The Atomos Connect ($79) is as simple a device as it gets—it’s a small, thumb drive-like stick with a USB connection on one end and an HDMI port on the other. It takes the signal from an SLR or mirrorless camera and converts it into one that Google Hangouts, OBS, Zoom, and other video conferencing and broadcast software can recognize. Whether you’re working from home or setting up a YouTube studio show, the Connect makes it easy to use a professional mirrorless camera without the need for additional software, earning it our Editors’ Choice award.
Using the Connect couldn’t be easier. Just plug the USB stick into your computer, either directly or via a USB-C adapter (not included), and select the USB video source in your webcam or broadcast software. It shows a test pattern when there’s no camera plugged into its HDMI port.
Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 and Sony a7R IV, and both cameras sent clear, smooth video to Google Hangouts and Zoom. I just had to make sure the HDMI output settings on the cameras were set properly. It also works with OBS, a suite that many streamers and broadcasters use for Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms.
Be mindful that cables aren’t included. You’ll need to bring your own dongle if you want to use the Connect with a USB-C system, and also supply an HDMI cable. That’s not unexpected—not every camera uses the same style HDMI connector.
If you’re working from home, starting a YouTube channel, or simply looking to video chat with friends, the Atomos Connect allows you to swap your laptop’s mediocre webcam for an SLR or mirrorless camera, along with all the benefits that come from a big image sensor and quality lens.
It does this for $79, and doesn’t ask much of your computer system. Before you buy one, I would caution that you check and see if there’s software available to use it over USB. Pretty much every camera maker offers the option, but not every camera is supported.
USB webcam, the Atomos Connect lives up to its moniker by connecting your camera to your computer for broadcast. Small, portable, and affordable, it easily earns our Editors’ Choice recommendation.