If you are looking for the best camera that will help you record lectures or classes in a crystal-clear image and will give your students a sense of immersive learning experience then you are in the right place. In our guide, we will take you through some of the most important characteristics that you should look for when buying a good camera for this purpose. We will also present a list of handpicked cameras that we believe are the best on the market for the job.
Today time is more valuable than ever, and we know how difficult and time-consuming buying a new camera can be. There are hundreds of models in the market. If you are like us you would want to understand all characteristics and read a ton of reviews. Or even test and compare different cameras to decide which one you like the best. But very few people have enough time to perform their research so extensively.
Luckily you came across our guide. Our team has spent countless hours researching and testing and narrowed down the selection to just five cameras. These are currently the best deal on the market for recording lectures. We have compiled our list so that there is a camera for any budget. Also, each one has an outstanding price/performance ratio. You can’t go wrong with any of them. If you are in a hurry you can just go with the recommended one. But if you want to go to details about all products please keep reading our guide.
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Why record lectures?
The pandemic of early 2020 has really boosted working from home through the roof. Distance education was no exception. Professors and teachers as well as students all had to adapt to this new reality. These circumstances led us to acknowledge that not only is distance learning with the help of modern-day technology entirely possible but can also provide some benefits over traditional methods if done the right way. One of the methods that really cannot be missed when we speak about distance education is recording lectures.
I remember from my University days that some professors had already been recording their lectures. I really cannot emphasize that enough how helpful it was for me to rewatch some of them. You know that as a student it is sometimes difficult to follow and understand everything when hearing the subject for the first time. But if you have an option to participate in a lesson and let it settle at home. Then rewatch the same lesson, you memorize and understand that subject on a much deeper level. This is the kind of knowledge that any teacher should hope to achieve with their students. Also, once you recorded content it will be there to stay and students will be able to rewatch as many times as they like.
The other reason is if you are recording your lectures for an online course where the quality of your video and sound should be no less than perfect if you want to get overall good reviews and have as many people enroll your course as possible.
What are the best cameras for recording lectures?
To choose the most optimal camera for your needs you must first know what kind of lectures will you be recording. There are two basic types of recorded lectures, a “talking head” video and live lecture capture.
If you are planning to do the talking-head video lectures then you can simply go with a good quality external webcam. Some of you might ask “Why can’t I just use my build-in webcam then?” and the answer is really simple. Usually, those built-in webcams are not of the highest quality as everything has to be very compact and low cost. They are good enough for making video calls, but what you are trying to create is on a different level. And for that, you need better equipment. An external webcam will do a great job in that case. Below is our top pick for the best external webcam talking head videos.
Logitech C920 Pro HD Webcam
The Logitech C920x Pro supports recording Full HD 1080p videos at 30 fps. You will definitely make a strong impression with the crystal-clear smooth and vibrantly colored video. One of the strong features of this camera is its dual microphones. These will make you sound very natural in your video. This is a feature that we find specifically important when recording videos and not just using a camera for online video calls.
The camera is very easy to set up on Windows. But it is a little trickier to get it running on Mac. If you decide to buy the camera and have problems setting it up just contact us and we will try to help you to the best of our knowledge.
Not only does the camera feature an adjustable clip but also a tripod thread. This makes it a breeze to place it wherever it works best. It also goes to mention that the camera can also be configured to record 1080p videos at 60 fps. Though this is not possible with standard software if you want extra smoothness in your videos it might be worth a try.
The C920 Pro will automatically adjust to any lighting conditions thanks to its HD lighting adjustment and advanced autofocus. The systems won’t fail even in low-light conditions. This means the camera will do a solid job anywhere. In our opinion, this camera is the best bang for your buck when it comes to recording stunning talking head lectures.
