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I would like to create a program that take pictures programmatically. The ideal setup would be to be able to see on a computer screen how the photograph would be before to take it. Therefore I need to use it as a kind of webcam, i.e. to get the video stream from the device and display it. I have a Canon 350D (and also a Canon Ixus 100 IS) to get the job done. I'm ok using any hacks or SDK to take control over it.

Any ideas?

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Whilst there is support for using the Canon 350D in a tethered mode, with "remote" shooting, there is no control over the zoom other than manual intervention; as that camera does not support video, or even "live view", or wouldn't be able to see how the photograph would look before shooting it -- depending on your scenario, you could just shoot and reshoot if required (for something like taking product shots), or take periodic shots (for something like a weather-watch webcam).

For the IXUS, your chances are better, but you may have to install third party firmware, such as CHDK

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  • There are homebrew options for adding zoom support when tethered, but nothing from the manufacturers – Rowland Shaw Nov 26 '10 at 15:02
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Whilst I don't think that you can get a video stream from the camera, CHDK allows custom scripting on Powershot/IXUS range of cameras:

CHDK

Mark

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For Mac users - a new webcam app.

I'm adding this to existing 'webcam' questions for future searchers.
I am in no way affiliated with this product or the company making it - this is a simple user to user recommendation.

I just discovered this today, announced on DPReview a new product called Cascable Pro Webcam £40 [£30 for the first week to 24 July 2020]

I've just tried the demo & it "just worked".
I've never had anything before on Mac that could do this with my D5500, so I thought I should let others know about it.
The app runs you through a setup procedure, including asking if you want to connect over WiFi or USB. I went with USB for my Nikon D5500.
Switch camera off, connect to USB, switch on - camera is discovered & set up automatically. It then asks if it can install a plugin to add it as an input option on any camera-capable app.
Done, that's it.

Here's their list of compatible cameras

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