If you want to live stream content, then you’re going to need a live stream camera. But what is a live stream camera? Well, a live stream camera is pretty much any camera that’s capable of streaming in real-time.

Before we rank the best streaming cameras of 2020, consider what you might want to use a live stream camera for. Do you want to use it as a HQ webcam for work calls or picture-in-picture game streaming? Do you want to use it like a GoPro to capture action content in real-time? Or do you want the highest quality streaming content for something like a conference or convention? All of these situations call for different products and different price tags. Our list is going to cover a variety of live streaming needs – just be mindful that some cameras are better suited for some types of live streaming than others.

Note: Before purchasing any live stream camera, make sure that you’re not going to have any compatibility issues. You can figure this out by looking at the interface of your camera and the interface of your computer. Most of the time, if you have an HDMI out port on your camera, and a HDMI in port on your computer, you’re not going to have any issues.

Nowadays, fewer and fewer laptops are shipping with dedicated HDMI in ports, complicating the process of streaming. If you plan on streaming with a Macbook or even an iMac, you’re going to need a HDMI in device that can connect to USB-c or USB-a (depending on the machine) – but the reality of the situation is that if you’re planning on live streaming video, you’re better off connecting through a PC.  

With that note out of the way, here’s our list of the best streaming cameras of 2020.

Good Streaming Cameras

8. Logitech StreamCam

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - Logitech StreamCam

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020  •  Logitech StreamCam

TECH SPECS
  • Max Video Resolution:
  • 1080p/60 fps in MJPEG
  • Supported resolutions:
  • 1920x1080, 1280x720, 960x540, 848x480, 640x360, 320x240
  • Supported frame rate:
  • MJPEG: 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps, 20 fps, 15 fps, 10 fps, 7.5 fps, 5 fps
    YUY2, NV12: 30 fps, 24 fps, 20 fps, 15 fps, 10 fps, 7.5 fps, 5 fps
  • Lens:
  • Premium Full HD Glass lens
  • f/2.0 - focal length 3.7 mm
  • Field of View: 78° (diagonal)
  • Focus:
  • Autofocus(10 cm to infinity)
  • Face based autofocus with Logitech Capture
  • Built-in Audio:
  • Dual omnidirectional mic with noise reduction filter
  • Stereo or dual mono channel
  • Live indicator lights:
  • White LED

Logitech StreamCam: A Modern Webcam Worth Buying?

The Logitech StreamCam quite literally has the word “stream” in its name – but is it one of the best live stream cameras of 2020? Well, it’s a good live stream camera that comes with a relatively hefty price tag.

The autofocus works a lot better than it does in some of the cameras on this list but there are issues too. The FOV isn’t very wide and there are compatibility issues with XSplit and OBS.

80%
ease of use
75%
price
70%
utility
75%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Good Image Quality
  • Autofocus
  • USB-c Futureproof
  • 3rd Party Compatibility
  • FOV
  • N/A

Best Camera for Live Streaming

Conclusion

Price: $169.99

The Logitech StreamCam is a good option if you’re looking for a mid-level webcam that has better image quality than something like the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 and is easier to use than DSLRs.

Best Streaming Camera for PC

7. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

Best Live stream Cameras of 2020  •  Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000

TECH SPECS
  • True 720p HD Video - Post true HD video to online video sites.
  • 16:9 Widescreen - For cinematic video recording.
  • Noise Reducing Microphone - Crystal-clear audio and built-in unidirectional microphone with acoustic noise cancellation.
  • Universal Attachment Base - Work on your desktop, laptop, or notebook.

Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Review

The Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is the best budget streaming camera on this list. It’s hard to go wrong with the LifeCam HD-3000 considering it’s currently priced at $37.95.

Let me say this though: if you’re looking to upgrade your laptop webcam, the HD-3000 probably isn’t worth it – I’d say the video quality is near equivalent to the video quality on most laptop webcams. But if you need a serviceable webcam for your desktop or cameraless laptop, then the HD-3000 is a great option.

