Why do I have two webcams?

Why do I have two webcams?
Photo by Ernest Ojeh / Unsplash

I'm a big proponent of having video on at all my meetings. I realized the need to turn on video just before the pandemic in late 2019. I typically use Microsoft Teams, and I'm using an external Canon prosumer camera as my webcam:

It's connected via the Elgato Cam Link 4K device and acts like a regular USB-connected webcam. You can read more about this setup here. I must only remember to turn it off when not being used - like at the end of the day.

But why do I have two webcams, like in the picture above? Two reasons.

Reason 1: Multiple computers

I have a nice Windows-based workstation in my home office, and the Canon camera is connected to that. But I occasionally also have laptops from clients - perhaps with their specific security settings or VPN connectivity thingies, that I won't or can't install on my own devices. For those reasons, I have two webcams.

The actual camera is connected to my device. The Logitech Brio 4K is connected to whatever device I use on the side - or throughout the day. It's a fantastic, robust webcam with a super sharp picture supporting Windows Hello for logging in. Windows Hello is rarely used for client environments, but having a separate camera makes it so much easier to keep it manageable and not need to resort to the built-in laptop webcam. Gone are the grainy potato-quality video streams of me.

Reason 2: When working remotely

The other reason, perhaps a more prominent one, is when I work remotely. I work from home - 100% of the time. But occasionally, I visit the office - perhaps once a quarter - and I might travel and work simultaneously. I pack the Logitech Brio with me for those moments and use it with a laptop. I've yet to try out the built-in webcam of the MacBook Pro, but I suspect it isn't great - at least compared to an excellent external webcam.

What if I had.. three webcams?

I've dreamed of having three webcams a couple of times. There are two I currently use daily, and a third one is packed neatly and ready to go! There is no need to unplug and spend precious seconds packing the Logitech in the backpack.

Alternatively, I have friends with multiple webcams, and they conveniently switch the camera during Teams calls. It's like I'm watching a documentary with various camera angles.

My dream persists, yet I know I don't need another gadget or thing in my life. Two is more than enough.

Invest in a good webcam

I warmly recommend investing in at least a single good webcam. It doesn't have to be a fancy external camera that acts as a webcam. It's just something that isn't the built-in webcam in your laptop. Those are just awful.