Another interesting choice is that the Facecam has a fixed focus range. The lens is arranged so that anything between 30cm (actually as low as around 25cm in our tests) and 120cm away will remain in focus. Again, this is largely a sensible decision in the context of streaming, as it means your face and most of your on-camera shenanigans will remain in focus, with no distracting focus searching or focusing on your background rather than you.
However, for any occasions where you may want to hold an object up close to the camera, any finer details will be lost. In comparison, the Logitech C920 will allow you to focus right in on the fine writing on a box or other such details.
These considerations aside, the Facecam is a good-quality if large unit. It’s over twice as tall as the Logitech C920, and it packs in a huge lens and sensor. While Elgato hasn’t revealed the exact size of the sensor, it claims it’s twice the size of typical 1080p models, and judging by the size of the lens and the whole camera, we don’t doubt it. The front lens element of the Logitech C920 is approximately 7mm wide whereas the Facecam’s is 18mm wide.
Bigger sensors and lenses generally mean more light and better dynamic range, and that’s indeed where the Facecam shows its abilities. It trounces the Logitech C920 here, coping better with extreme differences in lighting conditions, producing more accurate colours and suffering far less from image noise.
Elgato’s excellent Camera Hub software also lets you customise all manner of settings and save them to the camera, preventing the annoyance of any software from messing with your favourite setup. The 82-degree field-of-view camera can be digitally zoomed up to 4x, and the picture contrast, saturation and sharpness can all be tweaked.
Meanwhile, the exposure can be set to manual or automatic, with centre-weighted or average modes, and fixed shutter speed can be applied too. White balance can also be manually set, along with noise reduction – 50Hz or 60Hz anti-flicker modes are available as well.
The Facecam can be secured using its standard 1/4in camera stand thread, or via its foldable, rubberised mount for sitting on top of a screen. It isn’t as secure as the Logitech’s mount but it does the job, while connection to your PC comes courtesy of a USB Type-C cable.
The Elgato Facecam isn’t the ultimate do-it-all webcam for all users, thanks to its high price, lack of a microphone and use of a fixed focus, but it’s well worth considering if you’re prepared to pay out for a dedicated streaming camera. It delivers class-leading image quality and has just the sort of customisation options you need to reliably dial in the exact streaming image you want.
Pricey and with niche appeal, but the image quality is fantastic for streaming.
£190 inc VAT
IMAGE QUALITY 36/40 | DESIGN 16/20 | FEATURES 14/20 | VALUE 12/20 | OVERALL 78%
+Great image quality
-Fixed focus range
Dimensions (mm) 79 x 58 x 48 (W x D x H)
Supported resolutions (uncompressed) 1080p, 720p and 540p (30Hz and 60Hz)
Sensor Sony Starvis CMOS
Lens f/2.4, 24mm full-frame equivalent, 82-degree FOV (diagonal), 30-120cm focus range
Connections USB Type-C
Extras Removable lens cover