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The 12 Best-Rated Cameras for Streaming (2022 Overview)

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The 12 Best-Rated Cameras for Streaming (2022 Overview)

Finding your perfect live streaming camera can be challenging, but professional-grade, crystal clear video is vital for a high-quality stream. So, where to begin? Luckily, we’ve written up our 12 favorite streaming cameras, alongside quick and easy explanations of what you should look for in your camera. Let’s jump in. 

TL;DR

  • Choose between webcams, camcorders, action cameras, and DSLR/Mirrorless cameras.
  • There’s no single best streaming camera out there. It all depends on your individual needs! 
  • When choosing a camera for streaming, think about budget, setup, output resolution, autofocus, frame rate, and portability. 
  • If you’re looking for a webcam, try the Logitech Brio.
  • The best camcorder for live streaming is the Panasonic HC-V770.
  • At the very top-end is the Panasonic Lumix GH5.

What type of camera is best for streaming?

As you’re probably aware, there are many different kinds of cameras, each of which has specific advantages, disadvantages, and capabilities. Before you even look at the various models and makes, you’ve got to decide which type of camera you’re looking for. Don’t worry, though; there’s no correct answer when it comes to choosing your camera. Just make sure to consider your particular needs and wants, and you’ll find a camera that works for you. 

Webcam 

A webcam is an excellent affordable, and straightforward option for live streamers. 

  • Plug-and-play. Plug the USB straight into your computer and start streaming. 
  • Budget-friendly. Webcams tend to be affordable and at a lower price point. 

However, the video quality isn’t the best on the market, and you don’t get tight control over the video capture. 

Overall, webcams are well-suited to streamers who want a simple set-up, are on a strict budget, or are just starting their live streaming journey. 

Camcorders

Camcorders are one step up from webcams. They’re a stand-alone camera that’s designed specifically for shooting video. 

  • Low to mid-range budget. Camcorders can suit both small and medium sized-budgets nicely. 
  • Designed for video. Purpose-built and easy to use, a reliable camcorder won’t let you down. 
  • Easy to use. Camcorders are straightforward and easy to use, great for any live streamer. 
  • Long battery life. The long battery life is a great bonus, especially if you intend to use your camcorder outside of a streaming context. 
  • Small & portable. If you tend to stream on the go, a camcorder's portability and compact size will suit you well

Camcorders are a fantastic mid-range product. They’re purpose-built and reliable, easy to use, and can produce stellar videos. 

Action Cameras

You may think an action camera seems like an odd choice for live streaming, but they’re a great option. 

  • Powerful & portable. Action cameras pack a punch. They may be small, but they’re ready for action, as their name suggests. Perfect for on-the-go streaming with high-quality video. 
  • Great for dynamic video. Action cameras are designed to get right into the thick of it and are perfect for shooting high-paced videos (think sports). 
  • Robust. Action cameras are designed for all conditions, so you don’t have to worry about a little bit of rough handling. 

Action cameras are an excellent choice for live streamers who are constantly moving and on the go. They offer a welcome versatility and never compromise on quality. 

DSLR & Mirrorless Cameras 

Mirrorless and DSLR cameras are professional grade for a reason. The video quality and manipulation power you have over the exact specs of each shot are unmatched. But so is the price tag. 

  • Exquisite quality. DLSRs and mirrorless cameras record video in ultra-HD crystal clear quality. 
  • Interchangeable lenses. Change out your lens to suit your streaming environment. 
  • In-depth control. Tweak exposure and lighting settings to capture your video exactly as you want. 

Note: Mirrorless cameras tend to be smaller in size, so they make an excellent compact alternative to a DSLR 

If you’re a professional streamer, you should be looking to invest in a DLSR or mirrorless camera. The HD quality is unparalleled and will help you amp up your production quality to the max. 

Do I need a capture card and encoder? 

This depends on the type of camera you end up with. A capture card and encoder are essential for connecting your camera to your computer. 

A capture card connects your external camera to your computer via a USB or HDMI port. 

An encoder is what converts your raw video into a streamable format for your live stream. Some live streaming platforms have integrated encoders. However, most for the majority, you’ll need to invest in a separate encoder. 

What is the best camera for streaming

There’s no definitive answer. This comes down to your streaming setup, your preferences, and how much you’re able to spend. Take a look at our recommendations below to see which streaming camera best suits you. 

