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Post 8 of 18
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QUICK OVERVIEW: Webcams for Low-Light Conditions
Logitech Brio 4K
Angetube HD Webcam
“Ah, overslept again, and now I don’t have enough natural light coming in.”
“I really gotta buy that ring light thing…”
“I can’t shoot in these conditions anymore…”
If you’ve uttered any of these words, you’re in the right spot!
If you don’t know much about photography and videography, you probably don’t know how much light is actually considered low-light conditions, especially in the context of webcams.
On an overcast day, most webcams will not have enough light for well-lit image quality, even if you open your windows wide. Even some DSLRs have trouble with that kind of lighting.
That’s why I decided to filter out some specially-built webcams that fare nicely in low-light environments.
Post 8 of 18 in the Webcams/Cameras
Best Webcam for Low-Light Conditions
I remember when digital cameras first made an impact on the market. Soon after them, there came a myriad of small, cheap webcams and the first phones with cameras. Those two were pretty much the same.
What I mean by this is that they were primarily useless unless you had really good light conditions.
A bunch of them were just VGA cameras, with low-quality optics and a 0 (or even negative) tolerance for anything else than perfect lighting.
Even with perfect lighting, the image was still low-res.
Nowadays, technology has provided us with several solutions for this problem, so you can get a small camera for your PC that’s affordable and doesn’t rely on you having a portable studio to boot.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
1. Logitech Brio 4K
Logitech seems to be ruling the affordable webcam market, and rightfully so. They offer a wide array of different products, for suiting all of our needs.
The Logitech Brio is proof that Logitech webcams can also be of higher quality than just affordable. This is one of the very best webcams on the market! Logitech webcams are widely lauded, and that’s just the more affordable ones than this.
It’s like with all brands. Affordable products will (mostly) offer basic functions and maybe some extra features. But you’d have to cough up some more cash for some of that truly great video quality, in contrast with the decent image you can get with other cameras that are more affordable.
Luckily for us, webcams are generally cheap, so that additional cash can’t really be all that much.
From the get-go, this is the only 4K camera on this list, thus far. That alone boosts it near the top of today’s best deals list.
But that’s not nearly its only feature where Logitech Brio beats basically any other camera listed here.
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Its frame rate goes up to a recently unimaginable 90 fps, but that comes with a logical resolution trade-off. Sadly, 60 fps is also unavailable at max resolution.
Filtering out background noise comes easy for this beast, being that it boasts an advanced noise reduction microphone, that makes your voice sound crystal clear. I got outstanding results when filtering noises from the street or the TV in the room next door.
Logitech Brio also has a 5x digital zoom, which is rarely needed, but it can also come quite handy when used in 4K video. This is just for additional information because I never used it during gaming sessions.
It even boasts a special infrared feature.
2. Angetube HD Webcam
Right off the bat, a perfect example of what I was saying just above.
Having a ring light is the most popular first step towards having a good additional light for your face cam, whatever you’re using it for.
The Angetube 1080p HD Webcam is very good for removing unwanted shadows from the face, and makeup artists often use them so that their artistry shines in its full glamourous glory.
If that’s not enough for anyone else, then I don’t know what is.
This webcam has a built-in ring light. Now, if that isn’t a Nobel-worthy idea!
The light is, logically, located around the camera lens. Apart from it always pointing in the same area as the camera is pointing, it offers a possibility that your light will never sneak into your shot.
It’s basically the camera equivalent of wearing a flashlight on your helmet. Some engineer has probably seen a miner somewhere and thought to themself, “Hm… that’s not a bad idea”.
Other than the built-in light ring, this is just a basic, modern webcam with basic, current specifications – a decent webcam.
The adjustable ring light has 3 brightness modes, for greater flexibility.
3. Razer Kiyo
Razer is a well-known brand in the world of gaming.
Ever since streaming started to become a massive factor in that world, there’s been a need for Razer to make its own streaming webcam.
While a sound business decision, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the expected quality of their little cross-discipline adventure.
But we know Razer, and we also know that they don’t mess around. That is, of course, the case with Razer Kiyo.
In accordance with Razer’s reputation, this is a really well-built product. It is a great webcam, and you know that from the moment of unboxing when you take it into your hands.
