If you are a teacher, presenter or anyone in the education field, chances are you’ve had to adapt to distance learning. When students or audience members are not in the same room as you, visual learning takes on a new level of importance.
Document cameras help you display 3D images in real time of such varied learning sources as rocks and leaves, books, tests and quizzes, and even slides under a microscope (with the right adaptor).
A document camera is an essential tool for you, so you want to make sure you buy the best one. We can help! Here we review 5 of the very best document cameras for distance learning to help make your search a bit easier!
We’ve also included a short buyer’s guide at the end which should hopefully answer some of your questions and help you make the right choice.
Document Cameras for Distance Learning Comparison Table
Here are the top document cameras for distance learning compared!
The 5 Best Document Cameras for Distance Learning You can Buy
- 8MP Camera
- Full HD Video streaming
- Low-light performance with LED light
- Can run with or without a computer
- Software can be basic for some needs
This model has a built-in microphone to record audio, and operates in HDMI or USM mode. The 8M camera captures up to 3264 x 2448 (10 fps) in USB mode and up to 1920 x 1080 (30 fps) in HDMI mode. You can show very small details of even tiny objects.
The shooting area maximum is 10.6 x 18.9 inches, and the maximum focal length is 3.57. The Sony CMOS Image Sensor allows for faster focusing speed. Color reproduction is excellent, and you can move from one place of your display to another without a lot of lagging or latency. Low latency is particularly important for distance learning, so this is one of our favorite features of this document camera.
The document camera is also stable and durable, as it has a glass fiber reinforced stand (GVX-5H). It is easily portable as it is fairly light, weighing 2.2 pounds.
The camera head swivels, and the stand is multi-jointed to enable you to capture various angles of what you are presenting. There are buttons on the stand of the camera that allow you to instantly adjust real-time images.
You can easily scan documents, record and store HD video, and take pictures. If you connect the camera to a TV or projector, you can livestream with your audience.
If you connect this camera to your computer, you can download the free Visualizer software from the manufacturer. It will work just like a web cam, so perfect for live teaching via Zoom or other similar platforms.
Some people use this camera as a less expensive alternative to medical devices for people with low vision. No need for CCTV magnifiers with this document camera!
- OCR recognizes over 100 languages
- Built-in LED lamps for high brightness
- Multipurpose scanner up to A3 size
- OCR recognition to convert jpg to Word/Excel/Txt/PDF format in one click
- Only works with Windows, not Mac OS
Next is another excellent document camera for distance learning, the iOCHOW S1 High Definition Portable Scanner. This one has a capture size of up to A3, as well as an 8M camera and 4 LED fill lights.
Real-time shooting and video recording make lesson preparation and delivery interactive and easy. Demos are effective and engaging for your students and audiences.
This document camera is perfect for sharing large documents like music scores, blueprints, and magazines, as well as e-books and other resources. The camera has intelligent picture shooting and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in more than 100 languages. You can set up the frequency for picture shooting, and turn pages for the camera to take pictures without having to press a button each time. Each page is scanned in 1.5 seconds.
The camera also automatically corrects any missing edges of your documents, so even old and well-loved textbooks can show up sharp, clear and complete. Scanning is easy to do with software that is simple to set up and use.
You can easily convert your scanned documents to editable formats such as Word, Excel, PDF and TXT. Perfect for setting up quizzes and tests from existing resources!
Other features include automatic image segmentation (multifile scanning), merging both sides of a scanned ID photo automatically, and erasing any excess parts, including your fingers (note: there is no book flattening function). There is also a background purification feature, which means yellowed or graying pages can be scanned for a clear and crisp final result.
The camera is very stable, as it sits on a heavy base.
- HD 1080P Resolution
- Can connect to a microscope
- Built-in microphone
- High quality video playback and live streaming
- Not compatible with Mac OS Catalina
Thirdly, we feature the Epson DC-21 High-Definition Document Camera which has HD 1080p resolution, HDMI connection for high definition video, 10x digital zoom and 12x optical zoom. The video speed is high, at 30fps, enabling excellent video playback.
