Live streaming video has become increasingly popular over the past few years since the pandemic forced us to stay at home and isolate.
Live streaming lets you watch, create and share videos in real-time. All you need to be able to live stream is an internet-enabled device, a live streaming camera, and a streaming platform/app to broadcast a live stream from.
With current popular live-streaming apps like Facebook Live, Instagram Live stories, Twitch TV, and Tik Tok, anyone can start streaming today.
The inspiration to live stream comes from reality TV and YouTube, where you can broadcast anything you are doing, right there in the moment, all across the world. Viewers can comment and interact live by posting messages that appear beside the live stream. They can also share emojis like hearts, and gifts such as coins that appear on the screen.
But to get started in live streaming, the first thing you need to get started is a Streaming Ready Camera. While the best camera for streaming can vary depending on what your goals are. It may be as simple as a webcam or as complex as a full professional video rig.
If you’re trying to get into live streaming or looking to upgrade your camera, here are the best practical and affordable camera options for your next live streaming video shoot.
5 Great Affordable Live Streaming Cameras
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Types of Cameras for Live Streaming
There are several reasons to live stream and each has a varying level of complexity.
Maybe the reason why you want to live stream is to connect with distant friends via zoom. Perhaps you are a yoga instructor who wants to perform live classes outside of your gym’s physical space. Or, your business wants to live stream on social media to build a following or build a better brand presence.
Any of these situations above will need a different setup. There are some different types of cameras you can use to accomplish your requirements.
The biggest advantage of webcams is that they offer a universal plug-and-play answer that is usually as easy as inserting a USB cord and choosing the camera as the video source on your computer.
Keep in mind that you have limited control over the webcam’s automatic exposure and focus settings. Webcams are ideal for long periods of monitoring and streaming.
DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras
As of late, camera manufacturers are adding software updates to allow their DSLR and mirrorless cameras to be used as webcams, just by plugging them directly into a computer and offering clean video. Currently, Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic, and Fujifilm all have such programs.
The great thing about using DSLR and mirrorless cameras for live streaming is the ability to change lenses depending on the environment you are in, control exposure and white balance settings, use wide apertures and shallow depths of field, and have access to the huge range of accessories.
While having Streaming DSLR cameras or Streaming mirrorless cameras is the right camera option for an eye-catching live streaming setup, it’s probably not going to work for those looking for an affordable live streaming camera to start with.
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Hardware and Software for Live Streaming
There can be a lot of pieces to put together when you’re setting up your live streaming system. Let’s look at a few of these components.
Having fast internet speeds plays a huge part in your capacity to live stream properly. What you need to know is that your internet connection has two-speed ratings, one for downloads and one for uploads. The problem with upload speed is it far lower than the download speed, which can be a problem when you are live streaming.
If your upload speed can’t catch up with the footage you’re streaming, your connection will restrict the bandwidth or even lower the resolution of your video, as a result, your video quality will decrease significantly even if you use expensive equipment. If your streams are suffering in quality chances are your internet connection is to blame.
Check with your internet provider on your current internet speeds and adjust accordingly.
Just like filmmaking, if you have horrible audio in your live streaming, you will lose your audience quickly. Improving your audio quality influences whether your work comes off professionally or amateur.
Built-in microphones on smartphones, computers, and digital cameras are constantly developing, but they will never match the quality of a dedicated microphone.
Just by adding a lavalier mic, a headset mic, or even a standalone mic situated just out of frame, particularly if you’re shooting wide shots and are farther from the camera. These types of microphones will isolate the voices you want to hear and help reduce background noise and echoes that might disturb your recordings.
The next thing to add to your list of additional live streaming equipment is lighting. Next to improving the audio for your live streams, adding well-designed lighting is another component for elevating your video quality.
Lights can help you add dimension and shape to your main subjects and create division between the subject and the background. Additional lights can also help with cameras that have small sensors that may have a tough time in low light conditions.
If you have a good lighting setup, you can make even the most average equipment look pretty good.
Best Affordable Cameras for Live Streaming
Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam Power
The Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam Power your online video content with the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam. This HD Camera is more than capable of streaming and recording high-quality videos with crystal clear audio, all in your home. Works with OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) XSplit Broadcaster
This web camera is specially designed to meet the needs of streamers who like to broadcast on popular websites such as Twitch and YouTube. You need a camera that works fast and well for this, and the C922x is exactly that.
