Whether you’re a streamer, a student taking online classes, or someone who attends virtual meetings often, you’ll find one thing to be true: when conducting something online, it’s easy to get distracted. That makes it doubly essential to cultivate the ability to hold others’ attention. Your digital presence is crucial—and a prominent aspect of that is your appearance onscreen. You’ll want your face to be well-lit, your background engaging, and your gestures and body language to be clear.
One of the best ways to do this is to use an excellent webcam. However, you don’t necessarily have to use the ones built into your laptop or buy a new one. If you have a digital camera lying around, that can work just as well to enhance your image.
Here are a few reasons you should use a digital camera as a webcam—and how to try it yourself.
Why use a digital camera as a webcam?
Digital cameras will make you look better. No matter how good they are, your in-built laptop camera or dedicated webcam likely won’t have the specialized features of DSLRs, which have large sensors that capture pristine resolution, or mirrorless cameras, which have easily adjustable settings and precise manual focus. The leading manufacturers of digital cameras have long recognized this fact and taken it a step further by granting their devices—which already come in a range of shapes, sizes, styles, and capabilities—more advanced software that can easily connect with your webcam feed and grant you superior image quality. The Sony Alpha a7 IV Mirrorless Digital Camera is excellent at this, offering a full-frame 33MP Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor and an S-Cinetone that can grant you soft colors and natural skin tones. Meanwhile, The Fujifilm X100V has a 4-stop ND system that can be used for a clear and vibrant webcam feed.
How to use a digital camera as a webcam
Check if your camera has compatible software
Some companies have made utilizing their cameras as webcams easy for you by creating software that does just that. Canon, for example, has EOS webcam utility software that can unlock your camera’s webcam capabilities. You can install it for free, or else subscribe to the pro version to attain features like wireless connectivity, high-res upscaling, and the ability to output to multiple channels simultaneously. Fujifilm and Nikon also have similar initiatives.
Use third-party equipment
You still have options if your camera brand doesn’t have webcam capabilities. Third-party apps like Sparkocam can connect your camera to your device. While the experience tends not to be as smooth as utilizing official software, it can get the job done and is still of better quality than your in-built laptop camera.
Your other option is to find some hardware to make your electronic devices compatible and take advantage of HDMI capture—using the uncompressed video feed from your camera as your webcam feed. To do this, first, check if your camera has an HDMI out port. You might want to add an HDMI adapter to your shopping list if it doesn’t. If it does, you can connect your camera to a monitor to find a clean output mode. Be mindful that HDMI is a video show regulator and must be attached securely—if it doesn’t, your monitor might go black. You’ll also want to use a capture device like a cam link to connect your camera and computer fully.
Utilize camera accessories
While your digital camera will grant you better visual acuity, you might still want to use additional accessories to maximize your setup. If you want to move your camera around with ease, you can mount your device on a tripod. A ring light can also give you extra visibility and engulf you in a shadowless, complimentary light. You can also use a microphone from your earphones or a USB microphone for sharper audio.
A digital camera may be just the thing you need to boost your image and make your virtual presence felt. Follow the above steps for better visuals the next time you need to use a webcam.