Using your Camera as a HIGH Quality Webcam

Dr. Bob Ito, FCAPA, Hon FCAPA
CAPA Director of Photographic Imaging

Using camera tethering mode to create a webcam

Many recent Interchangeable Lens Cameras ( ILCs) have a tethering mode using USB connections to a computer in order to remotely view the camera image in Live View mode and to control camera settings such as AF On/Off, exposure compensation and white balance. In addition, since one has a choice of lens one can choose a focal length , such as 85mm, that is flattering to a person. Lastly, the aspect ratio of ILCs is significantly less than the very wide 16:9 aspect ratio of standard webcams, yielding less negative space in the image.

An ILC generally offers much better image quality than a typical webcam in term of focus, sharpness, exposure and white balance, less distortion ( no super wide angle distortion such as exaggerated noses and rounded faces). In addition, one can position the camera to give a flattering view of yourself (i.e. at eye-level or above)

The major manufacturers of ILCs have now provided software to use a camera as a webcam via the tethering mode. The camera USB connector is typically a mini or micro-USB and the computer USB connector is typically an USB type A connector although some very recent laptops use an USB type C connector. Many manufacturers supply the cable with the camera, If you have to buy a cable ensure that it is data cable and not just a charging cable. If you are participating in long virtual meetings, you may wish to purchase an AC powered battery substitute for the camera to maintain power.

Not all models of a particular brand are supported; so you need to check whether your camera is supported by the software.









Using camera HDMI output as webcam

If your camera has an HDMI output to allow it to be connected to an HDMI display , such as a TV, then this output can also be used to create a webcam.
In order to make this work, you need two additional pieces of hardware.

1. Camera compatible cable that plugs into the HDMI output from your camera and has a standard male HDMI plug (type A) on the other end. The plug at the camera end could be a standard Type A HDMI male connector but more likely will be a Type C mini HDMI connector or a Type D micro HDMI connector.

2. A HMDI to USB converter. There are all kinds to these converters on the market but you do not need 4K video capability; so use an inexpensive converter such as::\

This unit has been tested and works with the Operating system to create a webcam.

With this HDMI method you need to set-up the camera for a suitable focal length, exposure, focus and white balance as you can not control the camera from the computer.. Also, you want to find viewfinder display mode that is as clean as possible, meaning for example, no autofocus boxes on the screen.

Some cameras may require you to put the camera into the “movie” mode.