Although it’s still best known for its Capture cards, Elgato is working to take over your entire streaming setup. In the last half decade, the introduction of the Stream deck line for easy initiation of macros during a transmission; various types of lighting; and the company’s first last year Gaming microphones. The only thing missing from this list was a webcam – until the Elgato FaceCam was introduced today.
On the surface, the $ 200 camera isn’t that unique. It’s a chunky rectangular box that can simply be clipped onto a monitor or connected to Elgato’s multi-mount system. It records 1080p at 60fps, using a STARVIS CMOS sensor made by Sony. It might not be 4K, but most streamers don’t need that type of resolution right now. The FaceCam makes up for this with a robust suite of settings in its dedicated Camera Hub program. Yes, you need to download some additional software to get this camera to run alongside Game Capture, Stream Deck, Wave Link (for the microphones), and Control Center (for the lights), which is a little annoying. Other companies bundle all of their various drivers and settings into one tool, but I suspect separating them will likely make it easier to send updates out.
The Camera Hub gives you easy access to things like contrast, exposure, and white balance. (The latter two can be set to automatic so you have one less thing to worry about.) The automatic white balance was a bit warm for my taste, but it was easy enough to turn it off and set the number to a cooler 4000K. to push down. The software also comes with zoom options, but it’s nothing special as the camera has a fixed focus. You’ll always be in focus as long as you stay between 12 inches (30 cm) and 47 inches (120 cm) from the camera. That should take care of anyone who works at a desk; Anyone who retreats further will be better off with something more portable with advanced settings.
The biggest advantage of the Camera Hub is the real-time ISO measurement, which makes it much easier to see and react to changes in your lighting. Maybe your lights are too bright, or maybe the natural light from the outside has gone with an approaching thunderstorm (this is exactly what is happening as I write this). Exposure and white balance can be adjusted automatically, or you can quickly adjust the settings yourself. There is a Stream Deck plugin that should allow you to adjust the settings at the push of a button. Of course, that depends primarily on having smart lighting, like for example Elgato’s key light or Ring light.
There is a definite feeling that you should go all in on Elgato’s streaming lineup, which is probably best evidenced by the lack of a microphone in the FaceCam. The company says it didn’t bother as most gamers tend to use headsets anyway, but let’s face it: Elgato would prefer you to pick one of these up Wave: 1 or Wave: 3 Microphones. They sound great, but thanks to them they aren’t my favorite microphones I had some problems with the Wave: 3 working while wearing a headset – yes, even one from Elgato Parent company Corsair.
For the most part, the FaceCam has a lot fewer kinks. My biggest problem was plugging it in as it needs to be plugged directly into your system and not through a hub. And that’s difficult with many modern laptops, which may only have two USB-C ports. The FaceCam comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable, and the company recommends using the cable that came with it rather than providing your own. I was forced to look for a converter dongle. While I commend companies for finally adding USB-C to their gaming accessories, we need some solutions on the software side to ensure that they can actually be used with hubs. My Logitech C920 works with a hub and has a built-in microphone, so it will likely remain my standard webcam for most purposes.
Still, FaceCam got off to a promising start. The video quality is crisp and noise-free, and if it isn’t, you can activate a built-in filter. I didn’t need it though as the camera handled my Google Hangouts and Zoom calls with no problem. The price is a bit steep, but still on par with Logitech’s Brio 4K and Razers Kiyo Pro, both of which cost $ 200. What your money brings you here is the peace of mind that it will go seamlessly with yours Elgato Stream Deck – a device that has no real competition, at least at the moment.
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