Opal OP-1 claims to be the first "professional" webcam

It's widely remarked that webcams are incredibly low-quality, even the Logitech models that win recommendations [Amazon], despite a market blasted into orbit by the Covid pandemic. People who dont want to have that blown-out potato-cam look tend to end up rigging high-end mirrorless/DSLR cameras, but perhaps the most telling proof of how bad webcams are is that even cellphone cameras look better. Enter the Opal OP-1, which puts a big image sensor in tiny webcam housing and hopes there's $300 in that pairing.

The fastest lens ever on a webcam. Making it better at capturing incredible low-light video. An ƒ1.8, six-element, glass lens brings in 2.4x more light than any other webcam. So even in dimly lit room, you'll get a level of detail and color that wasn't possible before. A Mirrorless Miracle.With a 7.8mm, 4K Sony sensor, the Opal C1 gives you the brightest brights, darker blacks, and more than 5x the resolution of a regular webcam to help you look your best.The most advanced materials. A understated anondized finish with precisely machined, aero-grade aluminum specifically designed for Opal. It's the best a webcam's ever looked. And it's recyclable.

For people who actually work all day on zoom—teachers, lecturers, the "meetings echelon" of management—$300 is a reasonable expense when the professional alternative is shelling out far more for a standalone camera and enduring the hassle of setting it up. Isn't it interesting how little activity there is between the "$100 piece of junk" tier and "buy a DSLR"? I was planning on buying a little action-cam (e.g. a GoPro or Sony RX0) but it turns out they're Just Not Webcams, and thereby come with similar setup hassles to other standalone cameras.