How to choose the best camera for streaming

Budget

First, you need to work out your budget. This will influence which options are open to you and what types of camera you can choose from. From there, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for. 

Compatibility with your setup 

If you’ve already got an excellent live streaming setup, you’ll want a camera that slots in seamlessly without too many changes. In addition, think about the kind of live streams you do, and this should be a good indication of what type of camera you need. 

‘Clean’ HDMI/SDI Out Port

The HDMI or SDI Out port is essential for live streaming from a camera. This is what delivers the video signal from your camera to your computer. 

Some cameras won’t send a clean HDMI output instead of sending a live stream of your camera’s viewfinder. You don’t want that for obvious reasons. That’s why you need to ensure your camera can send a ‘clean’ video out via HDMI. 

Power supply / AC adapter-ready

As all streamers will know, live streams aren’t short affairs. They can run on for hours, meaning your camera has got to keep up. Internal batteries won’t be up to the job, so make sure your chosen camera is compatible with an AC power adapter. 

Unlimited runtime

The last thing you want is for your camera to cut off automatically mid-stream. Most cameras have an automatic switch-off setting if they’re inactive for too long. You’ll want to check first whether your camera includes this feature and whether it can be disabled. 

No overheating

Camera overheating is not unheard of, given the long run time for many live streams. Look into any camera model you’re considering and see whether streamers complain of overheating problems. There are ways to mitigate against overheating, but it pays to be prepared. 

Output resolution

You should be seeking the highest quality video possible. That means opting for cameras with an absolute minimum output resolution of 720p. However, if you can afford to set your standards higher, look for cameras offering full HD 1080p or even 4k output resolution. 

Frame rate

Frame rate is measured in ‘Frames Per Second’ (FPS), and generally speaking, a higher FPS number equates to higher quality. 

You’re looking for a minimum of 30fps if you’re shooting static content. However, if you’re streaming highly dynamic action shots, you should look for a higher 60 or 120 fps. 

Autofocus

Autofocus is an absolute godsend for streamers. Look for a camera that has powerful and effective autofocus. Nothing worse than streaming and realizing that you’re entirely out of focus. Nor do you want to have to tweak the focus every time you’re streaming manually. 

And a top tip: check to see how noisy the autofocus is. You don’t want your autofocus interfering with your live stream audio. 

Audio pathway

This consideration is only relevant if you’re routing your audio through your camera. Don't worry about it if you’ve got a separate microphone setup. 

If you are plugging your mic into your camera, you need to look at what inputs your camera has and whether they’re compatible with your mic. Most mics will have a 3.5 mm mic jack, but others will also have an XLR input. 

Connector type

Although this isn’t a must, if you can find a camera with various input and output options, this will give you far great flexibility. 

When you weigh up between connector types, you’re choosing between HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) and SDI (Serial Digital Interface). 

There are three types of HDMI: micro, mini and full-size. 

SDI is faster than HDMI, and the physical cables are often longer. 

Simultaneous streaming and recording

Check whether your camera allows you to live stream while recording. This will enable you to keep a recording of your stream for later use. 

Don’t worry if your chosen camera doesn’t let you do this. Using Riverside.fm, you can live stream and record in full HD simultaneously. 

Rotating display (flip screen)

If your camera’s display is adjustable and rotates, you’ll be able to ensure you’re looking your best at all times. 

Portability & Size 

If you’re going to be live streaming on the go, υou don’t want to be lugging around a heavy piece of kit.  Look for a camera that’s compact and portable. 

Zoom

There are two different types of zoom: optical and digital zoom. Live streamers should look for cameras that offer optical zoom because this conserves the resolution of your video even when you’re zoomed right in. 

Image stabilization

If you’re always live streaming on the go, this is a must. Even for streamers who tend to use a tripod, image stabilization can be a lifesaver. This function automatically steadies the camera lens, minimizing shaky footage and keeping your stream smooth. 

Field of view

Field of view tells you how much you can fit into your frame. If you’re a sole live streamer, this won’t matter too much, but every streamer has their personal preference about what’s in view. Make sure that your chosen camera gives you some flexibility. 

