Video call quality: webcam vs iPhone vs DSLR

Want to look better on video calls? Yes, you do, and it’s not difficult! I’ve just published two articles for @reincubate that compare webcams, iPhones, and DSLR/mirrorless cameras, and offer tips for improving your calls.

With so many people working and learning at home due to Coronavirus, video calling has suddenly become super important. You probably have a camera in your laptop, or maybe you’ve dug out an old webcam, or perhaps you’re looking to buy a new one. Welcome to the club: online stock of webcams and related devices have dried up, and where they are available, retailers are selling them at exorbitant markups.

I’ve just published two articles for a new client, Reincubate, about improving the quality of your video calls. Reincubate is working on a very cool app called Reincubate Camo, currently in private beta, that lets you use your iPhone—you know, that device that includes amazing cameras and image technology?—as a webcam to make you look better.

Although Camo will soon be the star of the show, these two articles aren’t focused on the app. We wanted to provide comparisons of current devices on the market and help explain the often-confusing technical specs involved. For instance, camera resolution is great, but if the webcam doesn’t render colors well, then resolution is no longer important. So, even if you’re not interested in using an iPhone as a webcam, you’ll find plenty of great information.

If you’ve recently thought, “I need more selfies of Jeff looking blankly into the camera,” these are the articles for you!

  • How to look your best on a video call. Not everyone can show up to remote meetings looking like they just rolled out of bed. What about folks who need to attract investors, provide counseling, or pitch ad campaigns? Presentation and appearance matter. This article covers several good general pieces of advice for anyone to easily improve their video calls. Watching news correspondents and public figures lately, it’s amazing how much better some of them could appear if they do a few easy things. Get those cameras up to eye level, at the very least!
  • Video call quality: webcam vs iPhone vs DSLR. I compared five devices: the camera built into the lid of a 16-inch MacBook Pro, a Logitech HD Pro C920 webcam, an iPhone 11 Pro, an iPhone SE (2020 model), and a FujiFilm X-T3 mirrorless camera set up as a webcam. Although there are other devices I wanted to also throw into the mix, getting hardware right now is extremely difficult. For example, the Logitech Brio 4K Ultra HD Pro is running close to $350 (an increase of $150 over list price) with long shipping times. Still, this set provides a lot of contrast in various lighting situations.

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