The amount of money that you spend on your webcam normally has a direct correlation to its functionality. Should you only require a webcam for keeping in touch with friends, a lower quality, less expensive webcam will suffice. For a more professional use, a webcam that has video conferencing functionality may be more appropriate with its additional picture enhancement features.
Webcams can vary in many ways such as size, shape, specification and price; follow these 5 tips to help you choose the best webcam for your individual needs:
Megapixels – The megapixels are the tiny dots of colour that, when combined, make the resulting visual image. A webcam with more megapixels will result in a clearer more vivid image. Today, the number of megapixels is not as big of an issue as it was in the past. Most webcams now will provide a reasonable image quality; however, the general advice is to go for a webcam that has 320X240 or 640X480 pixels for a good image. If you have the functionality of HD, consider a better specification for your webcam of 1280X720 pixels.
Frame Rate – As the megapixels deal with image and colour vividness, the frame rate is what controls how smooth the video quality is. Frame Rate decides how many images per second are displayed. 30fps (frames per second) is more than suitable for a standard use webcam. Those looking for a smoother, higher quality moving image should consider a webcam with the capabilities of 60fps.
Lens Quality – the lens is the first stage in the video process therefore it is vital that you have the correct lens to cater for your needs. A webcam with a glass lens is much better than one with a plastic lens.
Continuous Autofocus – In many scenarios there can be a lot of activity happening during a webcam session, autofocus (AF) enables the webcam to keep you as the main focus rather than diverting to other movements within the frame.
Low Light Quality – If you tend to use your webcam during the evening or in low light conditions, the resulting image quality can be very poor. By tampering with the screen brightness and contrast, you create a hazy and continued poor image on screen. Logitech have developed ‘Right Light’ in some of their webcams. This enables the image quality to be optimised in these poor light conditions.
Another issue to consider when contemplating the use of a webcam is the speed of your Internet connection. The speed of your computer processor and Input/Output capability is also an issue. The faster the better is the rule because the video images use lots of your computer’s communications capacity. I recommend the fastest broadband speed you can afford, to avoid jerky, stop and start video images. This requirement pertains to both ends of the teleconference session. Many folks have purchased webcams only to be disappointed by the poor video quality due to the above communications and computer shortcomings.