External webcams allow for video to be either recorded or transmitted in real time. Many, though not all webcams, will contain a microphone to capture audio at the same time. Most are easy to use and require only that you plug in and automatically download the correct driver software required. Whether you are looking for an external webcam for your desktop computer or your laptop, there are plenty available.
Choosing a webcam is easy in that it is one of those devices where the quality usually, but not always, correlates with the price. More expensive webcams generally produce better results. How much you want to spend depends on whether you're using it to keep in contact with your parents while you're abroad or if you want to shoot a hit YouTube series from home. The quality of a camera depends on several key factors.
Just like many other digital cameras , a webcam with more megapixels will produce a clearer image. Though even cheaper cameras will provide above average quality, for truly crisp, vivid images you will want a camera with a lot of megapixels. These are usually labelled as High Definition (HD) and there are a huge range of HD webcams available.
Some cheaper cameras can struggle to keep focus if there is a lot going on or movement in the shot. Autofocus keeps you in the spotlight and ensures everything stays looking crisp.
FPS means 'frames per second' and is another big decider of quality, next to resolution. Think of the webcam like a cartoon flipbook. If the book contains only 10 pages to flip, the cartoon image will appear jumpy. However if it had 1000 pages, it would appear a lot smoother. It is the same with video: the higher the FPS, the smoother the video. There are many webcams available with a high FPS at a reasonable price, so it is worth investing in.
If you don't have a separate or integrated on-board microphone , make sure to choose a webcam which includes one. These are commonly marketed as 'Skype' or 'Skype-friendly' webcams.