Five months into the pandemic, toilet paper and towels have returned to the shelves, but one thing has remained constant: buying webcams for our video meetings hasn't gotten any better. Items are still scarce, but you may be able to turn your old camera into a webcam. Actioncam maker GoPro just unveiled a software update for the Hero8 camera to turn it into a webcam, Canon has similar software tools for EOS Rebels and other models, and live online video maker eCamm has software that can work with Canon, Nikon and Sony models. Fine print galore: the GoPro update only works with Apple computers and the latest edition of the Hero line, model 8, (not previous models) eCamm is also Mac only, while Canon's software works with both Apple and Windows computers. Canon and GoPro software updates are free.
As Covid-19 lockdowns took effect around the world, millions turned to remote working and organising virtual hangouts with friends. Overnight, webcams went from mundane computer accessories to gold dust. Even now, the initial surge in demand, in March, has barely abated, with manufacturers struggling to satisfy the many consumers trying to buy. And while some consumers have been successful, there is plenty of evidence many more are still searching in vain. Smartphones, tablets and laptops generally come with built-in cameras.
When work, school, healthcare and even happy hour goes from real life to video teleconference, dedicated webcams go MIA. And everyone is getting ready for their close-up – for school, for work and for the sanity and comfort of any kind of outside human contact. As Jefferson Graham noted, webcams are in high demand -- and short supply. Amazon and Best Buy are out of stock. And used webcams listed on eBay are going for as much as $420.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. After researching 19 top webcams and testing six, we think that if you need a webcam for video calls, streaming, or recording, you should get the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. It takes better pictures and video than any of the other models we tested, beating even newer and more expensive models. It has sharp, 1080p video at 30 frames per second with fast autofocus and quick, accurate auto white balance; it's simple to install and use; and at around $60 it doesn't cost much more than lesser budget webcams.
Before the C922 there was the C920, Logitech's best consumer webcam for over four years. The company has largely taken an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach with this upgrade. As a standard webcam, the Logitech C922 is virtually the same as the C920: It offers the same superb image quality in well-lit and low-light situations (though with improved low-light correction). It also still supports up to 1080p resolution over Skype, and 720p resolution over other major chat services. What primarily makes it an upgrade are extra gaming-oriented features designed for Twitch streamers, like background removal and the ability to stream in 720p at 60fps. Note that if you buy it through Best Buy or Logitech, you'll get a tripod included with the package. The C922x on Amazon's site is the same webcam, but its box does not include the tripod. The Logitech C615 offers a great balance of features without a high-end price.