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How to Choose the Right Webcam

Introduction

Adding a webcam to your conference calls and online conversations can enhance the experience for both you and the other party. In addition, it is a more economical and environmentally-friendly alternative to paying for a plane ticket and flying in for a face-to-face meeting in another city. Before purchasing a webcam however, you should consider how it will be used and what features you.

Video Resolution

Similar to a monitor or a HDTV, a webcam’s video resolution is represented as the number of horizontal pixels by vertical pixels. A few of the more common resolutions include 640 × 480, 1280 × 720 (720p), and 1920 × 1080 (1080p). A higher resolution means that the video you capture will be sharper and more detailed. For HD video recording, you will need a webcam that is capable of at least 720p video capture.

Image Resolution

Aside from recording and sending live video, a web cam can also be used to take still images. Some webcams have their video and image resolutions listed separately, with the latter rated in megapixels. If you plan to use the webcam to take still photos, you should try to find one that has a high megapixel rating.

Frame Rate

Along with resolution, frame rate is another important factor for capturing video. A higher frame rate will result in a smoother video with less stuttering. Some webcams are capable of 30 frames per second video recording, though more budget-oriented models may have frame rates that are slightly lower than that.

Microphone

For recording audio, you can either utilize a webcam’s built-in microphone or connect a dedicated microphone. A built-in microphone is usually adequate for most tasks that do not require professional-grade sound recording. If you plan to record or live stream studio-quality audio however, you will want to utilize a dedicated microphone.

Mounting

There are several different mounting methods and designs for webcams. Some need to be clipped on, others require a flat horizontal surface, and a few even support tripods. Clip-on webcams are excellent for use with thin LCD monitors and laptops but not for thicker objects such as desktop towers or CRT monitors. A freestanding webcam is beneficial if you have a large flat surface such as the top of a tower or perhaps a conference table.