How to Use Your Nikon Camera as a Webcam

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Whether you want a professional look for your livestreams or simply to look better on your next video chat, one of the best options is to use a dedicated camera with excellent video specs—such as your Nikon mirrorless or DSLR. Since you likely already have the camera and a compatible USB cable, it seems like an easy way to improve your video calls.

Why Use a Nikon Camera Instead of a Webcam?

In one word: quality. The webcam that comes with your tablet, laptop, or smartphone is nowhere near as good as a large-sensor mirrorless or DSLR camera. You also get more control over the image with a Nikon camera. You can set the aperture and ISO just as easily as you set a color profile to add a look to your footage. A webcam is usually always set to auto mode, and sometimes it provides unflattering color casts. If you want the best video, you should use a dedicated camera.

Recommended Cameras and Equipment

If you want to use the USB cable­­-only method, you’ll have to check and see if your camera is supported by third-party software, such as Ecamm Live. The company provided the following list of specific Nikon cameras that it or its community members have personally tested.

If your camera isn’t on the list, that doesn’t mean it won’t work, just that it hasn’t been tested yet. I would suspect many other current Nikon releases are compatible. If you happen to test a different camera and want to add it to the list, please leave a note in the Comments section, below.

How to Set up Your Camera and Computer

The easiest way to set up your Nikon camera as a webcam is to use the new Nikon Webcam Utility. First, download and install the free Nikon Webcam Utility program for either PC or Mac. Next, you should connect your Nikon camera to your computer using a simple USB plug-and-play method. And that’s it. As long as you have downloaded and installed the Nikon Webcam Utility to your computer, it will automatically recognize your compatible Nikon camera any time it’s connected to the computer via USB. And once your camera is detected, you can then open any compatible video conferencing application or software (Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet, etc.) and start streaming. 

Nikon Webcam Utility. Live stream like a pro with Nikon Cameras
Nikon Webcam Utility

Clean HDMI Method and More Info on Streaming

If your camera isn’t compatible or you are looking for an even higher-quality way to connect, you should read Using a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera as a Webcam. It includes the Clean HDMI method, which uses many cameras’ HDMI output and a separately available video capture device to feed a high-quality video stream into your computer.

For more information on streaming or learning how to set up another brand or type of camera for use as a webcam, please stop by the B&H Livestream Center. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

48 Comments

I planned to use my DSLR as a webcam for my Mac but it doesn't work with FaceTime. Which capture card or software should I use to make it work? 

What you can use is the Elgato Cam Link 4K, BH # ELCL4KGCD if your DSLR has a clean HDMI output, which should work with FaceTime. 

https://bhpho.to/3kOB2Vp

 

Would the software support Nikon D3100?

Being that the Nikon D3100 doesn't offer a clean HDMI output, that would make it incompatible.  I'm very sorry. 

hi, when plugging in my coolpix L840 into my elgato cam link,  it just shows my image library on my computer thats all it lets me do.   anyone know why this is?

We're sorry to hear about the trouble you're having. The problem is most likely due to the L840 lacking a clean HDMI output. Otherwise using the Elgato Cam-Link with a camera that does have the clean HDMI output would work just fine with the appropriate software. 

Im wonderin if i could do this with my Nikon L340

Unfortunately, there are no options to use the Nikon Coolpix L340 as a webcam as this time. 

hello, I wanted to use my D3200 to capture my video in zoom meetings. I already have a capture card and an hdmi connector I just don't know how to connect it properly

Before configuring the camera in Zoom, you would need to download software such as Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) which will allow the camera to be recognized as a video capture device. 

It seems a tad ridiculous, but would it be possible for me to set up my P1000 as a webcam and have it zoom from my neighbour's 2nd floor window into mine? 🤔

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 does have a clean HDMI output, so it would be a matter of connecting it via HDMI to a device such as the Atomos Connect, BH # ATOMCON001. You can then use any webcam software.

https://bhpho.to/3g1x6MY

I am trying to use my coolpix l120 with obs studio and webcam utility but everyime I try to do it it just shows the nikon erbcam utility logo, never goes into the actual app and I can never see any sort of footage... Thanks!