It also has a built-in microphone for recording audio, software, and a microscope adaptor. Perfect for displaying not only books and documents, but slides, petri dishes and other microscopic items. The camera has a built-in LED light.
An SD slot is also included to easily share video and other media sources from other cameras and computers, as well as save lessons and video recordings. Video recording is simple and can be initiated with the touch of one button. During video playback, there are freeze and capture buttons to easily pause or resume an image.
This document camera also comes with a remote, a USB cable and a computer cable (VGA). You can connect your camera to a projector, TV or external monitor. A software CD and documentation are included.
The camera is easily portable and comes in a handy carrying case.
- 96x Zoom
- Can switch quickly between the computer and a projector
- Built-in microphone that can record audio
- USB port and SD card slot
- Not portable – the neck becomes loose with too much movement
The scanner uses an 8M camera that provides a resolution of 3264 x 2448, and scans files up to A3. 4 LED lights are included so you can work no matter what time of day. The camera can scan a page in 1.5 seconds.
Once your documents or other objects are scanned, you can convert your files to editable document formats such as Word, Excel, PDF, and TXT.
Background purification is also available, which means any documents on gray or yellowed paper can be scanned to provide clear and crisp results.
The camera offers video recording and real-time projecting, perfect for distance learning and meetings. It is collapsible and portable, and once mounted on its base it is quite stable as the base is wide.
The software is easy to install and use.
- 5MP auto focus camera
- Automatic brightness adjustment
- Built-in microphone
- SD card slot for long video recordings
- Not as high-resolution as some other document cameras (but does the job)
Finally, the THUSTAND V4K Ultra High Definition Portable Document Camera. This camera has an 8M camera that can capture high-definition real-time images up to 3264 x 2448 pixels. For real-time streaming, the high-frame-rate real-time streaming is up to 30fps in full HD and up to 15fps in 3264 x 2448 pixels.
The height and angle are adjustable with multiple joints in the bracket of the stand, with no need for tools.
The driver installation is simple: connect the USB camera to the computer’s USB port and it will automatically install. Plug and play!
The camera rotates 360 degrees, and the height is adjustable.
The camera allows you to take pictures, record videos, hold video conferences, do live streaming, and make time-lapse or freeze-frame movies. You can communicate via Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Bandicam, Amcap and OBS.
Colors are reproduced with a high level of accuracy thanks to the Sony CMOS high-definition image sensor. The focus speed is fast, and there is good noise reduction with the built-in microphone. The autofocus lens can quickly move between objects and the macro can capture objects as close as 3.9 inches away.
Document Cameras for Distance Learning – Buyers Guide
What Makes a Good Document Camera for Distance Learning?
Here are some key features to look for:
- Portability: how heavy is it? Does it fold?
- Built-in microphone
- Camera resolution
- Frame rate (fps, or frames per second): the higher the fps, the crisper the images
- Connections and compatibility: what can you connect it to? What software can you use with it? Any learning software integration?
- Microscope adaptor
- Zoom feature: these are optical or digital. Optical zoom won’t interfere with image quality
- A flexible neck: this gives you more control than an adjustable frame
- Remote control
- Easy web uploading
If you would like to learn more about the features to look for in a doc cam, see our article on how to choose a document camera.
How to Use a Document Camera for Distance Learning?
Document cameras have many uses for distance learning:
- Easy transmission of documents, videos, pictures etc. no matter where you are in relation to your students or audience
- Interactive demonstrations in real-time
- Annotating, labeling, mindmapping or other activities in real-time while being able to talk about what you are doing together
- Time management for work being carried out by individuals across different locations (just put a timing on the screen)
- Easy uploads of work done together to YouTube or other sites for reference
- Going over answers together
- Displaying a to-do list for everyone to work with
If you still need more ideas, see our detailed article: Top 10 ways to use a document camera for distance learning.
There you have it, our top picks for the best document cameras for distance learning. Have a good think about what features you need for your lessons or presentations, and hopefully this article has helped you make an informed choice.
Document cameras are transforming the way we learn and work, and they are fast becoming an essential tool for sharing information around the world.