Sony has unveiled a new program for Windows 10 that makes it easier to use the company’s digital cameras as webcams. The software is called Imaging Edge Webcam and allows you to connect your Sony camera to your PC via USB without the need for additional hardware like a USB capture card. That means you can get a huge boost in image quality compared to most traditional webcams. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of a version for macOS.
Sony says that a total of 35 of its cameras are compatible with the new software, including the newly announced Alpha 7S III. Other supported models include the Alpha 9 II, Alpha 9, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R II, Alpha 7S II, Alpha 7S, Alpha 7 III, Alpha 7 II, Alpha 6600, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6100, RX100 VII, RX100 VI, RX0 II, RX0, and vlog camera ZV-1. A full list of cameras can be found on this Sony support page, and instructions on how to set up the software can be found here. Certain cameras can also recharge over USB while in use.
Sony isn’t the only camera manufacturer to release software like this. Over the past few months, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm, and even GoPro have all launched programs that make it easier to use their cameras as webcams.
The trend has been prompted by this year’s huge shift towards remote working, which at points has led to some of the most popular webcams selling out online. Repurposing an existing digital camera is win-win: you make use of hardware you already own and end up with much better image quality than you’d get from even a good standalone webcam.
If you’re a Windows user and own a compatible camera, then the Windows 10 software can be downloaded for free from Sony’s site. However, even if you’re a Mac user or you own a camera that’s not officially supported, you might still be able to use it as a webcam using some additional hardware.