Tired of using the low-res 720p FaceTime camera built-in to your MacBook Air, Pro, or iMac? Canon just expanded its beta software to macOS today that lets you use an EOS or PowerShot camera as your webcam for much-improved video quality.

Apple has taken a lot of criticism for sticking with just a 720p resolution for its MacBook and iMac built-in FaceTime cameras. The iMac Pro does have a 1080p resolution, but the majority of Mac users — including those with the 16-inch MacBook Pro and new 13-inch Pro and Air — are stuck with 720p that often produces grainy video, especially in low-light conditions.

Outside of buying an external webcam, what else is there to do? Well if you have a compatible Canon EOS or PowerShot camera, you can now use it for high-quality webcam video with your Mac.

Canon announced the news in a press release today and created a tutorial video on getting set up.

Unfortunately, there are some limitations since the EOS Webcam Utility is in beta, like no support for FaceTime or Safari, and you need to use the web versions of Zoom, Skype, etc. It’s also only available for users in the US at the moment. But if that’s not a dealbreaker, it’s definitely worth checking out!

If you don’t have a Canon camera (or your Canon model isn’t compatible) there are some other ways to use your DSLR or mirrorless camera as your Mac webcam.

Cascable Pro Webcam is a good alternative that works with most Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony cameras over WiFi and Canon EOS and Nikon cameras over USB. Cascable offers a free trial then runs $30 as a one-time purchase (this still is in beta).

Another option includes using two pieces of software, Camera Live and CamTwist. Read more about how to get going with this option here.

Finally, Camo is a sharp-looking app that allows you to use your iPhone as your webcam. It’s not fully launched yet but signups for early access are open.

How to use a Canon EOS camera as a high-quality Mac webcam

  1. Download the EOS Webcam Utility Beta from Canon (check that your specific EOS or PowerShot camera is supported here)
  2. After installing you’ll need to restart your Mac
  3. Now you can turn on your Canon camera and set it to movie mode
  4. Dial-in your exposure, then plug in the USB cable to your camera, followed by your Mac
  5. Close out the EOS Utility if it auto opens
  6. Now when picking a camera in a video call app/service (needs to be web-based, Chrome recommended) choose “EOS Webcam Utility Beta”

As mentioned above, at this time, FaceTime and Safari are not supported. And Mac apps like Zoom and Skype aren’t either, so you’ll need to use the web versions to make use of this beta utility for now.

Check out the full video walkthrough below:

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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.