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Exposed: The Truth About Webcams vs. DSLR Cameras

Do a little research online and you’ll be quickly convinced that you need a DSLR-camera to create professional videos.

But trust me when I tell you, buying and trying to use a DSLR-camera is like opening Pandora’s Box.

I know this from first-hand experience because over the best part of the last decade, I’ve done more than 1,500 training sessions with small businesses and sales professionals.

If the numbers were ever tallied, I’d be credited with hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales from The Digital Handshake alone.

And so I’ve decided to put my cumulative knowledge together in one place and save everyone a bunch of time and money…

In the video below, I put a webcam head-to-head against a DSLR-camera to prove to you without a shadow of doubt that a seventy dollar Logitech webcam is the “cell phone” of video production.

In This Video I Compare Webcam vs. DSLR:

  1. Cost – The difference in the cost of the equipment
  2. Workflow – The time and skill needed to produce videos
  3. Quality – The final product (picture and sound quality)

Spoiler Alert

More often than not, opting for a DSLR camera is like using a “satellite phone” to call a friend who lives around the corner.

Now For The Techie’s Out There:

A) The Panasonic G6 is not technically a DSLR-camera because it’s got a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensor. DSLR is the common term that describes theses types of camera, so I went with that.

B) You’ll notice that the framing of the webcam and DSLR-camera footage is slightly different. This is because the lens on the webcam has a different viewing angle, so it’s impossible to create the exact same shot.

Conclusions

– While a DSLR-camera does produce better quality video,

– The Logitech webcam combined with the Blue Nessie microphone is the easier and better choice for your wallet, sanity, and productivity.

Windows users: grab the C920. Mac users: grab the C615.

Do you still have unanswered questions about using a Logitech webcam to create videos? Leave a comment below and I’ll personally respond and provide as much help as I can. Also, if you found value in this information, show your support for me by commenting and sharing the post.

About the Author William Franco

Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.

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  • Always been impressed with how you’ve created such a simple setup that can produce such high quality video.

    Why the separate recommendations for Mac vs Windows on the webcams?

  • Paul Sokol says:

    This is great Will Franco aka Flywheel!

    Thanks for doing an honest comparison because there is definitely a huge misunderstanding that you need super expensive (and difficult) equipment to create amazing video 🙂

  • Mark N. Cohen says:

    Hi Will. For the C615 – Amazon has various versions of it and they range in prices from $48 to much higher for brand new. Any specific suggestions on which I should buy now that I have joined? As you know, I am very excited to get started and already have the Blue Nessie Mic per your suggestion. Thanks as always, Flywheel.

  • Say it bigger. Say it better. High definition video up to 1080p, autofocus and a fold-and-go design for amazing picture quality anywhere. Video chat, blog, stream, share, rant, rap, sing and dance with ease. Upload your videos to Facebook and YouTube in just one click. Plus, it works seamlessly with all your favorite applications.

  • A couple of points in defence of using a DSLR or digital camcorder:

    – A DSLR is arguably more portable than a webcam and a laptop. I can turn up at someone’s office with my DSLR and a lightweight tripod, set up super quick, shoot an interview and get out. With the laptop/webcam I’ve got a much larger package plus I still need the tripod to get a steady shot. I also need to wait for my laptop to start up.

    – Capture problems. This is a big one for me. I’ve shot interviews with webcams only to find out later that the captured video had a frame missing, or a the video skips 75% of the way in. What went wrong? Was it the webcam? A problem with the PC/Mac? The capture software? It’s pretty hard to tell and anyone you go to for support is likely to blame one of the other two. If there’s a problem with the video from my DSLR (which has never happened to me) I can go straight to the manufacturer. It’s cut and dry.

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi Conor,

      100% agree with you. However, you’re filming other people. And DSLR video footage requires editing, among other things. My goal here is to give folks a quick and easy way to make short edit-free videos they can create themselves in a few minutes, as opposed to hours. Like, following up a phone call with a short video email message.

  • James Woo says:

    A decent webcam (one that shoots HD) is so much easier to use than a dslr, or a micro four third (m4/3) camera for several types of videos. The workflow is so much simpler.

    Even if I were to do a bit of editing, cut out the bloopers, etc it is still much faster to get the video into a computer directly.

    I shoot most of my talking head + screen captures with a webcam too.