Unfortunately, Nikon does not list the Coolpix L120 as a compatible camera with the Nikon Webcam Utility.  This may be the reason why you're not able to see anything past the logo. 

I try using my D3200 as a webcam but the LV only goes for 30mins. Is there a way to change that or to make the camera stay as a webcam?

Unfortunately, the Live View would need to be reset once it shuts down every 30 mins as there is no way to keep it on. 

Check out Sparkosoft. It lets you setup a dslr as a webcam. It's not free. But it works really well has a bunch of other features.

Hi! I have a Mac Os 10.11.6 El Capitan. And the Nikon Webcam Utility is not compatible with this computer. I can not buy another computer  just for this. Can you tell me how can I use my Nikon Camera for streaming with the Mac 10.11.6? I have a D3400 and a D7500. Is there maybe another program compatible with El Capitan?

The closest options that may work for your usage needs would be to use a software option such as Zoom or CamTwist Studio with an HDMI capture card such as the Elgato Cam Link 4KB&H # ELCL4KGCD, the INOGENI 4K HDMI to USB 3.0 Video Capture CardB&H # IN4K2USB3, the Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen 2B&H # MA32060, or the Atomos Connect 4KB&H # ATOMCON001.​  The system requirements for Zoom states it is compatible for use with macOS X with macOS 10.9 or later, along with their other system requirements, and CamTwist Studio states they are recommended for use with macOS 10.10 or higher.

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Most of the popular streaming software seem to require macOS High Sierra or later for compatibility; El Capitan appears to have been released before most of the current streaming software options were invented, and as such, do not seem backward-compatible.  According to OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio) system requirements, one of the most popular options, OBS states they require macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) or later versions, and your system must be powered by an Intel processor.  The developers state OBS Studio is not designed for Mac machines running on PowerPC processors.  Wirecast states they recommend macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina, or macOS Big Sur, so it would also not be compatible for use with macOS El Capitan 10.11.x software.  It may be possible to use a program such as CamTwist Studio​ (or Zoom), but as I am not as familiar with their software, you may wish to download their software to see for yourself if it works on your system for your usage needs.

I have a D5300 hooked up to my M1 Mac mini using a mini usb cable, and while the camera does work in Zoom with better quality the image is small - much smaller than the image if I use my Logitech webcam. It is basically a video image surrounded by a large black frame - a frame that is not there with the Logitech. Is there a way to get rid of that frame?

In your Preferences for Zoom, click the Video icon to ensure that the Original Ratio box is un-clicked. Having this function clicked on will cause the black frame to be present. 

hello, i have a D780, still learning features... anyway i tried the live streaming with the USB C to USB A cable, it works but it's super laggy, tried on Skype, Signal and Zoom. on win10 laptop. fast ssd etc.

My PC is fast enough and can do 1080p 60fps from my logitech streamcam no problem.... is there a setting? or is it because the live view is on at the same time and cannot make it?

do you really need to do it via the mini HDMI to HDMI cable instead for having a proper smooth video?

thank you

Using your camera's USB cable and the Nikon Webcam Utility software would be the free and easy setup to connect your camera to your computer for use as a web camera.  I do not know if there are any specific settings that may enhance your camera's performance, but you may wish to contact Nikon directly for assistance by calling them Monday to Friday from 9AM–8PM EST at 1-800-NIKON-US (1-800-645-6687), via live chat, or by using the following link to contact them via e-mail (https://www.nikonimgsupport.com/ni/NI_ask_support?ctry=US&lang=en_US).  However, if you are looking for the highest image quality, connecting your camera to your computer using an HDMI cable and a capture card would give you much higher image quality and should deliver more steady performance.  A capture card such as the Elgato Cam Link 4KB&H # ELCL4KGCD, or the Atomos Connect 4KB&H # ATOMCON001, would be a good option for your usage needs.  The above setup would work with software such as Zoom or OBS (Open Broadcaster Studio) for your streaming needs.  You can also read more information on Nikon's website at the link included below.  

