Elgato Camlink 4k – How to Use a DSLR as Webcam

You have a nice DSLR camera – why not use it as your webcam?  Now you can with the Camlink 4k from Elgato. If you’re going to be the subject, would you rather use a cheap logitech webcam or a full-frame DSLR with a nice lens on it?  I’ll go with the DSLR….

What is the Elgato Camlink 4k?

Elgato Camlink 4k Review

The Elgato Camlink 4k is a simple idea.  Plug the device into your computer, and plug in your compatible DSLR in the Camlink 4k, and boom – now you can use a DSLR as a webcam.  Alright, there are a few more steps (like software) to install, but you get the idea.

Who is the Elgato Camlink 4k Good For?

Anyone who wants to take their webcam quality to the next level.  Sure, there are 1080p webcams and 4k webcams, but not with the kinds of interchangeable lenses and flexibility that DSLRs have.  

What Cameras are Compatible with the Elgato Camlink 4k?

There are a few criteria for DSLR compatibility with the Camlink:

Elgato Camlink 4k Review

HDMI – Compatible cameras need to have HDMI out capability, which includes miniHDMI and microHDMI.  You will need an HDMI cord that goes from your camera’s HDMI size to regular HDMI for the Camlink 4k.  

Clean HDMI – The HDMI output from some cameras isn’t clean.  This means there are sometimes screen overlays that show battery life, recording time, focus boxes, grids, etc. That might look a little strange on a webcam.  A clean HDMI signal means it’s just the video image with no overlays.

Max Resolution – If your camera’s normal recording ability is only up to 1080p, that will be the max resolution even with the Camlink 4k.  If your camera can shoot in 4k and output that signal, the Camlink 4k should be able to capture it.

Unlimited Runtime – Elgato recommends cameras with an unlimited runtime.  This means they won’t shut down after a certain amount of time.  Sometimes cameras are set to do this to preserve battery life. Some cameras allow you to adjust these settings, while others do not.  

Even with this restriction, the Camlink 4k may work for your purposes.  If your camera’s limit is 30 minutes and you never intend to make a video past 5 minutes – no problem.  But, if you want to stream video game play for hours at a time, you’ll want to know your camera’s limitations.

Popular Cameras that are Fully Compatible:

1 Colum

Canon 7D MII

Canon EOS 77D

Canon EOS 80D

Canon EOS Rebel SL2

Canon EOS Rebel T7

Sony A5100

Sony A6000

Sony A6300

Sony A7

Sony A7 III

Sony A7s II

Nikon D810

I currently only have one Nikon listed because it’s what I personally tested.  Elgato only lists three Nikons and they have ‘restrictions’ – which may or may not be correct.  

They indicated the Nikon D810 had restrictions and it does not (see video below for settings adjustments).  

Elgato Camlink4k Nikon DSLR

I’m not positive, but I’m betting the Nikon D750 would have the same workaround as the D810, since it shares a lot of the same higher-end features.  The Nikon D600 and D610 did not, so it’s anyone’s guess on those.

Compatibility Checker

It’s not an exhaustive list, but you can check your camera against the full list here.

Camlink 4k Video Review – w/ Nikon D810

Curious how the Camlink 4k looks?  Watch this overview using the Nikon D810 as the camera.  If you’re curious, I was using a 24-70mm 2.8 lens set at 3.2 at ~50mm.  Want a great cheaper lens option? Check out the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

For the D810 (or any Nikon camera with the EN-EL15 battery) to run off wall power for continuous, long-run recording, you will need these two items:

Nikon Power Supply Connector

Power Adapter