The Gear Files Part 2: I’m ready for my closeup!

One of the biggest barriers to new people getting into content production is not knowing where to start with gear. So, in this new series, we’re going to discuss the basics you need to start, and where to go with upgrades, specifically with regards to audio, video, lighting, and game capture. Today, we’re gonna take a look at the camera.

When we talk about what it takes to start a stream, you don’t need anything fancy for a webcam to get up and running. For some categories, like gaming streams, you don’t even really need a camera! You may have a webcam lying around the house or baked into your computer that can get the job done. As long as it’s outputting at a minimum of 240p, it will suffice to just get your face in the corner of the frame. If you’re looking to do a full frame video, make sure you at least can output at 720p. If you are looking to get a halfway decent budget model, check out Walmart’s store brand, Onn. They have a few decent models that will get you by for less than 30 bucks.

Let’s say we’ve got a little money saved up, and we want to get a little bit better camera. We can get some decent firepower here for a reasonable amount of money. The Logitech C900s series cameras have become the industry standard, with the C920 being one of the most popular mid-tier streaming cams, at a modest price point of about $70. They have upgraded it in recent years, with the C922 and C930 providing modest upgrades for about $100-130. And for the Razer fanboys, the Razer Kiyo and Kiyo X can be found for slightly less, and are a decent alternative. 

Getting a little closer to premium, both Razer and Logitech have their own take on what a premium camera means. Razer’s Kiyo Pro caps out at 1080p60, but they focus their energy on a higher quality camera, with better dynamic lighting sensitivity. Logitech’s Brio Ultra HD camera can also do 1080p60, but it can also output at 4Kp30, which will give premium, crisp, full frame shots, which look fantastic, especially for a YouTube video. It doesn’t have as great of dynamic lighting as the Razer, but if you’re using a camera of this quality, you can’t tell me we haven’t thought about lighting yet. Both cameras are great, and will set you back about 200 bucks.

Of course, we can’t end this article without a god-tier setup, so let’s go. Many of the hardcore professional streamers out there aren’t using webcams. They use professional cameras, run through a capture card, directly to their systems. There are a ton of great video cameras out there, but, honestly, for most streaming applications, a DSLR camera with interlacing video output is clutch. It’s often cheaper, and more compact on your desktop than a pro level video camera. One of our favorite options for this is the Canon Rebel T8i. It’s compact, puts out great quality video, and is versatile enough to be able to be used for other content creation, including professional quality photography. And with a $750 price tag, it had better. Stack that in with a capture card, cabling, and any other lenses you may want, and we’re looking at dropping at least a grand on high quality video. But hey, if you’ve already made it big as a streamer, what’s a grand between friends?

Dealing with equipment can be intimidating, but it’s not insurmountable. In this article, we discussed camera setups, from basic to advanced. Have questions about cameras? Need help figuring things out? Ask for help in the #streaming-tips channel in our Discord! Not already a member? Grab the links to our communities at NerdsBelongHere.com! And as always, stay tuned to this blog for more great tips and tricks!

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