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi James, YES — a webcam is one of the most underrated tools of the digital era! They’re cheap and easy to use as well. Whereas, DSLRs are a great deal more complex and expensive, for marginal gains when it comes to talking head video. I get emails regularly saying “What kind of DSLR camera do you use?” People are shocked, when I respond “I’m not. I’m using a $70 webcam.”

  • James says:

    People should not let gear get in the way. Btw, it’s real cool what you are doing here on JiveSystems, teaching people how to sell with video.

  • Lauren Sergy says:

    Thanks so much for this video, Will! The comparison footage and run down of the workflow between the webcam and DSLRs were exactly what I needed. You just saved me about $800 and god knows how much time & headache.

  • Photographer says:

    Yes, I discovered this article during a Google search, I was looking for a new webcam as the one I have no is crap. But I recently got a DSLR camera as I am an aspiring photographer and just came to the discovery of using that as a webcam. But I am not sure if it’s worth still investing in a new webcam or just a microphone for audio. What do you suggest?

  • Krishan says:

    Sir
    I have pc and I have to produce home videos.
    My question from you is that
    if I spend 5000 rupeesto buy camera
    then which would be better between webcam or DSLR in respect of quality of videos. Please give your advice. thank you.

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi Krishan,

      Assuming you’re in India and 5000 rupeesto equals about $70, I believe your best option is a Logitech C920 webcam. The video quality is superb as long as the room is well lit. You can barely tell the difference between an expensive DSLR camera and Logitech C920 webcam, when viewing videos online, provided the room you’re recording in is well lit.

  • Ashley Griffin says:

    Thanks for the advice! Your video was so easy to follow, and I was hoping that you would describe which product you were using, and you did even better by showing us both!

  • Debbie says:

    Will I have a question for you. I want to produce sewing videos which will at times require me to zoom in for close up shots of the sewing machine as I’m using it to demonstrate a particular technique. Is it possible to do this type of recording using the C920 webcam ?

  • Wink Jones says:

    Will has asked me to reply to the question about zooming in with my digital camera. Here is an example, hosted on Jive, that I did just last week for a client who is now buying this diamond. As you can see, I was able to really get up close and personal with this diamond, showing him the interior of the diamond at very high magnification.

    http://handshake2.jivesystems.com/videos/naszsofawy?postroll_id=567

    Normally I make shorter videos, but in this case I knew my client was particularly concerned about the nature and size of the inclusions so I took extra time.

    I get this small digital microscope, as they call it, from BigC.com. I can take images from twelve inches away up to right up against the lens which can go up to 200X, but the depth of field at that magnification is not suitable for much in my line of work. I use the Blue Snowball microphone that my daughter turned me on to many years ago, made by the same people that makes the Blue Nessie Will recommends.

    Here is a link to the camera for those who are interested:
    http://www.dinolite.us/products/digital-microscopes/am4111t

    What I normally do now, is a ten to fifteen second introduction with my face and talking with the client, using his name. Then for the post roll, I use the link option to the video that I want him/her to see.

    I only recently learned how to do this, and my videos now get an even greater response rate than they did before.

    I do the intro using the Logitech C910 that Will turned me on to a year or two ago. I sent that video straight to Jive and then link to the video that I have edited and added music to using my little digital microscope and editing in Camtasia to add the sound. It took me ten to twenty minutes to create such a video when I started, but with a little practice it takes me normally only one take to cut the raw video, starting over at any point where I make a burple and then adding music in Camtasia. It now takes me about 5 minutes to make a 30 second to one minute video, a little longer with a longer video like the one linked to above.

    I hope that some of you find this useful. All I can say about this wonderful program of Will’s is that it WORKS REALLY WELL for me. I hope you are all having fun with it too.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions, I am always happy to share information with people.

    Wink Jones

  • Rollie Cole says:

    I believe you, and follow your advice with Logitech, Blue mike and tripod. But swamping all of that, for most people in my experience, are (a) lighting, and (b) background. Most people do NOT put enough light on their face, and have too much light in the background (sunlight through windows is the worst!) — and show themselves as a dark shadow. People often shoot in front of whatever — again, open windows or reflective, glary backgrounds are the worst — but super-busy backgrounds are bad as well. Pure white is OK (if NON-reflective), but a big boring and “intense” for my taste. I think the US Senators whose choose a background of dark, look-alike books have a good idea — those books convey a gravitas they are seeking, and the surface is non-reflective and dark without the boring/intense focus on the face coming from an absolutely plain background, dark or light. Your videos come with the lighting almost right (I favor a bit more light on the face versus the background, but I understand taste varies within a range most people would find OK). Also, your office has plain walls with a plant or object here and there — non-reflective, but not so plain as to be boring. If you get the light and the background wrong, the best camera in the world will have problems; if you get these two things right, even the worst camera will make you look better than most.
    You have commented on this in other posts; I just thought it would also be very relevant here.

