Opal C1 webcam promises DSLR-like video quality in an ultra-small design


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The last year made us all realize how bad most webcams are. They are so bad that many people have rushed to improve their Zoom calls by using their DSLRs or mirrorless cameras instead.

Replacing your crappy webcam with a bulky camera on a tripod will be a thing of the past if the Opal C1 webcam really performs as advertised. Opal Camera claims that its compact C1 webcam can deliver DSLR-level 4K quality to your video calls in a GoPro-sized body. Personally, I think this is one of the most beautiful webcams I have ever seen.

In many ways, the Opal C1 looks like something famous Swedish design firm Teenage Engineering would do. Everything from the sharp edges, the asymmetrical form factor, and the simple shapes and colors (just look at that yellow cable!) Borrows from Teenage Engineering’s minimalist design language. But they are not involved. No, Opal cameras are a new company created by former employees of Apple, Beats and Uber.

The Opal C1 is unlike any other webcam on the market. Opal

The Opal C1 is backed by Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, who tweeted a picture of the device yesterday. Ohanian’s tweet mentions the “breathtaking” quality of the Opal C1. While it’s only in beta at the moment, the full specs for the $ 300 Opal C1 have been released, and it’s getting pretty hot.

Zoom, now in 4K – The Opal C1 webcam uses a Sony image sensor that can output 1080p or 4K video at a frame rate of 60 fps. To get the most out of the image sensor, Opal has included what it claims to be “the fastest webcam lens ever” with an f / 1.8 aperture. According to Opal, the larger aperture lets in 2.4 times more light than competing webcams. The lens has a 78-degree diagonal field of view, and it’s unclear whether this can be changed through software like in other webcams such as Razer’s Kiyo Pro webcam or Logitech’s Brio webcam.

The onboard Sony 4K image sensor is said to be the same as that of smartphones. Opal

Unlike another 4K webcam announced earlier this year, the Dell UltraSharp 4K webcam, this webcam To a microphone. Three omnidirectional microphones, to be exact. Opal named the microphone array MicMesh. Beamforming microphones use smart noise cancellation to block out the everyday noises that occur in your home, locking into your voice so you can be heard clearly.

Digital photography – The hardware is on the cutting edge of webcam technology, but like Google’s Pixel phones, it’s the software that pushes the camera beyond its capabilities. Thanks to the Opal Computer Vision application, the computer photography functions of the camera are accessible. Unfortunately, the app is only for Macs at the moment, but it’s not clear whether the platform exclusivity is permanent. Either way, the app is where the magic happens.

So far, we know that the app can be used to activate a bokeh effect that blurs the background, and if you’re not at your best, the “Retouch” feature uses a frequency recognition filter. facial that “leaves[s] you are at your best, all the time. You can also enhance the lighting and the overall picture with smart brightness, contrast and white balance functions. Computer photography is made possible by Opal’s own silicon. The Opal Trillium chip is paired with a 14nm Intel VPU which handles features such as autofocus and bokeh effect.

Sign me up – When things got out of hand last year, those of us lucky enough to work from home had to build makeshift offices. The need for webcams exploded, but it quickly became apparent that webcam makers had stopped improving. Even now, the new webcams that cost $ 200 have a maximum resolution of 1080p. I’m looking at you Elgato Facecam!

Compared to the Opal C1, the Sony A7 doesn’t look much better even though it is exponentially more expensive. Opal

It’s nice to finally see a webcam that not only looks modern, but has the specs to back it up. The Opal C1 is still in its infancy, but the startup is already showing that webcams can be wise. As expensive as it may be, there is nothing quite like it yet.

Opal is positioning its webcam as an alternative to expensive DSLR webcam setups, which many have resorted to when they couldn’t find a decent webcam. Obviously, more expensive digital cameras deliver crystal-clear picture quality, but that’s not ideal. They are expensive, bulky, difficult to install, and just overkill for chatting with your boss. It’s not worth the shot. However, $ 300 for a compact webcam is a more acceptable price tag.

The Opal C1 is not yet available for purchase. However, you can go to the site and reserve a unit. The box includes a camera mount, USB-C cable and lens cover. Since the device is in beta and currently invite-only, there’s no guarantee you’ll get one, but it’s worth it if you need to be your best on video calls and don’t want to worry about it. ‘a DSLR configuration.


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