I went from having a full-size document camera to this one because the old one started acting up so a lot of the review is going to be a comparison of the two.
Bulkiness: One huge advantage of this unit is its ability to be nimble and flexible. It doesn’t have a huge footprint and the extension arm of the camera itself is very flexible, and so far has not weakened. This means that when you place it the camera stays where you want it and doesn’t drop, which was one of my chief concerns with this model when I first saw it but it wound up being not the case. Compared to an old document camera this made desk space much less of a concern as traditional doc cams have a fairly large footprint.
Brightness: I’ve seen this one be a gripe of this unit on the reviews but it honestly is up to your classroom setup. One of the advantages to a traditional document camera is the big floodlight that comes attached to light up your papers. However, that large light is very bulky. This unit intentionally tries to eliminate bulk so that’s one of the sacrifices the unit makes. However, this can easily be remedied if you already have a lamp on your classroom desk or are close to a window. Honestly, this is a personal choice because I prefer to bring in my own light source and gain the flexibility the camera offers.
Focusing: My old doc camera had a really sturdy manual knob that zoomed in and out on the document which was pretty useful and intuitive. Because of the cameras ability to be placed where you want it as opposed to a sturdier rig this unit takes a bit of finesse. However, with some practice, you find your sweet spots easily. Also, I didn’t experience any issues with focus that were more problematic than the larger style as I’ve seen almost all document cameras have a slight delay in zooming in and refocusing, so this one is on par with others I have worked with.
In closing, this is a very budget friendly document camera option. I like its flexibility and adaptability and the fact it doesn’t have a huge desk footprint, but that also brings in its drawbacks in that you have to work with it a little bit to get your perfect setup. That being said, if I can save a couple of hundred bucks and the tradeoff is I need to adjust a camera a couple of times I will take that all day.
Mr. Richard A. Dean
Norte Vista High School
IB History/AP US Teacher