(Pocket-lint) – Picking up one of the top document cameras allows you to replace the overhead projector with a more modern equivalent, making presentations more engaging and easier to manage.
While their primary function of these visualizers is likely to be in the classroom – thanks to their ability to show live footage of books, writing and even artistic demonstrations – they can also be used in conference rooms to help bypass the static PowerPoint.
They’re also viable whether you want to use a recorded or live segment, and whether teaching is being done in person or at a distance through a video conferencing app.
Before you dive in and buy any old device, though, it’s important to consider how it fits in your current setup. All will come with a USB or HDMI connector, but more premium ones will work wirelessly, too. Naturally, you’ll also need to know what size fits your desk, as well as what camera and resolution you require for the job at hand.
To help you discover some of the top document cameras, we’ve detailed them in this complete guide.
Best document cameras you can buy today
Inswan INS-1 USB Document Camera
If you’re after a budget-friendly, smaller document camera that you can take on the move with ease, Inswan’s offering is definitely one to consider.
In terms of the key specs, there’s an 8MP camera with a Sony CMOS sensor that’s able to help deliver live images up to 3264 x 2448 pixels at 30 frames-per-second.
Thanks to the hinge in the design, you’re also able to adjust it with ease and take advantage of the maximum shooting area (15.8 x 11.8-inches).
Like most, there’s also a built-in microphone that’s compatible with third-party conferencing applications, with the device itself able to connect to Windows, macOS and Chromebook through the USB connection.
Ipevo is one of the bigger names in document cameras, and it’s easy to see why its VZ-X is a popular choice.
It’s extremely pricey compared to the other devices on this list, but this is largely due to its versatility in how you connect, as well as the overall capturing performance. Those who want to use it in Wi-Fi and HDMI mode can capture in HD, while those who require a USB connection can shoot in 3264 x 2448.
It’s also able to connect to not just your computer or monitor, but iOS and Android devices, Apple TV and projectors, too.
If you do choose to use it wirelessly, expect around 9-12 hours of battery life and 33ft range. And, however you use it, you’ll be able to enjoy the max shooting area of 283 x 501mm in 16:9 aspect ratio and 363 x 483mm in 4:3 with a built-in LED lighting it all up when required.
Okiolabs Okiocam T
Okiolabs is able to provide you with another budget alternative to the heavyweights of the visualizer market, acting as a great solution for teaching in the classroom or remotely from home.
It has a maximum recording area of 13.7 x 18.9-inches, meaning you can easily capture books, worksheets and objects through the 2592 x 1944 capture resolution (and 1920 x 1080 at 30 frames-per-second, if you’re recording live).
We’d recommend it to anybody who needs a simple plug-and-play option, since it only requires a USB connection and can easily sync up to Windows, macOS and Chromebook devices, as well as third-party conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
iCodis X3 Document Camera
The iCodis X3 is a bit more toward the pricey end of the entry-level document scanners, but it does give you a couple of neat benefits for the extra outlay.
Firstly, though, the downsides of this pick are that it doesn’t particularly travel well, given the large base, and the fact it isn’t compatible with macOS.
This naturally won’t be an issue for those keeping their document camera in one fixed place – and those who don’t own a Mac – with the 8MP camera (capturing at 3264 x 2448), 4 LED lights and up to A3 coverage giving you plenty to work with.
It also has a lot of neat features to play around with, such as intelligent continuous shooting, automatic correction/segmentation, and filling in broken edges of scanned pages.
Ipevo V4K Document Camera
This Ipevo V4K isn’t quite as expensive as others from the company, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on quality.
In fact, for the price, you get a solid array of features. There’s an 8MP camera that’s able to help capture at 3264 x 2448 (at 15 frames-per-second). It’s also able to shoot at 30 frames-per-second in HD, with fast auto-focusing helping you shift between documents without issue.
Handily, it’s also compatible with Mac, PC and Chromebook devices, as well as third-party conferencing apps.
Thustand Document Camera
Thustand’s USB Document Camera hasn’t got the most modern design, but it does deliver neat performance in the classroom.
That aluminum base and the metal bracket aren’t overly attractive, as we say, but they are sturdy and ideal for staying in place in the classroom. It also allows the camera to swivel 360-degrees, which is great for those who want more than just a face-down document camera.
When you are capturing, you’ll be taking advantage of the standard 8MP camera shooting in 3264 x 2448 at 15 frames-per-second. You also get the option to shoot in HD at 30 frames-per-second, too, and can connect to Windows, macOS, Chromebook devices and third-party conferencing apps.
Jourist DC80 Document Camera
Like other USB visualizers on this list, Jurist’s DC80 is another great consideration for those hooking up to a Windows or Mac computer.
It’s able to reach 3264 x 2448 pixels at its peak, with the 8MP camera and CMOS sensor providing a crisp and clear view – one backed up by the built-in LED light, auto-focus feature, automatic white balancing and, for audio, the built-in microphone.
It’s also one of the smarter designs around, too, with the camera able to rotate 270-degrees, and the lever able to be adjusted to give the user a reach the size of a sheet of A3.
Writing by Conor Allison. Editing by Dan Grabham.