It definitely took a while but the circle is finally complete. Canon started the train back in April when it announced new software that turned its EOS cameras into high-quality webcams. Soon, almost all camera makers jumped onboard from Panasonic to Olympus to Fujifilm to even Sony. Nikon announced its beta testing period back in August and, after three months in the oven, it is finally launching its Webcam Utility software in its stable and official form.
Why use a heavy, bulky, and fully-featured camera when your laptop or monitor may already have its own webcam built-in? That is often the question that will be asked and Nikon answer that in a dedicated landing page for the feature, something its peers seem to have skipped on. Long story short, it’s all about attracting new audiences.
While a regular webcam might be enough for a video meeting, Nikon is positioning its mirrorless and DSLR cameras as a tool for live streamers, old and new alike. Beyond just high-quality optics, the cameras offer more options that webcams or even smartphones can’t, like different focal lengths, shallow depth-of-field, and other knobs and buttons.
As before, not all Nikon cameras support this new model. The only ones listed include the Z 7II, Z 7, Z 6II, Z 6, Z 5, Z 50, D6, D5, D850, D810, D780, D750, D500, D7500, D7200, D5600, D5500, D5300, and D3500. Also unlike smartphones and webcams, people using this setup will be able to attach a variety of accessories to raise their production value, like mounts and tripods, LED light panels, and external microphones.
If you already have one of the compatible Nikon cameras, you’re pretty much good to go even without those optional accessories. You do need a USB cable, of course, preferably the one that came with the camera, and compatible video conferencing software on both Windows 10 and, fortunately, macOS.