One of its best advantages over its competition is its 60 fps mode. That means that you can have a 60 fps face cam, but you’d have to offer max resolution as a trade-off.
In most cases, that’s completely fine. Your face cam is probably standing really small, and in one corner of the shot, so even 720p is more than enough for it to be crispy sharp.
The adjustable light that it boasts has three brightness modes for you to switch between, depending on the conditions. That helps you achieve flattering lighting in a wide variety of conditions.
This is, however, specially designed for gamers and gaming streamers. It will make you look professionally lit in any other case too, but gaming is where it shines the most. I tried it with Valorant and Fortnite, and the results are pretty much satisfying. My teammates can confirm that.
4. Logitech C925-e
Whether you’re video chatting or streaming your newest game speedrun, you want your video quality to be high. Not all of us have an additional light handy, and some of us can’t afford one, either.
So we use our phone and web cameras in conditions that are already there.
Logitech went about this low-light problem a bit differently. They didn’t add a light to the camera, but they made sure that its sensor did well in bad light conditions.
Logitech is one of those companies that make almost everything computer-related, and they’ve also dabbled in web camera production before.
That experience is enough to give a chance to a Logitech HD webcam.
While my last two entries were both round objects, this one looks completely different. It’s rectangle-shaped.
What comes into view almost immediately, from the start of my testing, is that there are no built-in lights. But, there are two built-in microphones.
The two microphones are both omnidirectional, which allows the camera to record videos with a stereo sound. That’s a rare feature in any camera, let alone a webcam. But I’m unsure if this feature will help sales of this webcam.
The stereo sound might sound great, but it also might not be what everyone needs. We don’t all need pristine audio quality.
If you don’t have an additional microphone to record your voice with, something like this Logitech HD webcam is what you need.
5. AUSDOM AW615 Webcam
This is yet another way to approach the problem of poor lighting conditions.
The AUSDOM Wide Angle View Webcam developing crew asked themselves: “What can we add to this camera to make it record in better video quality?”
They could’ve added a light, or could’ve designed it with a really good sensor, or… they could’ve raised the aperture. They went with the aperture.
It’s always helpful to have a well-rounded webcam that would outperform most webcams, and this is a cam like that.
One of the best features this camera has, and what makes it a favorite among today’s best deals, is that its lens is 100% glass. It’s something I was delighted with.
Yes, many of these cameras have plastic lenses, and you can imagine how much that can impact image quality.
Besides that, since it is a wide-angle camera, it has built-in anti-distortion, which allows for a wide shot that isn’t distorted into a fisheye shot.
Auto low-light correction is why it’s on this list. While all the other characteristics are either decent or more than decent, this camera comes equipped with low-light-fighting capabilities.
Of course, being Plug-and-play is a huge upside. No drivers and additional fidgeting are required!
6. Logitech C615
Another Logitech HD webcam. This is, as all other webcams on this list, a tiny thing. Video recording can be really easy with this camera.
Hitting that groove between affordable and high-quality has always been a challenge, in any market. Logitech did an awesome job on this one in that manner.
This little machine does all the things you could ever need from an inexpensive webcam, and more!
Aside from all the common things any budget webcam boasts, this one has a specialty: low light performance!
Logitech must be used to working in dark rooms because they seem to make all of their products low light performance-friendly in one way or the other.
Be as it may, they tried (and mostly succeeded) to make a camera at a reasonable price, but with excellent image quality.
Might be considered malicious of me, but I’m starting with a downside here because that left the biggest impression during my review.
This camera is listed at 30 fps, but in full resolution 1080p HD, you’ll find the expected smooth video quality lacking. It’s not choppy, but it won’t be smooth either.
The manufacturer states that it’s a camera well suited for video calls and this Logitech HD webcam is most likely best used for that. I tested it with Zoom and Skype, and this camera does its job.
It’s not among the best webcams, but it offers excellent picture quality especially given its price.
What its strengths are, is that it’s durable and that it has the low-light correction built in.
7. IFROO 4K Webcam
IFROO was an unknown brand to me until I ran into this little well-rounded gem. That fact is the probable reason behind this camera being so affordable while offering so much in terms of performance.
As in any market, those kinds of brands are always the worst and the best kind of gambles. The product you buy can end up epically bad, or it can be weirdly good.
