For those who haven’t participated in a Zoom meeting yet, it is very compelling. Give it a try. The Club’s Zoom meetings have been great fun. The essence is that video really makes the meetings compelling, but there seem to be many participants without video. I encourage everyone to get a video camera (cam).
Most laptops, tablets, and smartphones have built-in microphones (mics) and cams. If you have a desktop computer (or laptop) without a mic and cam, however, you can purchase USB mics and cams that work well.
Logitech seems to have a monopoly on the high-quality cams, but Logitech is out of stock most of the time (same for Amazon and other vendors). Logitech cams sell on eBay now for 100% to 300% of MSRP, including the used ones. Very old models sell for high prices too. This won’t last forever, but the demand is very high now.
Unbranded cams sell as low as $20 on Amazon. I recommend buying a more expensive one with more features (e.g., $40 to $80). Check the reviews and make sure the delivery date is soon. Many cams come with a built-in mic, particularly the most recent and higher-priced models. Of course, attending a Club Zoom meeting is worth much more than $80.
If you need a mic, there are some good quality USB podcast mics available for $40 to $70 that you can find by googling “best inexpensive microphones for podcasting.” But many less expensive USB mics work well too.
If you want a really sharp video image with a great sound, you will need to spend $100 or more on a Logitech cam, if you can find one that isn’t marked up above MSRP and is available now. But some of the more expensive unbranded cams on Amazon might be high quality too. Of course, Amazon isn’t the only place to buy cams. Most of the places that sell computers and cameras also sell cams.
FYI: Zoom had 10 million daily participants in December 2019. Today it has 300 million daily participants. A Zoom account is free; but more useful Zoom accounts (bigger meetings) cost a monthly fee. You do not have to have a Zoom account to participate in a Zoom meeting. Zoom has been the leader in virtual meetings because it is very easy for participants to use, and it works well.