The Kiyo Pro Ultra is great for recording simple videos or streaming, but it’s more suitable for casual users or professionals.
About the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra
- Resolution: 4K 30 fps / 1440p 30 fps / 1080p at 60/30/24 fps / 720p at 60/30 fps
- Diagonal view: 72 to 82 degrees
- Image resolution: 8.3 megapixels
- Image resolution: 3840 x 2160
- relationship: USB-C 3.0
- Video encoding: YUY2 & NV12 (uncompressed)
- Audio codecs: 16 bit 48 kHz
- lenses: glass
- Type of focus: Auto focus
What do we like?
Excellent image quality, flexible shooting in low light
The camera itself is pretty smart, offering face tracking that picks your face out of the image and uses that to focus. It works well to keep my face bright and focused. 4x digital zoom is also supported, taking the over 70-degree point of view down to about 20 degrees. However, face tracking doesn’t keep you in the image when zoomed in, and I found that image quality suffered; the video becomes a bit blocky and noisy.
The option for manual focus and the large aperture of the lens also means that you can get some interesting shots where the background is thrown out of focus, called Bokeh. That can be useful for displaying products or making the background less cluttered.
Smart connection options
On the back of the camera is the USB-C port. A five-foot USB-C to USB-A cable is included, but the decision to go with a USB-C socket rather than a built-in cable should be applauded; you can use your own longer or shorter cable to keep things organized. But if the included cable works for you, you don’t need to spend extra money to get the webcam up and running on your computer.
The camera is huge, about the size of a coke lamp. It has an L-shaped stand that clips onto the top of a monitor to hold it in place. It works well on most monitors I’ve tested, from a thin laptop-style display to an older display that’s about an inch and a half thick. It also fits laptops, but the weight of the camera (about 11 ounces) means that my thin laptop tends to lag behind.
Fortunately, a tripod socket on the bottom of the stand (and one on the bottom of the camera body) allows you to attach a tripod or clamp designed for a standard camera, making for better and easier mounting option.
A knurled ring around the rim of the camera body looks like a focus ring, but it closes an internal privacy shutter that blocks the front of the lens. A lens cap is also included, which protects the glass cover—a useful feature for those who want to take their webcam on the road.
What we don’t want
The Razer Kiyo Ultra Pro gets good quality 4K video and decent quality sound, but is it worth the extra cost of a cheaper model like the Logitech Brio? For those who shoot a lot of talking head videos in bad lighting, maybe, but for most users, this is more webcam than you need.
The Kiyo is capable of shooting 4K resolution, but there is a limitation: at the highest resolution, the camera is capped at 30 frames per second (fps). At low 1080p resolution, it can capture 60 fps, which makes for smoother and more natural-looking video. However, most video streaming sites don’t yet offer support for 4K 60fps video, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most users.
The camera is controlled by Razer’s Synapse app, an annoying system that encourages you to download the entire suite of Razer apps for things like capturing game video. If you’ve bought into the Razer ecosystem, that’s great, but it’s a pain if you use other programs that do the same thing. It allows you to save camera settings to a Razer account, however, which is useful if you use one camera on multiple computers.
Will need a separate microphone
Two microphones on either side of the lens capture stereo sound with decent audio quality, but the camera can’t do fancy things like pick out your voice from background noise, or filter out other noises. (like my dog snoring in the background).
It’s fine for general use and video conferencing in a quiet room, but you’ll need a separate microphone if you want to produce broadcast-quality audio.
Should you buy the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra?
Maybe, if you shoot talking head videos or stream games
There is no doubt that the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra is a great webcam. It captures excellent video quality at various resolutions and frame rates in lighting conditions from bright to dim. It’s easy to set up and has flexibility for some interesting shots, such as a combination of manual focus and a side aperture that removes the background in focus.
Can it replace a dedicated mirrorless or SLR for shooting video? No. The Kiyo Ultra Pro lens is great, but it’s not interchangeable, so you can’t use another lens for macro, telephoto, or wider-angle shots. It’s not as flexible as a standalone camera for shooting video like the Sony Alpha a6400.
And the cost—it’s more than double the price of other webcams that are nearly as capable. So, unless you can justify the extra cost, I’d go with a cheaper model like the Logitech Brio that does most of what you need and spends the balance on decent lighting when you need it.
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Prices are accurate at the time this article is published but may change over time.
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