In the review of the new generation broadcast camera Elgato FaceCam, we take a closer look at all the pros and cons of this new generation computer camera specially developed for YouTube and Twitch live broadcasts…
What is Elgato FaceCam? FaceCam, a new generation broadcast webcam, can transfer images to OBS and all video calling software by connecting it to a computer via USB. Developed by Elgato, a specialist brand in broadcast equipment, FaceCam is designed to provide a much better image quality than conventional webcams. Streamers whose target kidollarses stream on Twitch and YouTube.
So how is it different from conventional webcams? The biggest advantage is image quality. FaceCam offers a larger sensor, a higher quality lens, and a more light-filled aperture than conventional web cameras.
Elgato focuses on what matters most in a camera. 24mm equivalent f2 as lens. It has prepared a design with 4 diaphragms, quality glass and a very large backwards structure. Their focus on optics has produced very good results. Work has also been done on the electronic part of the business to ensure a lag-free transmission for broadcasters. In the review, we will mention all the pros and cons one by one.
Elgato, a Corsair brand, specializes in broadcast equipment. Since the company that produces publisher hardware and software solutions directly produces products suitable for our business area, we examine the entire ecosystem step by step, product by product. Your other reviews:
- Elgato Ring Light Review
- https://www. YouTube. com/watch?v=IElBJXFN6Fg
- Elgato Cam Link Pro Review
- https://www. YouTube. com/watch?v=ecquLaapSIU
- Elgato Wave 3 Professional Broadcast Microphone Review
- https://www. YouTube. com/watch?v=r-tX5pfvTRI
- Elgato Stream Deck Mini Review
- https://www. YouTube. com/watch?v=CzJMCpv4_Ck
- Elgato Light Strip Review
- https://www. YouTube. com/watch?v=NzOdnQNN2YY
Sony Starvis Sensor
We said that FaceCam can receive more light with its larger sensor and optical quality than webcams. So how does it save the image in low light? How it offers a quality image in different conditions. For this, Sony STARVIS sensor technology is used behind the lens, there is a sensor that is small compared to professional cameras and many times larger than conventional webcams. Thanks to the sensor and optical quality, a low-grain operation is possible even without a well-prepared environment for meetings and business. If you have good lighting and environment preparation, this is a plus and you get a professional looking video.
How to Focus?
At what distance should it be used? The closest 30 cm, the furthest 120 cm, ie 12-47 inches, provides an ideal, focused image quality. If you stand near or far from it, you become blurred. With this fixed setting, Elgato freed the focus of the camera from the problems experienced with conventional webcams. In conventional cameras, the focus that tries to follow you as you move blurs you once in a while. Focus tracking in low light requires a more advanced and expensive design. With FaceCam, you are always in focus when you are at normal sitting distance. This provides a very stable image. The focus does not go back and forth, there are no problems with focus breathing.
Of course, lens quality is important here, Low Dispersion Glass, which prevents chromatic aberration with additional lenses, provides important advantages such as contrast, tone and sharpness, light transmittance to the Aspherical lens surface, 18 anti-reflective coating to block light beams, IR filter to affect sensor It has features to block infrared lights. We can say that they have made the features of expensive camera lenses a tiny package.
Here, some features are actually the effect of adjusting the lens, some of the sensor, and some of the two. Some of it is an exaggeration, that is, it is very difficult for the audience to understand the chromatic aberration when you broadcast from a webcam format device. This is an important feature for cameras or detail shots, but Elgato has included it in the list for comprehensiveness.
Inside the camera, there is the lens, the sensor and the internal Flash memory and cooling plate on the PCB behind the sensor. It is important for the sensor to cool down for continuous and uninterrupted broadcasting. Considering the larger sensor and circuitry for uncompressed image transmission than conventional computer cameras, it is natural to have a heatsink for passive cooling. No fan, no noise, no need. Even if it was, it wouldn’t affect it since it doesn’t have a built-in microphone.
Uncompressed Image and USB Transfer
It transfers uncompressed 1080p 60 FPS video to computer via USB 3.0. The end of the cable that enters the camera is Type-C, and the end that connects to the computer is Type-A. Elgato does not recommend using the USB Hub type here. The USB port must be a well-functioning port so that high data flow is not disrupted. In this respect, if your USB portollarar does not work stably, you should not buy FaceCam or similar devices connected to power and data transfer via USB.
Although I run it smoothly on many systems with the long cable that comes with it, I encountered the problem of image freezing on an old laptop. The laptop’s port was normally a USB 3.0 port of good quality and worked well with external storage devices. When I used the short GoPro cable I had, the problem disappeared. In other words, you should use a short cable, not a long one, on a laptop with a weak or unstable USB port for this job. Similarly, some old desktop computers have unstable USB controllers and voltage values, so you may have trouble connecting this powerful camera with a long cable. This is because the camera transfers a large amount of data. We have experienced similar problems with different devices in high-quality image transfer via USB. So FaceCam does not have a fault, the issue is USB.
Camera Hub and ISO Measurement
I recommend installing the Elgato Camera Hub software. The camera shows the iso level in the environment here, it can automatically adjust the required aperture speed and iso value. You can turn the lighting on or off by looking at this value.
