If you want to show your face on stream, you’ll need a camera.
Most people start with a webcam—usually whatever’s built in to the laptop. This’ll get you started, but eventually, you may want to go for an upgrade.
This brings us to the next big question:
Do you invest in a good webcam, or do you invest in using a DSLR/mirrorless camera as a webcam?
Each option is a good, reasonable choice that can tremendously boost your stream’s quality, but which is best for you?
DSLR vs Webcam: A Quick Overview
A DSLR or mirrorless camera will have the absolute best quality and customizability, but it’s an expensive investment, can be inconvenient to use, and requires additional tools for setup—a capture card and mount to be exact.
On the other hand, a top of the line webcam is a fraction of the price, doesn’t need any additional hardware, and can still have great quality.
Regardless of which you choose, you need solid lighting and an understanding of basic camera settings to make the most of your gear. No matter how good a camera is, it’ll fall short without proper setup.
But first… how do I set up a DSLR as a webcam?
- You need a capture card. Most cameras have HDMI or micro HDMI ports you can use to connect to the HDMI IN port of a capture card. You’ll either need a regular HDMI cable or a HDMI to micro HDMI cable. If you need a capture card for your game in addition to the camera, we recommend the Live Gamer DUO.
- Adjust your camera position, lens, and zoom to put yourself in frame. 16mm is a good focal length to start with.
- Consult manufacturer tutorials to ensure your camera has a clean HDMI out. This means your camera’s output will have no HUD, only the image.
And voila! If you add the capture card connected to your camera as a source in your streaming software, there you are. You can also use a DSLR or mirrorless for mobile streaming with an Android phone using our ExtremeCap device!
These blogs are to provide tips, but if we got the tools, we might as well… 🤔
Now, let’s compare.
Here are the Pros and Cons of using a DSLR or mirrorless camera as a webcam:
- Absolute maximum quality—DSLRs have amazing image sensors.
- Greatest image control—high customizability between settings and changing lenses
- You now have a camera to use for other creative purposes
- Very expensive—upwards of $1000 in most cases.
- More complicated setup—it can be a headache learning camera basics, figuring out mounting, setting up an additional capture card, and charging the camera while using.
- Less convenient—if you use your camera for photography or videography, it can be inconvenient to repeatedly re-mount it
Now, what about webcams?
- Simple and convenient—plug it in, adjust your settings, and go
- Single purpose—it’s always connected to your PC for convenient use
- Still high quality—the quality ceiling is lower than a DSLR, but with top-shelf webcams like the Live Streamer CAM 513, you’ll still have fantastic quality
- Less expensive—$250 for a top-shelf webcam is expensive, but it’s less than a quarter of what you’d pay for a DSLR setup.
- Lower quality ceiling—DSLRs simply will have better image sensors than webcams
- Can’t change lenses—You can upgrade a DSLR with better lenses, but a webcam will only have its one lens.
Final Verdict – which is best for me?
Based on the pros and cons, it seems like webcams make the most sense for the majority of users, which is true in most cases. However, it really comes down to personal preference and budget.
If you already have a DSLR or mirrorless camera, are interested in purchasing one for more than just streaming, or want the highest quality possible regardless of budget, a DSLR or mirrorless camera + capture card setup would be best for you. It may be more of a headache to set up. It costs a lot more than a webcam. The quality though—it’s the best you can get.
If you want something simple, convenient, and much less expensive, choose a webcam.
We at AVerMedia have the tools for either of these options, so we believe it’s essential for us to provide the tips and resources for making your choice and setting it up!
Reach out on our social media platforms if you have any questions, and remember…
We are all creators.