Of course it was always going to be a webcam. Yes, arguably the biggest name in streaming tech has finally unveiled the Elgato Facecam (opens in new tab). It's the company's first ever webcam, despite it actually being all over the streaming cam market with its purchase of the phone-based EpocCam app, and its super-serious Cam Link 4K and Cam Link Pro goodies.
You could maybe argue it's missed the boat a little given that peak webcam was around this time last year, but the Facecam isn't a knee-jerk reaction to the global situation. "We didn't start development in response to Covid," representatives of Elgato told us during a pre-briefing about its new camera.
And this isn't just a standard webcam for the masses to jam atop their monitors so they can hate themselves for doing yet another dry Zoom quiz. The Elgato Facecam is more than just a cam for your face, it's the perfect half-step for serious streamers between a $50 camera off Amazon and plumbing a DLSR into your rig.
The uncompressed 1080p/60 video is likely to be the biggest draw for budding streamers, smoothing out the sorts of artifacting you're liable to get from most other webcams you might have. It's also a fixed focus camera, meaning no wobbly auto-focus shenanigans mid-stream, ably demonstrated by our Jorge in his review.
It's also got some outstanding software accompanying the Facecam too. The Camera Hub application allows for a huge amount of control over the webcam via simple sliders and switches.
The heart of the Facecam itself is the Elgato Optical Module, a combination of the custom Elgato Prime Lens and the Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor. The lens is an all-glass affair, which apparently comes with studio-quality optics, that's attached to a Sony sensor which is already optimised for low-light conditions, and is traditionally used in security cameras.
Elgato has told us that it's the baseline for future camera developments from the company, so don't expect the Facecam to be the final word in Elgato's own webcam range.
The Elgato Facecam is available now, for the princely sum of $199.99 (£189.99). So yeah, she ain't cheap, but she's a beaut.