Upgrading my webcam to a DSLR

I’ve been informed that DSLR is not the same as a mirrorless camera, my bad. 🙈 What I have is a mirrorless camera, thank you to Maciej for letting me know!

Since March 2020, I’ve been fascinated by webcams spending hours going through review after review. This blog post I’ll share the various webcams I’ve tried and tested and finally settling for my DSLR webcam solution.

When lockdown first hit, I didn’t bother much with the best webcam. I just opted for the one on my corporate laptop for most of my meetings.

It’ll only be a couple of weeks anyway!” I remember thinking to myself. How wrong was I?

Logitech C920S

After month 2, I decided to get a webcam because I wanted to level up my appearance in meetings; I also started attending more virtual meet-ups and conferences where I gave talks at.

My first purchase was the Logitech C920S. Stupidly, I bought it for about £30~ or so more because, at the time, office equipment was in high demand. 🤭

Looking back, I should’ve probably waited for the ridiculous prices to go down, but eh, I had an upgraded webcam that sat on top of my monitor! No more side view of my face or my chin. 😂

That webcam served me well for the first year of the pandemic! This is a video I recorded using the webcam.

However, I was keen to upgrade after noticing that I looked overly softened and unnatural. Don’t get me wrong, though — I didn’t mind this on days I honestly gave up on my appearance. But for some more video content I wanted my video to look sharper.

Logitech Brio

After going down the rabbit hole of comparison reviews, I upgraded to Logitech Brio . This looked miles better and reflected more of reality. However, I still noticed that the colors made me look pale when I’m very much a brown woman. I’m Filipina! 😂

My old Logitech Brio camera
Logitech Brio

Elgato Facecam

After using this webcam, I bought the Elgato Facecam .

The reviews were glowing! “Just like a DSLR but a compact webcam” was what everyone was raving about online, so I decided to treat myself.

After all, I just became an official DevRel, and I was like, “I’ll be on camera so much more these days!” The Elgato Facecam didn’t disappoint. With a few alterations in the Settings to fit your lighting, it easily is one of the best webcams out there.

Elgato’s Facecam webcam with the DSLR webcam in the background
This is my current set-up with my DSLR webcam in the background

I still use it now as my second backup camera if my DSLR isn’t picked up by my laptop for any reason. It’s my top recommendation for people that want the best webcam before jumping into the world of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

Canon M50 Mark 2

I had a wish list item of “get DSLR to use as a webcam” for months at this point.

I even tried to dig out an old camera that I used for vlogging (before the iPhone became a pretty decent camera.) Unfortunately, the camera was never supported to be used as a webcam. I did manage to dig out how you can get it to work, but I didn’t want to fuss around too much. Can you imagine? I’m already trying to get a live stream working, and I have to worry about my webcam?! No, thank you. 😅

Canon M50 Mark 2

For my upgrade, I decided to go for the Canon M50 Mark 2 camera Unlike plug-and-play cameras, set-up wasn’t as straightforward. I encountered two main problems:

  1. How can I make my battery last longer than 2 hours?
  2. How do I set the DSLR up to work as a webcam, not a camera?

In case you’re on the same boat, here’s what I’ve done to get it up and running!

Dummy Battery (and power)

The battery that comes with the camera doesn’t last that long especially when you plan to stream for a long time. I streamed for almost 2 hours, and as soon as I ended it, my camera’s battery died.

This is a dummy battery with a plug that powers it. Annoyingly, these two items weren’t sold together. So I spent extra time going back and forth to make sure I got it right.

For your convenience, this is the dummy battery I purchased ( Canon DR-E12 DC Coupler) and the accompanying power plug ( Canon PS700 Power Adapter)

Micro HDMI to HDMI cable and capture card

I bought this Micro HDMI to HDMI cable to then plug into this capture card which then plugged into my laptop (via an adapter, because you know, MacBooks 🤷‍♀️.)

This video was also beneficial during my research:

Is it worth it?

I didn’t immediately bite the bullet when it came to upgrading, mainly because it is significantly more expensive than plug-and-play webcams.

Image quality from the Elgato Facecam
Elgato Facecam Image – default settings
Image quality from Canon’s M50 Mark 2
Canon M50 Mark 2 Image – you can’t tell that my kitchen is behind me!

However, I justified it (to myself 😂) with the fact that I’m now working at a fully remote company. I’d like my colleagues to see me as a reflection of who I am in real life so that they are only surprised by my height… 😆

Also, as I said above, the more I was living online, creating more content, and speaking at virtual events as part of my job, it made sense.

For those wondering, when I join a meeting, I don’t need to mess around with anything before to get it working. It just works like a plug-and-play webcam. 🎉

Over the past two years, I think I’ve exhausted my research in webcams, so this will be it for me and webcams for a while. Overall, I’m pretty happy with my purchase!

Comparison image from Elgato Facecam and Canon M50 Mark 2
Another comparison. Both default settings.

Next time you see me on a live stream or virtual event, I will accept compliments on my crisp and clear video from my DSLR webcam. 😉

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