Best 12 cameras for streaming

Webcams

Best for streamers on a budget 

Razer Kiyo

  • Price: $99.00 
  • Output resolution: Up to 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 60fps 
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Connection type: USB connection
  • Size & Weight: 2.72 x 2.72 x 1.89” and 7.05oz 
  • Zoom: Yes, using the pan and tilt function 
  • Field of view: 81.6 degrees

Additional features: 

  • Integrated and built-in light 
  • Manual camera controls 
Why the Razer Kiyo? 

The Razer Kiyo’s integrated light instantly enhances your video, which is a great touch. It’s an affordable, easy-to-use, and effective camera. For a beginner on a budget, what’s not to love?  

Logitech C922 Pro

  • Price: $109.00 
  • Output resolution: 720p 
  • Frame rate: 720p at 60fps  
  • Autofocus: Yes, HD Autofocus 
  • Connection type: USB connection
  • Size & Weight: 1.73 x 3.74 x 2.8” and 5.71 oz (with fixed mounting clip) 
  • Zoom: 5x Digital zoom 
  • Field of view: 78 degrees

Additional Features: 

  • Auto light correction 
  • Two omni-directional mics 
Why the Logitech C922 Pro? 

The Logitech C922 Pro is an excellent choice for streamers not wanting to go too far over $100. It offers the reliable video quality every streamer needs. 

Disclaimer: If you plan to use the Logitech C922 Pro to record on Riverside we recommend you reach out to our Support Team as this camera requires a different setup.

Best mid-range webcam 

Logitech Streamcam

  • Price: $169.00 
  • Output resolution: Max 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 1080p at 60fps 
  • Autofocus: Yes 
  • Connection type: USB connection
  • Size & Weight: 3.27 x 2.28 x 1.89” and 7.84oz (with monitor mount) 
  • Zoom: N/A
  • Field of view: 78 degree

Other features: 

  • Autoframing and intelligent exposure settings
  • Optimized explicitly for major live streaming software such as Streamlabs OBS and Open Broadcaster Software 
Why the Logitech Streamcam? 

This webcam is designed with streamers in mind. Its complete optimization for major live streaming software makes it a great mid-range choice that you can start streaming with straight away. 

Best high-end webcams 

Elgato Facecam

  • Price: $199.00 
  • Output resolution: Up to 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 1080p at 60fps 
  • Autofocus: No, fixed-focus 
  • Connection type: USB connection
  • Size & Weight: 2.28 x 3.15 x 1.89” and 3.68 oz (without mount) 
  • Zoom: Digital zoom, not excellent 
  • Field of view: 83.2 degrees
Why the Elgato Facecam? 

The Elgato Facecam is a favorite among streamers. It offers excellent functionality and good video quality. However, in all honesty, if you’re going to spend $199, we’d recommend the Logitech Brio for its functionality and ability to shoot 4K. 

Logitech Brio

  • Price: $199.00 
  • Output resolution: Up to 4K 
  • Frame rate: 4K at 30fps, 1080p at either 30 or 60fps 
  • Autofocus: Yes 
  • Connection type: USB connection
  • Size & Weight: 1.06 x 4.02 x 1.04” and 3oz 
  • Zoom: 5x Digital zoom 
  • Field of view: 83.2 degrees 

Additional features: 

  • Excellent low-light performance. High Dynamic range technology that ensures you look good whatever your lighting. 
  • Adjustable field of view. Choose from 3 pre-set fields of view to get your framing just right. 
  • Two integrated omnidirectional mics. 
Why the Logitech Brio? 

The Logitech Brio is a serious webcam. If you want the ease of plug-and-play but don’t want to compromise on quality, this is the streaming camera for you. It can capture 4K footage. For $199, you get a whole range of superb features packed into this small camera. 

Camcorders

Best basic camcorder 

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder

  • Price: $449.00
  • Clean HDMI: Yes 
  • Power Supply: AC Adapter available 
  • Overheating: No
  • Output resolution: 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 1080p at 60fps 
  • Autofocus: Yes 
  • Audio pathway: 3.5 mm mic jack 
  • Connection type: HDMI 
  • Display: Fully rotatable 
  • Size & Weight: 2.1 x 2.3 x 4.6” and 8.3oz
  • Zoom: Optical Zoom 
  • Image Stabilization: SuperRange Optical Image Stabilization
Why the Canon VIXIA HF R800? 

The Canon VIXIA HF R800 is a safe bet for live streaming. You always know you’re in safe hands with a camcorder, and the HD video quality leaves nothing to be desired. 

