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12 Best Cameras for Live Streaming in 2021 for All Budgets

12 Best Cameras for Live Streaming in 2021 for All Budgets

As the digital age continues to take over the world of marketing in particular, we see a tremendous number of live streams on our news feeds, and for a good reason too!

They say, “show, not tell”. Well, that’s exactly what live streaming does.

But, what is live streaming?

Never heard of live streaming before? Allow us to fill you in.

Best live streaming camera

Livestreams are videos that are streamed live on the internet. It’s like watching a live show but on social media platforms instead of cable TV. Despite the name, live streams can be recorded beforehand, similar to live shows that say “live” but have been recorded, edited, and filtered before going on air.

Now that you know what live streaming is, let’s check out what you need to consider while buying a camera that elevates your live content.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Camera for Live Streaming

Before you buy a camera to improve your live videos’ production quality, here are a few things to consider:

Image Quality – A good live streaming camera and high image quality often go hand in hand.  Because the purpose of a live streaming camera is to create content that impresses the audience. And a high-end camera offers the ability to produce high-quality live videos. Choose at least 1080p resolution for a sharper image, but if you are looking for the ultimate image quality, go for Full HD.

Frame Rate – For live streamers who want to catch fast action on camera, the video frame rate is significant. It is the frequency at which frames appear every second. The faster you want your camera to catch movements in your live streams, the higher the frame rate you should look for. Aim for 60 FPS if you want to capture fast-paced motion in your live broadcasts.

Clean HDMI output – Another essential factor to consider while picking a live streaming camera is the clean HDMI output. A camera with this feature won’t show UI elements (remaining battery, status bar, etc.) on the viewers’ screens during live streams.

AC Charging – Okay, so when you go live, you may end up interacting with your audience for hours. But will your camera’s battery stay alive for that long? Probably not. So, invest in a camera that comes with the AC charging feature. It’s a must!

Low light performance – Choose a camera that works terrifically even in low-light conditions. Because as a live streamer, you may not always have the perfect setup around you, but you can definitely have a camera with an image sensor.

Optical Zoom – Get a live streaming camera with optical zoom to let the lens do the zooming and avoid manual handling. It not just adds to the ease of operation but also keeps up with the resolution quality.

Different Types of Cameras – Which One is Best for You?

If you’re just looking to connect with your childhood buddies or socialize online, your smartphone’s camera might suffice. The built-in cameras that come with your laptop, tablets, and phones qualify for informal group discussions or an online family get-together. They also work well if you’re starting with live streams and want to test the waters.

However, with live streams intended to generate revenue, attract engagement, and increase traction, investing in an external camera might be just the step you need to take.

Web Cameras

When you think of webcams, do the low-quality, dingy, built-in cameras of the 2000s come into your mind? That would be a safe bet to make, except iPhone cameras aren’t the only technology that has progressed in recent years. Webcams, too, have evolved drastically over the years. Zooming, light adjustments, the ability to change resolutions, and frame rates are just some of the features now included in webcams.

They are USB-powered, so connecting them to a computer is less of a hassle. Choose them if you are looking for a decent live streaming camera that comes with plug-and-play functionality.

DSLRs and Mirrorless Cameras

Since their invention, DSLR cameras are being widely used to shoot videos where quality is a priority. Moreover, owing to the increasing popularity of live streams and online videos in 2020, almost every camera company produced software updates that enable mirrorless and DSLR cameras to be connected to devices such as laptops and computers to transfer and upload HD (high definition) videos.

If you’re looking for high-quality broadcasts, this is the route to take. You can change different lenses according to the quality you desire, adjust lighting with white balance settings, reduce or increase exposure for outdoor and indoor shoots, and do a lot more with a DSLR.

Camcorders

If long videos are what you aim to record, then camcorders are your most trusted and reliable companions for live streaming. They offer zooming options, an extensive range of I/O ports, and, of course, can last for longer hours than most of their other counterparts.

Camcorders also boast high versatility and are easy to use, thanks to their ergonomic design.

PTZ Cameras

Pan. Tilt. Zoom. Yes, that’s precisely what the abbreviation spells out. You might have seen these cameras inside super marts or churches. PTZ Cameras are miniature robots: they can be controlled by a remote operator and made to pan horizontally, tilted vertically, and zoom in on any subject without blasting the pixels.

Their excellent optical and digital zooming, along with 60 fps streaming, make them a perfect choice for sports broadcasting. In fact, some PTZ cameras also offer automatic tracking. So, they can capture your movements in the room pretty well. Pick them if you live stream with guests and want to have multiple angles shot during your streams.

Best Cameras for Live Streaming in 2021

By now, you must have decided what kind of camera suits your live streaming requirements. Need help shopping for the best cameras to get started with your live streams? Here are our top picks for each type of camera for virtually every budget.

Top Web Cameras

Best Web Camera for Low-end Budget Buyers: Razer Kiyo

Razer Kiyo

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 60 FPS | Price: $79.00

If ample lighting is what you desire from a webcam, this is your best bet on a budget. The Razer Kiyo offers integrated lighting with a full HD display. A drawback, though, is that the webcam has no external audio support. Still, it’s a cool buy for the price, especially with its integrated light ring comprising 12 LEDs!

Best Web Camera for Mid-end Budget Buyers: Logitech Brio 4k Webcam

Logitech Brio 4k Webcam

Maximum Resolution: 4K | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 90 FPS | Price: $169.00

When it comes to web cameras live streaming, the Logitech Brio 4K has been a preferred choice of brands and content creators alike. With its incredible low light performance and built-in microphones that give an “exceed expectations” performance, this webcam remains unbeatable. Plus, the Brio also provides 5x digital zoom. So, if you love leveling up your live streams with those instant zoom shots, this is the one you need.

