Have you been using your built-in laptop webcam for a while and are looking to upgrade your video quality?
Although I’d never recommend buying a dedicated camera exclusively to use as a webcam, it’s an excellent option if you already own the a7iii.
In this quick guide, I’ll go over how to use your a7iii (advice is also applicable to the a7siii along with various other Sony cameras) as a webcam for streaming, zoom, or whatever. Plus, I’ll give some random tips & tricks at the end.
Let’s dive in!
First Step: Change Camera Settings
Before we begin anything, there’s just a few quick settings you’ll need to change in the camera.
In the network section of the settings menu, you’ll want to switch “Ctrl w/ smartphone” to OFF.
Now, head on over to the 4th tab of the Setup section and set your “USB Connection” to “PC Remote”.
Second Step: Download Software
The next step is to download Sony’s “imaging edge” software.
You can find it by clicking on this link. It works exactly the same on both PC and Mac.
Go through the whole installation process, and then after it’s done, restart your computer.
Third Step: Plug in the Camera
Finally, you simply plug in the camera.
There’s no configuration menus or applications on your computer that need to be opened. It’s literally just plug and play.
I’d assume you have a USB cable on hand, but if not, the Sony a7iii takes USB-C. They’re pretty cheap and there’s a million options on Amazon for cables.
After the camera is plugged in, you should see a small “-PC-” icon show up on the LCD, this confirms that it’s properly connecting to the computer and ready for use.
Now, it should show up in the webcam/video settings of any app (Zoom, OBS, Discord, etc.) under the name “Sony Camera (Imaging Edge)”.
No Audio Pass-Through
It is important to note that the camera won’t transit audio, which means you’ll still need a dedicated microphone connected to your computer.
Sure, you could use the integrated microphone on your laptop, but why not invest in a really nice microphone to match your now-excellent video quality?
Lighting, Tripod, Etc.
On that note, the Sony a7iii will only look better than a webcam if you use the proper lenses and lighting.
Finally, consider investing in a wide aperture lens to really blur out the background.
Suggested additions to boost your video quality:
Additional Tips & Tricks
Here are a few more random tips and tricks (gathered from Reddit, streamer buddies, etc.).
Enable Clean HDMI Output
One thing that is absolutely essential is disabling the HDMI information output. By default, when streaming, your camera will show all the settings/UI.
Luckily, this is incredibly easy to get rid of. Open the menus, go to Setup3, hit HDMI settings, and then switch “HDMI Info Display” to Off.
- Hit the menu button
- Go to Setup3
- Open “HDMI Settings”
- Switch “HDMI Info Display” to off
Now, when using your a7iii as a webcam, it won’t show your shutter speed, aperture, etc., just your beautiful smiling face!
Use AF-C & Wide Focus Area
This one may seem obvious but it’s worth noting. If you’re using a webcam, you obviously want to be clear and in focus.
Make sure your camera is set to AF-C (continuous focus) mode so it’ll re-grab focus any time you move, change the lighting, etc.
Don’t use 4k to Stream
Since you’re likely not outputting your stream in 4k anyways, I’d suggest switching to 1080p.
Like all Sony cameras, the a7iii suffers from overheating when shooting at high resolutions, so you’re best off keeping the quality lower so you don’t burn out your camera over a 4 horu streaming session.
Oh, and don’t forget to turn it off when you’re done!
The a7iii is a powerful camera and thus requires a lot of charge to keep running. Certain USB-C cables/adapters won’t actually be able to maintain the battery life for hours on end.
For this reason, I’d suggest picking up “a dummy battery“. This is a cheap device that slots into the battery compartment and provides a lot more sustained power than a USB cable can.
Consider a Capture Card
Finally, instead of using Sony’s awful app to stream, consider just buying an HDMI capture card.
With a capture card, you plug in your camera to the device (micro HDMI to standard HDMI in this case) and that acts as a “pass-through”. This allows you to bypass using Sony’s terrible app and it is generally just more reliable (just more expensive).
I’d highly suggest the Elgato Cam Link. It’s pretty much the industry standard and is priced pretty well.
And that’s really all there is to streaming with your a7iii!
Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means I get a (very) small commission if you purchase anything at no additional cost to you. Thank you!