Modern-day document cameras are nothing but the old day’s overhead projectors. In the past, these devices were used by lecturers and students and still remain most popular in the classroom setting.
A document camera is very useful for classrooms, but that is not its only application. Document cameras expunge the PowerPoint presentation exhaustions by viewing the live display of papers or documents in business settings. In this way, the devices make problems and projects easier to break down.
Be it an educational presentation or a commercial one, the use of a document camera makes it a lot more engaging. For this reason, these cameras are often known as visualizers.
The document cameras or the visualizers can be easily slotted into video conferencing and other learning setups, be it recorded or live. A good document camera that provides high resolution can even be used to scan documents in the Optical Character Recognition setups. They can also serve as a flatbed scanner.
However, finding the best document camera for Mac can be a long and boring task. There is a lot for you to research, and the existing sea of products only makes finding the right product more complicated.
So we did the legwork for you, you can find a helpful buying guide and a compilation of reviews of the best document cameras for Mac below.
#1 Aver U50: Best Overall Document Scanner
This document camera comes with a flexible gooseneck arm, featuring a 5 megapixel CMOS camera and provide a zoom up to 8X digital zoom even with the highest resolution.
Even in the wide-angle view, this provides a picture quality as good as other more expensive document cameras. It can be easily connected to a whiteboard, a PS, or a laptop via USB.
It is both convenient and efficient, the camera comes with a 6 LED lamp array, which draws power from the USB. If you are in doubt that the flexible head might not be that convenient, do not worry, as the weighted base has been designed with the recess around it.
It is also very portable. When not in use, all you have to do is place the arm and the camera around the base of the device, this curls up the device to just the size of a fat textbook, making it easy to carry around.
Lastly, despite such a low price, it still does not fail to provide a smooth experience. The Aver software is also quite good and stable, and the camera is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Chrome OS.
#2 IPEVO Do – Cam: Best Document Camera for Portability
The IPEVO Do – Cam is the modern document camera, redesigned in 2020 for portability and simplicity.
The best feature of this document camera is that it looks very stylish and has a highly functional design. It has a neat and straightforward cable store to make sure that it takes up very little space in your bag or briefcase when folded and put in.
It also comes with a protective cover that is secured in a place with a band. It can easily be connected to a laptop for operation via a USB. However, it needs a USB adaptor for connecting to Mac since it only comes with a USB-A socket, and most Macs use USB-C sockets.
This 8-megapixel camera offers an effortless flip the picture mechanism where you have to just press one button to switch from a document camera to a regular webcam.
This is a really neat document camera available in black and yellow color.
# 3 Inswan INS – 1 : Best Document Camera Under $ 100
The Inswan INS – 1 is a knock-out product offering top-notch features at a low price. It offers a great eight-megapixel camera with 30 fps. To operate this document camera, all you need to do is install the Inswan’s Documate app.
It is hard to believe that despite its low price, this device has so much to offer.
This document camera even provides live annotations while teaching. The camera has swift autofocus within ten centimeters of distance from the object. The Sony CMOS captures enough light even from the little LED in the head.
It comes with an anglepoise-like-design, making it a little hard to fold, but after it’s folded, it is easy to carry around. With the inbuilt tripod and light, it can even be used as a webcam. It is quite good provided the versatility it offers.
#4 Â IPEVO VZ-X Document Camera: Best Document Camera for Cross-Platform Compatibility
It might not be the cheapest, but it is undoubtedly the most versatile document camera. It offers the flexibility to be used on its own or by connecting it to a Mac, a Windows, Chromebook, iOS, or Android device. It can be connected directly via an HDMI link. It can even be paired up with an Apple TV.
These features are enough to make it the most attractive device for most. It can be paired using Wi-Fi as well as a USB. Using Wi-Fi to pair up with the devices reduces much of the clutter.
The various buttons on the column are something to be appreciated. Those physical buttons make it easy to zoom, operate or lock the focus on any object. It even comes with an adequate microphone built-in.
#5 Epson ELPDC21: Best Document Camera for the Education Environment
The brand Epson has been in the document camera market for a long time now. They might not have refreshed their products for many years, but, there was no need for updated versions for the most part.
