Update 2 July 2020, 10.25am: Official Olympus product page for OM-D Webcam beta is here (click). The official download link is still inactive, not sure when it will be live. I will post an update here when the download is available. Update 2 July 2020, 10.35am: Download link for OM-D Webcam Beta is now LIVE! Go to official download link here (click).
Hot after the worldwide shock announcement of Olympus being sold to JIP (Japan Industrial Partners Inc) one week ago, Olympus launched their version of software: Olympus OM-D Webcam to enable selected OM-D cameras to be used as webcams when connected to the computer. While the world is not done recovering from the surprise and the overhanging gloomy cloud that overshadows everything else in the camera industry, Olympus decided to soldier on and continue to add value to their customers. I have made a video showing how the OM-D Webcam works, with step by step guide on how you can set it up yourself. The software is already available for download at the time of announcement, so you can use it with your own OM-D camera as a webcam from now onward, whenever you do video conferencing or streaming.
Olympus is late to the party. Canon was the first to release a webcam enabling software for their cameras, followed by Fuji and Panasonic. The new OM-D Webcam takes advantage of USB tethering capability which is already existing in selected OM-D camera models, using the live view input as a video feed to replace the webcam feed. It was a simple and straightforward solution, and having a separate software to just enable this one particular feature for webcam use was also resource friendly. Being able to use your Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera and amazing lenses can make your video look really professional and clean, and this is compatible with all major video conferencing softwares (Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc).
Here are some limitations you need to be aware of about the Olympus OM-D Webcam software:
1) BETA VERSION
The software is still in beta, so Olympus is not providing any support for the software at this point. It does have limited compatibility and functions, which we will get to next.
2) SELECTED OM-D CAMERAS ONLY
Only Olympus OM-D cameras with native USD tethering capability can be used for this OM-D Webcam software. Camera list is not very long:
E-M5 Mark II
E-M1 Mark II
E-M1 Mark III
3) WINDOWS 10 PC ONLY
The software works on Windows 10 PC only. If you are using Mac, no luck for you, or any older Windows version, the OM-D Webcam won’t support them at this moment. Do bear in mind the software is still in Beta version, so maybe in the future Olympus will open up more compatibility
4) 720P RESOLUTION
The video quality is at 720P only, and I know this is quite unforgivable especially in 2020, we should at least get 1080P full HD. Nonetheless, after testing the OM-D Webcam, the 720P quality is no slouch, it looks crisp, clear and definitely miles ahead of any 1080P webcams out there. If you have used Olympus OM-D cameras, you are familiar of the photo and video quality, and you get that exact same output in the OM-D Webcam software! Glorious.
5) NO MICROPHONE INPUT INTO CAMERA
The microphone input into the camera won’t work, you need to have your input inserted separately into the computer for better audio.
I have made a video (the embedded video at the beginning of this post) to demonstrate how to setup the OM-D Webcam software, and how to connect your camera to your PC and make it a webcam. Here are the simplified steps for those of you who are reluctant to click on the video link for whatever reasons.
SETTING UP OM-D WEBCAM
Setting up is fairly simple – you need your OM-D camera (make sure it is compatible), the original USB cable that comes with the camera box, and your Windows 10 PC. Quite honestly, the setting is so easy you don’t even need the guideline below. Most people can figure this out quickly with no issues.
1) DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL SOFTWARE
Please download the Olympus OM-D Webcam Beta software from official Olympus download site into your PC. Install the software, this should be quite straightforward.
2) CONNECT THE CAMERA TO PC USING USB CABLE
Using the proprietary USB cable that comes with your camera box, connect your camera to the PC. Make sure that you have an SD card inserted into your camera, it won’t work with an empty card slot.
3) TURN ON THE CAMERA & SELECT TETHERING OPTION
Turn the camera on, and you will see a list of options on the camera LCD screen. Select the tethering option
4) SELECT OM-D WEBCAM AS VIDEO INPUT
On your PC, open the video conferencing software (Zoom, Skype, Teams, OBS Studio, etc) and select the input as OM-D Webcam Beta option.
That’s all you have to do and it is fairly easy to setup.
For the video quality from the OM-D Webcam, please please please watch the video that I did.
I have made a few video calls using the OM-D Webcam Beta and everything went smoothly with no hiccups. But don’t take my words for it, download it yourself and see how it works for you!