Best Budget Webcams for Live Streaming

Best Budget Webcams for Live Streaming(2021)

In this video, I'll be breaking down the various different ways to level up your live stream setup. So let's get after it. You got to just press record.

Hey, what's up, it's Omarel Takrori with Think Media helping you build your influence with online video and on this channel, sometimes we do camera reviews.

Other times we do live stream videos, just like this one. So if you're new here, consider subscribing. This video sponsored by StreamYard. This is our go-to platform for live streaming to YouTube and Facebook, especially when we have multiple people joining us on a stream.

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Now it is without a doubt, in the times we are currently living in that we are doing a low more working from home, remote working, video conference calls and even transitioning our content into live streaming.

And so, I think when it comes to upgrading your live stream camera, I think it's important to note that the built-in webcam isn't cutting it.I think every laptop or every computer that has a built-in webcam just for some reason, isn't cutting it for people who are really wanting to take live streaming seriously.

So, in this video, I'm gonna be breaking it down from price point. And so we're gonna gradually go up in price as I recommend and maybe you'll get some ideas with something you already have and can use to level up your live streams. So let's go.

So the first budget camera I wanna recommend you using is actually using your smartphone. That's right. You can use your smartphone, whether Android or iPhone to use as your webcam.

And I found that it is a huge upgrade from my current 2018 MacBook Pro webcam. And so, the way you can do this, is by downloading an app called EpocCam. This is an app that's up around $8 or so by the time we're shooting this video.

And then you're gonna download the application or the software onto your computer or laptop, whatever you're using, and that's free. Then simply plugging in your USB charger from your smartphone to your computer or laptop.

And then you can now select your phone as your webcam. And I think this is super cool because the rear facing cameras on a lot of smartphones are actually pretty great.

And another thing you can do is if you don't already have lights you can actually turn on the flashlight on your phone, so it can, you know, lighten your face up a little bit.

We'll post links to everything I'm mentioning in the description below, whether that be the links to the app or even a recommended products and things like that.

But I would recommend you getting some sort of tabletop tripod, some way of making sure the phone is actually at about eye level. I think probably the worst thing about being on Zoom calls with a lot of people, even like bosses and stuff like that is that their camera is in like the worst place possible and it's shooting up at their nose, but now you can get your phone up with a simple, you know, tabletop tripod, and it'll run you around $20.

So you're looking at about $28 to actually upgrade your webcam and using your smartphone, which is an awesome way to go. If you want to learn a freeway to do this, we actually made a video on it.

The only thing about it, is it's not as reliable because it uses wifi to use your smartphone whereas EpocCam, though the extra costs, it's more reliable cause you're using hard line into your computer or laptop, but nonetheless, check out that video, we'll put a link to it in the YouTube card and in the description below.

And I want to talk about the next thing I would recommend you using is potentially the camera you already own. Yes, if you have a Canon camera or a Sony camera, you could potentially use it for almost free by using their software.

So, let me just try to break this down and see if it can make sense. And if it doesn't, let me know in the comments and I'll try my best to help.

But nonetheless, Sony and Canon have released software that you can now access your camera as a webcam with the use of a USB cable.

Canon's is called the EOS Webcam Utility App and Sony has called it the Imaging Edge Webcam. Now, I definitely think that if you have a Canon or Sony camera, you should 1000% try this.

It isn't perfectly working, I think a lot of it is in beta stages at the time of shooting this video. So you definitely want to try this method depending on whatever operating system you are using.

It just might work for you. And I know a lot of people that potentially have a camera laying around. And so, maybe you can resurrect this dead camera and use a USB cable to plug into it and get it up and running for your webcam.

I think this is cool because you can also change the lens. So if you want to now just upgrade the lens and get a better image, then you can do that as well. And we'll post our recommendations down in the description below.

I would recommend you, if this option works for you, I would recommend, that you go ahead and get a continuous power adapter for whatever camera you're using.

Essentially what this dummy battery will do is allow you to have continuous power because you'll be plugged into the wall and the battery will be reading that power source.

And so you'll never have the issue of your battery dying. So I think this is, you know, you're gonna be looking at around 20 to $30 for this investment.

So kind of the same as the smartphone upgrade, but nonetheless, if you wanted to make an actual "Webcam upgrade", the webcam upgrade I would recommend is the Logitech 920.

This webcam comes in at about $100 and is a USB webcam that is simple to install and use. They also have built in speakers and mics on them. So if you are in close range you could totally use the mic that's built into the webcam.

A lot of us on Think Media actually use this webcam for their main use, whether it's Zoom calls or doing live stream and trainings on YouTube and things like that and on Facebook. But, nonetheless, this Logitech webcam has stood the test of time and is a reliable option.

Logitech has just been around for quite some time and you can rely and trust in all their products and whatever level webcam you choose to go with, with them. What's also cool about the Logitech 920 is you can actually select different frame rates.

And so if you are a gamer, I know a lot of times when it comes to gaming and live streaming, you need to have higher frame rates and no, you know, room for lag and things like that. So, this is a great option as well for gamers, as opposed to the smartphone option.