  • Gregory Salvatore says:

    A dslr with an external mic is capable of doing exactly what you are saying is the advantage of a webcam and mic. Sparkosoft.com offers a program allowing you dslr to act as a webcam and that can be uploaded without editing and still have all the advantages of the better quality.

    • jiveSYSTEMS says:

      Hi Gregory,

      I’m familiar with running a DSLR camera into Sparkosoft. And yes, it’s true you can record video directly to your computer using this method. However, I chose not refer to this method in relation to a DSLR because Sparkosoft is one of the only pieces of software that enables you to turn a DSLR into a functional webcam. This would make Sparkosoft a linchpin. If they go down, you’re SOL. And frankly, the quality difference between DSLR and webcam isn’t noticeable online; it’s just not worth the added expense and hassle!

      • Gregory Salvatore says:

        Your logic still doesn’t make sense. You chose not to include software that turns a DSLR into a webcam because the company may go down? You mean out of business, its software, they go out, I still have the software. Logitech could go out of business too.

        I don’t disagree with your original point that using a webcam is a better workflow for someone starting out or not making the money to justify a multi thousand dollar purchase. The best equipment is the equipment you have. But on the otherside, your not even using a DSLR, its a mirrorless camera with a small sensor. DSLRs have a larger sensor than what the G6 has. They are capable of High End Lenses and capable of a lot better picture than anything you have shown in this video. Your review is the equivalent of comparing a VW Beetle to a racecar, but your racecar is a base model mustang.

        The problem is you assumed something for your audience and didn’t review all the options or even mention them, in fact said it couldn’t be done. I watched your review to gather information. But you didn’t provide it. I am a photographer and already have high end equipment but I don’t have a webcam. According to your video it would be better for me to buy a $70 webcam then a $40. piece of software. Spend more for lower quality?

        One more thing… I guarantee my $1,500 L series lens on a full frame sensor looks a hell of a lot better streaming than your $70 Logitech webcam. Remember Live TV is nothing more than streaming. I don’t see news programs or sporting events saying… “lets just use a webcam”

        • Will Franco says:

          I’m dead clear and up front on target market, sales agents. In this manner, the variables need to be simplified down to what’s applicable to sales agents. I used a Mustang as it’s more accessible to sales agents than a race car. Even though I have high-end equipment, I still use a webcam for sending videos to follow-up phone calls and video blogging. In the same way, I would use a Mustang over a race car to drive to the store or to a meeting. Frankly, I’ll admit “I couldn’t even drive the race car.”

        • DrySkiier says:

          This answer makes a lot of assumptions that Will did not make. He did not say that if you already have invested in a lot of camera equipment you should buy a webcam. Although, given the workflow differences, it would still save time.

          I see WIll’s advice for someone like me. Someone who considered buying a DSLR and a wide angle lens, but was not aware of the extra workflow involved. Will is saying that many/most viewers are not going to notice the difference, and that the DSRL route ends up being a lot more overhead. I had not considered either of these things before Will brought them up. I don’t want really big files I have to simply downsample, and a complicated workflow that would consume a lot of my time.

  • Seo Sem says:

    Which Logitech webcam model number are you referring to in your video?

  • jiveSYSTEMS says:

    The Logitech C920 is not perfect, but for $60 dollars and easy of use, it’s unbeatable!

    • seattlejew says:

      Well. What is better? I do not understand why we have such great mikes and such poor webcams

      • jiveSYSTEMS says:

        The Logitech C920 is the best webcam at the moment. It’s a great webcam!

      • John says:

        Webcams are meant for Skype calls and that’s pretty much it. Most professional streamers will use a dslr as their webcam.

