Laptop webcams are often not very good quality. A few years ago, monitor-mounted webcams used to cost a lot of money, but made you look like you were in a video game.
In short, your Zoom meetings look funny because of the lack of video resolution. The current budget does not allow you to buy a new webcam, but that does not mean you have to accept “living with the flood”.
Do you already own a DSLR camera ? Here’s what you need to know about using a DSLR camera as a webcam.
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Things to prepare before starting
To use your DSLR camera as a webcam, make sure you have:
- The tripod is suitable for the camera.
- High capacity battery or mains power solution. The main power supply for DSLR cameras usually has a battery built in, which then connects to an adapter to power the camera.
- The micro-USB cable that came with the camera or the mini-HDMI cable.
- (Optional) LED ring or other illuminator, microphone.
Make sure you have these and connect or set them up before proceeding.
Is webcam functionality built-in?
Some digital cameras (including DSLRs) have a webcam function.
So, before proceeding, check the driver disc that came with your camera, along with the menus on the device. If there is a webcam setup that you can use, you can proceed to connect the device to the computer, webcam mode is enabled. The camera will then be detected as a standard USB webcam, ready for use with video chat software. Note that if this is an option for you, the resolution will be lower than usual, limited by the constraints of the USB cable.
Usually, however, this option is limited to standard digital cameras. DSLR cameras usually don’t have built-in webcam functionality. So how can you replace your webcam with a popular DSLR?
How to use Canon’s DSLR as a webcam
Canon DSLR camera owners can use their camera as a webcam. An incredible 43 models can be used in this way. For full details, see the Canon EOS Webcam Utility download page.
- Download Canon EOS Webcam Utility for Windows or Mac (Free)
After downloading, extract the contents and run the setup file to install.
With the software installed on the computer, turn on the Canon camera and set it to movie mode. Adjust exposure as required, then connect the USB cable that came with the camera. Connect the other end to the computer, then open the online meeting tool. In the video settings screen, select EOS Webcam Utility as the camera. All operations completed
Canon EOS Webcam Utility includes a useful feature that allows you to save footage to the camera’s built-in SD card while you’re streaming. This is enabled by pressing record on the camera.
For more information, refer to the Canon EOS Webcam Utility download page , where you will find other tips and tricks.
How to set up a Nikon DSLR as a webcam
- Get Nikon Webcam Utility for Windows or Mac (Free)
Once installed, find the camera’s USB port and connect it to the computer using the USB cable that came with the device. Turn on the camera, set it to video mode, and choose a suitable mode – P (Program Auto Mode) is the easiest way to get started.
Next, set up the camera so that the webcam doesn’t go into standby mode:
1. Press Menu.
2. Navigate to Custom Settings > Timers/AE Lock.
3. Set options standby timer Power Off Delay to No limit.
Also, make sure to enable Auto Focus (AF) and set the AF-area mode to Auto-area AF.
As for audio, Nikon Webcam Utility requires an external microphone to be connected to your DSLR camera, rather than the built-in microphone. Also, use your computer’s microphone.
You should check the notes for Nikon Webcam Utility as there are some oddities to the software. For example, it can keep recording/playing until you turn it off and on again.