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Atomos Connect - Review 2020


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.

It Just Works

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.

Atomos Connect

There are some system requirements to consider. Atomos recommends an i5-3400 or i7-3537U as a baseline, as well as 4GB of memory and a discrete GPU. The Intel and nVIDIA chipsets that are needed are older—from 2012 and 2013—so as long as your computer isn’t ancient, you’ll be fine.

I tested the Connect with three systems of varying age, all running macOS. From the oldest, a 2014 MacBook Pro running High Sierra, to the newest, a 2019 edition with Catalina, it worked without issue. Atomos also says it’ll work with Android and Windows operating systems—they all support the same USB Video Class (UVC) standard.

Google Meet

Atomos Connect shows as USB Video in software

You also need a camera with clean HDMI output. This is a pretty standard feature on newer mirrorless cameras, and while its main function is to send out the highest-quality video to external recorders, it’s also more than enough for web conferencing and streaming.

If you’re unsure if your camera support this, you can find out via a quick web search, or plug it into your TV via HDMI—as long as you can disable text overlays and get an unobstructed view from the sensor, you’re set.

Atomos Connect

The Connect can accept 4K signals at up to 60fps, but outputs at 1080p. I tested it with a 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.

Web Conference in Style

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.

Atomos Connect

If you have a supported camera and no option to use it as a 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.

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