The right camera can really add a new layer of enjoyment to your video game live streams. From software to hardware, streaming live gameplay along with your video and audio has been simplified thanks to platforms like Twitch, Facebook and YouTube Gaming.

There are a plethora of options to stream on your PC and directly from home video game console hardware. Sharing your reactions on camera while you play is a great way to make your audience feel more connected to the action. It’ll help them engage on a deeper level, and seeing you live will help build more personality into your streams. With all these components at your fingertips you’ll be building your own online community in no time. Whether streaming for the first time or upgrading your camera setup, Best Buy is here to help!

Colourful Camera Set UpDifferent streaming camera options

To begin the process of video broadcasting there are two primary pieces of hardware to choose between: a webcam, or for a more professional result, a DSLR camera. Webcams are good for streaming, and typically have a high frame rate and high definition resolution. Some also come with built-in software for broadcasting, which can save you some time and hassle compared to using separate software packages from third-party providers. DSLR cameras on the other hand offer high end image quality, deeper customization, and a plethora of accessories. Let’s breakdown the options and find one best for you:

Finding the right camera

Choosing the right hardware will come down to a mix of personal preference, budget, and what you plan to use your camera for. If you’re just looking to stream some gameplay footage without too much fuss a webcam should serve you well. For those who want more control over their image, or who also plan on using their camera for other things like photography, a DSLR is a better investment. No matter which camera you choose, the following sections will give you more insight on what camera will best suit your needs.

Camera OptionsWebcam streaming advantages

If you are looking to simply test the waters of video game streaming, webcams are a great place to start. The biggest advantage of using a webcam for streaming is its simplicity. Not only are they are on the lower end of cost, but they are easy to use. Many webcams also come with pre-installed software that allow you to start streaming with little effort. They are easy to use and set up, and many come with pre-installed software that takes care of a majority of the technical aspects for you. These typically have a high frame rate and decent resolution, so your viewers will get a smooth, clear picture of you while gaming. This leaves you free to focus on your game and audience. Additionally, they are very lightweight and portable, making it easy to take them on the go.

Webcam drawbacks

One of the main drawbacks of using a webcam is that they often have low resolution, which can lead to a grainy or pixelated picture. Additionally, they typically have a lower frame rate than DSLR cameras or gaming capture cards, so your viewers may experience choppy video playback. If you are looking to stream at a professional level, or if you want to provide your viewers with the best possible quality, you will likely want to invest in a more expensive camera. Another downside of webcams is that they are not typically compatible with all streaming software, so you may need to do some research to find one that will work for you.

DSLR Camera OptionsDSLR camera streaming advantages

DSLR cameras have an added level of customization that can often yield more professional looking results. Here’s a quick rundown of the many ways you can utilize these devices to showcase your glowing personality while streaming game sessions. A DSLR camera offers better image quality and more freedom to make adjustments to videos and still pictures. A DSLR reflects light onto a mirror then into a larger image sensor that can process everything into the best format. The bigger sensor also allows for better low light results as they can capture more detail. You can also manually adjust your settings, things like shutter speed, ISO and aperture can be tinkered with. You can also interchange the lenses, add-on extra gear that is camera specific and it doubles as high quality still camera.

DSLR camera drawbacks

For many using a DSLR as a primary video capture source would be the optimal choice but budgetary and technical factors might present issues. DSLRs are heavier and bulkier than your standard run-of-the-mill webcams and many require an external microphone to provide good audio quality. The higher quality does come at cost, the average entry level cost of a DSLR is well over $300. The camera also needs to be tethered to a computer to capture the video signal. If you have a lower end PC you might require a capture card in order to process the video. So, if you’re looking for something that is all in one, DSLRs may not be the best option, but they offer great image quality for those that want more control over their streams.

Camera Ring Light Set UpUsing a capture card with your camera

If you are looking for the best, lossless image possible especially using home consoles or a DSLR, you will want to consider a capture card. The card transmits a video signal to your PC for processing and supports pass-through. This also allows the video signal to be viewed on a monitor at the same time. The installation is straight forward but it will require addition software like OBS Studio which is free on both PC and Mac. Many cards will come with software but it’s often proprietary it doesn’t offer the compatibility and flexibility of OBS. Thousands of streamers rely on OBS, I personally use it as my “go to” with all my video work.

Elgato 4K60Pro

External or internal capture card?

There are two types of capture cards: internal and external. External capture cards connect to your computer via USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3, or HDMI, while internal capture cards require you to open up your PC case and install the card into an available PCI Express slot. Internal capture cards are typically faster than external ones since they don’t have to contend with the limitations of a USB connection, but they can be more difficult to install.

Pick a card suited to your needs

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a capture card. First, make sure that the capture card you’re considering is compatible with your streaming software of choice—not all capture cards work with all streaming software packages. Second, think about what resolutions and frame rates you want to be able to capture—some capture cards are only capable of capturing video at lower resolutions and frame rates, while others can handle 4K video at 60 frames per second. Finally, consider whether you need an internal or external capture card—external capture cards are typically easier to install and use, but internal ones offer better performance.

Camera StreamingReady, set, stream!

No matter which route you decide to go with your camera, when streaming your favorite games, have fun with it! This will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. If you are new to this, start with a webcam. This will help you test things out before upgrading your setup. Whether you are using an action cameramirrorless or camcorder, there are many methods to getting the best possible picture. By following the steps above you should have everything you need to get started broadcasting with a webcam or DSLR.

If you have any questions about getting started feel free to ask in the comments below. Best of luck and happy streaming!

Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things tech related since the start of the digital era. He shares his passion for technology in his day job as a teacher and via multiple media platforms. As a long-time veteran of the video game and tech industry, he's covered interactive entertainment and esports on the web, in video series, podcasts, and on international television. You can follow Matthew's tech-venture filled lifestyle on twitter, instagram @dapper_tux.