95%
ease of use
95%
price
50%
utility
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Affordable
  • Easy to Set-Up
  • Small Form Factor
  • 720p Resolution
  • Niche Use Case
  • N/A

Good Camera for Live Streaming

Conclusion

Price: $37.95

The Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 is essentially a laptop-grade webcam that can connect to your desktop and stream throughout the web.

Action Mode Good Streaming Cameras

6. GoPro HERO9 Black

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - GoPro HERO9 Black

Best Video Cameras for Live Streaming  •  GoPro HERO9 Black

TECH SPECS
  • HERO9 Black Mods Compatibility
  • HyperSmooth 3.0 Video Stabilization
  • TimeWarp 3.0 Video
  • SuperPhoto + Improved HDR
  • Digital Lenses (SuperView, Wide, Linear + Horizon Leveling, Linear, Narrow)
  • Live Streaming in 1080p | Webcam Mode | Power Tools (HindSight, LiveBurst, Scheduled Capture, Duration Capture)
  • Voice Control with Wake on Voice
  • Presets + On-Screen Shortcuts
  • Intuitive Touch Screen
  • Touch Zoom
  • Rugged + Waterproof to 33ft (10m)
  • 100Mbps Bit Rate
  • Face, Smile, Blink, + Scene Detection
  • Exposure Control
  • GP1 Chip
  • Protune
  • Rechargeable Battery (1720mAh Lithium-Ion)

GoPro HERO Review: 15 Pros & Cons

The latest iteration in the GoPro HERO series, the HERO9 Black, has received mixed reviews from critics with some saying its best features are the ability to shoot 5k video, horizon lock and hypersmooth 3.0 stabilization; yet many critics have also said that the HERO9 suffers from performance issues due to the GP1 chip.

You can stream directly to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and other sites that accept RTMP URLs with the HERO9 Black and the GoPro app

90%
ease of use
75%
price
75%
utility
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Durable & Waterproof
  • Double-Sided Screens
  • Hypersmooth 3.0
  • Buggy Software
  • Crashes & Freezes
  • N/A

Best Video Camera for Streaming

Conclusion

Price: $449.99

If you’re looking for something like the HERO9 but want to save some money, then check out previous models. Just make sure they’re live stream compatible too.

Best Camera for Web Streaming

5. iPhone 11 Pro

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - iPhone 11 Pro

Best Live Stream Cameras of 2020  •  iPhone 11 Pro

TECH SPECS
  • Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras
  • Ultra Wide: ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view
  • Wide: ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Telephoto: ƒ/2.0 aperture
  • 2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; digital zoom up to 10x
  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
  • Extended dynamic range for video up to 60 fps
  • Optical image stabilization for video (Wide and Telephoto)
  • 2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; digital zoom up to 6x and Depth Control

iPhone 11 Pro Review: For the Love of Cameras!

I know what you’re thinking: does a smartphone really have one of the best live stream cameras in 2020? And the answer to that question is yes. The three camera – ultra wide, wide and telephoto system in the iPhone 11 Pro marked a major step forward for smartphone cameras.

There’s one major reason why I put the iPhone 11 Pro on this list. If you want to stream on Instagram Live or Facebook Live, you can do so easily on iPhone. It doesn’t require any workarounds or extra cables – you simply hit record and the software does the rest of the work.

90%
ease of use
80%
price
70%
utility
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Perfect for FB/IG Live
  • Other Capabilities
  • Intuitive Software
  • Niche Use Cases
  • Expensive
  • N/A

Good Camera for Live Streaming

Conclusion

Price: $999.99

The iPhone 11 Pro comes with drawbacks – to use it as a webcam, you need to download a third-party app like EpocCam and it’s near-impossible to use as a live stream camera for picture-in-picture on a platform like Twitch.

Great Live Streaming Video Camera

4. Sony HXR-NX5R

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - Sony HXR-NX5R

Best Livestream Cameras of 2020  •  Sony HXR-NX5R

TECH SPECS
  • Supported Format: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz bandwidth
  • Security: WEP/WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
  • NFC: NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compliant
  • Streaming: MPEG-2 TS/UDP, RTMP(USTREAM)
  • FTP: FTP, FTPS
  • Imaging Device (Type): 3-chips 1/2.8 type "Exmor" CMOS Sensor
  • Effective Picture Elements: Approx. 2.07M
  • Built-in Optical Filters: OFF: Clear, 1: 1/4ND, 2: 1/16ND, 3: 1/64ND
  • Minimum Illumination: 50i : 1.0lux(1/25 Shutter Speed, iris/gain Auto) or 60i :1.2lux(1/30 Shutter Speed, iris/gain Auto)*
  • Shutter Speed: 1/3 -1/10,000
  • Slow & Quick Motion Function: 1080p: Frame rate selectable 1.2.3.6.12.25,50 fps
  • White Balance:Preset (Indoor: 3200K, Outdoor: 5600K±7 steps, Color temperature set range: 2300-15000K), Onepush A, B, Auto selectable
  • Gain: -6, -3, 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30 dB, AGC
  • Audio Input: XLR-type 3-pin (female) (x2), line/mic/mic +48 V selectable
  • Video Output: BNC (×1), Composite 1.0Vp-p, 75 Ω
  • Audio Output: Stereo mini jack (x1)
  • SDI Output: BNC type (x1), SD/HD/3G(Level-B) selectable SMTPE 259M/292M/424M/425M standards
  • USB: Multi/Micro USB jack (x1)
  • Headphone Output: Stereo mini jack (x1)
  • Speaker Output: Monaural
  • DC Input: DC jack
  • Remote: Stereo mini mini jack (x1)
  • HDMI Output: Type A (x1)

Sony NX5R Function Video

The Sony HXR-NX5R is a behemoth. It’s big, it’s bulky, and it’s better than most of its competitors. But all of that size and prestige comes at a price – at a price of $2,500+ to be exact.

Make no mistakes, the Sony HXR-NX5R doesn’t have a huge market at its price range; but for institutions, conventions and enterprises that can afford it, why not go with the biggest and the best?

70%
ease of use
75%
price
100%
utility
82%
OVERALL SCORE
  • 40x Zoom
  • OLED Viewfinder
  • LED Lighting
  • Requires Operator
  • Expensive
  • Needs Switcher

Best Camera for Live Streaming

Conclusion

Price: $2,899.99

The Sony HXR-NX5R offers enormous benefits to businesses looking to live stream content.

Best HD Streaming Camera

3. Sony A5100

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - Sony A5100

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020  •  Sony a5100

TECH SPECS
  • 24.3 MP Exmor® APS-C CMOS sensor
  • BIONZ X™ engine for superb detail and noise reduction
  • Fast Hybrid AF with 179 phase-detection points
  • 180 º tiltable LCD screen for perfect self-portraits
  • Wi-Fi® and One-touch NFC for simple sharing and control
  • Number of pixels (effective): 24.3 MP
  • Monitor type: 3.0 in wide type TFT LCD

Is the Sony a5100 Worth Buying in 2020?

What’s the deal with the Sony a5100? It’s a six year old camera, but it’s still regarded as one of the best streaming cameras for content creation. Why? Well, there are two reasons: it’s less expensive than similar options and it’s easier to use.

The Sony a5100 has developed a reputation for being the “go to” camera for burgeoning content creators – and in 2020 it’s a great option for live streaming too. You can even download the Imaging Web Webcam software on Sony’s website to turn your a5100 into a webcam.

90%
ease of use
100%
price
70%
utility
87%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Face Tracking
  • Appropriately Priced
  • Easy to Use
  • No 4k
  • No EVF
  • No Mic Connection

Great Streaming Camera

Conclusion

Price: $449.99

The Sony a5100 is a great 1080p camera that can be customized with a variety of different lenses.

