It’s not just toilet paper that is hard to find.
For tech-savvy consumers, webcams are now also missing, these small plug-in cameras that you can use to broadcast on the Internet.
Logitech, the company that dominates webcam sales, is sold out. Amazon and Best Buy are out of stock. And price cutters on eBay sell used models for up to $ 420 or more than twice as much as the most expensive Logitech model, the $ 199 brio.
“Global demand for webcams is needed by all remote workers, students, and healthcare,” notes analyst Jeremiah Owyang, who was able to snap up a unit in early March before it sold out.
Sure, there are built-in webcams on most laptops that do the trick, but they have a much lower resolution. For example, the new Apple MacBook model just released has an internal webcam with a 1.2 megapixel sensor and a resolution of 720p (1280 x 720).
Most of the webcams sold by Logitech are recorded in a resolution of 1920 x 1080, while the top 13-megapixel brio extends up to 4K (4096 x 2160).
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Since many of us attend or run online seminars on Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, or other programs, attend courses in this way, or only connect with friends, Owyang wanted the special webcam for vanity reasons.
Let’s call it improved picture quality.
“It smoothes the skin and not the heavily pixelated on-board cameras on laptops,” he says. “And the higher resolution and the larger lens produce a better picture in poor lighting conditions.”
More than ever, he runs three public live streams or business webinars a week. “It is important to present yourself as well as possible in these unusual times.”
For its part, Logitech says it does everything it can to bring webcams back into stock.
“With the relocation of teleworking, distance learning and telemedicine in the past few weeks, many Logitech products have been in great demand worldwide. We are working to meet these needs as quickly as possible and to increase the production and distribution of our products.”
While the company would not provide precise information about when webcams should be back in stock, retailer B & H Photo states on its website that they will be available again in June.
Craig Nosse, a marine engineer at the University of Hawaii, recorded a new webcam in early March. He was surprised that Best Buy still had inventory, he says, and “hurried” to buy one.
His daughter’s internal MacBook webcam wasn’t always synced with zoom conferencing. “Sometimes I zoomed in without a video and, despite several troubleshooting efforts, I couldn’t get consistent.” So he switched to a PC without a built-in camera and installed the Logitech C615 webcam. Now “no problems with zoom and video / audio quality were amazing.”
Kim Doty, a book editor from nearby Tampa, Florida, was not so lucky. She ordered two webcams at the beginning of March, but they have not yet arrived.
Your son is in fifth grade and will need it for zoom classes. Since the webcam has not yet been delivered, I have to set it up on his phone.
Use the phone instead
Since your phone’s resolution is so much better than that of the laptop webcam, it is a better solution to look better at conferences and have no audio / video problems than picking up your phone as a better alternative.
For a moment, consider that the MacBook 720p webcam has 1280 x 720 resolution specifications compared to the latest iPhone’s selfie camera, which can shoot in 4K 4096 x 2160 resolution.
What do these numbers mean? You look better in low light conditions. The screen will not be that dark. You have a better color on your face.
With your phone, you can easily join zoom courses, hangout sessions, Skype calls, and life.
However, if you want to appear in front of the camera, we recommend two important accessories:
Pick up the phone
Keep in mind that during a video conference, you probably won’t be able to hold your phone in your hand for more than a few seconds, and the resulting wobble is a nuisance to other participants. You must keep the device still. If you’re like most people, look at the webcam instead of the top, because that’s where the webcam is, and that’s what your double chin emphasizes. Eye level is best or a little higher. So if you want to use your phone as a video device, take a phone stand and place your device there. B&H has a Kanto stand for $ 29.99 with a 15-inch movable arm. Another option is a table tripod with an attachment for the iPhone. The Magnus FT-P10 tripod only costs about $ 15. If you don’t notice, this is an easy fix. Until then, put it on a couple of books. (You can also do this with a laptop if necessary.)
If you plan to spend a lot of time making video calls, your phone sucks on the battery. Make sure you have a power cord nearby to connect the phone. You can turn on the device at any time by connecting it directly to the computer or by finding a wall space nearby.
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter