How To Use Canon DSLR Camera As A Webcam With Your PC

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With USB webcams in short supply and demand skyrocketing due to the sharp spike in remote work, Canon has stepped in with a solution. Its new software, the EOS Webcam Utility, is available as a free download, and turns your Canon EOS SLR, mirrorless camera, or PowerShot compact into a USB webcam—assuming you have a recent model, of course.

The software is in beta, and with a recent update supports both 64-bit Windows 10 systems and macOS computers running High Sierra, Mojave, and Catalina.

It's limited to recent models, and while there are some low-cost options on the list, you can't plug in a $100 PowerShot Elph. Support is limited to G series PowerShots and interchangeable lens models.

But, unlike webcams, you can click over to a retailer and order many models for speedy delivery to your home office.

The Windows version of the software promises to work with pretty much any app where you can select your input camera, but Mac owners are a bit limited.

I installed the beta on my 2017 iMac and connected an EOS R mirorrless camera. Setup was as painless as promised, though I did have to reboot the system after installation. And it works easily with Google Meet.

Canon states that Zoom and Skype aren't supported. I can verify that Skype doesn't work, as the latest version killed support for anything other than my Mac's webcam.

I was able to log into Zoom without issue, though it could be because I installed this hack on my system to use real cameras with Zoom. If you're comfortable going into Terminal and installing Xcode, it's a workaround.

Supported Cameras

The EOS Webcam Utility works with the entire spate of current-generation EOS models—Canon's branding for its SLR and mirrorless lines—and a handful of their predecessors. This is good news if you've bought a Canon camera in recent memory, but leaves owners of older bodies in the cold. If you already have one of the following cameras, you're set.

Supported Cameras Supported Cameras

But what if you don't? As good as it is, you absolutely should not buy a pro model like the 1D X Mark II to use as a webcam, even if it would make for an amusing social media post.

But there are some value options on the list. The EOS Rebel SL3 is a good choice if you want a camera you can also use for vacation snapshots once life has returned to a more normal state, and if you just want the least expensive webcam you can get, the ultra-basic EOS Rebel T6 sells for just $400.

Canon EOS Rebel SL3 Canon EOS Rebel SL3

For family photographers looking forward, you can spend a little bit more on a mirrorless camera and get advanced capabilities like eye-detection autofocus and 4K video. The EOS M6 Mark II and full-frame EOS RP are pricier entry points, but will serve you better than a simple webcam.

If you like a compact camera, I'd point to the G7 X Mark III or G5 X Mark II as good options. The SX70 HS is also supported, and is one of our favorite ultra-zoom bridge cameras, but its small image sensor and dim lens give me pause to recommend it as a webcam, unless you're also planning on stepping up your game by adding some lighting.

Lights, Lenses, Tripod!

Speaking of lighting, it's something you may want to think about to further step up your web conferencing game. LumeCube sells a range of small, USB rechargeable LED lights. Adding one, along with a diffuser cap to soften the light, will shed some light on you and darken backgrounds. Other LED light panels will do the job, too, or you can set up near a window for some natural lighting—just make sure that it's falling on your face, not behind your body.

LumeCube LumeCube

Even with a basic 18-55mm zoom, you can open up the aperture to f/3.5 to defocus the background a bit. A LumeCube is small enough to mount in your camera's hot shoe, though I'd recommend positioning it off axis so its light doesn't shine directly into your eyes.

You'll also want to get some sort of tripod. You don't need to spend hundreds on a fancy one—an Amazon Basics model will do just fine. Just make sure you're able to position it near eye level—you may be fine with a tabletop tripod.

And there's the lens to think about. Canon cameras are typically kitted with an 18-55mm or 15-45mm zoom lens. But you may want to get something with a wider aperture to blur out your background even more. You'll want something fairly wide-angle—it's absolutely impossible to beat the EF-S 24mm F2.8 STM for SLRs, and the EF-M 22mm F2 STM is the best prime lens for EOS M customers.

For full-frame, I'd recommend the EF 40mm F2.8 STM as a budget option, and a lens like the EF 35mm F2 IS USM or Sigma 28mm F1.4 DG HSM Art if you prefer a wider prime.

Since webcam software uses your computer's microphone for audio, you can still plug in a headset for better sound as per usual. The camera's internal microphone doesn't come into play.

Once you've got your camera set up and ready to go, head over to Canon's download page to get the EOS Webcam Utility Beta.

Source : https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-use-your-canon-dslr-as-a-webcam

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