Best Camera for YouTube Live Streaming

2. Logitech C922 HD Pro Webcam

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - Logitech C922 HD Pro Webcam

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020  •  Logitech C922 HD Pro

TECH SPECS
  • Max Resolution: 1080p/30 fps - 720p/ 60 fps
  • Focus type: Autofocus
  • Lens type: Glass
  • Built-in mic: Stereo
  • Diagonal field of view (dFoV): 78°
  • Tripod-ready universal mounting clip fits laptops, LCD or monitors

Logitech C922 Review: Hail to the King

The Logitech C922 HD Pro is perhaps the best camera for streaming Twitch. One of the more unique aspects of the C922 HD Pro is the Personify software, which highlights you and removes the background without any need for a greenscreen.

Does the Personify software work great? No, not exactly. But it’s a novel feature for a webcam in the C922 HD Pro’s price-range.

90%
ease of use
95%
price
90%
utility
91%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Cheap Option
  • Personify Software
  • Good Image Quality
  • Imperfect BG Removal
  • No 4k or High FPS 1080
  • N/A

Best Camera for Live Streaming

Conclusion

Price: $99.99

Whether you’re looking to use the Logitech C922 HD Pro for Twitch streaming or to upgrade your work-from-home camera, this webcam will do the trick.

Best Quality Streaming Camera

1. Panasonic LUMIX G7

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020 - Panasonic LUMIX G7

Best Streaming Cameras of 2020  •  Panasonic LUMIX G7

TECH SPECS
  • Recording mediaSD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card (Compatible with UHS-I / UHS-II UHS Speed Class 3 standard SDHC / SDXC Memory Cards)
  • Image sensor size: 17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
  • Micro Four Thirds mount
  • Live MOS Sensor
  • Camera effective pixels: 16.00 Megapixels
  • OLED Live View Finder (2,360k dots)
  • Contrast AF system
  • DFD technology compatible
  • Focus modeAFS (Single) / AFF (Flexible) / AFC (Continuous) / MF
  • AF modeFace/Eye Detection / Tracking / 49-Area / Custom Multi / 1-Area / Pinpoint
  • ISO sensitivity (Standard Output Sensitivity)Auto / Intelligent ISO / 100 (Extended) / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800 / 25600 (Changeable to 1/3 EV step)

Is the LUMIX G7 Worth Buying in 2020?

It’s time to answer the question: what is the best streaming camera? The Panasonic LUMIX G7 is perhaps the best video camera for live streaming. You can shoot in 1080p at 60FPS or 4k at 30FPS so there’s a lot of flexibility for resolution clarity depending on your need.

A lot of people would argue that the viewfinder is one of the best aspects of the G7. The viewfinder flips out and can be swiveled so you can see at pretty much any angle – oh, and it just so happens to have an OLED screen. Is that necessary? Maybe not. But I’m not going to complain so long as the price stays as low as it is.

85%
ease of use
100%
price
80%
utility
92%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Up to 4k
  • Great Viewfinder
  • Auto-Tracking
  • Needs Cam Link
  • Requires Research
  • N/A

Best Stream Cameras

Conclusion

Price: $499.99

The Panasonic LUMIX G7 is a great camera and a good live stream camera as long as you remember that it takes a little bit of extra work to live stream with it.

UP NEXT

Best Capture Cards to Buy 2020

Unless your camera has built-in streaming capabilities, then you’re going to need a cam link or another camera-based capture card. In this next article, we look at the best capture cards to buy in 2020; cam links included. We’ll also explain what makes the best capture cards for game streaming so that you can maximize your set-up accordingly.

Up Next: Best Capture Cards →

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  • Chris Heckmann graduated from Emmanuel College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing, Editing, and Publishing. He now lives in Los Angeles where he writes about sports, film, and television.

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