Teachers Rejoice! Document Cameras Have Come a Long Way Since Your 9th Grade Biology Class

document cameras
Courtesy of Amazon
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When you think of document cameras, you probably think of that big, clunky square projector that your teacher would roll out (because it required its own dolly) to project book work on the projector screen. Well, document cameras have come a long way since those days, and the best document cameras now have applications that go beyond the classroom (even though they are still great for that, too).

Like other pieces of technology, document cameras have gone digital. The best models can provide ultra-high-definition video, connect easily to a variety of devices and let teachers scan and record at the push of a button.

Below, we have all the information you need on this vital classroom tool as well as the best document cameras for sale online.


The Virtual Classroom

The coronavirus era has been stressful for a myriad of different reasons —  we don’t have to go down that rabbit hole — but one of the things that we didn’t see coming was Zoom kindergarten classes. Online classes are nothing new, but now teachers from elementary to college have to be ready to teach online. When leading a virtual classroom, document cameras are an essential tool.

Of course, teachers aren’t the only professionals who rely on these audio-visual tools. The best document cameras are also needed in many office and government settings.

If you are looking for the best document cameras for the classroom or office, consider the following:

  • Document cameras may connect to your devices via USB, HDMI or Wi-Fi
  • The best document cameras record video and scan documents as well
  • Not all document cameras work with both Mac and PC
  • Document cameras range anywhere from $80 to $2,300. Premium models, such as ELMO document cameras, are capable of capturing 4K video and have powerful zoom lenses.

How We Picked The Best Document Scanners

The most important thing is that your content is displayed clearly. If your students can’t see what is being displayed, they are going to have a hard time learning. We selected document cameras that can shoot in 1080p and have a frame rate of 30fps for smooth video shooting, although there are a couple of options below that shoot at 720p.

We also picked ones with good compatibility. If a document scanner isn’t compatible with both Mac and PC, we looked for options that connect to your laptop or TV by USB or HDMI.

We also looked for additional features like curve flattening and image restoration to make your presentations and scanning are at top level quality.

Don’t think that you have to spend a fortune to get a decent document scanner, especially for teachers whose budgets are stretched thin enough. If all you need is something to project work or documents to your co-workers or students, and one with good zooming capabilities, there’s really no need for all the bells and whistles (and price tag) for a fully-loaded document scanner.

Below you’ll find our recommendations for the seven best document cameras available for the classroom or office.


1. Inswan Ins-1


This easy to use, lightweight and durable document camera is a great and affordable tool for the classroom or office. It features a 30fps frame rate, which you’ll find in the most expensive document cameras (we’re looking at you Elmo 1349), and even has a LED light to prevent glare when the lighting in the room isn’t great. The built-in microphone helps with voice clarity, especially during webinars or web-conferencing. The best part: all of this comes for only $100.

document cameras inswan Courtesy of Amazon


2. Ipevo V4K Ultra High Definition Document Camera


The Ipevo document camera has a 90% approval rating on Amazon. That’s because of the 8MP camera that shoots in UHD with a smooth 30fps frame rate. It also focuses quickly when you are switching back and forth between materials to show the classroom or the office. And it works with both Mac and PC, so you’ll be able to connect it regardless of your flavor of laptop.

ipevo v4k document camera Courtesy of Amazon

3. ELMO MA-1 Document Camera


If you (or your school) has the budget to drop some money on a high-end document camera for your classes we recommend the brand ELMO. They make top of the line machines and have models in the several-hundred-dollar range all the way up to several thousands of dollars for the best cameras and streaming quality. This one has full 1080p HD video capture capabilities as well as a built-in 5″ touchscreen. It’s intuitively designed to make STEM experiences as immersive as possible, and the touchscreen allows you as the teacher to browse the web, connect to educational apps and even display via a built-in Miracast system. This way, you can move about the classroom and interact with students, without being tied to a desk or podium.

ELMO document camera, best document camera Courtesy of Staples


4. Ipevo VZ-R HDMI-USB Document Camera


The Ipevo document camera has a 90% approval rating on Amazon. That’s because of the 8MP camera that shoots in UHD with a smooth 30fps frame rate. It also focuses quickly when you are switching back and forth between materials to show the classroom or the office. And it works with both Mac and PC, so you’ll be able to connect it regardless of your flavor of laptop.

ipevo vzr document camera Courtesy of Amazon

5. iOCHOW S1 Document Camera


You can use the S1 to scan documents or make recordings while you teach the classroom. This is thanks to the 8MP camera that helps you display content clearly. Even though you can scan and record, it doesn’t have curve flattening to make books look better when they are displayed, but it can fill in and fix minor image damage to create better scanned documents.

iochow s1 document camera Courtesy of Amazon


6. OKIOLABS USB 2-in-1 Webcam and Document Camera


This document camera from OKIOLABS has excellent reviews and is a convenient machine for teachers teaching remotely from home as it’s a webcam and a document camera in one device. You can use it as a front-facing camera for video taping lectures and then flip it so you can demonstrate solutions, grammar mistakes, math equations or other material that requires a pen and paper. It works seamlessly with video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. It’s also compact, lightweight, easy to set up and the multi-jointed camera makes it possible to capture content from all angles.

OKIOLABS webcam and document camera, best document cameras Courtesy of Amazon


7. Thustand V4K/2448P Document Camera


This document camera is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera that can capture real-time, ultra-HD images up to 3264×2448 pixels and stream them without delay. The camera also has built-in fast focus functionality, noise reduction for streaming, clarity in low-light conditions and super color reproducibility. It comes with a stable metal bracket and an aluminum base plate that’s built to not shake during use. It has multiple joints so you can adjust the height and angle to exactly what you want — and the USB camera is compatible with Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts and other apps.

Thustand Document camera Courtesy of Amazon


8. iOCHOW S3 Book & Document Camera


The iOCHOW S3 document camera is a great tool for projecting books with its flattening algorithm that eliminates the curvature of book pages when projecting. Beyond projecting technology, it can also record video and scan documents. When you’re done with the document scanner, the foldable design makes it easy to stow away. Keep in mind this multifunctional document scanner will only work with Windows.

document cameras iochow Courtesy of Amazon


9. iCodis Document Camera X3


This document scanner comes with software that assists you with your presentations. It can automatically segment specific areas of your document, and even help correct defective images. It also scans documents to create PDF versions for online use. Although the software can do some pretty nifty stuff, it is not compatible with Mac OS.

best document cameras icodis Courtesy of Amazon

10. Lumens DC125 Ladibug Document Camera


This adorable document camera is a small but mighty package that has full HD 1080p output resolution and a high-speed 30fps dynamic image. It can also zoom 8x and has a built-in microphone. The water droplet design is mounted on a jointless gooseneck that’s highly flexible do adjusting your image is easy. It also has hands-free focus and is plug-and-play – so it’s easy and seamless to set up. It’s compatible with all major brands of smart whiteboards, and is easy to hook up to your computer through the 10-inch USB cable.

Lumens document camera, best document camera Courtesy of Amazon


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