How to Use a DSLR as a Webcam

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Updated November 18, 2022

If you are new to digital cameras, you may wonder how to use a DSLR as a webcam. Many of the best digital cameras, after all, are DSLR models, and these cameras often go above and beyond simple still photography. So why learn how to use the top-rated DSLR cameras as a webcam, and how do you get started? Keep reading to find out.


  • In a pinch, a DSLR camera can be used as a webcam, though there are some limitations regarding video quality and image quality during video chats.
  • Start by affixing a dedicated video source capture device to your DSLR that transforms audio and video signals into streaming data for webcam software.
  • You should also purchase and install an adapter that allows your DSLR to attach to the exterior of your monitor or screen, along with a USB cable and external microphone.

Why Use a DSLR as a Webcam?

If you have ever wondered what a vlogging camera is, you have likely learned that it can be just about anything. Some of the best cheap vlogging cameras for YouTube can be cameras intended for shooting still photos as long as they include a video feature. If the camera cannot shoot or stream video, you won’t have luck here, even if you learned how DSLR cameras work. Learning how to do this type of integration, is a crucial part of learning how to set a DSLR camera manually.

Insider Tip

This is best done with a DSLR you don’t use that often, such as a backup model, which leaves your primary model for taking photos.

How to Connect a DSLR Camera as a Webcam

You have some options and limitations here, as DSLRs were not designed to operate as webcams. Here are some ways to get started.

Use a Capture Device

Even if your DSLR excels at recording video, it likely does not have the technology to stream that video during a live feed, making it better suited for making movies rather than acting as a webcam. To get around this limitation, use a capture device made by companies like AJA and Maxwell. These devices connect to your DSLR and effectively convert the video signal in real time, sending both audio and video to your computer. This allows you to use services such as Skype and Zoom with just your trusty DSLR at your side.

STAT: Since the 2020 pandemic and the soaring numbers of live streamers and video conference meetings, it’s become easier to use your DSLR as a webcam. (source)

Don’t Forget a Connection Adapter

Once you have a capture device, you have to affix the camera to your computer. DSLRs are fairly large, so affixing them to a tiny laptop can be a struggle. Luckily, there are plenty of adapters out there to choose from for this task. Find one that integrates with your camera by reading the advertisement materials carefully, as not only adapters work with every single DSLR camera. Once you receive the device, attach it and get going. It should allow you to move the camera around to suit different angles and the like.

DSLR Webcam FAQs

Who should use a DSLR webcam?

Anyone looking to make video calls, engage in a video feed, or enter a video mode can make use of a DSLR webcam, though you might need a separate microphone and to adjust the video settings.

Why use a DSLR instead of a standard webcam?

You have more control over positioning here, as you can use a tripod with the DSLR and power adapter. Additionally, DSLRs tend to boast better video quality than standard webcam video capture devices.

Is a webcam function built-in?

Some DSLRs have a built-in webcam function, complete with accessible webcam software. This webcam app simplifies the process of attaching an external webcam, USB webcam, or video capture device.