Introduction & Specification Details and Close-up
Elgato has stepped into yet another market after the release of the WAVE series microphone, we are now being introduced to an Elgato webcam.
Elgato has debuted the Elgato Facecam, and if you know any of Elgato's other products, you would be right to assume that it comes with all of the bells and whistles that content creators love. Coming in at an MSRP of $199, the Facecam supports full HD video at 1080 x 60 FPS, features a Sony image sensor, and fully customizable software that can be saved to the camera's onboard memory.
With the release of Facecam, Elgato is creating a new optional price point in its range of camera equipment that creators can choose from. The EpocCam app priced at $7.99 allows buyers to convert their mobile phone into a useable webcam (1080p at 30FPS if the phone is capable of that), but for creators that want an "enthusiast" level webcam experience, with all the customizable bells and whistles and full HD at a smooth 60FPS, you can get the Elgato Facecam. But is the $199 price tag worth it?
First off, we have a close-up of the front of the box, and we can see a nice graphic of the Facecam webcam and some of its key specifications.
On the back of the box, there is a much more in-depth explanation for each of the Facecam's features, as well as a front-on video of the webcam.
Here we have the Facecam out of the box, and we can see Elgato has stuck to its simple, minimalistic, and sleek branding.
Moving on to the back of the Facecam, we can see the USB-C port that is used to power the webcam, as well as some nice grills.
Next is the stand disconnected from the webcam, and as you can see, the Facecam uses ¼ thread, meaning it's possible to mount it to anything with the same thread size.
Here we have a front-on view of the Facecam that shows off the Elgato Prime Lens, as well as some specifications on the right-hand side of the image.
This is what the Facecam looks like when it's placed on a monitor. You can see the adjustable stand is balancing out the weight of the camera to hold it in place on the monitor's edge.
Next is a front-on view of the Facecam sitting on a monitor.
Lastly, we have the provided USB-C to USB-A cable that is quite long (around 6 feet).
Jak's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero X570 (Wi-Fi) (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X @ 4.4GHz (buy from Amazon)
- GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER XC GAMING (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: be quiet! Silent Wings 3
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: GALAX HOF Pro SSD PCI-E M.2 2TB
- Power Supply: Corsair CX Series 750 Watt (buy from Amazon)
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 600 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Design & Software
The Elgato Facecam certainly feels like an Elgato product when you hold it, and its aesthetics are no exception to that statement either. The webcam is constructed of plastic and has a nice lightly glossed finish. The Facecam comes already equipped with a monitor mount that has a very tough hinge that has two pieces of rubber attached to it to ensure the webcam stays stable while balancing on a monitor.
On top of that, the hinge doubles as a stand for the camera if a user decided to place the Facecam on a desk or on top of a PC case. Additionally, the monitor clamp can be unscrewed from the webcam so that a user can screw it onto a tripod, or any other form of mount uses a ¼ screw thread. As for the Facecam itself, it does look and feel quite bulky, but once it was it in place on top of my monitor, it easily blended in the background of my setup.
At the front of the camera, there's the Elgato Prime Lens that comes with a lens cover for transportation purposes, and after taking it off, I began to set the Facecam on my monitor. The setup process was very easy, I simply plugged the power into the Facecam, plugged it into my PC, and it was working. For additional customization to the Facecam I downloaded the Camera Hub software.
Elgato has created some brand new software to complement Facecam, and this is really where the webcam begins to have that glorious Elgato shine. Camera Hub allows for users to choose between automatic and manual settings under the following categories; Device, Zoom, Picture, Exposure, White Balance, and Processing.
An important feature of Facecam is that users are able to adjust the exposure of the image by turning off automatic and switching to manual. Users have two options to play with, and I highly recommend adjusting both to suit your lighting scenario as the automatic settings weren't even close to accurate for me. I also recommend keeping your ISO as low as possible for a more accurate image and not reducing the shutter speed below 1/32s as the framerate will no longer be 60FPS, and your image quality will suffer.
Once the image has been color corrected, users are able to save the settings that they have chosen to the onboard flash memory by simply clicking the save button. I would have really liked to have seen the option to have multiple image profiles for streamers or content creators that live in locations where the time of day really influences their lighting consistency in their videos.
Noise Reduction is a setting to pay attention to because enabling it causes the image to dramatically reduce in quality and look very smooth. I have provided a comparative example below:
Noise Reduction Enabled.
Noise Reduction Disabled.
Overall, the Camera Hub software is absolutely fantastic but also feels quite barebones when you are purely looking at what customization is available to users (at the moment). I'd imagine most streamers or content creators will open the software, color correct themselves to their environment, and then just save the profile to the camera and never open the software again. Which makes me feel like the software will mostly go unused.
However, I believe that Elgato isn't completely finished with the Camera Hub software and will undoubtedly roll out updates that increase the value of the software and enable more customization for users. While I am critical of what the Camera Hub software currently offers, what it does do, it does very well, providing users with DSLR-level control of the camera - which is much more than what you can say about most webcam software on the market.
Where Facecam Gets Really Good
$199 seems like a pretty steep ask for a webcam that does 1080p60, as there are many other webcams on the market that offer the same performance for a quarter of the price. However, those webcams don't have the same sensor and aren't compatible with Elgato's ecosystem of products.
A streamer that already owns Elgato Key Lights and has a Stream Deck will be able to fully utilize the feature set of the Facecam as a Stream Deck plugin has been created that allows users to control; zooms, lighting, and much more.
Owning a Stream Deck that is paired with the Facecam will allow content creatures to create entertaining moments with their audience at the press of a button. Dramatic zooms from the wide 83.2 degrees Field of View (FOV) to a quick close-up of your face is a powerful tool for a streamer/content creator.
Elgato has successfully recognized that the content creation market was in desperate need of a wide-angle webcam that was designed purely for content creators and streamers.
Performance & Microphone
The Facecam outputs smooth 1080p60 video and has a very decent color profile that I think that most streamers and content creators would find acceptable. The Facecam is aimed at those streamers/content creators that are looking to kick things up from a $100 webcam but can't afford a full DSLR camera ($750) - the image quality fits proportionately between those two price points, justifying the price tag.
- Wide Field of View (FOV)
- Great image
- Easy setup
- DSLR-level software
- Great value
- Is very light, can feel cheap
- Camera Hub software could have more settings
Elgato has created what I believe is the best webcam for streamers, and there is one reason why. The software.
The Facecam is everything that a streamer/content creator would be after if they are looking to create good-looking video content without breaking the bank. The Facecam bridges the gap between a cheaper webcam such as
Logitech's C920 ($100), and a cheap DSLR camera ($750). However, Elgato has provided the Facecam with DSLR-level customization through the Camera Hub software, enabling users to customize their image to the highest quality possible no matter the environment - something other webcams have yet to emulate as seamlessly.
As with most of Elgato's products, the company has really hit the nail on the head when it comes to developing a product that most streamers on a budget would have a hard time saying no to. Simply put, the $199 price tag is already justified with just the stock image quality Facecam can produce, but the provided Camera Hub software is where Elgato where has sprinkled its magic, turning an already fantastic webcam into an incredible one.
The Bottom Line
Elgato has created what is now the most viable webcam option on the market for streamers and content creators. The Facecam, paired with the Camera Hub, slots perfectly into the Elgato ecosystem of products and will undoubtedly be a popular solution for a streamer on budget.