Manufacturer Elgato expands its lineup for content creators with the Facecam, the first real webcam for content creators, thus completing its range for streamers alongside capture devices, stream decks, microphones and more. Whether the small camera with a strong Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor can convince, clarifies our test.
|Dimensions (without bracket, HxWxD)||48 x 79 x 58 mm|
|Weight (without bracket)||96 g|
|Connection||USB 3.0, Type C|
|Max. Video resolution||1080p/60 frames per second|
|Supported resolutions||1080p60, 1080p30, 720p60, 720p30,
|Lens||Elgato Prime Lens (fully glazed).
f/2.4 – focal length: 24 mm
Field of view: 82 degrees (diagonal)
|Focus||30 cm – 120 cm|
|Price||UVP € 199,99|
Connect and go
The Elgato Facecam’s packaging reflects the Corsair Gaming subsidiary’s current design language, presenting itself on par with the popular Wave microphones or the Stream Deck, which is popular with content creators.
On the front of the dark blue cardboard box, you’ll find the most important specs of the Facecam, which records in Full HD resolution at a maximum of 60 FPS, and even without any significant delay thanks to the Advanced Image Engine. The manufacturer only packs the most necessary items in the box of the € 199.99 cam: Besides the actual webcam including a cover for the lens, only the USB 3.0 cable and a comprehensive manual are included.
It doesn’t take much more than that, though, because if you connect the cam to a corresponding USB port on your laptop or desktop PC, it’s also ready to use right away thanks to plug-and-play connectivity. However, to get the most out of the functions, it is also recommended to download the in-house Camera Hub software, in which the image can be fine-tuned.
Design and workmanship
The design of the black-held Elgato Facecam, which weighs just 96 grams, is somewhat reminiscent of the Logitech StreamCam. Behind a small, inwardly curved hump, the Elgato Prime lens finds its place – or rather the lenses, because a whole eight fully glazed lenses do their work in the cam.
The aspherical eyepieces have a low dispersion, which is supposed to ensure maximum image sharpness with reduced chromatic aberration (i.e. imaging errors caused by light refraction). Reflections are also reduced to a minimum, while additionally contrast and tonality of the image are improved.
Behind it, the Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor does its work, which is especially convincing in low-light conditions. Image settings are also stored directly on the facecam thanks to internal flash memory.
There is nothing to complain about in terms of build quality, which is on a very good level throughout. Thanks to the mounted screen holder, the cam fits comfortably on the monitor and is held securely. However, this can also be unscrewed if desired, which allows the Elgato Facecam to be attached to standard tripods thanks to a 1/4-inch thread.
Image quality of the Elgato Facecam
Without fine-tuning, the Elgato Facecam delivers a good image quality and scores particularly well with its 82-degree field of view. That’s four degrees more than the comparable Logitech StreamCam – but Elgato consistently does without a built-in microphone, which makes sense in our opinion. A blue status LED on the left edge of the cam symbolizes that an image is currently being captured.
The Facecam enables FullHD recordings (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) with up to 60 frames per second, which is completely sufficient for streamers. The image scores with decent sharpness and successful automatic lighting settings.
After all, the “Advanced Image Engine” inside the cam, with several million calculations per second, ensures that white balance, sharpness or coloring are automatically displayed at a high level. This works very well in most cases, although the colors are a bit too strong out of the box and a slight image noise is visible. A light next to the camera works wonders here.
In terms of details, the Facecam is on par with the competition, without setting any notable exclamation points itself. At least: even though the cam does not offer autofocus, the picture is sharp between 30 and 120 cm, exactly the distance you usually have to the screen. On the other hand, the fact that the f/2.4 aperture is not quite as fast as the competition is hardly noticeable. The difference is only noticeable in a direct comparison, and the lens is more than sufficient for the intended streaming use.
Elgato Camera Hub as software
Although the Elgato Facecam is immediately ready for use thanks to Plug&Play, you should still not do without downloading the additional Camera Hub software. The program not only downloads firmware updates, but also allows detailed fine-tuning of the image.
Besides the zoom, contrast, saturation or sharpness can be adjusted. In the lighting section, the software also provides information about the present ISO value and thus offers the option to adjust the exposure. In manual mode, shutter speed and compensation can also be adjusted to get the most out of the image.
In fact, with a little fine-tuning, the image quality of the Elgato Facecam can be noticeably improved with this. White balance adjustment, noise reduction, and the choice between 50 Hz and 60 Hz modes round out the features of the Camera Hub software.
On the other hand, it is annoying that Elgato consistently does without a streaming option. Only a recording of screenshots is possible, the detour to OBS, Streamlabs OBS or Xsplit is thus mandatory.
Summary of the Elgato Facecam
With the Facecam, Elgato delivers a rock-solid webcam for streamers that scores with good Full HD image quality including 60 frames per second and flawless processing. The cam is well suited for streaming and video conferencing, but you will not find any real unique selling points.
Many of the features disguised behind sounding names turn out to be a publicity stunt during use, because the Elgato Facecam cannot surpass the renowned competition in terms of image quality, sharpness or autofocus. In addition, the price of 199.99 Euros (~$199.99) is clearly too high for the release. For example, the Logitech StreamCam, which is quite similar in terms of design and features, is already available for about half the price.
The lack of an internal streaming software or additional filters like a bokeh mode also hurts in the end, which is why we cannot give the Elgato Facecam a clear purchase recommendation.