Best overall camcorder

Panasonic HC V 770 

  • Price: $597.99
  • Clean HDMI: Yes 
  • Power Supply: AC power adapter available 
  • Output resolution: 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 1080p at 120fps 
  • Autofocus: High speed precision autofocus 
  • Audio pathway: Mic jack and input 
  • Connection type: Micro HDMI 
  • Display: Fully rotates 
  • Size & Weight: 5.47 x 2.56 x 2.87” and 12.5 oz 
  • Zoom: Optical Zoom 
  • Image Stabilization: Yes, Level Shot function 

Additional features: 

  • HDR (High Dynamic Movie), which optimizes your video footage
  • Shoot from two angles at once by connecting your smartphone up 
  • Intelligent Auto Mode optimizes your shooting environment 
  • Manual camera controls 
Why the Panasonic HC V 770? 

The Panasonic HC-V770 is the camcorder for live streaming. Though a little on the pricier side, this camera captures HD video and offers a whole range of other features that enhance your stream. If you’ve got your heart settled on a camcorder, and have the budget, definitely opt for the Panasonic HC V 770. 

Action Cameras

Best entry-level camera 

DJI Action 2 

  • Price: $399.00
  • Output resolution: Up to 4K, although streams limited to 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 4K at 120fps, 1080p at 30fps 
  • Autofocus: Fixed lens 
  • Connection type: USB 
  • Size & Weight:  1.5 x 1.09” and 2oz 
  • Zoom: 4 x digital zoom 
  • Field of view: 155 degrees 
  • Unlimited run time: DJI action 2 automatically stops recording when auto-stop rec temp is reached. 
  • Image stabilization: Horizon Steady technology 

Additional features: 

  • Waterproof up to 10m 
  • Modular, and even attaches to clothing 
Why the DJI Action 2? 

If you’re on the market for an action camera but don’t want to break the bank, the DJI Action 2 offers all the functionality you’re looking for at a reasonable price. This camera is ready for action, and its modular design means it’s highly versatile. 

Best overall action camera 

GoPro Hero10

  • Price: $624.96
  • Output resolution: 5,3K and 4K 120, (although livestreaming limited to 1080p) 
  • Frame rate: 5.3K at 60fps 
  • Autofocus: No, fixed lens 
  • Connection type: N/A, you can livestream directly from your GoPro 
  • Size & Weight:  2.8 x 2.0 x 1.3” and 5.6oz 
  • Zoom: Digital zoom 
  • Field of view: 155 degrees 
  • Unlimited run time: Duration capture allows you to set the length of time that you want to record for 
  • Image stabilization: HyperSmooth 4.0 

Additional features: 

  • Waterproof up to 33ft
  • Voice control 
  • Cloud-connected 
Why the GoPro Hero 10? 

The GoPro Hero 10 is a top-tier action camera. The video quality is phenomenal, and the ability to live stream directly from your GoPro is super convenient. If you’ve got the budget, this is the action camera you’ve been waiting for. 

DSLRs/Mirrorless Cameras

Most affordable mirrorless camera 

Sony a6000

  • Price: $648 with 16 - 50 mm lens 
  • Clean HDMI: Yes
  • Power Supply: AC Power adapter available
  • Unlimited run time: Possible 
  • Overheating: Some users report an overheating problem 
  • Output resolution: 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 1080p at 60fps 
  • Autofocus: Yes 
  • Audio pathway: Does not have an audio jack 
  • Connection type: Micro HDMI 
  • Display: You can extend the screen but cannot rotate it to see yourself 
  • Size & Weight: 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8” and 12.13 oz
  • Zoom: Optical & Digital Zoom 
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Field of view: Depends on your lens
Why the Sony a6000? 

If you want the performance of a mirrorless camera, but don’t have the budget, The Sony a6000 is your answer. At an immensely affordable price (for a mirrorless camera, that is), the a6000 packs a real punch. Great for streamers who want the quality but don’t have a huge budget. 

Best mid-range DSLR 

Canon EOS Rebel T7i 

  • Price: $739.00 
  • Clean HDMI: Yes
  • Power Supply: AC Adapter available 
  • Unlimited run time: No 
  • Overheating: Some users report overheating
  • Output resolution: 1080p 
  • Frame rate: 1080p at 60fps 
  • Autofocus: 45 point autofocus system 
  • Audio pathway: 3.5mm mic input jack 
  • Connection type: Mini HDMI 
  • Display: Rotates fully 
  • Size & Weight: 3 x 5.2 x 3.9” and 18.88 oz
  • Zoom: Optical & digital zoom 
  • Image Stabilization: 5-axis image stabilization 
  • Field of vision: Depends on your lens 
Why the Canon EOS Rebel T7i? 