If, on the other hand, your goal is to capture live lectures then a simple webcam won’t do the trick. In that case, you should go for at least a consumer-grade camcorder or even a professional one. These cameras can be used to capture any kind of video. While external webcams are great for close-up videos like talking head lectures you will start to notice a difference in quality when the object of focus is further back. This is especially noticeable when you compare video of the same scenery from webcam and professional camcorder side by side. And it is about those fine touches that make the recorded lecture feel much more engaging and immersive from the student’s perspectives. This is why our team made a selection of the best camcorders. These are at the top of their game when it comes to recording live lectures.
You can consider this camera to be the optimal choice for the mid-range camcorder. It will give you high-quality videos that will look and feel professional. You can be sure that your students will notice that. Though packed with features it is fairly easy to learn how to handle.
It is equipped with a 20x Optical Zoom and HDR Movie function. This means it will take clear shots no matter the light conditions in your classroom.
One of the most outstanding features of this camera are perhaps its Wi-Fi functionalities which lets you connect your phone or tablet to your camcorder. You can then remotely control your camera with your phone in real time. Additionality you can also do live-streaming with this camcorder.
The camera features tons of other functionalities like Wireless Twin Camera for using Camcorder and your phone to shoot from two angles simultaneously, Creative Control, Intelligent Frame Creation for Full-HD Slow Motion and many others. With this camcorder you will need to use quality U3 C10 SD card probably around 128 GB in capacity.
Still in the consumer range but more towards high-end camcorders you will find the Panosonic HC-VX981K. It shares some of the features with the HC-V770 like Wireless Twin Camera and HDR Movie Feature but upgrades on several fields.
The camera is equipped with 20x Optical Zoom and features superb quality LEICA Dicomar lens. This means you can put this camera anywhere in the classroom, even very far back, and you will always get crystal-clear video.
One of the more interesting features that can come in handy when recording lectures is 4K in-camera post cropping, panning, zooming and subject tracking. Imagine the camera always focuses on you when you move around the classroom. That will definitely make a video more dynamic and more interesting to watch wouldn’t it?
One downside would be that the included battery does not last very long and if you want a better battery you need to buy it separately. Overall, we guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed with the result this camcorder produces.
We are entering the field of professional cameras with Sony FDR-AX700. This camera is so feature packed that it is difficult to know where to begin.
Firstly, the sensor is a 1” back illuminated Exmor RS stacked CMOS image sensor with integrated DRAM chip which enables efficient and blazing fast image recording. Thanks to this it can record super-slow-motion videos of up to 960 fps which is crazy. A large sensor also allows for remarkable low-light-low-noise videos and you can be absolutely sure that this camera will handle itself in any light conditions. It goes to mention that the camera comes with fast hybrid auto focus (AF) system which can focus on any object in a blink of an eye. This is especially important with large 4K sensor cameras.
To extend recording time the camera features dual SD card slots and it automatically switches to second card when the first one is full.
Overall a very capable camera as you would expect at this price point. The quality of your videos will absolutely blow the students away.
Canon XA45 is a real deal. It also features Dual SD card slots and HD Zoom lens and is most suitable for lectures and large classrooms. You would want to use this camera when you give a long lecture to a large audience. Due to new image sensor is provides outstanding noise-free image in just about any light Canon XA45 conditions. Even though the sensor is smaller then the previous camera the result is still a professional looking video.
Overall, this is a fantastic SDI enabled camera for its size and image quality. It is still small enough to travel with, so even if you are not giving lectures always in the same classroom it will not be a problem to carry it around with you.
Choosing a good camera for recording lectures might seem like an easy task. But there are a lot of things you have to consider. One is of course your intended use, then you have to consider possible light conditions, how professional you want your video to be, your budget and similar. Once you have all these questions answered we think you can find the perfect camera for you within our selection of top 5 digital cameras.
By choosing the right gear you can make sure that the quality of your lectures will not diminish through recorded video. It can even add an interesting extra layer to it. Remember, in the end, it’s most important that students will benefit from your recorded lectures because education is our future.