Can I use my digital camera as a webcam?

How to use your digital camera as a webcam

Many people now work at least part of their schedule from home and have several online meetings each week. Webcams are great for virtual meetings, but many don’t offer the same video quality as a digital camera. Fortunately, using your digital camera as a webcam is surprisingly easy.

If you want to use your digital camera as a webcam, there are a few things you need to know before setting it up.

What to know before using your digital camera as a webcam

Why you would use a digital camera as a webcam

Digital cameras have top notch video quality; many are capable of recording in 1080p or 4K. And most have plenty of accessories that further increase their video capabilities. They are ideal for people who spend most of their day in virtual meetings and those who stream as a hobby or professionally. And they’re versatile: you can also take them on vacation and capture photos and videos.

Software can enable webcam functions on your digital camera

Not all digital cameras have webcam capabilities. Still, many brands have licensed software that allows your camera to be used as a webcam.

  • Most Canon EOS cameras are compatible with Canon’s webcam software, downloaded from the Canon website.
  • panasonic has connection software available on its site that enables digital camera capabilities for its DC-GH5, DC-G9, DC-GH5S, DC-S1, DC-S1R and DC-S1H digital cameras.
  • sony has the Imaging Edge Webcam software available on its website; this software is compatible with nearly 40 Sony digital cameras.
  • Fujifilm, Nikon and Olympus also have software downloads that enable webcam functions for some digital cameras.

Licensed software often has specific system requirements, so it’s essential to check the brand’s website to make sure it will work with your device.

If your camera does not have licensed software that enables webcam functions, there are many third-party applications that can help you. Nevertheless, it is essential to research the software before downloading it, as many third-party applications are loaded with bloatware, using excessive disk space and memory.

Hardware can enable webcam functions on your digital camera

If your camera has an HDMI-out port or a mini-HDMI-out port, you should be able to enable webcam functions using a device that converts the HDMI output to a USB output. Many cameras have clean HDMI features that keep your screen free of camera settings and overlays. If you’re not sure if your camera has its own HDMI overlay settings, read its manual or find it on the manufacturer’s website.

The Elgato Cam Link 4K is one of the most popular capture cards and is affordable compared to other capture cards. It works with most, but not all, digital cameras, so check its website to make sure it’s compatible with your camera before purchasing.

There are also plenty of other capture cards, some of them cheaper than the Elgato 4K. Read their reviews, however, to make sure others have had success with them before buying one.

Consider an external microphone

Although digital cameras offer superior video quality, their audio quality may not be ideal. Although they can be expensive, an XLR or USB microphone is a great way to improve your sound quality. In some cases, you can plug it directly into your camera, although it usually needs to be plugged into your computer. After connecting a mic to your computer, check your audio settings to make sure it recognizes the correct mic input.

If you don’t want to invest in an external mic, a quality pair of headphones with a microphone is a more affordable way to boost your sound quality. Plus, headphones with mics save space on your desk.

Load, weight and space

Make sure your digital camera is fully charged before using it as a webcam. Some can plug directly into your computer and charge while in use.

Digital cameras are heavier than webcams, so you’ll need a desktop camera stand that can support the weight of your camera. They also take up more space than a webcam, so you need to make sure you’ve cleared enough desk space for your camera.

Using your digital camera as a webcam FAQ

Can webcams be used as digital cameras?

A. Many webcams have photo capabilities, but the quality isn’t as good as a digital camera. Webcams also lack the portability offered by digital cameras.

Can you use lenses while using your digital camera as a webcam?

A. Yes, if you want to further improve the quality of your video, you can use compatible lenses that improve the quality of close-up video.

Which type of camera is better to use as a webcam, DSLR or mirrorless?

A. Mirrorless cameras are generally more compact and lighter than DSLR cameras, making them ideal for those with limited desktop space. On the other hand, DSLR cameras have a greater choice of lenses and accessories, making them ideal for those who want the highest quality video.

What you need to use your digital camera as a webcam

Canon EOS M200 Mirrorless Digital Camera Bundle

Canon EOS M200 Mirrorless Digital Camera Bundle

This bundle includes everything you need to use a digital camera as a webcam. The included tripod is small enough to use on most desks.

Sold by Amazon

BlueAVS HDMI to USB Video Capture Card

BlueAVS HDMI to USB Video Capture Card

This affordable card is ideal for those who don’t want to spend too much. Many reviewers felt it was comparable to the high-end Elgato capture card.

Sold by Amazon

Joby GorillaPod Compact Tripod

Joby GorillaPod Compact Tripod

This is ideal for office use and on the go. The flexible feet allow you to perfectly position your camera and even hang it from your desk shelves.

Sold by Amazon

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Cody Stewart written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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