Need a Cheap Document Camera ?

By Marty Olliff

On Twitter, @CharlesKRoberts asked for suggestions for a cheap camera suitable for digitally photographing documents.  I use my smart phone or iPad to do this, but without a stand I get shaky images and am unable to take more than 20 or 30 shots before tiring.  Also, if I’m photographing pages from a book like the Code of Alabama or a House or Senate journal (my life is incredibly rich and exciting), I have to make the best of having only 2 hands.  You can imagine the quality of my copied sources.

So a camera stand is the only way to go.  State-of-the-art stands are really nice, but they’re expensive.  Well, they’re expensive to me because I’m miserly.  I’m also kind of a do-it-yourselfer and hate to see perfectly good re-purposable stuff go to waste.  So off to Teh Google I went, and found a number of intriguing stands to turn your tablet or smart phone into a stable document camera.

Searching for “document camera stand diy” led me to this guy and his PVC pipe:

That seemed a bit complex, so I found this idea on Pinterest

and this one at Green Upgrader

Camera Scanner Stand

I remembered we were discarding a gooseneck lamp, so I beheaded it and attached  my smart phone to the neck with an electrical tie.  Not pretty, in fact, it’s a Franken-camera.  I’m considering using a giant clothes pin as a clamp (with all the problems that entails) or some other method of attaching my phone to the gooseneck, but I did this beast in less than 2 minutes with stuff near my desk.  So if you visit the Wiregrass Archives and forget your document camera set up, we’ve got you covered!


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