How to use your DSLR or digital Camera as a Zoom Webcam

If you have a digital camera, this device could allow you to use your camera as a webcam to complete your Zoom calls, meetings and remote audits with improved quality and functionality.

During the pandemic, we are having many, more virtual meetings replacing our face-to-face meetings and, at the same time, the cost of webcams has increased.

The increased price of webcams has led to some of the current webcams on sale having reduced quality or limited functionality, or even, just plain sky-high prices.

Like many other businesses, our environmental and sustainability consultancy, onePlanet Solutions, has been conducting many, more conference calls and audits using remote meeting tools, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and communicating through my webcam to allow for video and audio

One way of improving on the use of a webcam is to use a digital camera, which will allow for better video as well as greater control over the settings that you can use.

The main problem with this approach is that, until now, you needed a video capture device that, typically, costs £150 (or nearly 200 dollars).

Now, there is a new entrant into this market, which reduces the cost to about £20 (or 25 dollars) or less & is super easy to install and use.

The device comes in a small box with its technical features, such as the ability to take 4K or HD input and convert to HD & ability to work with Windows, Android and MacOS.

Inside the box is a small instruction booklet with further details on the features and specifications as well as how to connect and use the device.

The device, itself, looks like a slightly larger USB memory drive. It is well built with a metal shell. At one end, is the Input for a standard HDMI connection and the other end for output is a standard USB. Overall, the device has a nice feel and weight about it bring confidence to its use.

There is not much essential equipment that you need.

You will need to purchase the capture device, which I have described earlier

The other main item is a digital camera with clean HDMI output. You should be able to confirm whether your camera has a clean HDMI output through your camera manufacturer.

Here are two cameras at the top end and mid-range, which have the clean HDMI output and an older camera, which does not output a clean feed therefore the settings will appear on the video.

If you do not have a clean HDMI output then the output from the camera will send not only the video but also the display settings to your computer, which is not desired and will make your video look unprofessional.

You can see how a non-clean HDMI output will look in the photo (below), where you can clearly see the internal viewfinder display settings.

Next you will need an HDMI cable, which will need to be a full HDMI plug at one end for the capture device. The other end needs, either a full HDMI, mini HDMI or micro HDMI plug depending on the socket fitting on your camera as illustrated in the photo below.

The other essential equipment is a computer, whether a laptop or desktop, either will work with the capture device provided that it can take regular USB-A plug, & the software of your choice for your virtual meeting, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

The device does state minimum specifications for the computer in terms of Intel i5 and i7 processors, a basic graphics card and 4 GB of RAM memory. I used the capture device on my two year-old laptop with an i7 processor and on-board graphics with no problems.

Optional equipment to enhance the use of the capture device are a trip to attach your camera, a microphone, if you want to have better audio quality than the built-in microphone on the camera and lighting to improve the quality of the video in lower light conditions.

Video Capture in-Use
Using the capture device is very simple.

  1. Use the HDMI cable to connect the camera to the Capture Device
  2. Connect the Capture Device to your computer
  3. Windows 10 recognises the Capture Card and Camera and sets it up with the correct drivers without any problems
  4. Then, your camera is available for your chosen software.

Here, I have set it up with Zoom with a comparison of the use of our webcam with our digital camera using the HDMI Capture Device. The webcam has little by the way of controls to alter the blue-white appearance or to change the angle of view, whereas the digital camera excels at both of these by allowing changes of the white balance and colour temperature & with a zoom lens, to change to angle of view.

Logitech C920 Webcam Sony A7 + HDMI Capture Device

If you want to purchase the HDMI Capture Device, it is available from the following sources:

DIWUER Capture Card, 4K HDMI to USB 2.0 Video Capture Device, 1080P HDAmazon*£ 19.99
NEW HDMI to USB 2.0 Video Capture Card Adapter 1080P HDebay£ 7.69 – 11.94
NOTE: All links (marked *) are enabled through the Amazon Associates, which does not increase the cost to you & gives a small commission back to support future EMSmastery articles

I hope that this episode has given you an insight into how using our digital camera to provide improved video for our Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings and audits.

Please leave your comments on your experiences below.

If you enjoyed this article, you should subscribe to our YouTube Channel – EMSmastery, where you can watch our videos, such as our video accompanying this article on “How to use a DSLR or digital camera as a Zoom Webcam” and subscribe in our YouTube channel for new videos released each week.

#RemoteAudit, #RemoteAuditing, #webcam, #ISO14001

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