Buying the best camera for streaming is slightly different than grabbing just any old lens. After all, Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and TikTok don’t suffer from the same compression as Google Meet or Zoom, meaning hardware plays a much bigger part in the visual quality of your live stream.
Fortunately, we can point you in the right direction, whether you’ve never pressed that ‘go live’ button before or you’re a veteran in the market for an upgrade.
To begin with, you need to look at the resolution. In most cases, 1080p or 4K would suffice. This is because even if you're filming or streaming in 4K, the audience may not have a device that outputs 4K.
Next, we come to the frame rate. Most streaming cameras will have 30 FPS, 60 FPS, or more. Larger frame rates need more bandwidth, so a high-quality video at 30 FPS is easier to process than a high-quality video at 60 FPS, but the latter will give you a much smoother webcam window that blends better with faster-paced games.
And finally, there's the feature set. If you don't have the best streaming lights to hand, you'll want a camera with low-light correction. Moving about the room to show off your skills on a dance mat means auto-focus might be your best friend.
And venturing into the great outdoors for an IRL stream might warrant ditching the USB or HDMI cables in favour of something that connects via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It really comes down to your specific use case and preference.
Since there are all kinds of content creators out there with different needs, we've included various streaming cams to suit everyone's needs.
Best camera for streaming
- Razer Kiyo Pro Streaming WebCam
- Canon EOS M50
- Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
- Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera
Best camera for streaming - Logitech StreamCam 1080p
The Logitech StreamCam is the latest entry in the brand's overwhelmingly popular line-up of streaming gear, and is specially made with content creators in mind.
To begin with, you get a winning combination of 1080p resolution with a framerate of 60 FPS. It also packs a premium glass lens that captures life-like colours, a Smart Auto-Focus feature to ensure that the spotlight stays on you, and a strikingly competitive price point while alternatives continue to get more expensive.
Read More: Best webcam under 50
You can connect this StreamCam via USB-C, which ensures a stable and reliable connection. The camera is compatible with all popular streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube as well as software like OBS and XSplit.
It's quite flexible, although you might want to consider mounting it on a tripod rather than sticking it on top of the best gaming monitor. It's all down to preference, but the lip of its stand might block the tiniest bit of the screen if you have a display with thin bezels.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly camera for streaming, then Logitech's StreamCam can be a great buy.
Best budget camera for streaming - Anker PowerConf C200 2K
Anker is known for taking great ideas and making them much more affordable, provided you don't mind cutting back on a feature or two. The Anker PowerConf C200 2K is a great example of exactly that, providing a sharp image that rivals alternatives on this list, and the only sacrifice is being locked to 30 FPS.
To begin with, the PowerConf C200 camera has a 2K resolution, which delivers clearer visuals compared to 1080p webcams. Plus, the large aperture captures more light, so you have sufficient brightness even in low-light conditions.
For creators, Anker's camera gives considerable flexibility with adjustable FOV (which can be adjusted through the AnkerWork software). You can choose from 65-degree, 78-degree, and 95-degree, depending on how much area you want to cover.
Read More: Best budget portable monitor
To make streaming easier, PowerConf C200 has a built-in AI noise-cancelling microphone. The dual mics let you choose between directional and omnidirectional pickup, as per your preference.
If you're looking for a budget camera for streaming that performs well, then Anker PowerConf C200 2K can be a good choice.
Best premium camera for streaming - Razer Kiyo Pro Streaming Webcam
Razer is no stranger to the gaming space, and it's no surprise that the Kiyo Pro nearly tops this list as the successor to an already fantastic first webcam.
To start things off, the webcam can stream 1080p videos at a 60 FPS frame rate. For sharper visuals, you can turn on HDR, however, enabling this feature will lock the frame rate to 30 FPS.
It's one of the best low-light webcams out there with adaptive sensors that adjust the image to the surrounding lighting conditions. This keeps your cam feed colourful and vibrant no matter the different conditions.
Read More: Best streaming accessories
Kiyo Pro lets you adjust the field of view - you can choose from 80-degree, 90-degree, and 103-degree frames, so you can draw attention to your face or set the scene with your room in the background.
