Document cameras have come a long way since the bulky models that needed their own rolling cart! These days, the cameras work alongside your laptop and projector to make sharing stuff a breeze. Plus, they’re not just for documents! Today’s models are versatile enough to use while demonstrating a science experiment or writing out the solution to a math equation.
Take a look at our favorite doc cameras for the classroom, recommended by teachers themselves. Plus, here are some of our favorite ways to use them.
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Document Cameras Under $100
These affordable options fit a tight budget and get the job done. They’re well-reviewed and easy-to-use but lack some advanced features like zoom capability.
OKIOLABS OKIOCAM S and T
OKIOCAM makes two excellent affordably-priced document cameras, one slightly larger and with higher resolution than the other. The smaller 3 megapixel S model is ideal for letter-sized documents, while the 5 megapixel T model can handle docs up to legal size. Both have great reviews and fold down for easy portability. Buy the OKIOCAM S and OKIOCAM T on Amazon.
Real Review: “I am a 25+ year educator and I’ve seen my share of big claims by gadgets and gizmos. So, as you can imagine, I was skeptical when I read the promo section for the OKIOCAM. Let me tell you that this little device comes through with shining colors… I highly recommend this device to all of my fellow educators.”
Hue HD Pro
This is a good affordable choice that offers the ease of plug-and-play and provides the basics like a built-in light and microphone and manual focus. The gooseneck makes it easy to adjust the camera as needed. Buy it here on Amazon.
Real Review: “I am a teacher and I have found this camera to be extremely helpful in the classroom. The compact portable nature allows me to set up my camera in various locations and keeps me from being stuck behind my teacher station. Students also love being able to come up and explain their thinking to the class using the doc cam.”
The adjustable light and auto-focus are terrific extra features on this affordable document camera. It’s lightweight and portable but able to handle docs up to 12×16 inches. The INSWAN can also get up close, within 4 inches of the page. Buy it on Amazon.
Real Review: “I am a teacher and I am SO glad I made this purchase – it has been one of the best investments in my career so far (if not THE best), and I’ve been teaching for 9 years. I use this literally every day, even now that we are doing distance learning… It is super-easy to use, and the quality is excellent, especially considering the price.”
Document Cameras Under $300
Mid-range models offer higher quality, both in construction and display. Some have additional features like zoom, but all still need to be plugged into a computer to work.
IPEVO makes terrific higher-priced document cameras, but this one is affordable with the same great quality. The 8-megapixel camera provides excellent detail, and it’s small enough to be portable if you need it to be. Buy it on Amazon.
Real Review: “I absolutely love this document camera. I use it daily because it is so easy to use and allows all my students to be able to see. I plug it into my computer and download the app which was very easy to do then use my projector to project it onto my board. I love that I can move the arm around and the self adjust works great. I highly recommend this for teachers.”
Lumens Ladibug DC125
The Ladibug is a stylish mid-priced document camera that offers plug-and-play simplicity and lots of flexibility. The gooseneck means you can point the camera anywhere you need to, and the auto-focus takes care of the rest. Buy it on Amazon.
Real Teacher Review: “The PTO bought us a Ladybug doc camera. Amazing and durable. I have had it now for 6 years and it works great.”
ELMO OX-1 1433
Elmo is known for its higher-end document cameras, but this one is affordable for most budgets. It offers digital zoom capability, so you don’t need to fuss around with moving the camera itself when you want to get up close. The HD camera doubles as a webcam, too. Buy it on Amazon.
Real Review: “I recently used this Elmo while teaching a group of virtual students and it was sooo wonderful. I was able to show my book very clearly to my first graders and the picture had excellent quality. The online software worked seamlessly with my district laptop while I was on campus, so that was a huge plus.”
This document camera is best for those who frequently display books. The curve-flattening technology means no distortion from books that don’t lie flat. It also has OCR capability, so you can turn your scanned pages into editable documents. One downside? It’s only compatible with Windows. Buy it on Amazon.
Real Review: “I purchased this to be able to scan into the computer some of my child’s books so she can have an electronic version of some text books. Works great for word cards as well. You lay 6 down at a time and it separated them into files automatically. It does take a bit of playing with the software to get it figured out but it is great. And love it folds away for storage also.”
Document Cameras $300+
High-end document cameras often stand on their own, with no need to plug into a computer. Instead, they’re able to be plugged directly into a projector or even operate via wi-fi. They all provide zoom capability and HD quality images, along with a variety of other features.
If you need flexibility, the IPEVO VZ-X has you covered. Connect this camera to your laptop via USB, your projector via HDMI, or even go wireless! Control zoom, picture quality, light, and more from the camera itself, with no need to worry about software to install. Buy it on Amazon.
Real Review: “I use my IPEVO doc camera along with my projector every day during my science classes. It is 3 years old and still going strong. I’ve even recorded videos with it for Google Classroom.”
Epson is a go-to brand for many schools, and the DC-13 is our favorite of their models. Plug it into your laptop or straight into the projector with an HDMI cable. The 16X digital zoom is terrific, and an included microscope adapter is a nice touch for STEM classrooms. The built-in microphone allows you to record videos, and it comes with a remote so you can operate it from anywhere in the room. Buy it at Staples.
Real Review: “This is pretty awesome for teachers or other presenters. It allows you not only to show documents but also 3d models and you can interact with your materials as you present them. It comes with a nice carrying case and everything needed to get started, although you will probably want a good high capacity SD card if you want to record your lessons. (There’s an easy one button record on this that I love—great for recording lessons then putting them into video format in case anyone needs review or for distance education.)”
This is one of ELMO’s latest models (it’s so new we couldn’t find any user reviews just yet), and it promises to be a real game-changer. The touch-screen control is unlike anything else out there and makes this camera as easy to use as a smartphone. It’s truly wireless, with wi-fi capability and a built-in battery that lasts up to three hours, so you can take it anywhere. Learn more about this innovative new document camera at ELMO’s website, and buy one yourself at Staples.
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Plus, 5 Reasons Why Schools Are Opting for Interactive Projectors.