Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

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DirtNerd
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Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#1 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:12 am

I've been banging my head against the wall for a couple of months. I've tried 5MP, 10MP, 14MP, and today 18MP USB cameras. The last 3 are USB 3. My Mac is a 27" running Monterey. The scope is a student Amscope T490B-LED. I need to live stream as I have some issues with my eyes. The Toup software is stripped down to almost nothing for a Mac. None of the above listed cameras are seen by camera apps like FaceTime, PhotoBooth, Captivate, etc., even though the computer recognizes the USB camera. I've worked with techs for hours and concluded the cameras only work with ToupLite. I sure wish there was another software option for Mac and these cameras!

I can still return the camera. Would a DSLR work for what I want to do? Is it appropriate for long sessions of live streaming? My budget is small. If it's recommended, what is the best inexpensive ($300+-) camera body that will work. I realize I need an adapter if I go this route. DSLRs aren't USB 3 to the best of my knowledge.

Should I just stick with the 14MP USB3 camera? The 18MP was no better than the 14MP and was returned. In fact, the fps were slower.

Thank you for any advice and suggestions you have to offer.

MichaelG.
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#2 Post by MichaelG. » Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:04 am

DirtNerd wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:12 am
… concluded the cameras only work with ToupLite. I sure wish there was another software option for Mac and these cameras!
I’m afraid that says it all :(

MichaelG.
Too many 'projects'

Microscopy_is_fun
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#3 Post by Microscopy_is_fun » Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:39 am

DirtNerd wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:12 am
Is it appropriate for long sessions of live streaming? My budget is small. If it's recommended, what is the best inexpensive ($300+-) camera body that will work. I realize I need an adapter if I go this route. DSLRs aren't USB 3 to the best of my knowledge.
According to the specs of your microscope you have a trinocular mount with 23mm c-mount photoport. In this case the easiest (and rather economic) solution might be to mount a consumer mft-camera (e.g. Panasonic or Olympus) which provides an HDMI-port. There are cheap mft-to-c-mount adapters (<20USD) and within your budget you would get a very decent used mft-camera, or maybe even a new one (e.g. Lumix GX 880K).

Via the HDMI-interface you can directly connect the camera to a monitor with the size you need, and you do not have to deal with the software problems you experienced with your microscope cameras.

There is also "Lumix Tether for Streaming", which is available for MAC, too. This would allow to connect the camera directly to your MAC and get a live-view image.

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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#4 Post by patta » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:09 pm

"hard" solutions: Windows on BootCamp, then Toupview or SharpCap? Will it send the video stream to ios??
Or, mount the Iphone over the eyepiece then share the video/screen to the Mac?

Greg Howald
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#5 Post by Greg Howald » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:42 pm

Your easiest solution might be the realization that all of the cameras you have are designed primarily for use with a windows 10 PC.
You will need to check the frame rate on the cameras you have. Most of the cameras you have listed will probably flicker when live streaming video. You need to be above 30 frames per second. 5, 10 and 14 will Not do 30 FPS. I don't know about the 18. The 10 and14 top out at 28. Usually if you reduce the resolution the frame rate increases, but with the 5 you may not be able to change resolution, and reducing resolution reduces image quality Good luck. Greg

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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#6 Post by Greg Howald » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:46 pm

Your easiest solution might be the realization that all of the cameras you have are designed primarily for use with a windows 10 PC.
You will need to check the frame rate on the cameras you have. Most of the cameras you have listed will probably flicker when live streaming video. You need to be above 30 frames per second. 5, 10 and 14 will Not do 30 FPS. I don't know about the 18. The 10 and14 top out at 28. Usually if you reduce the resolution the frame rate increases, but with the 5 you may not be able to change resolution, and reducing resolution reduces image quality Good luck. Greg

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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#7 Post by jfiresto » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:57 pm

Microscopy_is_fun wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:39 am
... According to the specs of your microscope you have a trinocular mount with 23mm c-mount photoport. In this case the easiest (and rather economic) solution might be to mount a consumer mft-camera (e.g. Panasonic or Olympus) which provides an HDMI-port. There are cheap mft-to-c-mount adapters (<20USD) and within your budget you would get a very decent used mft-camera, or maybe even a new one (e.g. Lumix GX 880K).
That is the approach I am taking, using an older DMC-GX80/GX85. The GX 880K's HDMI output may only be for playback: I can find nothing about "recording while monitoring camera images" in the owner's manual.
-John

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#8 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:17 pm

MichaelG. wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:04 am
DirtNerd wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:12 am
… concluded the cameras only work with ToupLite. I sure wish there was another software option for Mac and these cameras!
I’m afraid that says it all :(

