In the spring, while the pandemic was surging and people were moving into home offices, it was nearly impossible to find a webcam to help secure your home or provide a better Zoom experience. As a result, camera manufacturers began issuing software that would enable camera owners to convert their tech into a working webcam. And while the webcam famine has abated somewhat, it could still be a good idea to convert your older phone or camera into a webcam — not only will you be saving a bit of cash by repurposing your tech, but you’ll be saving your devices (at least temporarily) from having to be recycled.
The following are some resources that might help you create a new webcam from your old tech. We start with a couple of general how-tos and then offer information about some apps that you can get from specific camera manufacturers.
How to convert a phone or a camera
We’ll start with how to get your Android phone or tablet to act as a webcam for your computer, and then we’ll move into doing the same with your iPhone or iPad.
If you really want to step up your video call game, you can actually use a DSLR or mirrorless camera as a webcam for your computer and have the best-looking video of anyone in your group chat.
Software from camera manufacturers
If you’ve got a recent Canon mirrorless, DSLR, or PowerShot camera, you can now use it as a webcam and put everyone else on your video call to shame. The company has released a beta of EOS Webcam Utility for Windows 10, along with a beta version for macOS, that lets you plug in any of the supported cameras over USB and have it serve as your PC’s webcam.
Fujifilm has released new software that lets you use certain X-series and GFX-series mirrorless cameras as ultra-high-quality webcams. The app is called Fujifilm X Webcam and it works over USB, letting you benefit from much sharper lenses and larger image sensors than the potato camera in your laptop. You’re even able to use Fujifilm’s renowned film simulation modes.
GoPro will now let people on Windows PCs use its Hero 8 action camera as a webcam — though the experience is only in beta for now. The compatibility with Windows follows the introduction of the webcam functionality for macOS users in July.
Nikon has also unveiled its own Windows 10 and macOS beta software that allows you to use its mirrorless and DSLR cameras as webcams. The Nikon Webcam Utility uses a USB cable to connect your camera to your computer and produce a high-quality video stream.
Olympus is becoming the latest camera company to release an app that allows customers to use its mirrorless cameras as high-quality webcams with a new OM-D Webcam Beta app for both Windows 10 and macOS.
Panasonic has released an official Lumix webcam app. The software, still in beta since its quiet release, lets you plug your camera into your Mac or Windows machine and have it recognized as a video source in apps like Google Meet and Zoom.
Sony has released a new version of its Imaging Edge Webcam software for Macs, which allows you to directly plug in a recent Sony camera to use as a high-quality webcam for Zoom or Skype calls on your computer. The company had already released a version of the software for Windows back in August, but the new release means that Mac users can also get in on the action, with crisp, high-quality video calls.
Smart home gadget maker Wyze has released a firmware update and set of instructions for turning its low-cost security camera into a working webcam. The update involves manually installing firmware onto your Wyze camera that will temporarily turn it into a webcam, after which it will no longer connect to the Wyze app and function normally. However, Wyze says you can reverse the process to restore security camera access to the device and have it function normally again.
Update October 21st, 2020, 3PM ET: This article was updated to include information about the Nikon Webcam Utility.