How to choose a webcam

When choosing a webcam, you need to pay attention first for the purpose of its use. So, to communicate via Skype lower quality models than, say, for organizing observation at the workplace.


  1. Camera matrix
  2. Shooting speed
  3. Webcam connection
  4. Optional features
  5. Summary

How to choose a webcam: parameters that need to be addressed Attention

How to choose a webcam

When choosing a webcam for a PC, you should be guided by the following criteria:

  1. Type of matrix;

  2. Matrix resolution;

  3. Photosensitivity matrix;

  4. The number of frames per second;

  5. Connection interface;

  6. Operating system support;

  7. Built-in microphone

  8. Additional functionality.

But these parameters need to be considered only if necessary. really high-quality webcam – for example, for recording video followed by publication. For simple communication on “Skype” is enough any, even the cheapest. Is it desirable that it was built-in microphone.

Matrix type

Type of matrix

The vast majority of modern webcams come with CMOS sensor – standard for photographic equipment. Devices equipped with it are notable for their low price. However due to the nature of the webcam, they do not provide such high-quality images as, for example, cameras with CMOS sensor.

If you need a truly high-quality image with webcams, it is recommended to choose models equipped with a CCD-matrix. However, they are somewhat more expensive.

Matrix Resolution

Due to the nature of the webcam, talking about physical The resolution of the sensor of such devices makes no sense. Instead of this a concept such as the resolution of the video being shot is used. It means the size of the frame, which is measured in the number of points by horizontal and vertical.

The higher the resolution of the frame, the more high-quality it turns out picture.

  1. 320 × 240 pixels – the minimum resolution of webcams. Allows communicate on skype, and no more;

  2. 640 × 480 pixels (0.3 MP) – standard resolution of most webcams. With it you can arrange video conferences and record unpretentious rollers;

  3. 1280 × 960 pixels (1 MP) and higher – high resolution, which allows you to not only communicate on Skype, but also to make high-quality take photos or shoot videos.

It is worth considering that many manufacturers go to marketing tricks and indicate not the native, but the interpolated (increased programmatically) resolution. In this case, the quality images will still be low despite impressive numbers on the box.



There are two ways to measure the photosensitivity of a matrix – in ISO equivalent and in suites. How much depends on her the camera will “make noise” if indoor lighting insufficient.

If you plan to shoot a lot and often in shaded or darkened rooms, a matrix with high photosensitivity – a large ISO value or, conversely, small in the suites.

Shooting Speed ​​(frames per second)

This parameter determines the “smoothness” of image perception. So, if the number of frames taken per second by the webcam will be less than 30, this leads to an unpleasant “twitching” of objects in the frame. The optimal fps for skype or video is 40.

But it is worth remembering that the higher the resolution of the sensor and the quantity frames received per second, the wider bandwidth (fast internet) is required for the camera. For example, if you connect 6-megapixel, 60 fps sensor for 2-megabyte channel the image will be “twitchy” and full of artifacts – like the cameras behind 200 rubles.

Connection interface

webcams for computer connection

The vast majority of webcams are connected to a computer via USB and even work without installing drivers by the user. However in the market you can find models that involve connecting with Wireless PC – Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Such cameras quite expensive, and their purchase should be justified.

In the ultra-budget segment, you can find webcams with a microphone, which are equipped with two plugs – USB and 3.5 mm audio jack. If the microphone jack on the rear panel is already taken, it’s worth looking for another model. However, this configuration there is an important advantage – you can turn off the microphone or camera on hardware level, leaving the functionality of another.

Operating system support

The vast majority of webcams can work with any operating system – thanks to drivers for Windows and the system API for alternatives. However, some models are often the most perfect from a technical point of view – do not have such compatibility.

Therefore, if you use any other than Windows operating system – it’s worth clarifying whether the webcam will be work in your environment.

Built-in microphone

Webcams with built-in microphone

Almost all modern webcams are equipped with a built-in microphone. It is convenient for video conferencing and voice communication. However, in most cases this microphone is not very practical – it is not directional, rarely equipped with a noise reduction system and usually has a low sensitivity.

Therefore, if you need really high-quality sound recording, it is better to use a separate microphone. And buy a camera without it. Or with a microphone that can be muted on software or hardware level.

Additional functions

Among the additional firmware features that can be implemented in a webcam, the most practical are:

  1. Auto focus – allows you to hold the subject (for example, a person’s face during a video conference) in focus, even if he moves;

  2. Image stabilization – suitable for shooting on the go or actively moving objects;

  3. Automatic correction of image parameters (contrast, saturation, color gamut, etc.) – provides more high-quality “picture”;

  4. LED backlight – for shooting in the dark;

  5. Infrared illumination – for tracking systems;

  6. Automatic swivel mechanism – also used in video surveillance.

This is not a complete list of additional features. Not less, the more features the camera offers, the more expensive it is worth it. And, before overpaying for auto focus and optical zoom, it is worth determining – but are they needed?


Webcams are used in most cases for communication through the Internet. For video and other purposes, they are not suitable good as specialized equipment. Therefore, when choosing webcams need to be guided by the principle of “reasonable sufficiency “- too high resolution, frame rate and photosensitivity may simply not be needed while they increase the cost of the device many times.


In the following articles, our experts tell you how to choose convenient mouse pad, and the secrets of choosing a reliable modem.

Attention! This material is subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a buying guide.

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