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When people conjure an image of a webcam, most people picture either a small, peeping eye built into the top of their computer or some round, security-camera-style plugin device. However, most fail to consider that the best webcams can come in other forms. A little-known piece of knowledge is that with the right software, you can figure out how to use a DSLR as a webcam to boost overall image quality. Below, we’ll show you how.
And don’t get it twisted; DSLRs aren’t the only devices that can act as a webcam. We have more guides explaining how to use a camcorder as a webcam. We also have resources for built-in models, like our piece on how to use a camera on a Chromebook.
Many modern DSLR cameras now have a dedicated webcam app that users can download from their computers.
Webcam users often find that their built-in cameras just aren’t cutting it. Because of this, many look to other devices to increase their video quality. Figuring out how to set up an external webcam on Windows 10 or any other computer OS requires research. DSLRs specifically demand specific cables and streaming software. However, the good news is that the process is straightforward once you have all that down.
And don’t forget that many devices can transition into great webcams. There are even ways how to use a GoPro as a webcam, and, of course, we’ll show you how!
First, always check for compatibility. Some cameras are only compatible with specific computer operating systems. For example, both Nikon and Canon EOS works with PC and Mac, while Sony works only with PC.
Download the correct software that corresponds with your camera’s brand on your computer: EOS Webcam Utility (Canon), Imaging Edge Webcam (Sony), Webcam Utility Software (Nikon)
You’ll need a USB or HDMI output port to connect to your computer. If you have both, remember that HDMI produces better video quality than a USB cable connection. Once you’ve established which connection you’ll use, plug the camera into your computer.
In your camera’s video settings, turn it to movie mode. Then, open a video streaming app, like Zoom, Google Meet, or Windows Teams. Test the visual quality and, if necessary, plug in an external microphone to enable audio.
Using USB connections rather than an HDMI cable will result in lower visual quality.
STAT: EOS Webcam Utility is compatible with more than 40 of Canon’s digital cameras. (source)