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ThePointblank

No Webcam or Capture Card? Got a Canon Camera? You got a webcam

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Posted · Original PosterOP

In these times, it's incredibly difficult to get a decent webcam, or even a capture card, as everyone seems to be sold out right now.

 

Canon just dropped a new, free software utility, which would allow you to use certain Canon ILC or Powershot series camera as a high quality webcam via USB. No capture card required.

 

The catch is that the software is in beta, it's only available for Windows 10 x64, and support is limited to those in the USA.

 

From TechRadar:

https://www.techradar.com/news/canon-releases-free-software-that-turns-some-of-its-cameras-into-webcams

 

Quote

Canon USA has just released new software that may help some users overcome the global webcam shortage caused by an increase in demand due to Covid-19.

In fact, the lockdown rules in most countries have also increased our dependency on video calls for personal reasons as well – whether via Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts – and for many who already own a webcam, the video quality may not be up to scratch, especially in low light.

 

While it's possible to set up a camera you own to double as a webcam, it does require additional hardware and, in some cases, third-party software that you'll need to pay for.

The utility is here:

https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/support/self-help-center/eos-webcam-utility/

 

Canon USA has a video on it:

 

 

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What's strange to me, is that this isn't a default feature for every camera.


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cool but I only see 1/3 cameras I have supported.

1 minute ago, TetraSky said:

What's strange to me, is that this isn't a default feature for every camera.

this is canon who takes firmware and giving useful features as only expensive cine/pro cameras deserve it.


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Or you can do like me
I use the live feed from my camera on desktop with Xsplit screen capture.

Works great.

Though I guess actual software is better, finally xD 


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There are many apps that let you stream camera capture from Android phone to a PC


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48 minutes ago, huilun02 said:

There are many apps that let you stream camera capture from Android phone to a PC

Most of them are shit, though. I haven't yet found one that's actually good quality and does the video-encoding using hardware -- all the ones I found did it in software, causing the phone to run really hot and consuming the battery in an instant.


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Is this going to cause issues with the sensor over time? I recall my GF's Nikon having some time limits for shooting in 1080 and 4K which weren't just frame buffer but also, I thought, sensor on time limits?

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14 minutes ago, WereCatf said:

Most of them are shit, though. I haven't yet found one that's actually good quality and does the video-encoding using hardware -- all the ones I found did it in software, causing the phone to run really hot and consuming the battery in an instant.

IDK, never used a webcam and never had the need to

 

I have seen some streamers use more powerful dedicated cameras as their webcam and guess what? They also run really hot and consume lots of power. Often to the point of thermal shut down mid stream. Not that the user would be concerned because he/she wont be actively holding onto it.

 

And I'd like to see a home-use webcam that wont run into battery issues when not plugged into power. Well, there are none. Because webcams are plugged in all the time. Would a phone have battery issues when used in the same setting? No


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Please quote my post in your reply, so that I will be notified and can respond to it. Thanks.

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20 minutes ago, Bitter said:

Is this going to cause issues with the sensor over time? I recall my GF's Nikon having some time limits for shooting in 1080 and 4K which weren't just frame buffer but also, I thought, sensor on time limits?

most cameras have shutter count and then active hours.


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1 hour ago, TetraSky said:

What's strange to me, is that this isn't a default feature for every camera.

It was weird as I have some GoPros and I thought why not use them as a webcam as they are small and nimble - however not natively supported at all! 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
22 minutes ago, Bitter said:

Is this going to cause issues with the sensor over time? I recall my GF's Nikon having some time limits for shooting in 1080 and 4K which weren't just frame buffer but also, I thought, sensor on time limits?

The shooting time limits are in place for a completely arbitrary reason; taxation.

