The Elgato Facecam looks aesthetically like someone smashed a DSLR camera with a traditional webcam, which is actually a pretty apt description of the performance you can expect from the product. For most streamers, webcams have a lifespan. If your streaming takes off and you gain more subscribers, the next step for many is to upgrade your existing gear, such as upgrading from a gaming headset to a dedicated USB or XLR microphone.
One of the biggest investments is usually switching from using a webcam to a professional camera such as the Sony ZV-1. (opens in a new tab) or the Sony A6100 (opens in a new tab), both of which are popular among Twitch users and YouTubers. The leap in quality from something like a Logitech C920 is worth every penny, but it has left a void in the market for professional streaming webcams to fill.
This is where the Elgato Facecam shines. There are other deals available now in this small category, such as the Razer Kiyo Pro (opens in a new tab) and the Dell Ultrasharp (opens in a new tab)and while they certainly have their own pros and cons, Elgato is a company that specializes in creating gear for streamers and content creators, which gives the Facecam an edge over the competition.
What makes it so great is that many of the features you’d expect to be a standard on webcams such as autofocus and built-in microphones have been completely omitted as they become more of a hindrance than an asset. during a broadcast.
This makes it less suitable for the everyday user who is just looking to join some meetings via Zoom, especially if you find the retail price of $199.99/£189.99 hard to digest, but need a upgrade or looking to go straight to streaming with a little extra cash in your pocket, the Elgato Facecam is something to buy for your consideration.
Specifications: Elgato Facecam
Field of view: 83.2 degrees
Frame rate: 60FPS
Digital Zoom: Yes, 4x
Built-in microphone: Nope
Auto focus: Nope
Privacy cover: Yes
Link: USB Type-C to USB 3.0
As mentioned, part of what makes the Elgato Facecam rather unique is that instead of stuffing a mediocre microphone into the product, this webcam has no mic. at all.
Two of the most important things for streaming online are your lighting and audio quality, which means most will be willing to buy a separate recording device, whether it’s a stick-type mic on a gaming headset. (opens in a new tab) or a dedicated USB microphone (opens in a new tab). Elgato even sells its own, the Wave 3 USB Microphone, if you wanted to keep things in the family.
Not including a mic helps cut down on the hassle of configuring your audio settings in various apps, and many content creators know the pain of recording and interviewing or video, only to find that your voice was picked up on your webcam’s mic rather than the fancy XLR you’d set up.
The Facecam is also fixed-focus, another feature that will appeal to people who stream frequently. Some webcams like the Razer Kiyo Pro and Logitech Brio can have particularly sensitive autofocus that will try to reframe you every 20-30 seconds, making any video footage you capture look messy.
The thing is, we’re sure most everyday users will be affected by the loss of a built-in microphone or autofocus, especially considering the price of the Elgato Facecam camera. If you wanted any of these features, chances are you don’t need something streaming-specific, in which case there are plenty of more affordable offerings to better suit your needs.
Another niche feature is that the Facecam has eight built-in features that each serve a different purpose, the benefits of which are listed below:
Aspherical surface: Maximizes the sharpness of the image perimeter
IR cut filter: Prevents infrared light from disturbing the sensor
Low dispersion glass: Reduce chromatic aberration, improve contrast, tone and sharpness. Constant transmittance over the entire color spectrum. Neutral colors, no tint, no color distortion
Eighteen anti-reflective coatings: Improves transmission, prevents lens flare and preserves image detail
Elgato has also included a Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor in the device, something typically used in high quality security cameras which helps in low light filming environments. It seems like an odd choice, but the Facecam does well in low-light environments, even without the aid of a ring light or key light.
Build and manipulate
The shape of the product is rather unusual, with a cube-shaped “head” that looks more like an action camera than a typical webcam. Still, the design is harmless and doesn’t take up too much space if placed on a laptop or monitor despite measuring 3 x 1.5 x 2 inches. The L-style stand means you can place the Facecam directly on a desk if you don’t like having it at eye level, and also detaches completely to reveal a standard tripod thread, giving you plenty of options placement when setting up your broadcast.
Build quality is decent, although the Facecam is mostly constructed from black plastic, which might feel a bit cheap considering the asking price. You also get a lens cap cover for more privacy if you care about that sort of thing.
The included USB-C to USB-A cable is approximately 80 inches long and comes with some supply issues you may need to be aware of – the Elgato Facecam can be particularly difficult with the ports you plug it into . Make sure you have a free USB 3.0 port because the webcam won’t work with anything else, making it unusable for those with older hardware or thin laptops that lack available ports.
Like several other streaming-specific webcams on the market, the Elgato Facecam offers 1080p resolution quality at 60 frames per second, which is more than enough to record on smaller windows for Twitch and YouTube gaming. You can also use the Facecam to record full length YouTube videos, although the quality is noticeably different from that of a real DSLR camera.
The images themselves are also oversaturated, and we have mixed feelings about that. In darker environments (imagine a typical streamer setup with RGB lighting and no main light source) this is actually beneficial as it helps to make your surroundings stand out, but if you are already well lit this may be too much. challenging and unnatural.
Luckily, you can change that using the Elgato Camera Hub software, which is a real pleasure to use compared to webcam apps from brands like Logitech or AVerMedia. It’s easy to use and feature-rich, offering a full range of options to tweak contrast, saturation, shutter speed, field of view (with a handy slider rather than fixed options), and more .
If you want more detailed edits, Elgato has included an intuitive ISO player, a great asset for content creators who use studio lighting (or even Elgato’s own Key or Ring lights). When you’ve made all the adjustments you need to the settings, you can save your adjustments as a new default to the webcams built-in flash memory to avoid messing with it every time you start streaming.
Verdict: Elgato Facecam
The Elgato Facecam is certainly an expensive purchase, but its features (or lack thereof) make it our top choice for streamers looking to upgrade from a less powerful webcam, but aren’t ready to use a pro camera setup. complete. Again.
If you’re just looking for a good quality webcam for work or keeping in touch with family, the expense might not be worth it, especially if you don’t already have a dedicated USB microphone. (opens in a new tab) or helmet (opens in a new tab). There are more affordable options like the Logitech C930 or even the Logitech Streamcam (opens in a new tab) in such cases. If you value quality streaming, the Facecam is worth every penny you pay.
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