It has a full HD lens that records 1080p videos at 30 frames per second and is also capable of a 720p resolution at 60 frames per second. You and your viewers can enjoy the superior quality that doesn’t lag behind your games.
The premium autofocus adjusts to various lighting conditions, whether the glare of a multiple monitor setup or a dimly lit bedroom. The professional quality of this webcam gives you that edge to rise above the rest!
Two integrated omnidirectional microphones with noise reduction technology pick up sounds from every direction for a complete video that doesn’t lag.
Don’t bore your viewers with the backdrop of a blank wall when they watch your stream – put yourself right in the action with Personify’s background replacement technology. It is incredibly easy to use and doesn’t need a green screen.
in terms of streaming live cameras, this streaming camera integrates your live image hassle-free and turn up the heat as you play your favorite games in front of a live internet audience.
Breaking through as an online streamer can be challenging if you don’t have the right tools. Logitech helps you get started by giving you a free, six-month Xsplit license, whether for fun or professional use. One of the most popular streaming apps today, Xsplit allows you to fine-tune all of the different aspects of your live stream, including sound levels, lighting, text overlays, music, graphics, and so much more.
This license includes access to both the Broadcaster and Gamecaster apps. Record, edit, and broadcast all of your adventures in the gaming world with Logitech!
Compatible with Windows 7 10, Mac OS X 10.9 or later, Chrome OS, and Android v5.0 and above, all you need to start broadcasting is a USB port!
Best streaming cameras for PC to get high-quality professional video right out of the box with the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam, your trusted partner for streaming online.
Logitech is bringing Ultra HD video quality to their famous webcam line with the brand new BRIO. Equipped with high-tech optics and lenses to help deliver razor-sharp images, the BRIO offers professional-level visuals in one small, easy-to-understand package!
The BRIO is capable of recording, streaming, and calling at full 4k Ultra HD. Clearly see all of the details and colors that pop out on any screen. 1080p and 720p video resolutions are also available. In addition, Logitech’s own RightLight 3 aids in correcting the lighting of your surroundings. It will automatically adjust the image quality to compensate for too much or too little light with High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities. Look great no matter where you are!
Additionally, the BRIO’s powerful 5x digital zoom allows you to focus on important things with precision. The BRIO has three different fields of view settings to choose from 65°, 78°, and 90°. This webcam only shows what you want, whether you’re having a private conversation or showing a wider view of your surroundings.
If you are looking for Streaming cameras with audio, The BRIO‘s two omnidirectional microphones amplify your voice in your video call or recordings, allowing you to be heard clearly, while noise-canceling technology helps filter out any unnecessary sounds.
Get only the best video experience without a complicated setup with this Budget streaming camera!
This webcam also has great infrared facial recognition capabilities, with the ability to easily distinguish your features thanks to its Ultra HD image quality. This makes it great for fast computer logins with Windows Hello and other facial recognition apps.
The Logitech BRIO is compatible with Windows 7 or later, Mac OS 10.10 and up, Chrome OS, and Cisco. It can be used with most video calling apps such as Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Line, ooVoo, and more.
The BRIO is certified for Skype for Business and can be used with Microsoft Cortana voice control. Additionally, mounting the webcam in multiple positions is easy thanks to its removable clip.
Install it on your monitor or your desk without difficulty. An embedded tripod thread allows you to combine the BRIO with a tripod for flat surfaces.
Powered by a USB 2.0 and 3.0 connection, simply plug the webcam into your computer, and you’ll be good to go. USB 3.0 is required for 4k video output. This makes the BRIO one of the best streaming cameras for Mac’s.
Razer Kiyo Pro Streaming Webcam
The Razer Kiyo Pro streaming webcam is driven by a larger Type 1,2.8 ultra-sensitive CMOS sensor with STARVIS technology that adapts to any lighting condition, ensuring picture-perfect clarity for any setup.
With the highest fidelity that comes with uncompressed Full HD 1080p 60FPS video, your stream will be more engaging and natural to watch with smooth, lifelike quality.
Make your stream pop with a full spectrum of vibrant colors by activating HDR at 30FPS, which ramps up your video’s dynamic range while correcting over and underexposed areas.
