Camera makers feared how smartphone cannibalized their lower-end products but that only pushed them to adapt and hop on trends quickly. The latest trend, given how people aren’t going out as much these days, is meeting up over the Internet for pleasure as well as business. You’ll need a webcam for that, of course, and the best webcam might not be a webcam at all. If you happen to have a Panasonic LUMIX camera lying around, now might be the time to prop it up again and plug it into your computer with the new LUMIX Webcam software that’s now available in beta form.
Don’t worry if you get confused. Last July, Panasonic announced an update to its LUMIX Tether software for Windows PCs that already let you see what your camera sees from your computer. The update simply hid the distracting UI but it was pretty much just that. It was still just a tool to control your LUMIX camera from your computer.
This new LUMIX Webcam software is Panasonic’s more formula jump into this new world of camera-as-a-webcam train that the likes of Canon, Olympus, and Fujifilm are already onboard. The software promises to be as easy as installing the program and plugging in a supported camera model.
Doing that will let video conferencing apps see the camera as a USB webcam but it may or may not work for all video chat software. Most of the important ones, like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are but some require you to use the browser versions of these apps and only on Chrome. While the Mac is immediately supported in this beta release, Safari interestingly may not give the best results.
Of course, only a few models are supported, including the LUMIX DC-S1H, DC-S1R, DC-S1, DC-S5, DC-GH5S, DC-GH5, DC-G9. The Panasonic LUMIX Webcam Software is still in beta but even if it went stable, it will probably still be ineligible for warranties or customer support anyway.