How to Use a DSLR for Streaming

Lawrence Bonk Profile image

Written By:

Updated November 9, 2022

If you are new to digital cameras, you may wonder how to use a DSLR for streaming. Many of the best digital cameras, after all, are DSLR models, and these cameras often go above and beyond still photography into the world of streaming video. So why learn how to use the best DSLR cameras for streaming, and how do you get started? Keep reading to find out.


  • DSLR cameras can be used to live stream video, offering increased image quality and the ability to create new angles and shots, though you might need an external microphone.
  • This is typically done by plugging the video source or camera directly into the computer’s USB port or USB-C port via a USB cable. After that, connect your webcam software.
  • Otherwise, content creators can use an HDMI port to connect or purchase a dedicated capture device and adapter.

Why Use a DSLR for Streaming

The best reason here is convenience once you find the best DSLR setting for indoor photography and video. If your laptop or desktop lacks a dedicated webcam for streaming, using your DSLR is a great option, especially once you decide on the best camera for YouTube.

Insider Tip

Make sure the camera is sturdily affixed to a tripod or table before starting your stream.

DSLRs can also be set up just about anywhere, allowing for creative angles as you live stream — once you find the best DSLR for streaming. However, getting this set up will test your skills, so be sure to learn how to set up a DSLR camera.

How to Live Stream From DSLR Camera

You have some options here, depending on the design of your camera, its video capabilities, and the available ports on your computer. No matter which method you choose, don’t forget the tripod to keep things stable.

Use a USB Port

The easiest and fastest way for beginners to start streaming with a DSLR is to plug it right into the computer. This is typically done via a standard USB connection, though some cameras connect via USB-C, Thunderbolt, or some other port type. This allows for instantaneous streaming without too much setup, aside from downloading some drivers, but it is not available to every DSLR. Some DSLRs do not connect via USB, which is where the following options come into play.


Some cameras do not attach to a computer via USB but can attach to other devices with a standard HDMI cable. If this is the case, use the HDMI port on your computer (if you have one) or purchase an adapter of some kind.

STAT: DSLR stands for “digital single-lens reflex,” and it’s a common type of digital camera. It combines the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor. (source)

Use a Capture Device

If your camera lacks an outgoing USB port or if it does not feature the ability to stream live video, as some cameras can only record and not stream, then purchase a dedicated capture device and use affiliated software to get going. These devices connect to your DSLR and effectively convert the video signal in real time, sending both audio and video to your computer.

DSLR Streaming FAQs

What is the difference between DSLR and web cameras?

The differences are many, as DSLRs are made for taking photos, though you can easily capture videos by accessing, for instance, the Canon EOS webcam utility.

Who should use a DSLR webcam?

Anyone can use a DSLR, like the Canon EOS, for video calls, video chats, content creation, and various video modes. Many DSLRs can do anything that a standard webcam accomplishes.

Are all DSLRs compatible?

Not all DSLRs can act as a video source for live streaming, so check the instructions to see if it can connect to streaming software for a movie mode and high-grade video quality.
Lawrence Bonk Profile image