MichaelG.
Exactly! :-(

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#9 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:23 pm

patta wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:09 pm
"hard" solutions: Windows on BootCamp, then Toupview or SharpCap? Will it send the video stream to ios??
Or, mount the Iphone over the eyepiece then share the video/screen to the Mac?
Thank you. That's definitely a possibility but I don't want to use ToupLite. I don't like buying an expensive camera and being limited to poor software. I tried the eyepiece camera with phone and was not happy with it. I've been down in this rabbit hole for some time now. :-)

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#10 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:31 pm

Greg Howald wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:42 pm
Your easiest solution might be the realization that all of the cameras you have are designed primarily for use with a windows 10 PC.
You will need to check the frame rate on the cameras you have. Most of the cameras you have listed will probably flicker when live streaming video. You need to be above 30 frames per second. 5, 10 and 14 will Not do 30 FPS. I don't know about the 18. The 10 and14 top out at 28. Usually if you reduce the resolution the frame rate increases, but with the 5 you may not be able to change resolution, and reducing resolution reduces image quality Good luck. Greg
Thank you for this info! I've been buying and returning these cameras one at a time. So far, should I decide to stick with one of them, the 14 MP USB 3 works the best for me. The 18 MP isn't any better than the 14 MP. In fact in my unscientific trials it isn't as good. I've been examining the output in Photoshop. I can get the higher frame rates but only if I introduce too much light. I can't reduce the resolution any less than 1024 x 822 with the 14 MP. In any case, I'm not trying to get the camera to work better at this point. I'm trying to discover any possible alternatives that are not dependent on ToupLite for Mac.

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#11 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:41 pm

Microscopy_is_fun wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:39 am
DirtNerd wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:12 am
Is it appropriate for long sessions of live streaming? My budget is small. If it's recommended, what is the best inexpensive ($300+-) camera body that will work. I realize I need an adapter if I go this route. DSLRs aren't USB 3 to the best of my knowledge.
According to the specs of your microscope you have a trinocular mount with 23mm c-mount photoport. In this case the easiest (and rather economic) solution might be to mount a consumer mft-camera (e.g. Panasonic or Olympus) which provides an HDMI-port. There are cheap mft-to-c-mount adapters (<20USD) and within your budget you would get a very decent used mft-camera, or maybe even a new one (e.g. Lumix GX 880K).

Via the HDMI-interface you can directly connect the camera to a monitor with the size you need, and you do not have to deal with the software problems you experienced with your microscope cameras.

There is also "Lumix Tether for Streaming", which is available for MAC, too. This would allow to connect the camera directly to your MAC and get a live-view image.
Thank you! This is just the kind of info I'm looking for. I'll start researching your suggestions today. I was concerned the camera might not be suitable for long sessions of live streaming. I don't know if there are heat or battery limitations. I also need to learn about lens adapters. The 14 MP I have uses a .5X. Is there suggested software? I understand Canon has some for their cameras.

Microscopy_is_fun
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#12 Post by Microscopy_is_fun » Sat Jan 15, 2022 4:15 pm

Hi dirtNerd,

I just tried out how the Lumix App works in combination with my microscope, PC and camera (Panasonic G9) The setup is shown in the picture below. I use Windows, but there is also a Mac-version available from Panasonic.

LiveView works very well without lagging. While recording, liveview gets a little bit bumpy, but I was still able to follow the little ciliate, see video below. I have to admit that I am a complete video-newbie without professional expectations in this field. Actually this is my first microscope-video ever. In conclusion, this might be an option if you want liveview on a notebook and in parallel need video recording.
IMG_20220115_165528.jpg
IMG_20220115_165528.jpg (120.59 KiB) Viewed 259 times


DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#13 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 5:22 pm

Microscopy_is_fun wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 4:15 pm
Hi dirtNerd,

I just tried out how the Lumix App works in combination with my microscope, PC and camera (Panasonic G9) The setup is shown in the picture below. I use Windows, but there is also a Mac-version available from Panasonic.

LiveView works very well without lagging. While recording, liveview gets a little bit bumpy, but I was still able to follow the little ciliate, see video below. I have to admit that I am a complete video-newbie without professional expectations in this field. Actually this is my first microscope-video ever. In conclusion, this might be an option if you want liveview on a notebook and in parallel need video recording.

IMG_20220115_165528.jpg


That's a beautiful picture. I was excited to see your setup and appreciate your information. I was hopeful. I've been checking out the Lumix app. It doesn't sound like it's compatible with MacOS version 12.1 (Monterey). I was reading up on the Canon software too. It doesn't look to be either. This is so discouraging. I used to be a professor teaching computer art (and programming) using mostly Adobe products on a Mac. The Toup software for Mac is so inferior. If I could find good software, I'd buy a camera to match. :-) I sent an email to Panasonic asking about the Lumix for Mac. I'm hoping someone in this forum is using a Mac with the latest OS and can let me know if Lumix is compatible. Thanks again!

