Everyone needs a webcam these days, whether for business meetings or for the remoteness accomplished through video calling – but if you like the most, you can use your laptop or some piece of junk for years. Using the built-in camera in the piece. But if you have a good big-brand camera, it’s easy to set up as a standalone webcam and produce imagery that will envy your friends and colleagues.
Here is our guide to setting up a professional-looking home webcam solution with lighting, audio, and all other fixes, but unless you are using a capture card (this one is a whole other how-to) Hook your DSLR or mirrorless camera. It is not as easy as it should be on your computer.
Surprisingly, you cannot take a camera released in the last few years and plug it into your computer and expect it to work. So far only canon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic provide free webcam functionality to at least one desktop OS. For Nikon, Sony And Olympus, you may have to pay or charge with a watermark.
Here are the easiest ways to make each brand’s camera work. (Spoiler alert: For MACS, it’s mostly cascable. I’ll mention that some other time because people are probably scrolling it only for their brand.)
Canon: EOS Webcam Utility
Canon released the software a few weeks ago and it is still in beta, so there may be some hiccups – but it supports a good variety of Windows and Apple machines and camera bodies. The application’s microsite also has some additional documentation and tutorials.
Compatibility is very good, working with any of their camera bodies for the last 3-4 years: Rebel T6-T7i, T100, SL2, SL3, 5D Mk IV, 5DS, 5DS R, 6D Mk II, 7D Mk II , 77D, 80D, 90D, 1D X Mark II and Mark III, M6 Mk II, M50, M200, R, RP, PowerShot G5X Mk II, G7X Mk III and SX70 HS. Download the software here.
If you are having trouble, check out the third party applications listed for other brands below and see if you have more luck.
Fujifilm: X Webcam
Fujifilm’s solution is simple, but slightly limited. The popular X100 series is not supported, and Macs are also left in the cold. But if you have one of the company’s recent interchangeable-lens bodies and a Windows 10 machine, you’re golden. Just install and plug in your camera with a common USB cable.
Compatibility includes X-T2, X-T3, X-T4, X-Pro2, X-Pro3, X-H1, GFX100, GFX50R and GFX50S. Get that medium format setup properly and your eyes will be in focus but not your ears. Download the software here.
For Macs, Cascable is a useful bit of Mac software that acts as a bridge to your camera for various purposes, and the author has just added webcam capabilities. It has extensive compatibility for both wired and wireless connections, and offers wider functionality than Fuji’s own software, but is not free. But if you opt for a good webcam instead, the current $ 30 price is probably less than you paid.
If you move around the command lines, this tutorial explains how the Fuji camera can work with Macs, including a little fiddling and third party software.
Panasonic: Lumix Teether
Panasonic In college Made the WebCam-enabled version of its Lumix Teether Windows app available, and you can tell from the documentation that it’s a very barefoot solution. The price is right, though. Works with GH5, G9, GH5S, S1, S1R, and S1H. The company posted a useful start-to-finish tutorial on how to get on with streaming software like OBS:
The cascable works well with various Panasonic cameras, far more than the official app, even with a few superzooms that can be really fun to play in this context.
There is no official software to convert your Sony cameras to webcams, so we’ll have to jump straight into third party options. For Windows users, Exam Live is probably your best bet, but it has limited Sony compatibility, with only the latest bodies support. It is $ 12 per month, but there is a free trial if you want to give it first.
Cascables are again your best bet on the Mac, with support for many generations reaching back to cameras such as the NEX series and the RX100 III.
This is the same story for Olympus. On Windows, EXAM Live has compatibility with the latest bodies – the E-M1 II, III, and X, and the E-M5 Original and MK II. Unfortunately, not on the PEN series.
On the Mac, the cascade has wired support for many more ole bodies, including stylus cameras and retro-style PEN F, perhaps being used for such a modern purpose.
Surprisingly, while Nikon recently placed a useful page in streaming using its cameras, it does not produce any software, referring the reader to a variety of third-party programs.
As before, Cascable seems to be the easiest way for your Nikon to work with the Mac, and for Exams Live Windows – though for Nikon, SparkCam is also a frequent recommendation.
Webcam alert for warning
These methods may be easy, but they are not entirely without issues.
One possible problem is heat. These cameras were primarily designed to capture pictures and short video clips. Running full time for extended periods of time may cause the camera to become too hot to function and stop. A camera should not cause serious harm to itself, but something must be known about it. The best way to avoid this is to use a dummy battery with a power adapter – these are very easy to find, and will reduce overheating.
Audio also may not be as good as the image. For those doing serious video work, an external mic is almost always used, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t do it. Considering a solid mic can be under $ 50 and should provide you with a substantial upgrade to your device’s built-in, there’s no reason not to dive.
You can also make sure to check some forums for the best settings to use for the camera, ensuring that it does not turn off after a few minutes in the exposure options. For example, since you are not doing stills, you do not have to worry about sharpness, so you can shoot wide open. But then you will need to make sure that the autofocus is working quickly and correctly, or that you are lost in bokeh. Check around, try some different setups, and work best in your situation.
And when you’re ready to take the next step, consult our more complete guide to set the scene.