Elgato’s Cam Link 4K vs a Cheap Capture Card (Comparison)

Elgato’s Cam Link 4K has been the cornerstone of many live streams around the world, for quite some time. But is it the best of its kind? In this video, I compare Elgato’s Cam Link 4K with a Cheap Capture Card. I compare a generic capture card purchased from Amazon for $20. Watch this comparison if you are on the fence with the Elgato Cam Link 4K

Transcription was done by Rev.com’s automated transcription service which means it’s an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain spelling, grammar, and other errors, and is not a substitute for watching the video.

This is the cabling 4k. And this is not, this is actually a very similar product that is intended to bring your camera, your DSLR, or your mirrorless camera or whatever HTMI source to your computer

Cam link,\ A hundred dollars. This $20 let’s compare. Okay. So here we go. This is the cam link. 4k is actually an input device that inputs from HTMI and outputs it as a USB 3.0 signal into your computer. This makes it so that any Mac or windows machine can use any camera. That outputs issue my to go into this and go into your computer. This is the same exact thing, but it’s from a company that sells this product for way cheaper. And if you notice there’s a slight difference on the computer side, USB three USBC. Now, of course, this USBC might just be USB three speeds, but it’s the USBC port. So I’ll want to see the difference, how well this works. You might also notice that this has a cable attached and this does not. So that way this thicker piece could be separate from the computer.

Well, it’s worth noting that the cam link does come with another cable that you can actually do the same thing. It comes with it. So if you have a lot of things connected, or if you have more than one of these hooked up to your computer or to a hub or something like that, you don’t have them, all these thick dongles, all back-to-back. You could separate them like this. Other than that, there’s no physical differences. I mean, this feels like plastic, and this is definitely plastic. So they’re about the same, but I’m curious if I can get the same results out of a $20 product that you can out of a hundred dollar product. And by the way, when these are out of stock and you see them sold by other people they’re sold for sometimes three or four times, the price of the normal retail price, no, I love El Gato, the company who makes this product, they make a lot of fantastic products, including the avocado stream deck.

But I have heard from a lot of people that these fail and for a hundred dollars, you don’t want these to fail quite often at a hundred dollars for a $20 product. I don’t care if it fails once a year, because for 20 bucks I can replace. Heck I, I got a few of these for the price of one of these. So there’s that let’s go to the computer and check out the differences between these two things to keep in mind when it comes to testing the video quality and just the quality of these devices in general, one is the video quality good. And two does the audio pass through because sometimes you might want the audio of whatever the HTMI sources to be sent through as the webcam as well. So right now my video mic pro plus is actually on top of my Nikons, these six, going through the cam link 4k.

And that is what you’re seeing and hearing right now. And now I’m going through that $20 HTML capture card. And again, I am checking the video quality as well as making sure the audio is coming through. I believe it’s working, but before we do, I just want to for a little bit more, because one final thing that is important is to make sure there is no flashes or dropouts. One of the problems with the USB webcam utilities that a lot of these camera companies have been creating and are a lot of them are still in beta because of this is that when you plug in with USB, sometimes there’s this flicker effect where sometimes it fails. It’s important for an HTMI capture card to not fail on you, mid stream, mid recording or whatever you’re doing. So that’s why I’m talking right now. And I apologize that the audio sucks, but right now the microphone is on top of my camera, behind my monitor.

So it’s far away and you’re probably also hearing some hardrive noises and whatnot, but I want to make sure that this keeps streaming that there’s no flicker, that there’s no degrading of quality along the way. As you can see the audio and the video have recorded, you can see that there is, uh, the timeline going on here. I’ve got the common link and then the generic USB capture card over here. And you can see that there is audio along here and you can see there is audio here, but what’s really interesting if you just noticed is we go from 4k to 10 80 P 4k, 10 80 P. Now, if I was to upsize this, you probably won’t be able to tell a difference because it’s still going to look good. It looks about the same. You can’t really tell that much of a difference, but what is really interesting is that the native size is actually smaller because it is a 10 NDP, U S uh, HTMI capture card, not a 4k capture card. So it’s worth noting that if you were trying to record in 4k, then this $20 device is not for you, but if you were okay with 10 ADP, then it will be just fine. So what you just saw in the video before I went to this, screenshare recording is actually me upsizing that 10 ADP recording to 4k, but you’re probably viewing this on a screen that is not streaming to 4k. So it’s probably perfectly fine.

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