Best Web Camera for High-end Budget Buyers: Mevo Start

Mevo Start - One of the best live streaming cameras

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 30 FPS | Price: $399.00

The Mevo Start’s claim to fame is an all-in-one live streaming camera. But live streamers are using it as a webcam, making it an ideal fit for this slot. With its 76-degree horizontal field of view, excellent low-light sensitivity, and built-in microphone, this one is an unbeatable device.

Top DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

Best DSLR & Mirrorless Camera for Low-end Budget Buyers: Sony α6000

Sony α6000 Live Streaming Camera

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 60 FPS | Price: $649.99

The Sony α6000 is one of the most fantastically designed live streaming cameras out there. Equipped with a 24.2MP back Illuminated 35-millimeter full-frame image sensor and hybrid AF with 179 point focal plane phase-detection, it’s a pleasure to use this stunning cam for any live broadcast.

Best DSLR & Mirrorless Camera for Mid-end Budget Buyers: Canon EOS 80D

Canon EOS 80D - Live Streaming Camera

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 60 FPS | Price: $899.00

A favorite amongst live streamers, thanks to its powerful autofocus and exceptional ISO range, the Canon EOS 80D is one impressive DSLR to own. The camera delivers outstanding image quality, loaded with features like a 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. It’s even got an Intelligent Viewfinder with approximately 100% coverage. So, go for it if you seek one of the best cameras for live streaming at a mid-range price point.

Best DSLR & Mirrorless Camera for High-end Budget Buyers: Sony a7 III

Sony a7 III Live Streaming Camera

Maximum Resolution: 4K | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 240 FPS | Price: $1,699.99

Alright, professional streamers, this one’s for you! If you’re looking to record and stream high-quality video simultaneously, the Sony a7 III mirrorless HD camera won’t let you down. Wowing live streamers consistently with its 24.2MP 35-mm full-frame CMOS sensor and back-illuminated design, this camera also offers Fast Hybrid AF with 693 phase-detection as well as 425 contrast-detection AF points. It doesn’t come at a premium price point for no reason, you see!

Top Camcorders

Best Camcorder for Low-end Budget Buyers: Canon VIXIA HF R800

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Black

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 60 FPS | Price: $249.99

If you’re looking for a camcorder that is also one of the best cameras for live streaming, then you certainly can’t go flawed with the VIXIA HF R800 camcorder. This feature-rich device comes with a powerful zoom, a Highlight Priority mode with backlight correction, and excellent slow and fast recording options. A dependable and solid device, it’s easy to carry and equally easy to use.

Best Camcorder for Mid-end Budget Buyers: Canon XA15

Canon XA15

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 120 FPS | Price: $1,699.00

Highly recommended for event coverage and live streaming on the go, this professional camcorder from Canon can capture HD videos with its fabulous HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor and DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor. Packing in exceptional efficiency with a truly impressive 20x High-Definition optical zoom lens, it’s a great pick for those seeking advanced features and Full HD video.

Best Camcorder for High-end Budget Buyers: Panasonic AG-UX180

Panasonic AG-UX180 Camera

Maximum Resolution: 4K | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 120 FPS | Price: $2,695.00

Looking for a professional camcorder to produce extremely high-quality live content? The Panasonic AG-UX180 is our top pick. Apart from featuring a wide 24mm angle and 20x optical zoom, this spectacular camera also comes with a high-sensitivity MOS sensor, Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.), and intelligent AF function – which make it worth the premium price tag.

Top PTZ cameras

Best PTZ camera for Low-end Budget Buyers: SMTAV A3X6U

SMTAV A3X6U PTZ Camera for Live Streaming

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 30 FPS | Price: $119.00

The SMTAV A3X6U is a superb entry-level PTZ camera. From an excellent HD CMOS sensor offering a wide 109-degree FOV to 3x lossless optical zoom, this one is a wonderful buy for anyone who wants to look their best in their live streams without breaking the bank.

Best PTZ camera for Mid-end Budget Buyers: Logitech PTZ Pro 2

Logitech PTZ Pro 2 Camera

Maximum Resolution: 1080p | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 30 FPS | Price: $849.99

Most suitable for live conferences and interviews, this one from Logitech is one of our favorite PTZ cameras. Choose it for its excellent performance, svelte looks, and ease of use – and you won’t be disappointed. You can make hassle-free adjustments using presets and gain better control over your live streams by downloading a simple app available for Windows® and Mac® computers. The PTZ Pro 2 may not have 4K resolution, but its image quality still has outstanding color and accuracy.

Best PTZ camera for High-end Budget Buyers: Sony BRC-X400

Sony BRC-X400

Maximum Resolution: 4K | Maximum Video Frame Rate: 60 FPS | Price: $5,550.00

Best for spacious venues such as churches or high-end live production studios, this PTZ camera for live streaming from Sony has an incredible 1/2.5-type Exmor R™ sensor that captures broadcast-quality 4K images. It also features excellent sensitivity, low noise, and natural color reproduction. Moreover, its powerful zoom capability of up to 80x in Full HD gives the best bang for your buck.

All set to buy one of the best cameras for live streaming?

Listen: Choosing a live streaming camera is no longer an overwhelming task. This guide is our aspiration to take you one step closer to those perfect-looking live streams.

The camera you choose to buy depends on your reasons for live streaming, the audience you want to reach, and the budget you have. If you are just starting as a live content creator, buying a cheaper camera is probably the best route. It gives you the time to test the waters before taking the giant leap, and you can simply upgrade your camera as you go further into your live streaming career.

And if you want to build relationships with your live content, here’s a guide you must check out: The Art of Building Relationships with Live Videos for Small Businesses.

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