The 9 Best Document Cameras
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Best Document Cameras
* Last update of prices was on 2019-01-18 09:24:17 via PA API. Prices or conditions may have changed in the meantime.
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Document Camera Buying Guide
Document Cameras Buying Guide
Although computers have allowed us to greatly reduce our use of paper, it's likely that your home or business still has plenty of old documents or pictures in storage. Paper takes up storage space -- something that we can always use more of -- and it is easy to damage or destroy. What would you do if your precious photos began to fade beyond recognition? If you are a business owner, could your company weather the loss of its paper archives if a fire occurred?
A document camera makes it easy to create digital archives of your most important documents and other paper items. Although you can make copies of paper documents with a scanner or other digital camera, a document camera is special in that it ensures that your archive photos are always taken from the same angle and under the ideal lighting. Digital camera technology has advanced to the point where you can expect to get excellent image quality out of almost any document camera. However, there are still a number of features that you might want to look for before you choose which camera to buy. We'll explain those features in this buying guide.
Document Cameras: Key Features
At its core, a document camera isn't terribly different from other digital cameras. It uses an image sensor to capture photos, and the quality of the image sensor is what determines the quality of the final captured image. In the specifications, you'll see the resolution of a camera's image sensor in megapixels. A larger number means that the camera uses more pixels to capture images, which means that images can contain greater detail. However, megapixels cannot express some qualities of an image sensor such as its color balance and ability to correct lens distortions. If possible, you should look at the results that other people have obtained with a camera before buying it.
Having the ability to create digital backups of important documents and photos is extremely useful. The problem, though, is that a computer can't understand the text in a standard image file. You can tag an image with important keywords for later searching, but your computer won't give you the ability to search the full text contained in the image unless you convert it to a document file. If a document camera includes optical character recognition software, it can save your document backups as plain text or PDF files with contents that your computer can later search.
Optical Character Recognition
If a document camera includes character recognition software, it may also include software that helps you catalog and sort your documents. Document filing software helps you find and retrieve documents more easily. for example, filing software might allow you to tag documents by type -- business cards, bills and letters, for instance -- and display all of your documents of one type simultaneously. Filing software usually also allows you to search your document library for occurrences of words or phrases.
Document Filing Software
At minimum, any document camera will include a USB connection allowing it to transfer images to a computer. If you'd rather operate your computer and camera in separate locations, though, you should look for a camera with wireless connectivity. A Wi-Fi camera can transmit document images to your computer from anywhere in your home or office.
Wired and Wireless Connectivity
In most cases, a document camera will have a zoom function allowing it to provide a larger view of a section of a document. However, a digital zoom works by multiplying the pixels in a digital image. It creates a larger image, but it doesn't create a clearer one. To produce an image that's larger and clearer, you'll need a document camera with an optical zoom function. Some document cameras have mounting points for removable magnifying lenses.
Ability to Zoom
Before purchasing any document camera, check to confirm what image formats it supports. The JPG format is the most popular image format, but document cameras may also support other formats such as GIF, BMP, TIFF and PDF. Use the format that best suits your personal or business needs.
File Format Support
In most cases, a document camera will include software that interfaces with the camera and allows you to transfer and save images. You can always expect the imaging software to run on Windows computers. If you use a Mac, though, you'll need to look for a camera that specifically offers Mac support. Some document cameras also offer support for mobile devices running iOS and Android.
Mac and Mobile Device Support
A digital camera always works best in bright light. If you'll capture the majority of your documents in a room with less than ideal lighting conditions, look for a document camera with a built-in LED light. The light will ensure that your documents are always brightly illuminated for the best possible image quality.
It's a good idea to look for a document camera with a stand that allows you to change the camera's position. A built-in microphone is also a helpful accessory. With a microphone and adjustable stand, a document camera can double as a webcam for video conferencing.
Microphone and Moving Stand
Storage Bag or Case
For a document camera to take clear photos, the lens needs to remain unscratched and free of dust. To keep your document camera in good condition, you'll need a solution for storing it when you aren't using it. Look for a document camera that includes a storage case or bag.
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