Your visuals are captured by a high-quality Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens - which is resistant to bumps and scratches. Razer's camera comes with a detachable L-shaped mount that can be clipped on a tripod or your monitor. When not in use, you can flip on the detachable privacy cover.
If you're hunting for a streaming camera with advanced features within a budget, then Razer Kiyo Pro is a great choice.
Best 4K camera for streaming - Canon EOS M50 Mark II
You can't talk about cameras without mentioning Canon, and the EOS M50 Mark II goes hand-in-hand with streaming for those that want to add a premium touch.
To begin with, Canon's camera comes with an EF-M 15-45mm STM lens, which makes it suitable for a multitude of purposes. With this high-quality retractable zoom lens, you can capture your content in cinematic quality.
Coming to the resolution, you can record 4K UHD videos at 24 FPS for a cinematic feel or HD videos at 120 FPS to match the swift pacing of competitive games.
Read More: Best light for streaming
To deliver sharper pictures, the camera has DIGIC 8 image processor and a 24.1 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS Sensor - you can expect them to perform even in low light conditions.
Further, the camera has several features that make it easy for content creators to stream. There's a vertical mode, self-timer, and flexible LCD touchscreen that aim to make the streaming process seamless.
Professional cameras come with the caveat of needing accessories like the Elgato Cam Link to work with PCs, so you'll need to factor that in the overall cost, but viewers will be able to spot the premium quality only a DSLR can provide in seconds.
Best cinematic camera for streaming - Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Blackmagic Design's Pocket Cinema Camera promises to bring the Hollywood "look" to your creations. The camera sports an MFT lens to achieve that cinematic visual style.
The camera comes with a 4K resolution at 60 FPS, which trounces most webcams on the market. What's more, is that Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema cam is compatible with most cinema and photographic lenses out there.
Read More: Best monitor for video editing
Coming to the ease of use, the camera has back panel controls located just below the right thumb rest, allowing for quick and easy movements. As far as connectivity is concerned, you can plug this camera into your devices with a USB cable.
Finally, Blackmagic's 4K camera is lightweight and portable, thanks to the carbon fiber polycarbonate material that it's made from.
If you're looking for a portable camera, then you can check out Blackmagic Design's device.
Best professional camera for streaming - Sony Alpha A6400
Sony's Alpha A6400 camera is a mirrorless device, which is well-suited for streaming. However, note that this is a professional camera and not a webcam, so you will have to use a capture device and streaming software, such as the Elgato Cam Link.
With that being said, the Alpha A6400 camera can stream videos in 4K at 60 FPS or 1080p at 120 FPS, so it's a perfect fit for most creators out there. Plus, the wide angle makes it ideal for recording in small spaces.
You get an 'Advanced Real-time Eye-AF' feature, with the AF portion being 'auto focus' to ensure that the camera always stays on you.
Read More: Best capture card
The camera has a flip-up LCD touchscreen, which acts as a little command centre. It has intuitive controls that let you shift focus, change position, and make other adjustments quickly.
For easy and seamless connections, the camera has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well as HDMI and USB ports.
If you're looking to splurge a bit on a professional camera, then Sony's Alpha A6400 can be a good choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
On your hunt for the best camera for streaming, you might encounter these questions...
Can I use a DSLR for streaming?
Yes, you can use DSLR (or any camera, for that matter) for streaming. In fact, DSLRs can capture high-quality videos, make manual adjustments, and you can use a variety of lenses.
However, you will need some additional gear and software to stream. For instance, you might need an external mic, tripod, video capture devices, and more.
Streaming camera vs professional camera - which one is better?
It really depends on the user's preferences and specific use cases. But here's a quick differentiation between streaming webcams and professional cameras.
Streaming webcams are specially made for live streaming and video conferences. They even have built-in microphones for quick and easy use. However, the video quality may not be on par with professional cameras.
Meanwhile, professional cameras are meant for advanced videography - so users have more control over the final outcome. The images have better quality and you can use different lenses.