MichaelG.
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#14 Post by MichaelG. » Sat Jan 15, 2022 6:08 pm

DirtNerd wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:23 pm
patta wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:09 pm
"hard" solutions: Windows on BootCamp, then Toupview or SharpCap? Will it send the video stream to ios??
Or, mount the Iphone over the eyepiece then share the video/screen to the Mac?
Thank you. That's definitely a possibility but I don't want to use ToupLite. […]
.

Just to be clear … ToupView is much better than ToupLite

I have used it on a Dell PC running Windows 10
… but I don’t want to put Windows on my nice new M1 Mac Mini

MichaelG..
Too many 'projects'

Dubious
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#15 Post by Dubious » Sat Jan 15, 2022 9:29 pm

You might consider buying a cheap used Windows 10 laptop to dedicate to this purpose. Plenty around. Safest is something coming off a corporate lease, where the hard drive was scrubbed and the operating system re-installed. While I didn't have your problem, since my other computers run Windows, for logistical and other reasons, that's essentially what I did.

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#16 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:10 pm

DirtNerd wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 5:22 pm
Microscopy_is_fun wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 4:15 pm
Hi dirtNerd,

I just tried out how the Lumix App works in combination with my microscope, PC and camera (Panasonic G9) The setup is shown in the picture below. I use Windows, but there is also a Mac-version available from Panasonic.

LiveView works very well without lagging. While recording, liveview gets a little bit bumpy, but I was still able to follow the little ciliate, see video below. I have to admit that I am a complete video-newbie without professional expectations in this field. Actually this is my first microscope-video ever. In conclusion, this might be an option if you want liveview on a notebook and in parallel need video recording.

IMG_20220115_165528.jpg


That's a beautiful picture. I was excited to see your setup and appreciate your information. I was hopeful. I've been checking out the Lumix app. It doesn't sound like it's compatible with MacOS version 12.1 (Monterey). I was reading up on the Canon software too. It doesn't look to be either. This is so discouraging. I used to be a professor teaching computer art (and programming) using mostly Adobe products on a Mac. The Toup software for Mac is so inferior. If I could find good software, I'd buy a camera to match. :-) I sent an email to Panasonic asking about the Lumix for Mac. I'm hoping someone in this forum is using a Mac with the latest OS and can let me know if Lumix is compatible. Thanks again!
I went ahead and installed Windows 10 on my Mac and ran ToupView. There is a huge difference. The fps drop to 4fps when emulating though. Here is a picture of scrap that happened to be on a slide comparing ToupLite to ToupView. The PC version crashed at one point. Now I need to decide if I want to switch out to Linix. I have no way of testing it or Canon.
Junk just to compare Mac and PC versions of Toup.
Junk just to compare Mac and PC versions of Toup.
0001 40X TV.jpg (49.74 KiB) Viewed 210 times

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#17 Post by DirtNerd » Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:25 pm

MichaelG. wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 6:08 pm
DirtNerd wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:23 pm
patta wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:09 pm
"hard" solutions: Windows on BootCamp, then Toupview or SharpCap? Will it send the video stream to ios??
Or, mount the Iphone over the eyepiece then share the video/screen to the Mac?
Thank you. That's definitely a possibility but I don't want to use ToupLite. […]
.

Just to be clear … ToupView is much better than ToupLite

I have used it on a Dell PC running Windows 10
… but I don’t want to put Windows on my nice new M1 Mac Mini

MichaelG..
Congrats on your new MacMini. I just installed Parallel on my Mac so I could see the PC version. I snapped a picture of some scrap on a slide in my comment above. It's much better than the Mac. I saw there is an M1 version. :-) The video crashed at one point. The best fps I could get was 4 fps with the emulation.

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#18 Post by DirtNerd » Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:44 pm

A few updates on solutions. First I installed Parallel so I could take a look at the PC version of Toup. The difference is astonishing. The problem with Parallel is it emulates. The fps were around 4. This morning I uninstalled Parallel and partitioned using Boot Camp. The fps increased to a whopping 60 fps. This was a quick test. Things may change a bit after tweaking the software. I feel a bit foolish spending all the effort trying to sort this problem when it turns out the camera is quite nice when run with the proper software on the proper platform. I'm thankful I can run my Mac as a Windows machine! I only did the one video so can't be sure it won't crash with Boot Camp. I don't see why it would. Thanks for all the help. It led me to a solution! I highly recommend Parallel if one can't partition a boot disk. It is great for photos, just too slow for videos.

MichaelG.
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#19 Post by MichaelG. » Sun Jan 16, 2022 5:41 pm

Thanks for the update, DirtNerd

MichaelG.
.

