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Are You Using The Right Webcam?

07 June 2022

When was your last video call?

Though many of us are back in the office, Zoom calls are still frequent. These handy online meetings allow us to jump on a call in seconds, no matter how much distance is between us. Whether at home or in a cafe, you can join your colleagues in an online forum in seconds.

But, are you looking your best when on screen? Though many laptops and computers come with built-in webcams, you might want to consider an external option. External webcams often come with higher video quality and better microphones too.

If you’re considering a new webcam, keep reading. We’ve got some tips and tricks for choosing a webcam, plus some alternative options. Make sure you look professional in your next video call.

Keep reading to find out more.

Why Does A Webcam Matter?

First of all, you might be wondering, “Does a webcam really matter? My laptop has a built-in camera?”. This is true, but built-in webcams are often of lower quality. They’re great if you’re only using them for infrequent calls or personal reasons.

However, if you’re leading courses, attending frequent meetings, or creating video content, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality camera. When your professional image relies on a webcam, it’s always best to invest in a premium solution to boost your communications and image.

We’ve got your back if it’s time for you to purchase a new webcam. Scroll down for the top features you should look for in a new webcam or find out how to look professional on a call here.

Important Webcam Features

Before purchasing a webcam, make sure you know what you’re looking for! Here are the key features you should look for when shopping.

Frame Rate

Do you know what a frame rate is? This refers to the frequency at which images are captured and displayed. If a webcam has a low frame rate, it will sometimes freeze or stutter during calls. Look for “FPS” or “Frames per second” on the webcam characteristics to find this feature. If you want to take calls and stream, a minimum of 15 fps is needed.

Resolution

High-resolution webcams are the best. To avoid a grainy or fuzzy appearance, make sure you get a webcam with high definition. It’s advisable to buy cameras with a minimum of 720p or higher if possible. The most popular resolution is 1080p, and you can find affordable options in this range.

Still Images

Not everyone will want to take still images with their webcams, but if you do, make sure your camera is 2 megapixels. You can even find webcams at 15 megapixels, perfect for any still photography.

Lens

While lenses might seem too technical for work video calls, choosing a webcam with a good lens makes a big difference. Lower-cost webcams come with plastic lenses but opt for a webcam with a glass lens if you want a crisp image. These options cost more but are still affordable for the majority of budgets.

Microphone

Finally, the last important feature you should look for in a microphone. It’s great when clients can see you, but the call is a waste of time if they can’t hear you! Often, modern webcams have at least two microphones built-in for optimal sound. You can also find “omni-directional microphones”, which pick up sound from all angles.

Alternative Options

Not quite sure whether you should invest in a new webcam? Here are some alternative options for video calls.

Smartphone

Everyone owns a smartphone, and most video call platforms offer smartphone apps. If you’re in a bind and need to jump on a call as soon as possible, a smartphone can act as a replacement webcam. Note that the quality won’t be as high, and it’s hard to get a good angle when using a phone.

Tablet

Similar to smartphones, a tablet can also be used as a webcam. This option is bigger than a smartphone, but it can still be hard to get a comfortable position when using this as a camera.

Built-In Webcam

Webcams are often found built into your laptop or computer. While these options aren’t always the best quality, they’re still acceptable! Unless your webcam is broken or faulty, you can always use this option for video calling.

Bonus Tip: Remember To Troubleshoot

Whether you’re attending a work call or creating a stream, the golden rule is to turn up early and troubleshoot before the event starts. It’s great to have a high-quality webcam, but if you turn up late because you are still setting up the video stream, you’ll look unprofessional! Arrive early in case of any disruptions.

Final Thoughts

Times are changing, but the humble video call will stay with us. Make sure you spend time getting to know your webcam before any meetings, and always prepare your surroundings before a chat.

Want to learn more? Visit the Flexispot blog here.