 

Cameras that can record over 30 minutes of video are charged a different rate of duty from than cameras that can't; the EU has a rule in place where cameras that can record 30 minutes of video are charged anywhere from 5-12% of the value of the goods in duty. Thus, many camera manufacturers have implemented this limit as a way to avoid the 5-12% tax on cameras in Europe. Were these companies to allow their cameras to record longer, they’d need to increase the cost of the cameras.

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16 minutes ago, huilun02 said:

I have seen some streamers use more powerful dedicated cameras as their webcam and guess what? They also run really hot and consume lots of power. Often to the point of thermal shut down mid stream. Not that the user would be concerned because he/she wont be actively holding onto it.

Irrelevant. I was talking about phones, not DSLR-cameras.

 

17 minutes ago, huilun02 said:

And I'd like to see a home-use webcam that wont run into battery issues when not plugged into power. Well, there are none. Because webcams are plugged in all the time. Would a phone have battery issues when used in the same setting? No

There are use-cases where one might wish to use the phone without being plugged in and using HW-encoding instead of SW-encoding would prolong the battery-life, thereby making it more feasible to do.


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1 minute ago, WereCatf said:

Irrelevant. I was talking about phones, not DSLR-cameras.

Still, who would be actively holding onto the recording device to call it a webcam?

 

2 minutes ago, WereCatf said:

There are use-cases where one might wish to use the phone without being plugged in

Uses cases that fall out of the scope of being a webcam?

I do agree using HW encoding would be better but as far as the user is concerned he/she would be perfectly happy with the 1080p60 footage

 

I am not trying to say Canon is doing something silly here. Props to them for adding functionality to their products that other brands dont.

Rather, I want to convey to people that there is an alternate solution that they probably already posses, and may be cheaper to obtain even.


Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

Please quote my post in your reply, so that I will be notified and can respond to it. Thanks.

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4 minutes ago, huilun02 said:

Still, who would be actively holding onto the recording device to call it a webcam?

I don't understand, I never said anything about anyone holding the device.

 

4 minutes ago, huilun02 said:

Uses cases that fall out of the scope of being a webcam?

Plenty of people use webcams to e.g. stream themselves making stuff at home and occasionally have to move the camera to get a better view of what they're doing, then move it back.

 

6 minutes ago, huilun02 said:

I am not trying to say Canon is doing something silly here

I don't care, I didn't say anything about Canon or what they did.


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Would love to have this with my Sony A6500 although mine would probably have heat issues if I streamed for hours anyways. I really wanted to try streaming with it but good capture cards are expensive. I wish these software was a basic feature, for once Canon is doing something innovative. 


 

 

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12 minutes ago, WereCatf said:

I don't understand, I never said anything about anyone holding the device.

You talked about heat, which would be a concern if the user was holding the device

 

12 minutes ago, WereCatf said:

Plenty of people use webcams to e.g. stream themselves making stuff at home and occasionally have to move the camera to get a better view of what they're doing, then move it back.

And how would a phone that is plugged in, be any different from the webcams that people are already using?

If anything, the battery in the phone allows it to continue functioning while being moved. Is this not a good thing?


Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

Please quote my post in your reply, so that I will be notified and can respond to it. Thanks.

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Just now, huilun02 said:

You talked about heat, which would be a concern if the user was holding the device

It's a concern regardless, since phones tend to throttle when they get hot. Throttling might cause it to start dropping frames or crash completely, like e.g. one of my phones cannot sustain 1080p60 because of that for long. So yes, it definitely is a concern regardless.

 

1 minute ago, huilun02 said:

And how would a phone that is plugged in, be any different from the webcams that people are already using?

If anything, the battery in the phone allows it to continue functioning while being moved. Is this not a good thing?

You have completely misunderstood something.


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1 hour ago, ThePointblank said:

The shooting time limits are in place for a completely arbitrary reason; taxation.

 

Cameras that can record over 30 minutes of video are charged a different rate of duty from than cameras that can't; the EU has a rule in place where cameras that can record 30 minutes of video are charged anywhere from 5-12% of the value of the goods in duty. Thus, many camera manufacturers have implemented this limit as a way to avoid the 5-12% tax on cameras in Europe. Were these companies to allow their cameras to record longer, they’d need to increase the cost of the cameras.

