Elgato has attempted to be the brand of choice for streamers and content creators who need gear to get started — even if it’s rarely the most affordable option. It makes its own LED lighting rig, multiple kinds of mounts for lights and mics, app-controlled adhesive light strips for your monitor or desk, sound-dampening pads for podcasting, a mouse pad that doubles as a green screen, and a lot more. Now, it has a $199.99 webcam to sell you.
The Elgato Facecam is a 1080p webcam that can record at up to 60 frames per second. It has a Sony Starvis CMOS sensor, with an eight-element prime fixed focus lens with an f/2.4 aperture, 24mm full-frame equivalent focal length, and up to an 82-degree field of view. The company says it’s great for capturing detail while reducing noise in all sorts of lighting conditions, and the fixed focus is good if you don’t want a camera that’s constantly refocusing.
The webcam is meant to be an option for people who don’t have a high-end camera of their own to connect to something like Elgato’s (pricey) Cam Link HDMI-to-USB devices, which range from $129.99 to $359.99. The Facecam includes a low-profile monitor mount and can attach to it or a standard tripod with its quarter-inch thread.
An app called Camera Hub is available for Windows 10 and macOS, and in it, you can update the Facecam’s firmware and tweak the settings. This webcam has onboard storage that can save your specific white balance, contrast, zoom, and other settings, so it won’t need to be adjusted through the app again if you move to a different device. Elgato says the Facecam’s sensor is surrounded by a heatsink, which it says allows for “cool 24/7 operation” without overheating. Webcams can get a little toasty, so this will likely be a good feature to have if you run multi-hour streams, or if you’re someone gunning to overtake Twitch marathon streamer Ludwig’s 31-day stream record.
What the Facecam offers might make it a good option for streamers who can afford its $200 price, or people like me who occasionally jump into a video meeting. I’ve been using a review model for the past week, and its auto-balancing features make me look presentable in my basement apartment dwelling — no small feat. I need to spend more time with it to really put it through the paces, though.
Despite the positive first impressions, it’s tough to ignore what the Facecam lacks compared to some similarly-priced competitors: the Facecam doesn’t have a microphone. Elgato omitted it because it figured most people have a preferred headset or dedicated microphone, which will almost definitely be the case for Elgato’s target audience. On the other hand, the Logitech StreamCam is a little cheaper at $170, has a microphone, and can also record at 1080p with 60 frames per second. It's smaller overall, and its Logitech Capture software can enable an auto-tracking feature that keeps you centered in the frame, which the Facecam currently doesn’t at launch.
Logitech isn’t the only competitor in this price range. Razer’s $199.99 Kiyo Pro offers 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second, and Dell’s new $199.99 UltraSharp webcam goes up to 4K resolution at 30 frames per second, though it doesn’t have a built-in microphone either.
The Elgato Facecam is available today for $199.99.