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How to Turn Your Digital Camera into a Webcam

written by: Larry M. Lynch•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/30/2010

If you don't have a webcam with your PC or laptop, here's a great way to add images and video to your online chats and conversations on Skype. You can make your digital camera into a webcam using these simple steps.

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    How to Make Your Digital Camera into a Webcam

    In the “good ole days" of PC computing when you wanted to add a webcam to your desktop you simply trucked your bunnies out and bought a small clip-on webcam unit, plugged it into a port, loaded the corresponding software drivers and you were good to go. In many cases this is still quite doable depending on the PC equipment you might have. Fast forward a tad to today and the situation might be a bit different. Now you have a collection of digital equipment which very likely also includes a camcorder or a digital camera. If your PC or laptop still lacks a webcam, you very well may be able to make your digital camera into a webcam.

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    Make My Digital Camera into a Webcam

    Initially you should check your digital camera operating manual to see if this feature is included in the camera’s capabilities. It may be the case that this is true and even the software for using your camera as a webcam is included with your camera’s CD. If your digital camera does not have this feature, read on. All is not lost.

    First, your digital camera must have video and audio output jacks and a camera-to-monitor connector cable should have come with the camera. Your camera manual should diagram how the connection has to be made.

    Then you’re going to need a video capture device. There are many different makes and models available on the market such as EasyCap, EasyCam, Roxio video capture USB and a host of others with new offerings popping up on a regular basis.

    Next, connect your digital camera’s video cable from the camera to the video capture device.

    Note: For sound capability, you will need to connect a separate microphone into the PC or laptop as most video capture devices do not have sound capability.

    After that, connect the video capture device to your PC or laptop. Most current video capture devices plug into a USB port.

    Finally, the video capture device you are using comes with software. This is the driver to operate the device, so it must be downloaded into your PC or laptop. Once downloaded, access the software on your PC, turn on your camera, follow any software setup prompts and the camera should now be functioning as a full motion webcam. There may be a bit of a delay in the screen image when you move the camera but this is normal and no cause for alarm. Debut video capture device software driver is a free download available online which will work for most devices and cameras. Otherwise stick with the software particular to your video capture device.

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    Make a Camcorder into a Webcam

    The above procedure works equally well using a camcorder and these actually have better quality optics so function even better for this application. Camcorder software drivers typically interface with devices as WDM (Windows Driver Model) or a VFW (Video for Windows) device drivers. Orangeware makes a highly versatile camcorder driver called WebCamDV, which is effective on a wide variety of makes and models should you be interested in going this route. You can visit their website for updated information on their current line of products.

    Tips for using a camcorder as a webcam: When using a camcorder as a webcam, the image looks best when the subject is positioned at about three feet (around one meter) from the lens. Also, try to position the camcorder as close to the screen as possible for better face-to-face appearance. Be sure to use a separate microphone plugged into the microphone input jack of the PC or laptop.

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    Make Your Digital Camera into a Webcam

    The “good ole days" may be gone, but now you can quickly and easily make your digital camera into a webcam using the simple procedures as noted here. For specific makes and models of cameras, there is also some special software available which can be accessed and downloaded online.

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