Webcam, but simple
September 15, 2020 4:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a plug-and-play USB webcam that does NOT have a mic built-in that I can buy online and ship to Anchorage. My mic setup is great, I don't want to mess with it with yet another competing audio source, I just need video. Under $50 would be ideal.
posted by blnkfrnk to Shopping (8 answers total)
The Logitech C270 is a nice basic webcam. It has a mic but you can just select your existing mic in software and ignore the one in the camera, as I do.

A few months ago webcams were scarcer than toilet paper but supply seems to have caught up. I got mine from Office Depot and I see Best Buy claims to have them in stock.
posted by exogenous at 4:14 PM on September 15

Just a shot in the dark -- if you happen to own a Canon DSLR, you can use it as a webcam. (I imagine this could be true with other camera manufacturers as well, but I only know about Canon.)

I have a trusty old T2i sitting around, which isn't even supposed to be supported, and it works GREAT for this purpose. My office looks ballin'.

Although these cameras technically have a (very crappy) microphone, Windows and the utility Canon created to turn the feed into a webcam only seem to recognize the video.
posted by nosila at 4:51 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

Disable the microphone on the webcam by using your operating system’s software to do so.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:17 PM on September 15

I could disable the microphone, but I don't want to.

I already tried that. Somewhere, between the audio settings of the conference software, the headphones with the actual mic, the mic built into the computer, the computer's speakers, and a webcam, there is something that wants to be the mic but can't be. I want a webcam with no mic so that I can use the mic that works within the house-of-cards-setup that is my crap laptop. Thanks.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:31 PM on September 15

I was looking at Logitech webcams a couple of months ago, and lamenting that they were all overpriced and mostly backordered.

Then it occurred to me that my phone camera (Samsung Galaxy S7) has much better specs... and after a little research, found that there are a number of apps in the Google Play Store that will let you use your phone as a webcam. The one I'm using is called Iriun Webcam, and there's a small companion program you install on your PC.

Initially I was connecting the phone to the PC wirelessly, but I found that connecting with a USB cable provides more stable performance. It works great, 99% of the time. Occasionally, the picture drops out for 5 seconds or so, but the rest of the time it looks really good.

The only issue you might have is figuring out how to prop up the phone. I built a little holder out of scrap wood that fits over the top of my monitor.

And to be clear, it's video only -- no sound.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:36 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

If you want to try using a phone, there are many choices of phone stands for the purpose.

Anything designed to be an easy-to-use webcam is going to have a mic. I suspect that insisting on a camera with no mic is going to add to the complications of your setup rather than simplifying them.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:05 AM on September 16 [3 favorites]

A bit of an odd one, but I happened to find that the camera that came with the Wii game "Your Shape" works perfectly fine on anything that supports UVC webcams (which includes Windows and macOS). These are small pod cameras that have a little fold out base to hook onto your screen, are made by Hercules, and typically have "Ubisoft" written on the front. The model number on them is WC04, and that particular model does not have a built in mic. The video quality is.. not great, these are old cameras and so they're not going to be even really 720p resolution, but as far as "I need to be on a conference call" use, I found it to be perfectly acceptable. These can be found on eBay in the $10-$20 range. You do have to be a bit careful with these; there are updated versions (model WD19, which has a little dot underneath the camera bit) that look almost exactly the same but do have a built-in mic.
posted by mrg at 8:18 AM on September 16

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