Review: Elgato Facecam

The new Elgato Facecam is an interesting little beast. The company says it has focussed very much on the video procurement side of things to make it the best they can.

For example, unlike many webcams, the lens is proper glass, and the sensor is a Sony STARVIS CMOS unit.

For the technically minded, it has a focus range of 30-120mm, a fixed aperture of f/2.4, focal length of 24mm and an 82° field of view. Not bad for something that costs around $199 depending on where you buy.

It shoots up to 1080p at 60fps – so no 4K sadly -but I must admit the footage is not too shabby at all and more than adequate for the major purposes intended – Skype, Zoom, Teams and so on..

elgato softwareElgato says the Facecam’s processor has been optimised to “enhance highlights and automatically correct shadows”. If the image it produces is not quite to your liking, then the Facecam app you need to download has lots of fine tuning available including contrast, saturation and sharpness, exposure, white balance, and noise reduction.

You can either set the camera on automatic and let it do its thing or go fully manual.

A nice feature is the small amount of flash memory on board so you can save settings directly to the camera. This is useful if you swap from computer to computer a lot – say desktop to laptop as you do not have reset your favourite options all the time.

Power and video transmission is via USB-C, and a cable comes with the camera. For my initial setup, the cable wasn’t long enough so I press ganged an extension cable that is USB-C certified into the mix, but guess what? The software kept freezing intermittently before the camera locked up altogether. Removing the extender solved the problem, so here is another device where you need to use the supplied cable.

There is a lot of it about. It would be nice if the manufacturers somehow branded their cable to make it easy knowing what goes with what.

elgato mountThere are a couple of things that let the Facecam down slightly. It feels a little plasticky I have to say, and the mount is not as good as the system employed by say Logitech. There is just not enough “grab” area on the front side for my liking.

On the plus side there is a ¼” thread on the Facecam so it can be mounted on a standard tripod or indeed, as I am sure Elgato intended, onto their own system of arms and mounts (which just quietly is superb).

The last thing could be a deal breaker for many though. The Elgato Facecam has no built-in mic. Well, they do say they are concentrating on the optics. Of course, the company actually wants you to buy one of their (very good) mics, but for a lot of people this might be simply inconvenient and a stretch too far.

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