Facecam is the last product Elgato signed and one of the first projects the company has really launched since it was acquired by Corsair in the summer of 2018. A long-term project that is supposed to give companies a little more flexibility, but not only.
The renowned German manufacturer Elgato first became known for its EyeTV solution that allows you to watch TV on your Mac. As a result, and this is obviously what interests us today, Elgato turned to video games and streamers with products that on the one hand simplify the capturing of gameplay sequences and on the other hand make it easier to display the faces of the players. The StreamDecks and other Cam Link Pros are some of the emblematic products of the company that are now trying to go a step further by filming their users directly.
Standard thread, easy installation
Don’t be afraid to invite Big Brother over to your home is out of the question … at least not right away. Elgato simply launches Facecam, a product that is nothing more than an evolved webcam, but very evolved. At first glance, however, it doesn’t look like much. Its box – clad entirely in blue – is as compact as it is discreet. Inside you are also out of the question: In a kind of cardboard matrix we find a small explanation sheet, the camera itself carefully put in a small cloth bag and another box with the only accessories, a USB-C – USB-A cable with a Length of about 2 meters.
There is hardly any reason to get especially ecstatic and even the webcam owner is done quickly. Compared to other models, it is relatively large (79 x 48 x 58 millimeters) and we immediately feel that it is not there for joking: the thing is tight (96 grams). The processing quality is exemplary and even if we are entitled to all plastics, there is no reason for scandal: it is clean and well made. Elgato only has one port (USB-C) on the back of the camera. There is a 360 degree rotating hinge under the box and it is also possible to tilt it forwards / backwards by almost 150 in total.
Simple and easy to use, this hinge enables the facecam to be aligned very quickly and tightening the screws is not difficult, so that the thing is then perfectly stable, for example above the screen. Elgato also supplies a kind of base / clamp, precisely to enable mounting on a monitor, but and this is undoubtedly the most important thing for many users, the main thing that has been chosen is a thread that is more than standard. In fact, it can be used as a classic webcam, but it is also possible to attach it to any multi-mount attachment to place it on a tripod and get a more original shot.
Implementing Facecam is really easy. After plugging in – please note that the USB3 port and the cable are required – the camera is automatically recognized under Mac OS or Windows. Then all you have to do is download / install the Elgato developed Camera Hub software to complete the process … well, not quite done yet. Let’s say the webcam is now operational and when you start Camera Hub you should see what it can record on screen … if you took care to remove the privacy cap! Seriously, before this thing is fully functional you need to look at the software configuration.
Complete software, easily accessible
We believe Elgato doesn’t start with managing video streams from the start, with the options and settings it offers its users. When you open the Camera Hub software, you are greeted with little effort on a very simple page that immediately shows the preview of the camera on the right. It is of course possible to deactivate it. At this level we can also play with the definition of the image and the speed of the animation. Six choices are then possible – 1080p60, 1080p30, 720p60, 720p30, 540p60, 540p30 – and some will regret that 4K is not the order of the day, but let’s not forget that the facecam costs less than 200 dollars.
On the left side of the software we discover the (very) many possibilities. There is of course the choice of input device, as Camera Hub is not limited to a single facecam: you can connect multiple cameras to the same device and make separate settings for each one. You can then activate a zoom level: The option remains interesting, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the level of detail drops very quickly here. Then Elgato simply scrolls with adjustments that relate to the image. Nothing but very classic: So you can change the contrast, saturation or sharpness.
It becomes more and more interesting with everything that has to do with exposure, and it is then possible to hold something automatically via two types of measurement (central or middle shift) and a possibility of compensation. We can also opt for a manual setting, which then gives us control over the exposure time (1/1000 s 1/4 s) and the ISO (100 6 400). Finally, the last two options relate to white balance and noise reduction processing: to some it may seem a bit dull in the image blurring, but overall we find it appropriate.
Excellent picture quality
Nothing else than very classic in what Elgato offers us, but remained devilishly effective: The surface is clear and has the good taste to be full – excellent! – French. It is not always the case. In addition, his facecam has a small memory: the manufacturer does not go into details, but the fact is that it is enough to keep an eye on the adjustments made and not have to repeat them if, for example, we change computers. Practically. However, and it makes perfect sense, we’re not here to judge the Camera Hub software … well, not just anyway. Facecam was developed around two key elements.
So, on the one hand, it is about having a prime lens from Elgato, which he certifies that it is 100% glass with an anti-reflective coating of 18 layers and an anti-infrared filter. . On the other hand, we use a high-end CMOS sensor developed by Sony called Starvis. Given the price of the camera, we suspect there are better solutions, but it doesn’t seem to be faulty. Elgato assures us minimal noise development in all lighting conditions and for our first tests we wanted to confirm this statement: nothing to say, the result is exemplary.
Despite a significant decrease in brightness in the room, Facecam was able to maintain a pleasant, fairly sharp and ultimately low-noise image. We didn’t ask for more. Of course, it’s still best to keep the lighting in the best possible conditions, but a little versatility can’t hurt. Once we return to a more normal level of brightness, it is impossible not to be missed from the abundance of images produced by the camera. We won’t be too difficult when it comes to superlatives, but the professional result praised by Elgato is there and if there is a way to find better, the image obtained is already worth all the praise.
A field of view of up to 82 and the so-called optimized fixed focus help to convince Facecam in all situations. Additionally, Elgato could be reasonable in not offering a 4K definition that it couldn’t hold up. On the other hand, his facecam makes perfect use of 1080p60, which is his most ambitious recording format: no artifacts, no loss of flow are reported. There is no question of autofocus or integrated microphone in this sense: Facecam quickly exaggerates focusing on image quality and users who are looking for a small camera for successful videos will be grateful to it.
SUCCESS ALL ALONG THE LINE!
Obviously, Elgato does not want to compete with the small webcams that can be found in supermarkets at 200 dollars per device. Facecam is not a product that we offer ourselves to have a webcam, but because we want to offer our relatives, our subscribers, our visitors a high quality video rendering. Of course, there are some limitations like the lack of autofocus, but it’s for a good cause.
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