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I am interested in getting a used DSLR to use as a webcam for my Mac (recently watched this YouTube video and like the idea!)

I am not going to buy a new/expensive camera just for this, so I thought I would ask what makes for a suitable used DSLR that might be available in the $200–$300 range?

EDIT: Updated target price range based on some of the answers and comments.

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    You can probably forget Nikon if that's your price point. Used D3500 [lowest model that can be used as a webcam] are still 400 or more. idk how Canon's structure works. nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/webcam-utility.page – Tetsujin Mar 20 at 8:22
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    @Tetsujin D3x00/D5x00 bodies are also difficult to tether, if they can be used for tethering at all, which does not bode well for the ability to use them as webcams. – Michael C Mar 21 at 7:03
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    @MichaelC - The later ones are OK. My D5500 tethers just fine - though it's live view or tether, not both simultaneously, as the linked question. Rear screen goes off when tethered. Webcam is supported on D5600, D5500, D5300, and D3500, though I haven't actually tried it personally. – Tetsujin Mar 21 at 7:25
  • Thanks @Tetsujin and @MichaelC! – Drewdavid Mar 22 at 3:22
  • How can I use my dSLR or mirrorless camera as a webcam? can give you a sense of the models you might want to look at, and what features to look for in the specs. My personal call? Old Canon dSLRs may be your best bet, as quite a few of the older models (like my ancient 5dii) are working with EOS Webcam Utility than just the stated-compatible models. – inkista Mar 22 at 5:38
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The main thing is making sure there is a viable application that can run on today's operating systems that allows that specific model to be used as a webcam. You pretty much have to do a search on a camera-by-camera basis (or at least camera group-by-camera group within a manufacturers model lines).

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  • I think this is an appropriate answer and the conclusion I am coming to. I had hoped for a short list of recommendations based on someone who has walked this path before me... but this may not come. Thanks Michael! – Drewdavid Mar 20 at 4:20
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While it's technically true that you've to look for cameras that are supported by the webcam drivers of manufacturer I've experienced that an older unsupported camera might also work.

I've been using the Canon 550D (T2i) with the beta Canon EOS webcam utility on macOS and Windows without any trouble. I've occasionally also used the 5D Mark II.

Both these camera are not officially supported, but they do work. As they're quite a few years old they can be bought for a low price on the second hand market and might fit your desired price range.

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  • Thank you for sharing your experience and recommendations! – Drewdavid Mar 22 at 1:23
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I assume that you want a DSLR because the larger sensor will give you bokeh. In which case you also need a camera that can keep the focus while shooting. For Canon cameras this means a camera with "Dual-pixel" AF. The linked page lists the cameras that support it, the oldest being the 70D, while the 800D is more recent but or entry-level, so it ends up at a comparable price point (still over $400 for both).

Without the Dual-Pixel AF the EOS 1xxxD (1000D,1100D) entry-level cameras could be in your price range.

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  • Thank you for sharing your experience and recommendations! And the information about the Dual-pixel AF is a helpful piece. – Drewdavid Mar 22 at 1:24

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