Most of those non-established brands tend to have trouble with quality control, and that’s what makes opting for a camera like this a real gamble. It does pay off big time when it does, though.
This webcam boasts a feature that I’ve never before seen in a webcam – it has a Sony sensor.
Aside from that, it offers an uncannily fast auto-focus, which is almost guaranteed to keep you nice and sharp at all times.
Dual microphones with built-in noise reduction do the job exceptionally well. You will be able to transmit your voice in the most quality possible without using an external microphone.
The USB connection utilizes USB 3.0, which ensures that your image quality stays 4K even after it leaves the camera.
And, above all that, you get a free tripod mount!
What To Look For In the Webcam for Low-Light Conditions
Sadly, webcams don’t offer us detailed descriptions of how they handle poor lighting, because most of them aren’t even made for that.
Only the ones that were specially made for that, will talk about the camera’s performance in that kind of condition in the description on their website, or you can see that in in-depth reviews like this.
So, if it were cameras in general, I’d say “look out for ISO tolerance, aperture, sensors” and things like that. But, being that these are webcams, we need to look at the problem differently.
Two main things to look for (and one optional thing) are:
The bigger resolution doesn’t really ensure bigger image quality by itself. It just means that there are more pixels.
It might mean a sharper overall image, but not really the thing we’re looking for here. A larger maximum resolution, however, does almost always mean a better sensor.
A better sensor will always fare better in the type of conditions I’m talking about here. So, in a certain, unintended way, a bigger max resolution does mean better poor light performance in most cases.
Whatever the light is, it’s always better to have it than it is not having it. It can just be a LED light similar to your phone’s flash, it doesn’t matter. Every lumen of light counts.
But, if you add a real light ring around the camera, that’s where the built-in light goes from “something that helps” to the difference between “barely workable” and “excellent”.
Built-in lights are way better at overcoming bad lighting conditions than any kind of webcam sensor, or any built-in auto light correction.
This is the optional one. I said that it was optional because not all manufacturers say what kind of aperture their camera has. Except, of course, if the aperture is its main feature.
The aperture is that “fx.x” number you see on cameras and camera lenses all the time. It’s a science in and of itself, but in short – the smaller the number after the “f”, the larger the aperture. In that sense, f2.0 is a larger aperture than, for example, f3.5.
What you get with a larger aperture is basically a larger opening for the sensor to gather light from. A bigger hole equals more light. More light equals a brighter image.
You can see how this helps us battle bad lighting conditions.
If there is an aperture stated in the specs of the webcams you’re checking out, look for ones that have an aperture of f2.0 or larger (again, larger means a smaller number, this time). Those cameras will be better at collecting light than other ones.
Which webcam is best for low light?
Being that the on-paper data is pretty lax and unavailable for many a webcam, it’s hard to determine.
But, as stated above, if you can find those things out before you buy, you should look out for ones with a larger aperture, a built-in light of some kind, or, in extreme cases, the ones with a larger maximum resolution.
Each one of these features helps more or less in and of itself, but you can also try to find a webcam that has more than one of these features, and that would be the best cam for you.
Do webcams work in the dark?
Most of them won’t. The integrated webcams on our laptops will definitely not. Most likely, you’ll just see a barrage of weird spots dancing around on your laptop screen.
Additional, or external webcams have a better chance of fairing with a dark scene, but even the most expensive ones on this list won’t do well in complete darkness.
Actually, from my experience, even the mid-tier DSLR cameras can’t do that.
How do you fix low light on a webcam?
One quick fix is – to turn the lights on. Even the worst webcams can manage with a regular lightbulb or a lamp nearby.
The more advanced webcams will immediately show gratitude, and you’ll see that the video quality will jump significantly with just your own lights in your room.
Other than that, if there’s an option, you can try and raise the webcam’s ISO setting, but there aren’t many webcams with that kind of manual control over settings.
Most of them rely on automatic exposure.
Why is my laptop’s camera so bad?
I’ll let you on a little secret – they all suck. I am yet to witness a laptop with an integrated webcam that is actually good.
Sure, newer laptops have better cameras, and they suffice for video conferencing, or video calls, but if you’re here, you’re probably looking for something with a little bit more oomph.
That oomph cannot be found in 99.9% of integrated laptop webcams, and you’ll have to find an external one.
Why not one of the cameras listed here?
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