Find out how to turn a digital camera into a webcam. This article explains how to use a camera as a webcam, including instructions for using the USB connection on the camera along with the webcam software and instructions for using the HDMI output on the camera with a capture device.
Can I use a normal camera as a webcam?
You can use a normal digital camera as a webcam, but not all cameras are suitable for this use. To use a camera as a webcam, you need a USB port and webcam software from the camera manufacturer or an HDMI port that outputs clean video without on-screen display (OSD) elements.
If your camera falls into one of these categories, you can use it as a webcam. Some cameras have both a USB port and an HDMI output, which allows you to choose the output method you want to use.
Cameras without these outputs, the necessary webcam software, or the HDMI output that includes OSD elements will not be suitable for use as a webcam.
Equipment needed to use the camera as a webcam
To use a camera as a webcam, you will need some equipment and software. The specific items you'll need to put together will differ depending on whether you're going to use a USB connection or an HDMI connection for video output. Here are the things you need if you want to use a camera as a webcam:
- Stand or tripod: The best mount or tripod to use the camera as a webcam will depend on the specific configuration. You may want to get a small tripod that you can place on your desk, a monopod that clips to your desk, or some other stand that will properly position your camera for use as a webcam.
- Power source: You can just run the camera on battery power, but it is likely to drain very quickly as the battery is not designed to record continuous video for long periods of time. If your camera does not have a wired power input option, check if a dummy battery is available that will allow you to connect the camera to power.
- Acquisition device: If you use the HDMI output of your camera, you will need a capture device to connect the camera to the computer. Look for an HDMI capture device that connects to your computer via USB and is designed for live video.
- Software: If you are using the USB connection on the camera, you will need to check with the camera manufacturer to get the webcam software. If you are using a capture device, you can use the capture device as a video input for your video conferencing app or capture the video into streaming software such as OBS.
How to use a DSLR as a webcam using webcam software
If you want to use your camera as a webcam, the first thing you need to do is check if it has a USB output port and if the manufacturer provides webcam software. The software may have been provided with the camera at the time of purchase, or you may be able to download it from the manufacturer's website.
First try searching the manufacturer's website or searching the Internet for “webcam software (your camera model)”. If you find the webcam software from the manufacturer, you can download it, install it, and connect the camera to your computer via USB with the software running.
With the manufacturer's webcam software running and the camera connected via USB, the computer should recognize the camera as a capture device. You can then open the video conferencing app or streaming software and select the camera as the video input.
If the camera manufacturer does not provide webcam software and there are no third party solutions, you cannot use the camera as a USB webcam.
- Download and install the webcam software for your camera. If the webcam software installer prompts you to restart your computer, be sure to do so before proceeding.
- Connect the camera to your computer via USB.
- Set the camera to video mode, then turn the camera on.
- Open your video conferencing app or streaming software, then access the video input settings.
- Select your camera from the source list. Your camera now works like a webcam.
How to use a normal camera as a webcam via HDMI
If your camera doesn't have webcam software or a USB data port, but has an HDMI port that outputs clean video, you'll need a capture device.
Capture devices acquire video input via HDMI and send data to a computer via USB. Video from the capture device can then be used in place of a webcam, sent to streaming software, or recorded.
Here's how to use a DSLR as a webcam with a capture device:
- Connect an HDMI cable to the camera.
- Connect the HDMI cable to your capture device.
- Plug the capture device into a USB port on your computer.
- Set the camera to video mode and turn on the camera.
- Open your streaming software or video conferencing app, then select USB Video as your video source. Your camera now works like a webcam.
- Which digital cameras can be used as a webcam? Most digital cameras with video mode and USB port can function as a webcam. Some models, like the Fujifilm X-A7, integrate with programs like Zoom and Skype, so you don't need to use any additional software.
- Can you use a webcam as a security camera? Yes. Thanks to software like iSpy, webcams can also act as security cameras. Therefore, you can use your digital camera as a security webcam.
- Can I use my phone's camera as a webcam? Yes. You can use your Android phone as a PC webcam. You can also use your iPhone as a webcam.
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