P.S. __ May I just ask : is this the version of ToupLite that you have been trying ?
http://www.touptek.com/download/showdow ... g=en&id=28
Too many 'projects'

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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#20 Post by Roldorf » Mon Jan 17, 2022 8:05 pm

Canon EOS camera with the EOS Utility Software for Windows or Mac.
Location: Northern Germany

Unknown Brand: Optika SFX 91: Bresser Science Infinity: Canon 4000d
ImageImage

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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#21 Post by DirtNerd » Mon Jan 17, 2022 10:04 pm

MichaelG. wrote:
Sun Jan 16, 2022 5:41 pm
Thanks for the update, DirtNerd

MichaelG.
.

P.S. __ May I just ask : is this the version of ToupLite that you have been trying ?
http://www.touptek.com/download/showdow ... g=en&id=28
The Mac version ToupLite just has a date 10/21/21.

MichaelG.
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#22 Post by MichaelG. » Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:10 pm

DirtNerd wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 10:04 pm
The Mac version ToupLite just has a date 10/21/21.
Thanks for checking

That’s interesting [although I have no idea whether it’s significant] …
|File|GetInfo| indicates that the version I downloaded, was created/modified
on Friday 22 October 2021 at 04:15

I wonder if that’s just a Time-Zone thing, or whether they changed something ?

Whatever … it runs very nicely [under Rosetta2] on the M1 Mac Mini
Only serious problem is that my USB2 camera is excruciatingly slow.

MichaelG.
Too many 'projects'

Sliding Focus
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#23 Post by Sliding Focus » Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:30 pm

I'm late to this thread, but I agree with the folks who are recommending a DSLR/mirrorless camera and the manufacturer's tethering software.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some manufacturers (at least Canon and Fuji, maybe others too) now also offer software that will let you use their cameras as webcams in your favorite video conferencing app (e.g. Zoom).

I personally use an old Canon DSLR with Canon's EOS Utility (tethering) and EOS Webcam Utility (webcam) software. It works great. EOS Utility is a bit laggy and has a low frame rate, but is very useful for doing photography through the 'scope. If all you want to do is stream a live image, however, EOS Webcam Utility has a higher frame rate and is therefore much better. I just used EOS Webcam Utility to share the view through my 'scope over Zoom for students in an online course I helped teach, and it really worked quite well. Zoom allows you to open a meeting for just yourself, so you can use the app for your own personal observation (and I did that to practice for the course, so I can verify that it works). Weirdly, the Zoom app seems to need an internet connection to launch, but can run without an internet connection once it's open (as long as the meeting's just for you—you of course would need internet if you ever wanted to share what you're seeing with someone else).

I can't really speak to manufacturers other than Canon, but any Canon DSLR with video capability should work fine. Your cheapest option would probably be a used Rebel T1i or T2i. Starting with the T3i (and EOS 60D), they put articulated screens on their cameras, which might be a nice feature to have if any such models fall in your price range. I don't know exact price ranges for the above models off the top of my head, but you should definitely be able to find something for $250 or less—some of the older models might even be under $200 by now. The software is free, you just need to have serial number from a Canon camera body to download it. I connect my camera to the microscope using one of the various adapters labeled NDPL(1)-2x (as, e.g. sold by Amscope); on eBay, these can be had for ~$50–70 used or ~$90–120 new.

Hope that helps!

DirtNerd
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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#24 Post by DirtNerd » Tue Jan 18, 2022 12:28 am

MichaelG. wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:10 pm
DirtNerd wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 10:04 pm
The Mac version ToupLite just has a date 10/21/21.
Thanks for checking

That’s interesting [although I have no idea whether it’s significant] …
|File|GetInfo| indicates that the version I downloaded, was created/modified
on Friday 22 October 2021 at 04:15

I wonder if that’s just a Time-Zone thing, or whether they changed something ?

Whatever … it runs very nicely [under Rosetta2] on the M1 Mac Mini
Only serious problem is that my USB2 camera is excruciatingly slow.

MichaelG.
It's great that it's running well for you on your new Mac mini. I don't have any trouble running ToupLite. It's the software limitation and being tied exclusively to Toup. It was a surprise to discover better images on the Windows side of the boot. I've always used Macs due to the graphics so this was a surprise. The version I'm running is the latest available. If I had more energy and more resources I would explore the DSLRs. For now, I've decided to stick with the Toup camera and software. I can run it on either side... Mac or Pc. There are probably some limitations with my lower cost scope too. I'll give it a couple of years and save up for what ever will come next. :-) I've learned a lot and enjoyed the conversation on this topic. Thanks for all your input!!!

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Re: Camera for live streaming on desktop Mac

#25 Post by PeteM » Tue Jan 18, 2022 4:17 am

FWIW, I've had good luck using used mirrorless camera bodies, such as a Nikon J1 or Sony Nex 5N up. Figure $150 to $200 for the camera and use live view for viewing, composing, and recording. The sensor sizes, video frame rates, and pixel counts are typically higher than a USB eyepiece camera under $500.

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