Nonetheless, this Epson ELPDC21c document camera has the capacity to capture a full A3 or tabloid area with its 1/2.7 SMOS sensor.
Most importantly, this device has been built to be used with ease. It offers a standout autofocus button. Plus, the remote provided with it offers manual control. The capture and record buttons are also available on hand.
It comes with a 12X optical zoom, which helps view minute details whenever required. It is a little heavy and isn’t very portable with its 2.5-kg solid built body.
However, with the Kensington lock, it survives almost all classrooms. It is also Mac and Windows compatible. It also comes with an excellent travel case included in the package.
What To Look For In A Document Camera Or Visualizer
The very first thing that you need to keep in mind while purchasing a document camera is its portability.
If you give a lot of presentations and intend to carry your document camera with you, you must ensure it is portable. Some document cameras are easy to carry as they are lightweight as compared to the other options.Â
They are not required to be connected to other devices like laptops, PCs, whiteboards, or projectors. Just be sure to check if the camera has a zoom dial feature so that you can make both presenting and viewing easier.
We recommend looking for a document camera that you can mount to the ceiling.
Those devices give an unobstructed view of your material to your audience. Mounted document cameras also cut down on setup time if you always teach or pitch in the same room.
If the document camera is mounted to the ceiling, it will help you present bigger and 3D objects like some engines or anything requiring a large work surface. You must ensure that your document camera has a rotating head and multiple output resolutions before mounting the document camera to the ceiling.
It is the only way you’ll get the angles you need to deliver your presentation effectively.
If you have an interactive whiteboard already and you wish to use it for your presentation purposes, make sure that you do buy a document camera that can be connected to your whiteboard.
The same goes for if you own a PC or a laptop. A document camera should be able to hook up to your existing setup.
Connecting the document camera to the whiteboard or computer setup opens up a whole new set of possibilities, enabling you to make changes or edits while being visible to everyone. This type of connection is possible over USB.
Also, if you will need to use your camera with different devices, check the compatibility of the document camera with the operating systems.
This is a very useful and important feature. If your camera supports the zoom feature, it becomes easier for you to zoom into small details in your presentation and make it more understandable to your audience.
For example, you’ll be able to show off some small print on paper, cells under the microscope, and the number of thread turns on a screw. Plus, if you have a large audience, the zoom feature will make it easy for your audience to follow along.
When buying a document camera, make sure to not settle for anything that offers a resolution lower than 1080p HD, i.e., 1920 X 1080 pixels.
Older and cheaper models have lower resolutions, but it’s better not to invest in them. They are useless in most scenarios.
While explaining your presentation to your class or your colleagues in the conference room, walking up to the camera to move to the next bit won’t look elegant.
We recommend purchasing a document camera that offers remote control. Plus, it enhances the audience participation as you can pass on the remote to the audience as well.
If you are a teacher and will be using it in your classroom, you can even pass on the remote to a student to let them describe their presentation while you sit and listen.
If you are willing to take pictures throughout your presentation for further references, you will need a document camera that offers a scanner as well.
The pictures can aid students and refresh their memory of the concepts later on. These pictures can also be used to note where to start in the next session.
Some document cameras even offer the option of manually detecting the scanning area or auto-detection.
This is a modern feature now available in almost all electronic devices. It is very helpful as it allows you to present two different presentations side by side. This opens the option of comparing two documents side by side and catching up with the audience.
Some document cameras provide the feature to record videos while presenting. This feature is useful, especially when someone had missed the live presentation.
Like the scanning and saving pictures feature, this video recording feature allows you to pick up from where you left off in the last session.
This is again a modern feature now available in most devices for ease of use. This feature allows you to open a smaller window over a large window.
It will help you and your audience look at the subject in greater detail while focusing on your presentation.
Let us now look into the various options available for you in the market. Go through the list properly before investing your money into a document camera and ending up having something that does not serve your purpose.
Nowadays, document cameras are getting more and popular with their variety of usage. They are used everywhere, from classrooms to conference rooms and board rooms, and have become useful accessories at laboratories, universities, and broadcasting stations.Â
Looking for the right device might have seemed like a chore before, but with our guide and shortlist handy, you’ll be able to find the right device in no time.