As I contemplate switching to full time work-from-home (after the pandemic, since my employer is now open to the idea), I’ve been looking at my current video conferencing setup – a Logitech C920 and a HyperX Cloud II headset – and wondering whether I can do something better without spending a lot of money. I’ve had a D750 for a number of years now, and it has a video function that I’ve never used. When I first looked into this a year ago, there was no way to connected it as a USB “webcam”; simply not a supported feature. HDMI was possible, but things like the Elgato Cam Link were rarer than hen’s teeth.
Some idle browsing today led me to an article on a random blog (archive), which talks about setting up a D750 as a webcam via HDMI capture, and in the comments there’s discussion of the fact that Nikon have updated their Webcam Utility to support the D750 as a USB camera. So, I poked it.
It works. I’ll say that for it.
Unfortunately, it emits a 640×360 postage stamp wrapped in black bars to uplift it to 1024×768. I worked this out when I fed the data to OBS, and noticed that the video source had a fixed size of 1024×768. A quick transform later to remove the bounding boxes, and I found I’d removed about 400 pixels on the horizontal and vertical. When you do the maths, you realise that this must be a 640×360 image.
What that really means is that if I want to feed it to Zoom or other conferencing software, it’s going to need scaling up – lanczos, bicubic, whatever – and it looks terrible. Full of jagged lines where there’s no aliasing happening. Lovely out-of-focus background with the 24-70 f/2.8, but the resulting image is pretty poor quality overall.
So, nice idea, poor execution.