You sat across from it, you already set the image as you want in OBS, but for interview software such as Zoom, you can narrow the angle of view and digital zoom via Camera Hub if you want. The standard FOV is 82 degrees in materials but 83.2 degrees in software. However, while Camera Hub is open and Preview, other applications may not be able to take images, similarly, if you open OBS first, this Preview image may be lost. In a normal situation, you look at the values from Camera Hub and the image from OBS.
The fact that it offers more settings is definitely an advantage. Applying sharpening, making it brighter when you’re in the dark, adjusting the contrast and saturation changes the image drastically. With White Balance, you can adjust the image in yellow/white tones or leave it automatically.
The processing settings also include Noise Reduction, 50 Hz and 60 Hz Anti-Flicker settings.
The resolution and frame rate of the camera can go up to 1080p 60 FPS, you also have settings for 1080 30, 720 60 and 30 and lower 540p 60 FPS and 540p 30 FPS. 1080p 60 frames is today’s standard for game streamers. Even in a 4K 60 FPS broadcast, a 1080p 60 frame face camera image will not look bad. Especially when you shrink your own image to one corner of the screen, even 1080p is too much. Light quality, contrast, and the features of your broadcast venue become more important than resolution in live broadcasts.
Is the lack of 4K and 60 FPS a minus? There’s also a Logitech Brio 4K camera on the market right now and it’s a very good webcam. It doesn’t have 4K 60 either, but there are options like 4K 30 and 1080 60. Definitely a wide variety of cameras, the Brio is better suited for meeting and general use, but the resolution doesn’t contribute to low-light performance. For broadcasters, FaceCam’s 1080p 60 FPS image quality is better because the sensor is better. It also needs a good USB port for 4K, otherwise the resolution may be lower. It still has extensive settings, but FaceCam is a more advanced broadcast camera today, with optics and more settings on Camera Hub.
Is the Elgato FaceCam the ideal webcam for today’s general computer user? Definitely not a general purpose webcam designed for every user. A special product, gear that fits exactly the needs of broadcasters.
The software features, the need for a powerful USB port, the angle of view of the camera, whether it changes focus, optical values, in other words, every feature has an optimized design for broadcasters called Streamer. As with all other publisher tools, Elgato has developed a product with the logic of plug/set and save and then forget. You can save the settings in the camera and use them exactly on another computer.
Its strength is its optical image quality, FaceCam does not replace a full-frame or APS-C mirrorless camera connected via HDMI. Investing in $1000-$2000 cameras and lenses for the best image quality still moves you forward. Already, Elgato also sells Camlink products for pro camera users and offers the opportunity to transfer the image from HDM to OBS via USB. In this respect, we can say that they offer different options for people in their customer portfolio.
On the other hand, huge investments are not necessary for the vast majority of users. Many people already use a simple webcam with not very good picture quality; Doesn’t have the budget for complex hardware and setups. That’s why FaceCam is right in the middle, a camera that can approach mirrorless cameras with good image quality in the webcam basidollars. Of course, it is not at that level, but the image you get for what you spend is very good.
Of course, beyond the sensor and lens, it also ends in hardware and software. The camera offers you a live preview of the ISO value in the environment, and offers both automatic and manual correction options. Numerous operations such as preventing mosaicism, providing different views in faster or slower motions and different speeds with Shutter Speed, correcting black levels, making error and color corrections, removing lens effects in the image are performed in real time. In particular, the shutter speed adjustment option is a very important setting in providing you with a very fast and fluid-looking action.
When you buy Elgato Stream Deck, Elgato Ring Light and attach Elgato FaceCam, you get one of the broadcast systems that are simple, powerful and suitable for fast operation. With 2 powerful USB connections, a socket connection and enough space to connect the Ring Light stand on the table, you can broadcast professional quality in a minimal layout without making your life difficult.
The screw slot at the bottom of the camera works for these setups, and the accompanying aldollar often comes in handy when chopping it up onto the monitor. It’s a little harder to balance on a laptop monitor, but easier at normal monitor widths. As an ecosystem, it also eliminates the disadvantage of Ring Light’s compression screw, which does not hold very well in heavy cameras. Since it is lightweight, you can shoot a 90-degree table without worrying about focus and without the Ring Light loosening and falling. This is a nice feature for those who share drawing videos.
One of the most important points you should know is the fact that the Elgato FaceCam is a camera without a microphone. Classic webcams have microphones. Before developing the product, Elgato found that YouTube and Twitch streamers used either broadcast microphones such as Wave 3 or headset microphones. That’s why the target kidollars stop putting a microphone that you don’t use. It is useful to remove unnecessary elements in the design, but this decision makes FaceCam not an ideal product for “everyone”. General user kidollars voice can look at classic and affordable webcams, broadcasters can look at FaceCam.
It’s an Editors’ Choice for quick action and good quality instead of thinking about too much equipment. If you have a medium/good broadcast system and a microphone and light, you can start broadcasting frequently and develop your systems as you wish over time.
Pros: Image quality, media iso measurement, software support, ease of use.
Cons: Do not forget that it does not have a microphone for general purpose use, your USB port must be solid, it will not work properly with every port, automatic light settings are too bright, you need to manually set Exposure Compensation.