Many modern devices with Windows 10 include a webcam and, to use it, you need an app that helps you take pictures, record videos, or stream video while video chatting. For this purpose, Microsoft has built an app called Camera, which is available by default in Windows 10. In this guide, we show everything you need to know on how to test and use your webcam with the Camera app. Here’s how to start Camera, how to take pictures and record videos, how to set the brightness and other parameters, and how to configure the way your webcam works:
- Click Start to open the Start Menu, and start the Camer app with a click or tap on its shortcut.
- Allow the Camera app to use your webcam, your microphone, and location.
- If you can see an image of what’s in front of the webcam, your camera works.
IMPORTANT: If this is the first time you’re using the Camera app on your Windows 10 device, please make sure that you have a driver installed for your webcam. To create this guide, we used Windows 10 November 2019 Update. If you don’t know which version of Windows 10 you have, read: How to check the Windows 10 version, OS build, edition, or type.
The Camera app from Windows 10 can be launched in multiple ways. One of the fastest methods to start the Camera app is to use Search. Click or tap on the search box from the taskbar and type in the word camera. Then, either click or tap on the Camera app, or select it from the results and press Open on the right side of the panel.
Another way to open the Camera app in Windows 10 is from the Start Menu. Click or tap the Start button, scroll through the apps list, and press on the Camera shortcut.
Now that you know how to open the Camera app, let’s see how you can test and use it for capturing photos and filming videos, as well as how to set it up just the way you like it:
Testing whether your webcam works in Windows 10 is straightforward. You launch the Camera app and check whether you see any video from the webcam. If this is your first time launching the Camera app, the application may ask you to allow it to use your webcam and your microphone, as well as your location. We recommend that you allow it to access all these devices and features. Or, at least, let it use your webcam to test it. If you can see an image of what’s in front of the webcam, which is probably you, your camera works. 🙂
That’s all there is to do if you want to test a webcam in Windows 10!
If you have more than one webcam connected to your Windows 10 PC or device, you can choose to use the one you prefer. To switch to your device’s secondary webcam or cycle through all your connected webcams (if you have three or more cameras plugged in), open the Camera app and click or tap the “Change camera” button.
On the right side of the Camera app, there are a couple of buttons available, each of them granting you access to different camera modes that you can use. By default, the selected mode is the one called “Take Photo.” Notice that the selected mode has a larger button than the others and a white background to make it stand out.
All you have to do to take a picture is to click or tap the “Take Photo” button. Note that, if the Camera app were in “Take Video” or in another mode, you would have to click twice on the “Take Photo” button: once to switch to the Photo mode and once to take the picture.
To record videos with the Camera app from Windows 10, switch to the “Take Video” mode. Click or tap the “Take Video” button from the right side of the app’s window.
Then, click or tap the “Take Video” button once more. When you start recording a video, the Camera app displays a stopwatch on the bottom keeping track of the time that has passed since you started recording.
If you want to pause the video recording, click/tap on the Pause button found on the right side. When a video is paused, you see the message Paused displayed on the right side of the window, as well as the pause symbol to the left of the time elapsed from the beginning of the recording. To resume video recording, click or tap Pause again.
Then, when you want to finalize your video, click or tap the Stop button, which is found on the right side.
How to use the webcam on your Windows 10 device to take photos of documents, whiteboards, or panoramas
If you own a Windows 10 device that’s designed to be more mobile than a desktop PC or a laptop, such as a tablet or 2-in-1 hybrid device, there are a couple of photo modes that you might find useful. On the right side of the Camera app, you can choose to shoot special photos: panoramas, documents, and whiteboards. These photo modes can be quite useful at times, if you can physically move your Windows 10 device, if you have a wireless webcam or, even better, if you’ve transformed your Android smartphone or iPhone into a webcam to use on your Windows 10 PC.
To scan a document with your webcam, point it towards the document and press the “Take Document” button. Similarly, to take a photo of a whiteboard, point your webcam towards it and push the “Take Whiteboard” button.
To shoot a panorama photo with the Camera app in Windows 10, select the “Take Panorama” mode and slowly move your device from left to right.
However, note that this photo mode only works as it should if you’re using a Windows 10 tablet or 2-in-1 device that has built-in positioning sensors, such as an accelerometer and a geomagnetic field sensor. Otherwise, the Camera doesn’t know if you are moving your device. In other words, this photo mode doesn’t work with wireless webcams, nor with an Android smartphone or an iPhone turned into a wireless webcam.
The Camera app also allows you to set up a “Photo timer” for taking pictures automatically, a couple of seconds after you hit the “Take Photo” button. You can use this setting to take pictures with a delay of 2, 5, or 10 seconds. To select the delay, press the watch icon repeatedly. The number of seconds delayed is shown in small numbers near the watch icon.
If you change your mind and no longer want to use a timer, press the same watch button until the Camera app is set to “No timer.”
The Camera app also lets you change how the flash works on your webcam. When it comes to photos, you can click or tap on the Flash button from the left side of the app to cycle between “Flash on,” “Flash off,” and “Flash auto.” However, these options work only if your webcam has a flash on it. 🙂
Similarly, when you’re in “Take video” mode, you can turn “Video light on” or “Video light off,” depending on what you prefer.
When in photo mode, the Camera app also lets you use HDR (High Dynamic Range). To enable it, click or tap on the HDR button from the left side of the window. Still, if your webcam doesn’t support HDR, this setting has no effect.
Both in photo and video mode, the Camera app lets you zoom your webcam in or out. To do that, click or tap on the Zoom button and use the slider that shows up to adjust the zoom level of the webcam.
Read the next page of this tutorial to find out how to view the photos and videos you captured with the Camera app, and also how to adjust the more advanced settings it offers.