Looking to start out on a YouTube or streaming adventure? Then at some point you're going to need to invest in a camera - and the PA930 from Papalook hopes to grab your attention.
**The PA930 HDR 2K Webcam was reviewed using hardware provided and sent to us by Papalook, but in no way influenced the review.
With more and more people hopping on the content creation bus, if you're planning on jumping on-board yourself, then a good quality camera is an essential part of your arsenal.
The PA0930 looks great, especially for a webcam, it has a grey fabric design that makes up the front of the unit, with the lens in the center and a microphone on either side.
It looks great, and much nicer than the normal webcams that are available - it also looks just like the Logitech StreamCam, but they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the PA930 is also cheaper than the £104 Logitech StreamCam, coming in at £69.99 - whilst also flaunting better specs, at least on paper.
The PA930 comes very well packaged, and has everything needed to be up and running in minutes:
PA930 HDR 2K Webcam
Not an extensive list of items, but everything you need. The PA930 has a built in flexible clip that allows you to set the camera up in a number of ways - you can clip it to the top of your monitor, use the clip as a stand to place the PA930 on your desk or a shelf, or attach the clip to the included tripod (or your own) and place it wherever you feel like.
The non-removable USB 2.0 cable is a decent length, and allows you to move the PA930 pretty much wherever you may need it - be that as your main A-Cam, or a second/third B-Cam, Papalook have designed the PA930 to be a versatile part of your set up.
The integrated dual omni-directional mics are what you would come to expect from a webcam - they work, and they're ok, it just depends how much you require good quality audio. They're fine for Skype/Zoom/Discord chats with friends and family, but I'd highly recommend using a dedicated microphone if you're recording or streaming.
That's not a knock against the PA930 per se - all webcam microphones are pretty bad for content creation, it's just the PA930 is no exception to this.
The camera itself on the other hand, is excellent, and as mentioned, is able to be placed pretty much anywhere - so long as the cable permits.
Quality is outstanding for a £69.99 camera, offering a range of different resolutions, including 1080p 60fps to 2560 x 1440p 30fps, and there is a handy little frame-rate switcher at the top of the camera, allowing you to swap between 30fps and 60fps.
With good lighting, the PA930 performs very well, colours are a little bright, but having a play around with the settings, brightness, contrast etc you can get a genuinely good image. There's no auto-focus available, the PA930 is a fixed focus camera, with a wide-angle 90° lens, and unlike some webcams that offer a wide-angle lens, there isn't much 'fishbowl' effects going on - which is brilliant!
Whilst the camera is touted to have HDR (High Dynamic Range) I wouldn't call the colours to be that of a HDR device, but once you adjust the settings to meet your particular lighting setup, the colours are a lot more vibrant and more in the neighborhood of what you would see in real life.
As mentioned, the PA930 does support resolutions up to 2K (2560 x 1440p) and the whilst the image is very good, it only supports up to 30fps, so dependent on your needs you may want to drop it to 1080p 60fps, which, should be more than enough for picture-in picture for lets plays, and if you're streaming on Twitch, the majority of people only stream at 720p anyway to reduce bitrate.
As you can see in the images and the embedded video, the quality of the PA930 is good enough to pick out the wandering grey hairs in my hair and beard (much to my annoyance - I'm 34!), and there is no lag between the camera and computer.
Do I recommend the PA930? Yes, absolutely.
It looks stylish - even if that style may potentially have been 'borrowed' from Logitech, and it performs exceptionally well, especially given the price.
I would even go as far as saying that it's worth investing in the PA930 even if you have a dedicated DSLR or mirrorless camera setup like I do - the PA930 makes a great B-cam, allowing you to get multicam shots, at a very attractive price.
My biggest gripe would be the lack of an autofocus, and I would put that purely down to the cost - but as a Sony user, I've been very spoilt by Sony's phenomenal autofocus on their cameras, and I now expect nothing less - but that's just me!
The PA930 is an excellent camera, and for under £100 it's an absolute bargain. It is brilliant for use as both a main A-cam, and a secondary B-cam, and if you're currently using an old webcam or built in laptop webcam, do yourself a favour and add this to your set up.
Check out the Papalook PA930: