7 of the Best Document Cameras for Schools

Document cameras are a great way to take advantage of technology in the classroom. Think, the modern classroom’s overhead projector with a heap of extra bells and whistles. A document camera connects to a projector (see our list of the Best Classroom Projectors) either by a direct connection or through a computer that allows the teacher to display real-time video, books, math problems, science experiments, maps, images, student work, and much more. The possibilities are practically endless.

The most important aspect when choosing a document camera for the classroom is connectivity capabilities with the existing classroom technology. Before choosing, determine the type of connection you want to use (with or without a computer, wireless, etc.) and compatibility with other devices. Also consider the camera’s power and zoom and other options such as recording and storage for later use, built-in microphone, and general ease of use.

Best Document Cameras for Schools

Epson DC-21 HD With Optical Zoom
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IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition Document Camera
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Elmo 1349 Model TT-12ID Interactive Document Camera
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AVerVision U50 USB FlexArm Document Camera
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IPEVO VZ-R HDMI/USB Dual-Mode Document Camera
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HUE HD Pro Document Camera
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Lumens DC125 Ladibug Document Camera
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Lumens DC265 Document Camera Projector
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Ipevo Ziggi-HD Plus High-Definition USB Document Camera
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1. Epson DC-21 HD With Optical Zoom

great HD docment cam for schools

The Epson DC-21 is the top of the Epson brand-line of document cameras.  It does it all – captures books, 3D objects, and experiments in HD resolution.  You can connect directly to your projector or television with the HDMI port – or record the lesson for absent students on an SD card for future viewing.  It comes with a microscope adapter that fits many models so you can share images magnified more than the 12x optical zoom built into the unit.  This flexible design makes it easy to use.

This camera can capture an area of 11.7″ x 20.7″ – that’s larger than many other document camera models.  The manual does make it clear that video recorded to an SD card will only be at 720p resolution – so if that’s a problem you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Camera: 2.0 Megapixel

Resolution: 1920x 1080 pixels max still; video is 720p

Frame rate: 30 fps (at 1080p frame rate)

Zoom: 12x optical zoom, 10X digital zoom

Connections: USB-B, VGA,HDMI

Extras: AV Recording to SD Card, Built-In Microphone, Microscope Adapter

2. IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition Document Camera

Ipevo V4k Ultra High Definition Usb Document Camera

If you’re continually switching between documents, then the IPEVO V4K High Definition document camera is a great pick. It’s fast focusing speed minimizes the delay time and avoids interrupting your flow during a lesson. Another benefit of the V4k definition camera is its high frame rate that prevents unwelcome pauses. By streaming at 30fps at full HD, it produces lag-free live streaming for a continuous flow in the classroom.

The documents camera gives clear non-distorted images of your information even in low light like a darkened classroom. Its multi-jointed stand allows for capturing images at various angles and heights. When the joints come loose due to repetitive usage of the document camera, simply tighten the bolt that connects the joints with a coin.

The document camera works with various applications and software a teacher may use on their Windows PC, Mac or Chromebook.

Camera: 8.0 Megapixel

Resolution: 3264 x 2448 pixels for live presentations

Frame rate: 30 fps at full HD and 15 fps at 3264 x 2448 pixel

Zoom:

Connections: USB

Extras: Sony CMOS image sensor, UVC camera with video

3. Elmo 1349 Model TT-12ID Interactive Document Camera

Great for high schools and colleges

The Elmo 1349 Model TT-12ID is definitely a higher-end document camera.  But, with the high price tag comes an amazing feature set and a package that is the most popular document camera available on the market. Boasting exceptional optical and digital zoom, the camera can pinpoint any detail you need to show students. The document camera also delivers 30 fps at full HD resolution making it a great option for capturing sharp moving scenes (demonstrations, experiments, video, etc.).

Camera: 3.4 Megapixel

Resolution: 2144 x 1588 pixels

Frame rate: 30 fps (at full HD) and up to 15 fps (at 3264 x 2448 pixels)

Zoom: 96x zoom (12x optical, 8x digital)

Connections: USB, VGA, HDMI

Extras: Built-in Switcher, Audio input/output

4. AVerVision U50 USB FlexArm Document Camera

AVerVision U50 USB FlexArm

We have tested a number of AVer products at Fractus and the build quality and feature list are always spectacular! The AVerVision U50 Document Camera fits the bill here with an exceptional quality piece of kit for a very reasonable price. A great mid-range option the U50 has top-end tech-specs with high resolution, digital zoom, and frame rate and is a good bit cheaper than similar competitors. The U50 also has a unique ‘swan-neck’ design allowing the camera to tilt and twist in every possible direction for easy viewing angles and manipulation.

Camera: 5.0 Megapixel

Resolution: 2592 x 1944 pixels

Frame rate: 30 fps (at full HD)

Zoom: 8x digital zoom

Connections: USB

Extras: Built-in mic, LED lamp lights, FlexArm camera

5. IPEVO VZ-R HDMI/USB Dual-Mode Document Camera

The IPEVO VZ-R HDMI/USB Dual-Mode Document Camera has an 8-megapixel camera sensor, AND it has USB and HDMI connectivity. This means you can use it with or without a computer. The direct to LCD projector capability is absolutely necessary! If your computer goes down for the day, no worries—your document camera is not connected through your computer. If you are looking for technology that is “disaster-proof” in your lesson planning, this is about as sure of a thing as there is.

Camera: 8 Megapixel

Resolution: 3264 x 2448 pixels USB, 1080p in HDMI

Frame rate:  30 fps (at 1080p)

Zoom: 12x digital zoom in USB/PC mode; 6x Digital via HDMI

Connections: USB, HDMI

Extras: Built-in LED light

6. iCODIS Document Camera

Icodus Document Camear

The intelligent continuous shooting of the iCODIS document camera allows you to scan multiple pages without needing to replace each page manually. At 1.5 seconds per page, the document camera scans fast, allowing teachers to use your time more efficiently. With a maximum scanning area of A3, you can scan almost everything you would need in the classroom.

The built-in LED lights with three light settings, lets you scan pages whenever it’s convenient to you, even in the middle of the night. If you placed your page at a wrong angle, the smart tilt correcting feature automatically adjusts when scanning the page.

The OCR software supports multiple languages and allows editing of the scanned pages.

With its collapsible feature, the document scanner takes up less space when storing and is highly portable for transporting from one venue to another.

It is compatible with Windows operating system 8 and above, but not with macOS.

Camera: 8 Megapixel

Resolution:

Frame rate:

Zoom:

Connections: USB

Extras: Scans A3, video recording, multiple scanning, auto-correction

7. HUE HD Pro Document Camera

Hue Hd Pro Document Camera in blue

The new HUE HD Pro Document camera has improved its design and lens for a better experience. It is available in blue, black, red, and green.

The camera has its presentation software that is compatible with Windows and macOS. The ability to flip the image horizontally or vertically views images from a different direction. Its flexible neck can rotate 360-degrees to view images A4 and US letter page sizes from all angles. The software allows for automated capturing. Upload videos to YouTube or save it to your computer.

During the lesson, the teacher can annotate images and video with text, drawing, and shapes. Webchat software allows for chatting remotely with students or other schools.

Camera:

Resolution: 1280 x 720 pixels

Frame rate:

Zoom:

Connections: USB, mini-USB cable

Extras: UVC compatible, live annotation, built-in microphone, LED camera lights

8. Lumens DC125 Ladibug Document Camera

Lumens Dc125 Ladibug Document Camera In Red

Lightweight and simple to use, the Lumens DC125 Ladibug Document Camera is great for the classroom. Simply plug it into your computer, and the camera installs itself. The gooseneck enables flexibility in capturing an image at 360-degree angles and as close as 1.6 inches for a more detailed perspective.

It is compact, has excellent clarity, and has hands-free autofocus. The software is intuitive enough for a child to control.

The document camera is compatible with most interactive whiteboards.

Camera: 8 Megapixel

Resolution: XGA, SXGA, 720p, 1080p, UXGA, QXGA (2048×1536)

Frame rate: 30 fps

Zoom: 8x

Connections: USB

Extras: Built-in LED light, Built-in Mic, Autotune

9. Lumens DC265 Document Camera Projector

Lumens DC265

The DC120’s big sister, the Lumens DC265 has been created especially for educators. Nearly floral in appearance, the DC265 has two bright lamps either side of the central camera, keeping documents bright and clear in dark environments. With a host of different connection types (HDMI, USB, VGA) the document camera can be connected to PC, laptop, TV or monitor making it an extremely adaptable classroom addition. At the higher end, this camera is well worth the spend, but be sure you plan on using all the features.

Camera: 5 Megapixel

Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Frame rate: 30 frames per second

Zoom: 6x optical zoom, 8x digital zoom

Connections: USB, VGA, HDMI

Extras: SD Card Slot, Internal memory, Built-in mic, Multiple lamps

10. Ipevo Ziggi-HD Plus High-Definition USB Document Camera

Ipevo Ziggi-HD Plus High-Definition USB Document Camera

Less expensive than other document cameras, the Ipevo Ziggi-HD Plus packs a lot of features into an easy-to-use, portable camera. Hugely popular with teachers from Kindergarten to High School, the Ziggi-HD is an excellent option if you have a limited budget but still want a high-quality camera. It comes with the Ipevo Presenter software which offers several useful tools; it hooks up easily and works with minimal effort. Priced right and works great, it’s easy to see why this camera is one of the most popular!

