best camera for 3d printers

Top 5 Best Cameras For 3D Printers 2021 (In All Price Ranges)

Ever wondered at what point it all went wrong? No, we’re not just being philosophical about our lives — we mean in the unrecognizable mess that was supposed to be your latest 3D printing project. Without watching every second, it can be difficult to diagnose the problem.

Most 3D prints take hours, so monitoring them from start to finish is a huge time commitment, and your time is too valuable to spend it camped over your printer’s extruder. The best substitute is to use a camera that is compatible with your 3D printer. That way, you can step away for as long as you like, and still keep an eye on your latest creation.

3D printing should be exciting, but wasting filament on bad prints is frustrating. Using a camera to capture the process helps you make amendments where necessary, whilst adding to the fun. Not only do they record the whole process to help with monitoring any issues, but you can also create cool time-lapses to upload so your friends can watch the magic unfold. You can even use cameras for your 3D printer for remote monitoring from potentially the other side of the globe!

Therefore, for this guide, we have taken our pick of the best cameras for 3D printers.

3D printer cameras are not to be confused with 3D cameras, which record 3D footage. We also have a ranking of the best 3D cameras.

3DSourced is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Best Cameras For Monitoring a 3D Printer

Logitech HD Pro C920 – Best Time Lapse Camera For 3D Printing

logitech hd pro c920
Pros
  • Quality resolution
  • Wide field of view
  • Mounting options
  • Fast framerate
  • Still images
Cons
  • Quality costs a little more

The clarity of the HD Pro C920 makes it a popular camera in the 3D printing world. There are many 1080p cameras around, but many come out with laggier footage due to low frame rates. Thankfully, this camera offers 1080p resolution and shoots consistently 30 fps in full HD. It also boasts plenty of features that more expensive brands don’t always provide, such as still quality images via its 15MP camera.

A common downside to cameras for 3D printing is that they can be difficult to mount. A camera that falls on its side, or is lopsided and misses the action, is no good, but mounting is one of this Logitech camera’s strengths. It features a built-in tripod screw, which makes it perfect for mounting on different printers, and it is also compatible with other mounting options.

The HD Pro C920 is one of the best cameras for time-lapse videos of your 3D prints, and with its 778-degree field view, you can be sure everything is in shot.

Being a lightweight camera with motion detection technology allows it to start when the print gets going. No one wants to have to skip forward when watching the footage back, so it is great that it can be left on standby.

Wyze Cam – Best Affordable Camera for 3D Printing 

wyze cam
Pros
  • Night vision
  • Impressive FPS
  • Alexa and Google Assistant connectivity
  • Great value
  • 8x digital zoom
Cons
  • Night vision doesn’t work through glass

Some of your most ambitious and thrilling 3D printing projects will take all night. When this is the case, you want a camera that can pick up every tiny detail, and still provide crystal clear images.

For any night filming in the dark, the Wyze Cam offers night vision technology. It shoots at 1080p at 30 fps to show every detail of that 3D print in progress.

Being able to operate a camera for 3D printing via voice command is great when you have your hands full. The Wyze Cam is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant which will make it easy to find out how much longer it is going to take before the print is finished.

The included app makes remote 3D print monitoring a breeze: if over-extrusion is causing problems early on, you can stop the print to save time and money whilst preventing a drooping mess from forming. The app can even be shared with family and friends if there is a project that you need someone else to keep an eye on.

Getting close up to the footage while keeping the camera at a safe distance from the hot filament is easier thanks to its 8x digital zoom. Long printing videos can take up a lot of memory, so it is great that the Wyze Cam can record to the cloud, as well as be used with an SD card.

Instead of wasting precious seconds of footage, it can be set to start recording when it senses motion. An excellent and affordable option, the Wyze Cam 3D printer camera is a great option for any budget.

Microsoft Lifecam HD-3000 – Best 3D Printer Camera For Beginners

microsoft lifecam hd-3000
Pros
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Can seamlessly share your prints on social media
Cons
  • Not as high resolution as other options

At first, the 3D printing world can be intimidating, so it is good to find an easy-to-use and budget-friendly 3D printer camera.

