Jeff Carlson on Why Webcams Suck

Jeff Carlson, in a comprehensive — thousands of words, dozens of example images and videos — piece for the Reincubate blog:

After consulting numerous webcam buying guides and reviews, purchasing a handful of the most popular models, and testing them in varying lighting situations, I can’t escape the grim truth: there are no good webcams. Even webcams recommended by reputable outlets produce poor quality imagery—a significant failing, given it’s the one job they’re supposed to provide.

Uneven color. Blown highlights. Smudgy detail, especially in low light. Any affordable webcam (even at the high end of affordability, $100+), uses inadequate and typically years-old hardware backed by mediocre software that literally makes you look bad. You might not notice this if you’re using video software that makes your own image small, but it will be obvious to other people on the call.

Reincubate makes Camo, a good app that lets you use an iPhone as a live webcam with your Mac, so you might think, well, of course an article on the Reincubate blog is going to conclude that an iPhone provides better image quality than a webcam. But you know and I know it’s true: iPhone camera image quality is way higher than that of even “good” webcams. Carlson has taken the time here to explain why and prove it.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021