The very first webcam on record dates back to 1991, just one year before the first commercial webcam appeared on the market. A lot has happened since then: the development of the Internet and of new technologies has created a society in which cameras are omnipresent.

There are currently a great number of devices that come with built-in cameras, and these cameras are only getting better and better. However, webcams are still very popular devices. Their main use continues to be videoconferencing with friends and family, or use within a work environment.

Key Facts

  • The most common use for webcams is to make personal or professional video calls.
  • They are generally not very different from the rest of digital cameras available on the market.
  • One of their great advantages is that they can be used with different devices. Moreover, they can easily be transported as they are small and light.

Ranking: The best webcams on the Australian market

We have come up with a ranking of the five best webcams available today on the Australian market. Each one has something specific to offer, and they all offer great value for money. Keep reading and you’ll know how to choose the webcam that best suits your needs.

No. 1: JIFFY Wide Angle HD Camera

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The JIFFY C100 HD webcam is Amazon’s Choice in the category, and it’s not hard to see why: it offers fantastic value for your money. Equipped with a glass lens, this full HD camera can reach 30 frames per second at 1080p to provide you with crystal-clear images during your video calls. The 2.0 USB interface is also compatible with 3.0 and 1.0 technologies. A dual microphone is integrated.

Past customers particularly appreciate the plug-and-play technology that allows you to start using the webcam straight away. The adjustable bracket mount lets you easily fix it to the different devices where you want to use the camera. Focus is manually adjusted with a focus ring. This JIFFY webcam is compatible with most Windows OS, Mac OS, Chrome OS and Android.

No. 2: Logitech C922 Pro Stream

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Logitech is a force to be reckoned with in the field of computer and mobile peripherals, and this webcam is a true testimony of the brand’s top quality products.The Logitech C922 Pro Stream lets you choose between Full HD 1080p at 30 fps, or HD 720p at 60 fps. It also has HD lighting correction and fast autofocus systems. Its lens is made of glass and its field of view is 78º.

The camera integrates two omnidirectional microphones for premium stereo audio quality. In addition, it comes with an adjustable table tripod with a swivel and a stand extendable up to 18.5 cm, as well as a three-month premium license for the software XSplit. The H.264 compression system lets you quickly upload material to the Internet. Compatible with Windows and Mac.

No. 3: Logitech C170

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If you need a quality webcam from a reputable brand and don’t want to make a big investment, don’t think twice: the Logitech C170 webcam is what you’re looking for. Sold at a real bang-for-your-buck price, this camera offers HD 720p video quality and has a built-in microphone for all your calls. This device is plug-and-play.

The webcam also features a system that automatically adjusts the image to the lighting conditions. On the down side, there is no autofocus and its field of view is only 60º. As for the photographic camera, it offers a resolution of only 3 MP. The universal clip is easy to use and can effortlessly be placed on your different devices.

No. 4: Razer Kiyo

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This webcam by gaming hardware company Razer has been designed for professional streaming. It will let you to enjoy HD video with a resolution of 720p at 60 fps, meaning you can make high-quality broadcasts. Its built-in autofocus is fast and precise for crisp, smooth and uninterrupted recording. The Razer Kiyo also provides the ability to produce video at 1080p resolution at 30 fps.

It incorporates an adjustable ring light so that you can get the perfect brightness in your recordings and broadcasts. It is compatible with Open Broadcaster and Xsplit softwares. Its compact design means it’s also ideal when you’re on the go. Customers have said that this webcam was perfect for a professional look during work calls.

No. 5: JideTech USB Webcam

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This little webcam by JideTech might offer you a little bit less than other products on this list, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer value for money. Available in black or blue, it is simply the most affordable product of our rankings and does what a webcam does best: provide video and audio for online calls.

It features a glass lens and a resolution of 720p at 30 fps, which is great quality considering the incredibly low price of the device. It is compatible with most Windows and Mac OS, but note that a driver needs to be installed for use on Windows 7 and older systems.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about webcams

It is essential that you take into account a number of important factors when buying your webcam. Don’t forget that many models of webcams are available, each one presenting specific characteristics. This is why we will now address the most common questions from buyers.

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Webcams are the ideal device for your videoconferences.(Source: Guillem: 59307007/ 123rf.com)

What is a webcam exactly?

