explain document camera

There are dozens of electronic devices in today’s digital world to make our lives easier. So, what is a document camera, and do you need one? Of course, each situation will require various devices. 

This article will go into more depth about document cameras, what applications they are best for, and who can benefit from using them. 

What Is a Document Camera Device Anyhow?

A great document camera is a modern-day version of an overhead projector. 

This digital device can project an image of the object underneath it onto a larger screen using Wi-Fi technology. This item can be a piece of paper or even a three-dimensional article, like a ball or a block.  

This high-resolution camera can take images or create videos, like a webcam, and cast them on larger screens for viewing. The built-in autofocus ensures a clear picture no matter what viewing medium you choose. 

Document cameras also have magnifying capabilities with a zoom lens. As a result, you can narrow in on specific areas to help focus when highlighting an important element. 

They are commonly used in classrooms, offices, and universities, for enhancing documents, much like an interactive whiteboard. 

Using a Document Camera in the Classroom

Document cameras are a great asset to include in the classroom as an educational technology tool. These digital devices work well in primary schools and right up to college or university classes. 

It can be challenging to display notes to multiple people in a classroom setting, so the document camera helps eliminate this problem. 

This technology is beneficial whether you need students to follow along with a textbook reading assignment or have a lecture hall of 100 students. This way, teachers can precisely ensure everyone sees what is necessary. 

Document cameras in the classroom can help keep students on track by projecting schedules or timelines on daily tasks. They are also efficient for teachers who do not have the time or education resources to hand out multiple worksheets or teaching aids to each student. 

A Doc Cam Is Many Tools in One

Like other digital devices, document cameras can come with various features to suit several different needs. For example, some models will require a computer while others can use Wi-Fi connectivity for mobile phones or other electronics, like a tablet. 

Document cameras feature maximum versatility meaning that you can show any object placed under the camera. It is not limited to just paper. The built-in LED light will allow anything to project onto the screen. The camera also rotates +/- 90 degrees making it easy to capture three-dimensional items. 

Sometimes, you can record both video and audio with a doc cam, making it ideal for lesson planning or making online presentations available later. 

The exceptional zoom features found within document cameras enable individuals with vision impairments to follow along with lessons. This feature eliminates the need for Closed Circuit Television (CCT) technology in the classroom. 

Document Cameras Save on Printing

Minimizing paper use helps our planet and saves on overall costs. For example, just one sheet is printed instead of printing out 30 sheets for students. The sheet is then projected with a document camera so everyone can view it.

A Doc Cam is Easy to Use

Document cameras are generally easy to use and do not require much knowledge. Even individuals without previous experience can learn to use one quickly. 

Setup is often uncomplicated with only plugging in a few cords, and the marking on the buttons clearly state each function. Of course, if you have questions, check the manual.

How to Setup a Document Camera

All document cameras include a power cord to function correctly. The DC power switch plugs into the back of the document camera, with the other end plugging into an outlet. 

It can also have an HDMI or VGA cable to transfer the document camera image to the projector. 

Use the source button on the doc camera to ensure it projects the correct item you want to view. 

The lamp button will turn the LED light on and off to help display the object. The brightness button will increase or decrease the brightness. Placing white paper under some items may help improve visibility on the screen. 

You can also use a USB and audio cord to plug a document camera directly into a laptop. 

Some Document Camera Guides

Document Camera Types

While there are a great deal of different document camera models, there are only 2 different types.

Portable and Desktop Models

A portable document camera is a device that allows users to capture images and videos of documents and objects. What makes this device great is that it is portable, meaning that it can be taken with you wherever you go. Additionally, the quality of the images and videos captured by a portable document camera are typically much better than those captured using a smartphone or webcam. However, one of the weaknesses of a portable document camera is that it typically cannot be used to capture images or videos in low light conditions.

We really like the IPEVO V4K HD Camera for it’s portability. Its neat cable store allows for easy folding and storing. In addition, it is quite lightweight, making it the best choice if constantly transporting it in and out of the classroom.

Ceiling Mount Models

Ceiling-mounted document cameras are great for use in rooms where a portable model is unnecessary. They are an excellent choice for some lecture halls, classrooms, video conferencing rooms, and operating theatres. Most document cameras for teachers are not ceiling mount models however.

They do not take up any space and will not require adjustments once mounted on the ceiling. They often can use HDMI, DVI, USB, VGA, and Ethernet cable outputs. In addition, the view to the screen from the person presenting has no restrictions as it is on the ceiling.

On the downside, they are more expensive than other doc cams and a pain to move if you decide you need to in the future.


A document camera is a great way to increase efficiency in a classroom or office setting using its high-quality image scanner. Its functionality will provide benefits for everyone involved. 

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