Pair your camera and laptop to look sharper at your next Zoom meeting

  • Technology
  • Saturday, 05 Sep 2020

That tiny camera built into your laptop isn't great. If you have a digital camera lying around and want to look better in video chat, it's time to hook it up to your computer. — dpa

Better image quality, the ability to zoom or use blur effects without compromising on quality – there are lots of reasons to hook up your camera and computer with a USB cable, especially if you regularly use video chat for work.

Of course, if you want to use your camera as a high-end webcam for Zoom or Skype meetings, it will depend on the camera's manufacturer, model and lens.

And the decisive factor is whether the camera maker has enabled the device to be used as a webcam, and the right software is available for the computer.

Plenty of the major manufacturers are doing so amid the pandemic, as people are increasingly taking part in video conferences.

That includes Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic along with Sony which kicked off by making 35 models compatible for use with a computer.

Actioncams can also be used as webcams, with the GoPro a particularly popular example.

If you aren't sure whether this will work for your camera, check with the manufacturer whether your camera model has a webcam or video streaming function or if that's planned at all.

If you don't have a spare digital camera lying around at home, you don't have to go and buy one, as you will probably still be able to link up your smartphone.

Unless you have an expensive, new laptop, there's a good chance even an older phone will do your face justice.

There are a number of apps you can download to turn your Android smartphone or tablet into a webcam, which work when both your computer and phone are connected to the same WiFi network.

For Android smartphones, the free app Droidcam Wireless Webcam can record both image and sound to a video chat program on your computer.

You'll also need to install a small program on your Windows or Linux computer to provide the necessary drivers and connect to your phone.

Alternatively there's the free IP Webcam app, which only sends video, and which requires the IP Camera Adapter on your computer. In this case you can use your computer's built-in microphone or a headset to record audio. – dpa

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