Back To Top Arrow
The Great Debate – Webcam vs Professional PTZ

Posted on 9/14/2020 7:00:00 PM by Legrand AV Team

Why shouldn't educators use the built-in, free camera on their laptop for engaging students?

The temptation is very real…those low cost or even free webcams are out there. So why spend the extra dollars on a camera upgrade? Keeping students engaged is key to their success and a quality video camera will provide a realistic, face-to-face interaction for both teacher and student, ensuring a successful experience no matter if they are in the classroom or at home.

Discover how a professional camera can make a difference:

1. Presets – change the view without fumbling with the technology

Sitting behind a static webcam is sure to bore your students and make learning less fun. Make your lessons more interesting with different views of the classroom. Freely move around the room to engage students while using simple preset controls to keep you in the picture. Switch between a view of the podium and the whiteboard during lectures or to a view of students in the room for engagement with off-site students for a seminar-style class.

2. High Quality Image – create a more life-like experience to viewers

Professional cameras capture more detail than a webcam to provide a more life-like image to viewers. With high contrast image sensors, text and other important details will be much more visible. Windows are key to a classroom’s design, but bright light will overpower a webcam making your picture appear washed out. PTZ cameras are designed with better light-gathering capabilities to manage poor lighting conditions and provide a clearer image.

3. Zoom – capture the details that matter most

It’s no longer just about the student in the back of the room. There’s now the overflow room and students at home. Don’t let anyone miss out on the details that matter most. Give everyone a front row seat when you zoom in to text on a white board, get a close up of your science lab experiment or when examining artwork or other documents. Most webcams feature digital zoom and use electronic cropping to get closer to the subject, resulting in fuzzy images. Professional cameras use an optical zoom to get you closer without distortion.

4. Install Flexibility – freedom to place the camera anywhere in the room

Place the camera anywhere in the room with a single network cable providing power and connection. Set up a tripod or cart for easy movement of the camera between rooms or a home office. Install in the ceiling or wall to meet ADA compliance or for a permanent and clutter-free solution. Freedom to place the camera anywhere in the room allows educators the flexibility to design their classroom how they choose. 

5. Professional Audio – get full coverage when you need to move around your space

Pair your professional camera with professional audio components for the ultimate virtual classroom experience. Most laptops have built-in microphones that can provide okay audio pickup at close range, but what happens when you move around the classroom? Professional microphones offer features such as 360-degree coverage and echo cancellation for crystal-clear audio free from annoying feedback issues common with inexpensive audio devices. A professional speaker system provides better audio throughout the classroom so remote participants can be heard by students in the room. Consider ceiling microphones for a touch-free experience and clean room design.

6. System Control - professional systems can be controlled by touch panels

No need to disrupt learning to adjust your camera or audio, simply pair a touch screen device designed for easy control of your system. For example, pair a Vaddio PTZ camera with the Vaddio Device Controller for selecting presets and fine-tuning volume without interrupting content being shared from your PC screen. Custom preset names allow you to tailor-make areas like Whiteboard, science desk, reading corner without needing to remember “what was preset 1 again?”.

Top Camera Picks

Explore these top picks designed for learning environments.

K-12 Cameras

Higher Ed Cameras

At Legrand | AV, we are dedicated to keeping people connected no matter where they are. If you have any videoconferencing or live streaming questions, our solutions engineers are ready to help. Email us at with the details of your project.