A webcam is a small digital camera connected to a computer with which you can capture video and broadcast it over the Internet. These videos can be transmitted either through a web page or directly to another device by means of different programs.

Webcams usually consist of a lens, an image sensor and the electronic circuits necessary for their proper functioning. Broadly speaking, they do not differ much from the rest of digital cameras. In fact, the main difference is that they often come with a software required to make them work on any device.

A brief history of webcams

The first webcam on record was used by the Department of Computer Science of the University of Cambridge back in 1991. A year later, in 1992, the first commercial webcam called XCam was released on the market. A long time has passed since, and webcam performances have considerably improved.

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Prestigious manufacturers include Microsoft, Logitech and Genius. Check Razer devices if you want a gaming webcam.

What are the main uses for webcams?

The most common use of a webcam is to make video calls through Skype or any other similar program. However, we’re sure you’ve guessed that this is not the only thing it does. It is also frequently used to record YouTube videos both at professional and amateur levels, as a surveillance camera or to broadcast live video.

But we’re not done just yet. They are also commonly used in certain areas of scientific research such as astronomy, cognitive psychology or neuromarketing. They are naturally very present in the world of video games, so much so that you can find specific models tailored for this industry.

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Most webcams come with additional accessories. The great majority of models feature at least a bracket mount to attach them to your monitor or laptop screen.(Source: Selznev: 16250302/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of webcams?

First of all, having a quality webcam means that your camera presents better features than most of the built-in cameras of laptops. The fact that they are a standalone device means they can also be used with different equipment and in different places.

These devices let you make video calls, broadcast live video or even perform surveillance tasks at home or at the office. Those different uses are why you should choose a model with the features that best suit your needs. It is not surprising that they offer much more flexibility than the cameras built into laptops, smartphones or tablets.

Advantages
  • Videoconferences
  • Good video quality
  • You can use them on different computers and in different places
Disadvantages
  • May put people’s privacy at risk

How do I use my webcam?

The first thing you should do is attach your camera. If you are using it on a laptop, fix it on the centre or one of the sides of your screen. You will then need to connect the camera to your computer and turn it on. If the camera requires a specific software, you must install it before you can start using it.

You may need to configure certain technical elements of your webcam. Depending on the model, this could only mean adjusting the basic settings such as brightness, contrast, resolution rate or the frames per second (fps). We also suggest testing the camera before you start using it.

For whom are webcams tailored?

You may need a webcam if your laptop camera doesn’t provide the features you want, or because you have a desktop computer, which usually do not come with a camera. You will also need a webcam if you want to record Youtube videos, or even as a security camera.

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Over the years, webcams are becoming much more modern and compact.(Source: Sudsawat: 26578293/ 123rf.com)

What types of webcam are available out there?

Webcams can be divided into two main categories. On the one hand, you will find webcams designed mainly for videoconferencing. On the other hand, you have webcams designed for live streaming. The former models are much cheaper, while the latter offer better features.

Webcams for videoconferencing  Webcams for streaming
Price They are much more affordable, as they are more basic devices. Their price is usually higher.
Features  They offer reduced features. They offer better features. Above all, they provide much higher resolutions.

What are the best programs available for webcams?

Many programs are available to get the most out of your webcam. If you plan on using yours for videoconferences, you will probably use Skype or a similar program. If you want to record videos and take pictures, you may be interested in YouCam, which will allow you to add many different effects to the image.

FLV Enconder is another very interesting program, with which you can upload the videos you record with your webcam to the Internet.

Vitamin D is a great tool for surveillance tasks. If you want to edit video at a more professional level, you naturally have Photoshop at your disposal, a powerful and comprehensive editing tool.

What care does my webcam require?

One of the key aspects to pay attention to with webcams is the security of your computer. You need to have a powerful antivirus to prevent your webcam signal from being hacked and used to spy on you. We also recommend that you turn it on only when used.

Shopping Criteria

Let’s have a look at a series of important criteria that you should take into account before purchasing your webcam. While some are aspects common to most purchases, others are specific to this type of device and are often unknown to the general public.

  • Personal use
  • Design and quality of the materials
  • Resolution
  • Aperture
  • Lens quality and field of view
  • Autofocus
  • Frames per second
  • Connectivity
  • Microphone
  • Compatibility

Personal use

This is definitely the first question you should ask yourself. You won’t need the same camera for videoconferencing as for live streaming. A low-end model from a reputable brand will do just fine for the former, while the latter will require you to buy a high-end webcam.

Streaming will require at least a full HD resolution of 1080p at 30 fps. A wide field of view will be a big plus for your device. You should ideally opt for a model with resolutions of 4K at 30 fps. However, you will have guessed that the quality of the performances will also determine the price of the device.

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It is no longer necessary to have so many devices: webcams now come with high quality microphones.(Source: Fad82/ 71714224/ 123rf.com)

Design and quality of the materials

Appearance has become a priority in our modern societies, and the technology sector is no stranger to this trend. Webcam manufacturers have therefore put a great emphasis on the design of their devices. They no longer only seek to sell practical and functional webcams: they also need to be visually appealing.

The quality of the materials is an aspect you simply can’t ignore. This will strongly influence the durability of your device. Remember that buying cheap products can cost you a lot more on the long run. This is why we suggest that you buy a good quality product.

Resolution

As mentioned earlier, high resolution is a key aspect of a quality; the lower it is, the more pixelated the image will be. We recommend that you opt for a video resolution of at least 720p. That being said, you will need a model with resolutions going up to 4K for professional uses.

Aperture

The aperture of the webcam is the hole through which the light passes. This will greatly determine the brightness that reaches the sensor of your camera. A larger aperture, which is represented by a smaller f-number value, will allow more light to pass through. A smaller aperture will logically let less light through.

Lens quality and field of view

The performance of your webcam is naturally affected by the type of lens it possesses. While webcams with plastic lenses are available on the market, we strongly recommend you to opt for a model with a glass lens. The price difference won’t be astronomical, but the performances will be much better.

The field of view of the lens is related to the amplitude of the shot that the camera catches. This value generally ranges between 90º and 180º. 90º should be more than enough if you need the camera for video calls with friends and family. However, you will need a much larger field of view to record videos for streaming.

Autofocus

Webcams tend to have automatic focus. However, as you can imagine, some models will offer better performance in this field than others. You want to go for a focus that is both fast and accurate. High-end devices will allow you to set up the focus and adapt it to your specific needs.

Frames per second

Don’t forget to take into account the number of frames per second when recording videos with your webcam. We recommend that your product of choice allow you to record at least 30 fps at 1080p. However, don’t forget that a higher resolution will generally lead to a lower fps rate.

Connectivity

One of the great advantages of webcams is that you can use them on different devices. This is why it is important that you opt for a model with several connection options.

A USB port connection is a particularly interesting feature for your webcam, as this offers the highest transfer speed.

You may also be interested in having a camera with either a WiFi or a Bluetooth connection. While the transfer speed of these methods are clearly much lower than that of the USB connection, they will allow you to connect your webcam to computers that lack USB plug-ins.

Microphone

Microphones have become a standard feature in webcams. Make sure that the webcam you choose comes with one such feature and check its specifications. In the end, you will always need a microphone regardless of the use you want to make of the webcam.

Compatibility

Make sure that the model you want to buy is compatible with your operating system before purchasing it. You should also check that its specifications are not limited by your computer’s hardware or software. There is no point in buying a high-end webcam if your computer isn’t capable of taking full advantage of its capabilities.

In the same vein, plug-and-play devices are much more practical, allowing immediate use as soon as you connect them. This means no more installing drivers or making boring configurations. Just plug your webcam and use it! Note that you will have to make certain adjustments if you want to use your webcam professionally.

Summary

Cameras have become increasingly important in our lives. Webcams are particularly ideal for tasks such as videoconferencing with friends, taking classes online, organising business meetings via video calls or streaming broadcasts. They also offer the advantage of being usable with different devices.

There are therefore many possible reasons why you might need to buy a webcam. However, regardless of what that reason may be for you, it is essential that you have the necessary information to make the right purchase. Be sure to consider the technical aspects we have detailed for you, such as resolution, field of view, compatibility and connection method.

We hope that this guide was helpful to you. If so, we would appreciate it if you could share it with your friends and leave us a comment!

(Source of featured image: Blasbike: 17127761/ 123rf.com)

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