The Canon EOS Rebel T7i is an excellent DSLR available for a mid-range price. It’s a sleek and stylish camera that will serve you well both for streaming and beyond. 

Best overall mirrorless camera 

Panasonic Lumix GH5 

  • Price: $1,397.99 (Body only) 
  • Clean HDMI: Yes, you can set it through HDMI Rec Output
  • Power Supply: AC adapter available 
  • Unlimited run time: Possible but not integrated feature
  • Overheating: No 
  • Output resolution: 5K 
  • Frame rate: 4K at 24fps, 1080p at 50fps 
  • Autofocus: Yes, but some streamers are critical of its autofocus 
  • Audio pathway: 3.5 mm mic jack and USB port 
  • Connection type: HDMI 
  • Display: Yes, full rotation 
  • Size & Weight: 5.47 x 3.86 x 3.43” and 25.57oz 
  • Zoom: Optical zoom depending on your lens 
  • Image Stabilization: Dual image stabilization
  • Field of vision: Depends on your lens 
Why the Pansonic Lumix GH5? 

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is top of the range for a reason. The high power of this camera will have you streaming in impeccable quality, shooting great films, and snapping beautiful photos—every creator’s dream. Although the price seems pretty high, it’s worth every penny. 

How to get the best quality out of your streaming camera

Your video quality is influenced by so much more than your choice of camera. There are a lot of technical and environmental tweaks you can make to maximize the quality of your live stream. Here are a few tips: 

Good Lighting 

Do not underestimate the power of good lighting. Kitting yourself out with good lighting equipment will make a massive difference to the overall quality of your video. 

Keep your camera stable 

Nobody likes shaky footage. Even if your camera has an integrated image stabilization feature, definitely invest in a tripod or mount for your camera. This will make sure that your video is smooth and stable for the duration of your live stream and minimize the impact of any vibrations. 

Reliable internet connection 

As all streamers will agree, a solid and reliable internet connection is vital. If you’re shooting in 4K or full HD, you don’t want your internet upload speed to let you down. Have a look at your existing internet deal, and if it’s not up to scratch, consider upgrading to a more premium package. 

Also, consider opting for an ethernet cable over wi-fi. This will maximize your connection speed and mitigate against dodgy internet.

Live encoder settings 

You should set your encoder according to how fast your internet is. This means toggling the bitrate and frame rate settings to keep your video quality at its max without overloading your internet connection. 

Optimizing video bitrate

Video bitrate is all about how much information you’re transmitting every second. Simply lowering the video bitrate by a little bit can make a huge difference in your live stream’s quality. 

Compromising on frame rate settings 

Play around with the frame rate at the start of your stream until you’ve got a good quality video that’s not stuttery or lagging. 

Choose the optimal resolution 

It’s not always about shooting at the maximum resolution. Sometimes streaming at 720p can result in a better quality video stream that doesn’t lag. 

Streaming Camera FAQs

What cameras do streamers mostly use?

The answer will differ from streamer to streamer. As we’ve seen, all the various types of cameras suit different kinds of streaming setups better. 

What camera do YouTubers use to stream?

Again, this depends on what kind of content they’re streaming. Some will stream directly from their smartphones, others from their GoPros, and some from their DSLR. It all depends on the kind of content you’re streaming. 

Can I use a DSLR to stream on Twitch?

Absolutely and many streamers do. Though bear in mind that you’ll have to invest in an encoder. 

Do streamers use webcams or DSLR?

This depends on their personal preferences. Many streamers opt for a simple webcam setup because of just how easy they are to us. That said, plenty of streamers choose to invest in a DSLR or mirrorless camera because of the incomparable quality they offer. 

Is a DSLR better for streaming?

As we’ve said, there’s no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ when it comes to your streaming camera. It’s all about what you prioritize and value in your live streaming setup. If you prefer simplicity over high-tech equipment, then a webcam is probably the way to go. If you’re a stickler for quality, you should be looking at a higher-end DSLR or Mirrorless.

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