Need a camera and gear for HDMI videoconferencing

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hobsonp New Member • Posts: 6
Need a camera and gear for HDMI videoconferencing

I'm looking for a better alternative to USB "webcams." I will be volunteering to teach extracurricular classes to kids online beginning in the fall.  My budget is around $500 for the camera and capture card.

For proof of concept, I bought a super cheap HDMI capture dongle and put my old Sony DSC RX-100 on the cable.  The image is better than my old 720p Logitech webcam, but it's letterboxed and has the exposure data text on the screen.  This setup is not better than a new ~$150 Logitech, but with a better camera and capture card it looks promising.

I'm limited to about 3 Mbps upstream on the internet connection, so there's no point to 4K.  What I really need is the right focal length, good exposure, white balance, contrast, brightness and so on.  I want the best image possible before it gets mangled and compressed for livestreaming.

35mm focal length equivalent is about right -- about 63 deg. angle of view.  Up to 78 degrees is ok, and down to 50mm equiv. or around 47 deg.   Contrast this to a lot of webcams that are 90 or even 110 degrees -- too wide and very distorted.

My budget puts me in consumer products.  In the consumer lines, should I look at 1080 HD camcorders? or point and shoot stills cameras with an HDMI output?  Sorry, I can't afford a mirrorless, DSLR or a high-end point and shoot like X100 series or RX1, or pretty much anything pro.

For capture, Elgato? Magewell?  Yuan? Epiphan? Leadnovo?  no-name import?  I can use USB or PCIe.

I think I can beat a $100 webcam with my $500 budget.  How should I do it?

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