        • jiveSYSTEMS says:

          For a sales professionals working a pipeline of leads, a DSLR is time and cost prohibitive. Much like trying to drive a Formula 1 car to the grocery store. A webcam is simple and fast, it’s also good enough. Frankly, most people I’ve asked can’t tell the difference. I’m sure you can tell the difference, but you are not your customer. Low-budget video is becoming popular for marketing too. Content creators are realizing they’re increasing production quality at the cost of delivering relevant and timely messages. Put simply “Simple gets done!”

  • jiveSYSTEMS says:

    Hi David,

    I’m assuming you have a Macbook Pro 13 with 2 USB-C ports. I’d unplug from the wall and use two Apple adapters.

  • Gavin Ganzkow says:

    Hi Will, very helpful video, thanks for doing it. One question for you, about lighting. I have a Logitech C920, will use it to do videos of me discussing legal issues for my law firm website. That’s it — pretty much just my face in front of the camera, talking. I’m trying to determine my best option for lighting. At this point, I’m considering a 14″ or 19″ flourescent ring light or an LED Rotolight RL-48. Any thoughts on these choices, or is there something else I should consider? Thanks for your input, your video was certainly instructive.

  • Roger Smith says:

    Hi Will Opnion on The Logitech 920-v- Webcam C930e which features the widest-ever field-of-view in a business webcam – 90-degrees – and is the first with HD 1080p H.264/SVC UVC 1.5 encoding, the excellent technology that frees up PC bandwidth with on-camera video-processing. With pan, tilt and zoom functions and RightLight 2 technology, this webcam delivers the most professional desktop video collaboration experience yet

  • Jaytee says:

    So Zoom”s Q2n was recommended to me…your thoughts please…
    JT

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi Jaytee, the Zoom Q2N is not suitable for salespeople because (1) it doesn’t record directly to your computer (2) the viewfinder is on the back of the device. Having to transfer a video from the device to your computer eats up precious time. If you can’t see yourself in some sort of viewfinder, you can’t position yourself correctly in the frame. This is why I recommend a Logitech C920. The Logitech C920 connects to your computer via USB and you can use your computer monitor to position yourself in the frame.

  • Michelle Cordero Myers says:

    Hi Will, I’m completely non-technical and a beginner to creating and sharing videos online. I need to do this to leverage my business, so I’m jumping in and appreciate your information. I currently have a Macbook Air and an ipad – so I think I’ll get the Webcam Logitech C615 and a microphone as you suggest. Tripod and anything else I’m going to need to produce good videos? They will be of me teaching yoga (in short 20 min segments) and talking about my programs?

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi Karen,

      At jiveSYSTEMS, we focus on salespeople working a pipeline of leads. Our process and video platform is laser-targeted.

      Yoga is a different flow 😉 A sales video is like a regular email, a 20-minute yoga tutorial is like an ebook.

      The building blocks of an effective video (that we’ve created) still apply. The equipment and workflow are different because the production quality is higher for your use case.

      If you have an iPad Pro, even the older model. The front-facing camera is superb! Use the iPad as the camera and pick-up the following:
      1) Rode Video MicMe (plugins into the 3.5mm port in the iPad)
      2) Diva Super Nova Ring Light
      3) iPow Universal Tablet Mount
      4) Tripod
      5) FliMic Pro app (to record the videos)

      YouTube is a great option for hosting (if you want to keep it simple).

      Feel free to email me, if you have specific questions. I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction. My email is listed on our contact page (in the footer of the website).

      • Michelle Cordero Myers says:

        Fantastic! Thank you. I’ll see how it goes with this set up, and I already purchased the Nessie, Logitech webcam set up for the short videos that I’ll do for sales and lead generation (like 2-4 mins). Your assistance is very much appreciated.
        On the hosting end do you have a few recommendations? I’m curious what the options are outside of Vimeo and Youtube.

  • I put a webcam head-to-head against a DSLR-camera to prove to you without a shadow of doubt that a seventy dollar Logitech webcam is the “cell phone” of video production.

  • Drea says:

    Hi there- I am really glad I came across this- I initially purchased a Logitech 4k webcam and like you say – it was literally plug and play. I noticed the quality was not the ultimate and I am going to be using our setup for streaming- so I purchased a DSLR A6300 camera- and the process is a lot more difficult. I am waiting for this Elgato cam link before I can stream using the new camera…. I have spent over 1000 dollars. For streaming purposes, do you think I should get used to the DSLR or go back to Logitech 4k webcam? I was thinking of using OBS…. instead of the Logitech software.

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