Camera: 8.0 Megapixel

Resolution: HD and SD resolutions up to 3264 x 2448 pixels

Frame rate: 30 fps (at full HD) and up to 15 fps (at 3264 x 2448 pixels)

Zoom: 12x continuous digital zoom

Connections: USB

Extras: Built-in mic

11. Elmo 1341 model TT-12i Interactive Document Camera

Elmo 1341 model TT-12i Interactive Document Camera

The Elmo line of document cameras, including the Elmo 1341 model TT-12i Interactive Document Camera, are by far the most fully-featured classroom document cameras. With its many connectivity options, the Elmo integrates easily with other classroom technologies. Once again, the Elmo does have a heftier price tag, so it’s well worth considering if your use warrants the additional spend and feature list.

Camera: 3.4 Megapixel

Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Frame rate: 30 fps (at full HD)

Zoom: 96x zoom (12x optical, 8x digital)

Extras: External memory, Built-in mic

What To Look For In The Best Document Camera For Teachers

There are a few must-have features a document camera for the classroom should have to optimize its use. Then some features are nice to have and make life simpler. 

Imagery Quality Displayed by the Document Camera

The quality of images and versatility may transform an ordinary document camera to an interactive engagement tool that could compete with tablets and other high-tech devices. The best document cameras aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones; it is often the document cameras that project the best images which are is clear and engaging. 

The imagery quality is determined by the megapixels, frames per second, digital zoom capabilities, auto focus ability, clear image quality, and additional video and audio features. A built-in microphone assists teachers in including audio and video for a more active display. 

A built-in LED light may enhance the visibility of an image in poor light conditions. It may also improve seeing the details of the image if the light shines directly on the image that is captured. 

Advanced features that could improve the image quality are contrast, color correction, brightness, details, and saturation.  You’ll find information about these features in most document camera reviews.

Portability of the Document Camera and Movability for the Teacher

Portability may be a convenient nice-to-have feature for some but for others, it is an essential requirement. In small classrooms, a portable document camera is easily moved and stored when not in use. You don’t want it to take up space that is needed for something else during a class. 

The design, durable parts, and weight of the document camera influence its transportability. A compact light in weight camera is easier to move than a cumbersome camera that has loose parts that aren’t tough enough to move around. Portability is convenient when you need to move the document camera from one place to another or from one classroom to the next. It’s seldom that a teacher’s hands are empty, there’s always something to carry or transport to a different spot. A portable camera makes it simpler for the teacher.  

A remote control gives teachers the freedom to move around during the presentation. They aren’t stuck in front of the classroom but can move around among the students. While moving around the teacher may pass the remote control to a student to zoom in or point to something specific. 

Connectivity of the Document Camera

Connection settings of the document camera should allow the teacher to effortlessly connect with existing technology in the classroom. It should easily connect with the laptop or computer technology available to the teacher. 

  • USB cables connect to a computer. It’s the basic connection and is often the best solution for a tight budget.  
  • VGA and HDMI connections allow for recording and image camera. The connections offer the greatest flexibility but are often the most expensive document cameras. 
  • Wireless connections and remote controls give teachers greater flexibility where to place the document camera and the opportunity to move around.

Additional connecting benefits are the ability to join the document camera with other devices like a scanner, or tablets creating an interactive lesson where students may respond in real-time. Some document cameras may integrate with interactive whiteboards for combined learning and teaching experience. 

More Features to Consider when choosing the Best Document Camera

  • For science classes and other STEM-related experiments and activities, a microscope adapter can give students a close-up look at what’s taking place. They can observe the smallest details on the large screen. 
  • A reference monitor gives the teacher a preview of what is displayed on the large screen for the students. It is one of the best benefits for biology or science teachers when using a microscope adapter. 
  • Annotation is a great add-on when teachers want to edit over the image displayed by the document camera. 
  • The flexibility of the neck ensures capturing images from a variety of angles.  
  • A split-screen feature allows the teacher to project two images simultaneously to compare side-by-side. Another benefit of a split-screen is to display assignment questions and an example of answering the questions. 
  • Do you need a document camera that can also record video or has optical character recognition capability? Most teachers don’t, but you might have different needs.

Document cameras are a great tool for any classroom. Do you use a specific one for teaching? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

Feature image courtesy of Flickr, dantaylr.

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