Using a Point-N-Shoot as a Webcam
Digital point-and-shoot cameras have traditionally been designed around only one function- still photography. Having reached the stage where digital photo media is quickly replacing print media for production, new features were added to the cameras.
The inexpensive and ever growing storage capacity of the tiny flash memory cards gave way to the addition of video recording features. Now that there was space to save 2 gigabytes worth of video, why not?
This leads to the question of whether you would even need to purchase a small, lower resolution webcam to use as a PC camera if you already have a beautiful full-featured digital camera. The answer is not necessarily yes or no.
Using a 7+ mega pixel digital camera as a webcam presents some problems. The first and most obvious being that some expensive cameras simply do not support this feature. You can plug it into your computer, but you cannot ever use it as a webcam.
Another problem is the resolution. The actual frame rate when broadcasting as a webcam may suffer because the lowest resolution setting for your camera is probably quite high (and therefore, takes a longer time to transmit).
Assuming, though, that you have a camera that you can attach it to your PC and use it as a webcam- the process can be quite easy.
The first step after attaching your camera is to see if any of the manufacturers software pops up. Usually your camera is detected automatically when attached so you can remove pictures easily. This time, however, look for other options.
They may not be there, but see if there is an ‘enable webcam mode’ option. If not, just close the utility software.
Your camera is hooked up, and if the drivers are installed correctly, should register with your computer as a PC camera device. Open whatever application you usually use (Skype, Messenger, whatever) and see if the camera is detected automatically.
If it is not, go to the options screen for the program and see if you can manually select the camera as the active input source. The name may be something funny like, ‘USB-Media-B’. See if that activates the camera.
If you are still having no luck, head to the manufacturers website and see if they have a separate piece of software or a separate utility you can use to bridge your camera into the webcam mode. Remember that there is always the possibility that your camera will simply not function in this way no matter what you do.
If you do manage to get the camera working as a webcam, remember to optimize all your broadcast settings. Otherwise, you may end up transmitting 1 frame every 5 seconds.
Have fun with your point-and-shoot webcam!