Facecam Pro Review + Strengths and Weaknesses
According to JBQ, I’m not a professional streamer, but I know that quality plays an important role in making regular streams more enjoyable. If you’re a content creator looking for increased production value, Elgato’s Facecam Pro might be just what you’re looking for. Equipped with a 4K 60fps sensor, it’s one of the most expensive webcams you can buy, though at $299 it’s not cheap.
What Elgato promises with Facecam Pro is a lot of options thanks to the wide range of webcam resolution, autofocus and manual focus, standard installation and other customizable settings. Although the name “Pro” is thrown around a lot these days, Facecam Pro definitely earns it.
- Up to 4K resolution
- Smooth 60 frames per second
- It uses USB Type C
- Compatible with useful software
- 1/4 inch thread
- Too big
- High price compared to other webcams
The most notable feature of Facecam Pro is its size. At 4.6 inches wide by 3.1 inches deep and weighing half a pound (or 240 grams), it’s certainly the biggest webcam I’ve ever seen. By comparison, Logitech’s 4K Brio webcam is much thinner, much shallower, and a quarter the weight. Despite the Facecam Pro being loose, I was able to mount it on my relatively thin monitor without any problems. I was even able to install it on my ROG Zephyrus G14, a 14-inch gaming laptop with a very thin screen.
That said, I’m not sure it can stay there without slipping or causing the screen to fall. Fortunately, the Facecam Pro has a four-inch thread, a thread that many cameras have, so you can mount them on mounting equipment like tripods.
The quarter-inch string also opens up the ability to use the Facecam Pro as a regular camera, though it must remain connected to a PC because it can’t record video on its own.
Facecam Pro also has built-in memory that allows customized settings to be remembered by the webcam. For example, if you change your Facecam Pro settings and connect it to another computer, those changes will remain. Although internal storage is primarily appealing to those with multiple PCs, it’s also useful for keeping personal settings after getting a new PC or reinstalling an existing PC’s operating system.
Facecam Pro comes with a USB Type C to C cable. Now USB Type C is great and I prefer it to Micro USB, which is what USB-C is replacing. The problem is that instead of USB Type C to USB Type A, the usual type of USB is C to C. Also, a USB Type C to A adapter is not included.
You can Buy Fast Charger for your device.This can be a problem for desktops, which often only come with one or two USB-C ports. However, I’m glad that Elgato made this a USB Type C device, and if I wanted to connect this device to a USB Type A port, I’d just have to use a different cables.
JBQ says, Facecam Pro relies on two key features for good image quality: 4K resolution at 60 frames per second and autofocus. Due to bitrate limitations and practicality, you probably don’t want or need 4K for gaming (displays are often too small to benefit from higher resolutions), but it’s definitely useful for other content like videos uploaded to YouTube. Is. No matter what you’re recording, autofocus is of course useful.
But there are valid reasons you might want a 4K-capable webcam, even if you’re not streaming or recording in 4K. Even when there are bitrate limitations, higher-quality videos can look better than lower-quality ones, regardless of whether the video player is 1080p or 4K.
Additionally, a 4K webcam will have much better quality when zoomed in. Even with 400% zoom, a 4K webcam has comparable quality to a 1080p webcam without zoom. Whether you’re streaming or recording video or sitting in on a digital meeting, if your webcam is far away, you might want to zoom in a bit.
Even if you don’t plan on using Facecam Pro’s 4K capabilities, the fact that it has 4K is still useful because resolutions lower than 4K are downgraded.
Compared to other 1080p cameras, including Elgato’s original Facecam, the Facecam Pro can look better, even though the resolution is technically the same. This is the same principle in running a game at a higher resolution than a monitor supports. Although most of the extra detail is gone, it still looks better. Whether thanks to the downscaling algorithm or the advanced Sony Starvis sensor, Facecam Pro has dramatically improved image quality at 1080p as well.
Facecam Pro also doesn’t need studio lighting to prevent noise and grain due to its f/2.0 aperture. I did my picture quality test at night and only one overhead light was on and the noise was noticeable but not distracting. I still recommend pairing Facecam Pro with a good lighting solution, but only to get the most out of it.
Autofocus, another big feature, is also very good. I was able to focus clearly on my face almost all the time and was able to adjust quickly whenever I moved. However, it was not perfect; I experienced a few times that the Facecam Pro failed to refocus after I moved, requiring me to hold my hand in front of the camera to try to reset it.
But since I was tinkering with the customization options, this might be a rare problem.
Facecam Pro settings can be customized through Camera Hub, Elgato’s first-party app that can save custom settings to the webcam’s internal memory. Here, you can change all the important settings of a webcam: zoom, pan, tilt, focus, contrast, saturation, exposure and white balance.
There are four presets for zoom, pan, and tilt settings, but if you want presets for that sort of thing, you’ll probably want to use the Elgato Stream Deck instead (either the app or the physical device), which can save. A lot more than four presets, but if you’re looking for something simple, Camera Hub does it all while offering a sleek, modern interface.
Officially, Facecam Pro is only supported on Windows 10 and macOS 11.0, but everything worked fine on Windows 11, which my PC uses. Chances are you can run Facecam Pro on other operating systems, but without the full experience. At least, you can’t use Camera Hub on Linux without cloning it or running it in a virtual machine.
As far as third-party apps go, Facecam Pro works exactly as you’d expect. In OBS (which is by far the most popular program for streaming games), I was able to add Facecam Pro and use it without any problems. Everything was normal in Zoom. I don’t think you need to worry about software compatibility issues with Facecam Pro.
I also wanted to see how Facecam Pro would perform on the Nvidia stream, since not every webcam is compatible. Fortunately, Facecam Pro was compatible without any problems and could work with all Nvidia effects like background blur and virtual green screen. Nvidia Broadcast’s auto frame feature works especially well in Facecam Pro. Auto Frame basically tries to keep your face in the center of the frame, which pairs well with Facecam Pro’s autofocus.
Facecam Pro Price and availability
At $299, this is definitely one of the most expensive webcams on the market. This is not something you buy for simple meetings and casual content creation. Facecam Pro isn’t a value winner, even among 4K webcams like the Obsbot Tiny 4K, which can be found for under $200.
However, Facecam Pro is also the most powerful webcam you can buy. It works 4K60, has autofocus, has good first-party software, and is compatible with the third-party software you want to use with it. It’s really a product for professional content creators, and for that matter, it’s actually not that expensive. Many 4K60-capable cameras cost a lot more (in the four figures) and aren’t exactly ideal webcam replacements.
Should you buy it?
Flexibility is the main selling point of this webcam. Even if you’re limited to streaming or uploading 1080p videos, 4K can still be useful, and not compromising 60fps is a big deal. At least until 8K webcams appear, Facecam Pro can be described as a “no compromise” product. For professional content creators and those who want to create professional content, Facecam Pro may be a worthwhile investment.
Not a great buy for casual users. There are other cheaper webcams with more useful features, and 1080p webcams can do just as well.