Range
  5. Adjustable field of view
  6. Dual Omni-directional Mics
  7. Infrared Sensor Technology
  8. Universal Clips
  9. Tripod Thread
  10. Privacy Shutter
  11. Included Tripod
  12. Glass Lens
  13. Special Apps/Subscriptions (eg. Logi Capture, Split Software Subscription)

Certified Compatibility

  1. Skype for Business
  2. Microsoft Teams
  3. Microsoft Cortana
  4. Windows Hello
  5. Cisco WebEx
  6. Cisco Jabber
  7. Zoom

Resolution and Frame Rate

  1. 4K/30fps
  2. 1080p/60fps
  3. 1080p/30fps
  4. 720p/90fps
  5. 720p/60fps
  6. 720p/30fps

Additional Compatibility

  1. XSplit
  2. OBS
  3. Twitch
  4. Skype
  5. Google Hangouts
  6. Other VC Applications

Users can select the desired specifications from the above list to devise a priority list (high weightage to desired factors) of features intended in the webcam. This evaluation criterion will help the users to filter in the desired webcam brands and models and facilitate efficient decision-making by effectively moving from the awareness set to the consideration set to the choice set to the final decision to fulfill the need for video collaboration using a webcam.

Comparative Study on Logitech Business Webcam

A comparison between various Logitech Business Webcams, based on important parameters is given below for quick reference and decision-making:

Business Webcam Model :  




Parameters:
Logitech C505e HD HD webcam with 720p and long-range micLogitech C920E  Full HD 1080p video meetings with privacy shutterLogitech C925E Enhanced 1080p business webcam with H.264 supportLogitech C930E B Advanced 1080p business webcam with H.264 supportLogitech BRIO ULTRA HD PRO Premium 4K webcams with HDR and Windows Hello support
Resolution FPSHD 720p/30fpsFull HD 1080p/30fps HD 720p/30fpsFull HD 1080p/30fps HD 720p/30fpsFull HD 1080p/30fps HD 720p/30fps4K Ultra HD 2160p/30fps, Full HD 1080p/30 or 60fps, HD 720p/30, 60, or 90fps
Diagonal Field of View60°78°78°90°65°, 78°, and 90°
Zoom CapabilityNoUp to 1xUp to 1.2xUp to 4xUp to 5x
AutofocusNoYesYesYesYes
Auto Light CorrectionRightLight™ 2RightLight™ 2RightLight™ 2RightLight™ 2RightLight™ 3
Noise Cancelling Mic(s)1 Omni-directional, long-range pickup2 Omni-directional mics*2 Omni-directional mics2 Omni-directional mics2 Omni-directional mics
ConnectionUSB – A plug-and-playUSB-A plug-and-playUSB-A plug-and-playUSB-A plug-and-playUSB-A plug-and-Play; supports USB-C
Cable length2 m1.5 m1.83 m1.5 m2.2 m
H.264 video compressionNoNoYesYesNo
Privacy ShutterNoAttachableBuilt-inAttachableAttachable

In addition to the above, you can also review a similar comparison between various models of Logitech personal webcams provided on the Intelliware website. Further, we would advise you to read the article voice collaboration using a headset which will help you to decide on the evaluation criteria for the headsets.

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