Now, if you're getting value in this video, why don't you smash the like button for me and let me know down in the comments below, did you know that you can actually use your smartphone as your webcam?

And by all means, if you didn't watch that video that we have on Think Media to be able to do it for free. I think everyone watching this video should actually know how this is possible to use your smartphone for free as your webcam for Zoom calls or what have you.

Nonetheless, let me know down in the comments below, if you knew that. Now, the next option that I want to encourage you with when it comes to live streaming on a budget, kinda goes along the lines with the one I mentioned earlier about using the current camera you already own.

Now, if that did not work, and maybe you tried plugging in the USB, maybe you have a Mac and for, well, you know, whatever reason, whatever software you were using that did not work.

The ultimate fail-proof way to use your camera as a webcam is to use a Video Capture card. And this is essentially what a Video Capture card is. It turns an HDMI into a USB and then you can simply use whatever camera to live stream or do video conference calls with.

I actually use this every day. I use what is called an Elgato Cam Link, comes in at around close to $180 but I would encourage you that this cheap version on Amazon that's about $20 is a reliable piece of gear.

We've been using this for quite some time in Kyle's set up and office and he swears by it and we swear by it that this budget version is awesome.

And I think more than anything that if you are using your USB to live stream out of your camera, you would get better quality when using an HDMI Capture Card, just because you're able to transfer more data through HDMI.

Another reason this is cool, is if you want to plug in a mic into your camera and then HDMI into you computer or a laptop, it'll actually send the audio as well. And that's just a cool, full-proof way to actually have consistent audio with your video.

A lot of times, if you're using a USB mic and then you're plugged into, you know, a capture card on another USB, you can have some audio delay issues but being able to just have everything in your camera sent to the computer is a potential way to go.

You could totally fix audio delays in many software and things like that. But I just wanted to let you know that this is an option, that if you have a current camera and it has an HDMI out, you can totally use an HDMI capture card.

And obviously you'll need a correct HDMI cord. Maybe it's a micro HDMI to a full HDMI, but nonetheless, we'll make sure we post the links down in the description below, so that you are steered and guided to buy the right pieces of gear when you decided to make this purchase.

So now when it comes to actual cameras, maybe you don't have a camera that you can currently use and you don't want to get a Logitech or a webcam, a traditional webcam, but you want to use a good camera to live stream, a few things I first want to make sure you learn about.

If you're in the market for finding a camera that is live stream ready, a term you want to learn about is that what it's called clean HDMI.

Clean HDMI, simply put, is the ability to send the video feed through your HDMI cable and not put your camera settings.

To be honest with you, a lot of Canon cameras have what is called dirty HDMI. And essentially what that is, is when you plug in and use a capture card like I just mentioned, you see all your settings you see the autofocus box around your face.

But it doesn't go to say that Canon does have some cameras on the market that are fairly inexpensive with clean HDMI. Sony on the other hand has done a great job at this and keeping their cameras, having clean HDMI since as far as I could backtrack cameras.

So, that's just something you wanna make sure you look out for whenever you're searching for a camera, if you're gonna use it for live streaming, make sure you look for that specific feature, that it has a clean HDMI out. And that way you'll have no issues when it comes to live streaming.

Now, I do want to mention a few options that you can look into. And the first I would mention or recommend is something along the lines of like the Sony a5,100.

This is a very compact interchangeable camera that you can buy a dummy battery for and use with a capture card and get a great image.

I think there are super awesome lenses out in the market. Like the Sigma 16, 1.4 lens that'll give you a super blurry background but could be at like arms length distance from your face.

I think some people like that shot, but nonetheless, you could use a kit lens like the lens that comes with the camera itself. If you want an incredible image just straight out the package. I've personally been using the Sony ZV-1, I don't know if you would consider it budget but it is a compact camera.

Point and shoot, I guess you could call it but it's around $700 brand new and you can shop used but this has a great focal length and an aperture. The aperture is at 1.8, has eye autofocus and gives you a super clean look. As you can see here, I've been it for months now and I love it, I love how easy it is to turn on.

You can also USB power it so it has continuous power through the USB when you're using it. And so, a very simple setup, but yes, it's gonna cost a little bit more. As far as Canon goes, we'll post a link to their website where you can actually see all of the clean HDMI Canons that they offer.

One to mention is definitely the Canon SL series the SL2 and SL3 have clean HDMI out at least on their list, says it.

And also if you want to hop into a more higher end camera you can look at the M50 Mark II, which now has clean HDMI. And then also the Canon M6 Mark II also has clean HDMI shoots in 4K.

Nonetheless, all of these cameras are reliable but we'll post links down in the description below. More than anything, I wanted this video to be educational. I wanted you to know that you can use any camera to livestream with. 

So, as long as it has an HDMI port, you can hit up Amazon, get a capture card, get an HDMI cord and you'd be ready to go when it comes to video for your live streams. Now, once you have your camera set up, ready to go for live streaming, it's definitely important to know what mic you're gonna use for live streaming.

So, you can watch a video that's on the screen by clicking or tapping it. Or, you can check out another video from Think Media by clicking or tapping it.

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