Though I may add, first off never heard of that so I researched and it is partially true, the non true part is that it still exists and was solely a import duty/tariff. The taxation then is the responsibility of the countries, in case of germany there are only two main classes: general tax with 19% on most of the goods and 7% on food, but no exception that I'm aware of on cameras, no matter how long they can record. What I have found out is that this duty practice should have ended mid last year, but in my short research i only found sparse sources in general about this topic

Edit: I tried the tariff calculator of the eu for photographic and cinematographic cameras, no difference I can tell in duties


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3 hours ago, GDRRiley said:

cool but I only see 1/3 cameras I have supported.

this is canon who takes firmware and giving useful features as only expensive cine/pro cameras deserve it.

Blegh, my Powershot G7X mkii is not supported, but the mkiii is. -_-


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Great to hear they are offering this!  You can easily pay upwards of $100 for a device to do this from a well-known brand, and that's assuming you can even find it in stock, so to get that feature for free is fantastic.  I can only hope they eventually add more models to the supported list, and that other companies will also do the same.  I always assumed that the reason cameras generally didn't have this feature built in was that it was a niche thing that would require additional hardware and thus not worth baking into every unit.  The fact that they can add this with firmware/software updates is very interesting to me.  Does this not require special hardware in the camera?  Or, does it require hardware that they have included for years now and just left dormant?  This is odd to me and I'd like to know why wasn't this offered from the start on every camera that could do it.  The part about being only available to users in the US is even more strange.  I can only guess that the models they sold there are perhaps different than the ones sold elsewhere and that's the differentiating factor, not your actual physical location since that's completely arbitrary and unrelated to your ability to update firmware or use software.


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2 hours ago, WereCatf said:

It's a concern regardless, since phones tend to throttle when they get hot. Throttling might cause it to start dropping frames or crash completely, like e.g. one of my phones cannot sustain 1080p60 because of that for long. So yes, it definitely is a concern regardless.

 

You have completely misunderstood something.

This uses hardware encoding:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shenyaocn.android.WebCam&hl=en_US

 

It's a touch grainy though, and i'm not sure about framerates

(I'm using a Pixel 3a)


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3 hours ago, WereCatf said:

Most of them are shit, though. I haven't yet found one that's actually good quality and does the video-encoding using hardware -- all the ones I found did it in software, causing the phone to run really hot and consuming the battery in an instant.

This one works for me:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pas.webcam

 

Good quality, low latency, works with phone screen off, must use HW encoding since the phone doesn't heat up much, can manually set/freeze focus, lots of configurability from webpage. 


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Not really a big thing. AFAIK all of the supported cameras already have the function to stream their screen through their video port and now they just allowed that through the USB. It would be a lot bigger if Canon was to expand this to cameras that cannot do this with official firmware but that would go so much against Canons way of doing business by limiting "working" features out of cameras just because they aren't pro- or prosumer-lineups (*cough cough*CHDK*cough cough*).

It not needing capture card is kind of neat. But then again we are talking about Canon here so the question is: How many cameras outside of the support could use this feature if Canon wouldn't intentionally cripple them in the first place?

 

-Guy who once used Canon PowerShot SX200IS as a webcam through EOS software back then

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2 hours ago, Thaldor said:

Not really a big thing. AFAIK all of the supported cameras already have the function to stream their screen through their video port and now they just allowed that through the USB. It would be a lot bigger if Canon was to expand this to cameras that cannot do this with official firmware

Firmware won't make a lick of difference if the USB port on the camera doesn't have access to the image processor feed.  And that's the key point: A) does the camera in question even have a USB port?  And B) does that USB port have access to a feed from the image processor?  If the answer to either of those is "No", then there's no firmware that can change it.

 


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