2020 was marked by the rapid transition of people around the world to remote work. This fact, in turn, has changed the principles of communication for many people. Instead of lively communication, millions of company employees switched to online communication. And if in some situations communication via email or in messenger is enough, in other situations you can’t do without video communication.
Services like Skype, Zoom and Discord have become indispensable. And in order to fully use them, you need a good webcam. Of course, if you use a laptop or tablet with an integrated camera, this question is not too relevant for you. In other cases, the choice must be approached carefully. We’ll talk about this today!
Choosing a webcam for video chatting and random chats.
It would seem that a webcam is a very ordinary peripheral device, the purchase of which should not be taken too seriously. Indeed, if you need it only for rare communication in random chat, this is completely justified. But if we talk about the workflow, the situation changes radically. There are a number of points that you need to pay attention to.
1. Sensor type.
Usually this characteristic is not looked at during purchase. But it is one of the most important ones. There are two types of sensors:
CMOS — it consumes very little energy and reads information faster, but is prone to noise and interference. Fast-moving objects are blurred.
CCD — consumes more power, but produces a better image. The interference is noticeably less even in poor lighting conditions. But the cost of webcams with CCD sensors is higher.
If you are willing to pay more for quality, give preference to cameras with CCD sensors.
Everything is simple here – the more pixels, the better. The picture will be clearer and more detailed. We do not recommend buying a camera with a resolution of less than 3 megapixels. It should be at least 5 or more.
3. Image resolution.
The rule is the same as in the previous paragraph. Large resolution provides a better picture. Previously, 640×480 pixels were enough. But now there are big monitors everywhere. Therefore, choose cameras with a resolution of at least 1280×960 pixels or more.
4. FPS — frames per second.
The minimum allowable value is 30 frames. If it is smaller, the picture will be interrupted. You can consider options with a frequency of 60 FPS. The main thing is that your Internet connection is fast enough and works without interruptions.
5. Type of focus.
There are three types of focus:
- manual focus, where you must manually twist the focus ring depending on how far away you are from the camera;
- with autofocus, which adjusts itself and takes into account your position relative to the camera;
- with a fixed focus that remains unchanged.
The most expensive are webcams with autofocus. But they are the most convenient and give a sharper picture. Manual focusing is already archaism, which should be abandoned.
6. Mounts and clamps.
One of the most popular things is a webcam with clip-on mounts. They are easily attached to the side of the LCD monitor or laptop cover. There are desktop counterparts. Usually on a mini tripod. They can be installed on almost any flat surface. They are also quite comfortable, but if you put such a camera on the table, you will always have a bottom view. This is not for everyone.
7. Motion detector and swivel mechanism.
We shall immediately point out that for most ordinary users this is already an excess. But if you use a webcam for online conferences and presentations, this feature may be useful. The camera will follow and turn after you. This is convenient if you are constantly moving in the frame. For example, if you approach the interactive whiteboard during a conference.
Several additional recommendations.
Remember that not only image quality, but sound clarity is important. In almost all modern webcams, microphones are installed by default. A big plus will be the presence of a noise reduction function that eliminates extraneous sounds during a call.
If you are buying a new webcam for chat, follow these guidelines:
1. Choose products of famous manufacturers: Logitech, Sven, Genius, A4Tech and others.
2. Do not buy used equipment. New cameras are not so expensive to save extra. In addition, a guarantee from the manufacturer is a highly recommended thing.
3. Pay attention to password-protected models. In this way, you can restrict access to the camera by strangers.
4. For video chatting with strangers, give preference to cameras with the function of recording in low light conditions. It is possible that in the evenings the only source of light will be your screen. Not all webcams can handle this.
In most cases, when you connect the webcam to a computer, it is immediately identified as a new device, and the system independently downloads and installs drivers. If this does not happen, visit the official website of the manufacturer and download the drivers for your operating system manually. After installation, everything should work properly.
Important! During the first launch of video communication applications, as well as when entering the random chat website, you should see a window allowing access to the webcam and microphone. If you are not sure of the reliability of the website or application, in no case do not give such permissions. Also, we recommend installing an antivirus for greater security if you have not done this before.
Lastly, your experience with chatting using a webcam largely depends on the equipment used. Therefore, do not buy cheap equipment. Make sure that your interlocutor is comfortable talking. Do not forget that even the most expensive “webcam” will not give high-quality images and sound if you have a weak Internet connection. Therefore, try to connect to high-speed Wi-Fi or even use a wired connection if possible.