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Technology Showcase: Document Cameras

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

The latest models have evolved into multifaceted communication tools.

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Dukane Camera 335

Dukane Camera 335

The Video Visualizer RE-450X from Canon features XGA (1024×768) resolution, advanced automatic exposure and zoom control, and a 12X zoom. Its twin fluorescent lamps provide uniform light to view even the smallest detail. In addition, the RE-450X has an innovative feature that optimizes the clarity of white paper documents by incorporating a color-corrected light box beneath its base. This feature can also be very handy for viewing slides and transparencies. With the press of a button, a high-quality still image can be temporarily stored in memory and displayed on a projector or monitor. Canon also offers its RE-455X web-camera visualizer using a 850,000-pixel progressive CCD imager with a Canon 12X power zoom lens for XGA output. In its white-paper mode, the RE-455X can lighten the background of documents to a whiter color for easier reading.

The Camera 335 from Dukane boasts a smart gooseneck design to easily direct its XGA-resolution, CCD-based, 20fps digital vision — which benefits from autofocus and a 10X manual zoom. The lens head and light on the Camera 335 can be rotated 360 degrees, and its fluorescent lamp can be also be rotated to avoid glare and shadows. Taking a step up in performance, Dukane's flatbed DVP505A digital presenter consists of a XGA-resolution color camera on a moveable extendable arm mounted over a stage with a backlight. The DVP505A can record 20fps moving video on an outboard PC or VCR. Dukane's DVP505A has a 12X optical and 4X digital-zoom range. For sound enhancement, it even has a microphone input that goes to an output for an amplifier and loudspeakers.

Elmo announced its new P30S visual presenter at InfoComm 08. It boasts a highly precise 1,350,000-pixel CMOS image sensor with a horizontal resolution of 800 lines and a specially designed lens that minimizes distortion and light falloff around the edges. With a 16X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom, the P30S is equipped with a USB port for easy image transfer to and from a PC; it can even be used as a 3D scanner. A built-in 3.5in. LCD monitor on the control panel lets operators see what is being projected behind them on the screen. Elmo's bundled Image Mate software also lets them easily monitor, capture, edit, and save any image to outboard computer storage or an SD card. With a 1280×720 output, the P30S's progressively scanned images can be seen on a 16×9 HD monitor or wide projector screen. Its zoom and autofocus controls are conveniently concentrated on the camera. Both the camera and its lights can be easily folded down when they are no longer needed.

Epson DC-10s

Epson DC-10s

The P30S also has TWAIN compatibility with the versatility to import saved image files to commercially available photo-retouching software. Although TWAIN is not an official acronym, it has become widely defined as “Technology Without an Interesting Name.” It was actually originally derived from a line in Rudyard Kipling's “The Ballad of East and West” that contains “…and never the twain shall meet…”

The Epson DC-10s, which the company still calls a document camera, boasts a 14×9 capture area that lets the imager display two full pages side by side to eliminate paper shuffling. With SXGA (1280×1024) resolution at up to 15fps, the Epson DC-10s comes with two built-in LED light sources and 5X digital and 8X manual zoom — which means you can physically move the camera toward the object while everything stays sharp thanks to its autofocus capability. The camera can store more than 300 .jpg images in its 128MB of internal memory, and thanks to its VGA pass-through and S-Video outputs, it can display those images on either a video projector or computer monitor while its internal switcher selects between the two. The SD card slot in the Epson DC-10s means you can present images created offboard without having to upload them to a PC. The unit's form factor is small enough to be easily carried from boardroom to training center.

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