.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/a/tips-and-techniques/how-to-live-stream-using-a-nikon-camera.html

Hi there,
I have a Nikon Coolpix S9900, would I be able to use this for live streaming through OBS?

Thanks in advance.

Unfortunately, no, the Nikon Coolpix S9900 Digital Camera would not be recommended for live streaming usage needs as the camera does not have clean HDMI output.

I want to use my Nikon Coolpix B600 as a webcam on my PC but unable to connect as the HDMI option is not there in the Network setting of the camera.
Kindly suggest some perfect solution.

Unfortunately, there are no webcam options for the B600 at this time. I'm very sorry. 

can it work with d5200 and how?

Although the D5200 is not compatible with the Nikon Webcam Utility, Nikon indicates that it offers a clean HDMI output. That being said, it can be used as a webcam with the help of the Elgato Cam Link 4K, BH # ELCL4KGCD which connects via HDMI.

https://bhpho.to/3sFE8vz

 

What are the steps to use my 7200 as a webcam for Google Meet for my virtual meeting for my photography class?

Hi Arnold, 

Nikon does offer a tutorial on how to set up their cameras using the Nikon Webcam Utility. Please see the link for more information:

http://bit.ly/3aoE7pz

My D500 shuts off at about 10 minutes using Zoom on a Mac Book. Any ideas to fix that? 

So that we may better help you with trouble shooting your camera please email us at [email protected].

Thanks!

Tony J. wrote:

My D500 shuts off at about 10 minutes using Zoom on a Mac Book. Any ideas to fix that? 

same problem. Camera is battery powered, fully charged. Is it mandatory to use an external power source, like wall power?

So that we may better help you with trouble shooting your camera please email us at [email protected].

Levan V. wrote:

Tony J. wrote:

My D500 shuts off at about 10 minutes using Zoom on a Mac Book. Any ideas to fix that? 

same problem. Camera is battery powered, fully charged. Is it mandatory to use an external power source, like wall power?

You have to change the setting under the menu Timers-Monitor off Delay -> set Live view to no limit. I think it is C4 on the menu

How do I set up my D500 for a zoom meeting? Do I turn on LiveView only or do I also hit the record button? When testing, LiveView doesn't stay on very long. When recording it turns off after 30 minutes. How do I use the D500 for a 2 hour zoom meeting?

According to Nikon, once you downloading and installing the Nikon Webcam Utility from their site, you would connect your D500 via USB to your computer, connected a external mic such as the NIkon ME-1 to the computer's microphone port then open zoom. The software should keep the camera awake while in Live View. When using Zoom specifically, you can choose to have the session recorded to your computer.  Below is a link to the page explaining the procedure. https://bit.ly/3kXuT6p

isn t there are risk of damaging the sensor of the d810 in extended use or any overheating issues?

Hola tengo una camara DSLR Nikon D5100, quisiera saber como puedo hacer para que no se muestre toda la informacion de la camara que sale en su display, al momento de conectarla como una webcam? O sea que la imagen salga limpia y se vea solo lo que capta el objetivo.

Excellent! But what about the sound? Using a Macbook Pro the stream will use the computers mic? 

In your video conferencing software it will likely default to the computer's built-in mic, though you may need to set it manually.

Very helpful, thank you!

Glad to help!

You did not mention what lens you would recommend? I 'm using an D 750

Assuming the camera is going to be placed on a desk relatively close to you I would recommend something slightly wide-angle and with a large maximum aperture. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED Lens would be one such lens. Though if you are working with available lenses, any zoom that can achieve a similar perspective should do just fine, like a 24-70mm. Or, if you can make some room the nifty 50mm f/1.8 will do the trick.

Well how about the Nikon D7500?  It shoots very good video, seems as if it would work as less capable models are listed.
Thanks!

I agree. The list is only what Ecamm has tested or had reported as working. The software does offer a free 14-day trial, so if you want to test it out it is free. And if it works (which I suspect it should) please let us and Ecamm know so we can update the list and help others.

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