For a camera that is so compact, the HD-3000 records great quality, smooth video. The 720p resolution might not be as impressive as some of the other options, but this is a camera known for being reliable.

Its wide-angle record will help to capture every part of the build area, even monitoring large build volumes that go right to your print bed’s edges. This, and 4x zoom, make it ideal for cinematic style recording.

Dull images are fine if you’re recording the printing of a cube, but hopefully your creations will be more exciting. Microsoft has included TrueColor technology to enhance the brightness. This makes it capable of keeping vibrant picture quality in different lighting.

Part of what makes 3D printing so fun is the social element. The HD-3000 features built-in social media sharing, so your time-lapses can be shared instantly with the click of a button. It’s easy to use, makes sharing your printing successes as easy as ever, and it’s easy on the wallet — what’s not to love?

GoPro Hero 8 – Best Picture Quality

gopro hero 8
Pros
  • 4K resolution
  • Stable pictures via HyperSmooth feature
  • Live HD streaming options
  • Wide-angle lens
Cons
  • Pricey

Ok, GoPro cameras don’t need any introduction, but they are ideal cameras for 3D printing. The Hero 8 shoots 4K video at 60 fps, making it one of the best cameras for 3D printing if you’re looking for resolution and picture quality.

Even when shooting at the highest setting of 60 fps, it uses HyperSmooth technology to keep the image stable.

It can be difficult to get the whole image in a shot when setting a camera up and close to the 3D printer. Thankfully, the wide-angle lens that is synonymous with GoPro makes it perfect for close-ups. Capturing every detail seems to be the name of their game.

Being able to monitor your print from afar is a huge plus point, as standing around for hours at the mercy of a recording takes something away from the fun. The live HD streaming of the Hero 8 makes it a great option for anyone who wants clear images from their smartphone or tablet, and fancies live streaming their print to any interested fans or friends.

Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2

raspberry pi camera module v2
Pros
  • Control printer remotely
  • Active community of users
  • Good quality and affordable
Cons
  • Other options offer higher resolution

The Raspberry Pi 3D printing camera is astonishingly compact — it weighs just 3 grams! It is about the size of a credit card at 25 x 24 x 9mm, making it perfect for mounting into the printer’s bed.

The V2 offers the same quality pictures and video as many standalone cameras, with 1080p quality at 30 fps. This is all in full HD which makes its popularity within the 3D printing community unsurprising.

Because it is widely used to monitor 3D printing, there is plenty of online support for using the Raspberry Pi Camera Module V2. An active community helps to take a lot of the guesswork away so you can get the most out of the camera, and if you run into any issues, you can get help from others who have been in your position.

It connects via a ribbon cable which is usually included and has a fixed focus for clear pictures. If you want to just take stills, the camera packs 8 megapixels for high-quality photos.

Everyone wants to create cool videos that can move with the print bed as it works its magic. The V2 allows you to keep the print central to the image, capturing every moment without anything falling out of the shot, and it’s so light that it won’t affect your printer’s stability. 

Criteria used to recommend the best 3D printer cameras

There are two main ways of monitoring a 3D print; using a camera, or 3D printing software like OctoPrint. Here is how we separate the best from the ones worth avoiding:

Software Compatibility

Raspberry Pi is one of the best hardware solutions since it makes it easy to control a 3D printer. A Raspberry Pi 3D printer camera will make it easier to use software like OctoPrint where you can control the printer remotely. 

Resolution 

Sure, you’re not going to be shooting the next Hollywood blockbuster on a 3D printer camera, but you still want quality images if recording a time-lapse. Look for 1080P or even 4K resolution if possible.

Community Support

Many of the best cameras for 3D printing are not specifically designed to be used in this way. Purchasing a camera that is popular within the 3D printing community will help when it comes to troubleshooting any issues with setup.

If you enjoyed this article:

Sign up to our email list and get the latest 3D printing news, buyer’s guides and giveaways direct to your inbox:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *