Displaying a document for a large group is a relatively simple task thanks to many different forms of modern technology. When sharing documents, users can employ projectors, smart displays, or even deliver the document for viewers to see on their personal devices. And, don’t forget the classic overhead projector we all know and love. While all these methods certainly get the job done, they often come with significant costs as well as other cumbersome downsides.


A common alternative is just the good old-fashioned method of printing out a document and handing it out to interested people. This has a much lower initial cost, but the costs can add up over time due to regular printing. Plus, what if the image that needs to be shared isn’t the right format for printing on a sheet of paper? And what about collaboration?


Document cameras solve a lot of the above issues with sharing documents and still serve an important purpose in 2020.


The Benefits of Document Cameras


There are a few notable benefits when considering a document camera. Perhaps one of the most important benefits is portability. Document cameras are lightweight and portable, which means they can be moved to different areas of a room rather simply or even taken to entirely different rooms. This is in stark contrast to more bulky devices like projectors or smart displays. Since a document camera is so portable, it can be moved where it’s most needed rather than supplying every room in a school or office with its own camera that may not be used frequently enough to justify the cost.


Speaking of cost, another major benefit of a document camera is the price. Document cameras can range in price, but they are generally less costly than purchasing projectors or smart displays. This makes it easy to outfit more classrooms, for example, rather than pick and choose which rooms will get new technology.


Finally, document cameras are versatile. They can display 2D documents, like a printed sheet of paper, as well as 3D objects. The person using the document camera can easily manipulate and position the subject material however they need and, using software, can “draw” on the subject to highlight important information or increase collaboration in the room.


What Can Document Cameras be Used for?


Whenever someone sees a document camera, they often are reminded of the old school overhead projectors that every classroom once used. This makes classroom use a logical place for document cameras as technology and learning needs to move beyond the capabilities of an overhead projector. Teachers can easily share documents and engage their entire class with an affordable and versatile document camera. However, the benefits of document cameras can be enjoyed beyond the walls of the local school.


Office meeting rooms are a great place for document cameras. Sharing documents with a document camera can save on the cost and environmental impact of printing document copies for every meeting attendee. They can also fit smaller meeting rooms that may not have enough space for a mounted projector or smart display. And, of course, they help keep the office equipment budget low.


Essentially, any space where a document or image may need to be shared with a group of people can benefit from a document camera. This could include courtrooms, seminars, event spaces, and more.


Document Cameras vs Overhead Projectors


A document camera has some similarities to an overhead projector. These cameras are the next technological leap from the tried, tested, and true overhead projectors everyone knows. So, why make the switch?


Simply put, a document camera provides a lot more versatility. An overhead projector is a very clever, but simple, tool once you understand how it works. The device projects light through an overhead sheet which is then reflected off a mirror and onto a wall or screen. The obvious limitation here is that overhead sheets must be used. That doesn’t allow for quickly showing an image that may not have been a part of the lesson plan, sharing images of 3D objects, or digitally collaborating.


Drawing on an overhead projector sheet can be a messy endeavor as the pen smudges and smears. With a document camera, users can draw in the software program then easily erase their drawings or add to them as-needed. No smudged pen left behind.


The size and portability is another important difference. Overhead projectors are heavy and bulky. They typically sit on a table or are wheeled around on a cart. On the other hand, a document camera can easily be taken down and moved to a new location. Most people should easily be able to carry a document camera and mount it wherever it’s needed.


Step into the Future


Overhead projectors have their best days behind them. Projectors and smart displays are powerful and impressive, but pricey as well. Document cameras have found a comfortable space in many different types of educational environments and businesses thanks to their versatility and affordability.


To learn more about document cameras and find the model right for your needs, contact AIS Ink today.