Another great feature is the Wide-angle lens with adjustable FOV. Find the right amount of visual space you need to display your showmanship, with a large aperture, wide-angle lens that allows for three field-of-view options selectable via Razer Synapse.
So if you want to achieve the highest standards of streaming with the Razer Kiyo Pro—a USB webcam with a high-performance adaptive light sensor for max fidelity at 1080p 60FPS, and the ability to enable HDR at 30FPS. Give your viewers the pro-grade clarity and quality they deserve in any setup and lighting condition.
Placing itself as a high-end webcam made for streamers, the Kiyo Pro with its higher frame rate, adjustable FOV options, and adaptive light sensor makes it the clear winner in this list of Streaming HD cameras.
GoPro HERO10 Black Action Camera
While you may think that action cameras shouldn’t be on this list, but action cameras offer streamers other creative options as a small, affordable camera for non-action uses, including everyday streaming.
The GoPro HERO10 Black is the newest iteration from GoPro and includes the capability to use it natively as a webcam either plugged directly into your computer or wirelessly through the GoPro app (note that you might have to install a firmware update before being able to use the webcam mode).
GoPros are known for having ultrawide fields of view, making them a great choice for wide shots in small spaces, though they do now allow you to choose from multiple focal length modes.
The HERO10 offers a revolutionary new GP2 chip that shoots 5.3K video with double the frame rate, 23MP photos, enhanced low-light performance, and bar-shattering HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization in all modes. To simplify things, HERO10 is cloud-connected—so the moment you charge it, your footage is automatically uploaded to the cloud.
Another thing to note is that webcam mode is limited to 1080p Live Streaming, though you will get up to 5K resolution for recorded footage. But for Streaming action cameras, the GoPro HERO10 Black standout from the pack.
Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera Camcorder
The Canon Vixia HF R800 is a popular option among those getting started with event streaming. This camera is easy for anyone to operate, handheld or on a tripod. Though not ideal for professional productions, the Canon Vixia HF offers a quick-and-dirty way to set up live streaming for small events, both indoors and outdoors.
If you’re looking at a dedicated camcorder on a tight budget, the Canon HF R800 is about as affordable as you can get while retaining decent video quality. With the Canon HF R800 you get Full HD resolution, optical image stabilization, an HDMI mini connector for video out, a 3.5mm audio-in port, and a 38.5-1232mm equivalent optical zoom range.
In terms of good streaming cameras to start with, this camcorder streams flicker-free and you can stream with it directly with HDMI if your device allows signal input (laptops do not have HDMI-In internally). Otherwise, a capture card will be required.
How to connect a camera for live streaming
Can you connect your camera to a computer using an HDMI or USB cable and start streaming? Unfortuanlity, no.
If connecting USB webcams like the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam, Logitech BRIO, and Razer Kiyo Pro streaming webcam, connecting to a computer is pretty straightforward since they are plug-and-play cameras. But, connecting “real” cameras like the GoPro HERO10 Black and the Canon Vixia HF R800 works a bit differently.
More often than not, the HDMI port on your computer is an OUT port, not an IN port. Plus, the small USB port on your camera was designed for slow data transfer and not for the continuous, rapid, high-resolution image transfer required for streaming.
In most cases, video capture for live streaming is possible only through HDMI. With HDMI video capture, it requires special drivers that computers lack. To capture HDMI video from a camcorder, DSLR, mirrorless, or any other non-USB camera, you will need a USB capture card for streaming.
A capture card is a small piece of hardware that helps decode the camera’s analog video signal into a digital video format that your computer will understand. Capture cards can come in various flavors depending on resolution (HD, 4K) and connector type (HDMI, SDI, VGA, DVI).
There is, however, a way to live stream from a camera without a capture card. Hardware encoders like Pearl-2, Pearl Mini, and Pearl Nano, are purpose-built devices that can capture, stream, and record any HDMI or SDI camera signal. This way you can connect the camera directly and stream without a capture card or a computer.
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Here are our affordable picks for the best cameras for live streaming for those on a budget. Of course, there are many other streaming cameras on the market, but this list is based on reviews and the experiences of amazon customer reviews.
Did we miss anything? Which camera are you using to go live? Feel free to tell us in the comments which you think is the best camera for live streaming!
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About the author: Trent (IMDB | Youtube) has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.
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