Sometimes I leave boxes of products stacked up for review, and when I get serious about studying them, I like to stumble upon gadgets that have something in common.
So today I’m reviewing three types of cameras with very different uses: a webcam, an action cam with a gimbal and a document camera.
Ausdom streaming webcam
The Ausdom HDR 2K live streaming webcam (AW651) looks like most webcams I have tested and used.
This is a wide and low camera designed to be placed on your computer monitor. The main objective is videoconferencing.
The setup is very simple: take it out of the box, stretch the attached USB cable and plug it into your Mac or Windows or Chromebook computer.
The Ausdom AW651 ($ 79.99) is plug and play, which means that when you plug it into a USB port, the system will recognize it as a camera and make it available for applications on your computer that can use a device. Photo.
It will appear as a camera available in apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Facetime.
The AW651 has a resolution of 2,592 by 1,944 pixels with a 5 megapixel sensor, but it doesn’t come with the software, so there’s really no setting to change unless you download an app. free like Microsoft Camera, where you can capture videos and photos and adjust the resolution.
There is a button on the back of the camera that changes the field of view from normal to wide angle. I kept it at a wide angle – no one needs to see my face closer than they need to.
I categorize webcams into two groups – average and amazing – and the AW651 image quality falls into the amazing category.
I videoconference with a lot of people at work, and the ones with amazing video cameras always stand out. I usually ask what kind of camera they are using when I see someone with a really high quality image.
The AW651 features HDR, which stands for high dynamic range, which means images will be more beautiful.
The AW651 has two noise-canceling microphones that clearly pick up my voice.
Out of the box, the camera is on a stand to secure it to the top of your monitor, but you can also remove it and use an included small tripod or whatever tripod you may have.
Pros: Inexpensive, excellent picture and sound quality, plug and play.
Cons: No dedicated app to change settings.
Bottom line: This is a webcam that won’t disappoint.
Feiyu pocket 2
The Feiyu Pocket 2 stabilized camera ($ 329) is the smallest still / video camera I’ve seen with a built-in gimbal.
I hear some of you asking, “What is a gimbal? “
A gimbal is a stabilizer used to counter external movements. The Pocket 2’s gimbal has three-axis motors to help keep the image stable as the camera moves.
The gimbal can keep the horizon level as you shoot so that no matter what you decide to move, the horizon doesn’t tilt.
If you have a favorite YouTuber, chances are they are spinning with a gimbal. You can buy a gimbal that will work for almost any camera.
Good camera drones also use gimbals to keep the image stable when the drone is spinning.
The Pocket 2 has a very sharp 4K camera with a very wide angle lens (no optical zoom). But unlike the GoPro, the Pocket 2 is neither waterproof nor rugged, so no dunks or drops, please.
Although the body is made of metal for durability, gimbals don’t like to fall.
The camera can capture 4K video at 60 frames per second with a 130 degree field of view. It also has the ability to capture 12 megapixel still images. It uses a Sony sensor.
It has a built-in microphone and speaker so you can check the sound quality of your video while playing, although the Pocket 2’s touchscreen is only 1.3 inches. Such a small touchscreen makes it difficult to change settings on the screen.
In fact, my exam template came with Chinese as the default language and I couldn’t figure out how to reset it, so all the words on the screen were of no help.
The Pocket 2 has an application allowing you to establish a direct Wi-Fi connection with your smartphone and to have full control over the camera and its settings (in English!).
The camera has smart shooting modes that can follow a face or even beautify your skin (it reduces wrinkles and blemishes).
This all-metal body weighs just 4.5 ounces.
It stores images and videos on a microSD card (up to 512 gigabytes). It has a built-in rechargeable battery which can last 3.6 hours.
All of this comes in a very small package. The Pocket 2 is about the size of a Snickers bar and it has a carrying case to protect the gimbal when you toss it in a bag or pocket.
Pros: gimbal, metal body, sharp wide angle lens, app control.
Cons: No optical zoom and the small touchscreen is difficult to control.
Bottom line: If you need a gimbal camera that you can put in your pocket, this is a good device.
IPEVO document camera
The IPEVO V4K Ultra High Definition USB Document Camera is my first document camera.
It’s basically a nice looking camera built on an adjustable stand. It looks like a desk lamp.
The IPEV V4K ($ 99.99) has an 8-megapixel sensor and a maximum resolution of 3,264 by 2,448 pixels.
The camera can take photos or videos and even broadcast live at 30 frames per second at 1080p or 15fps at full resolution.
So who needs a document camera?
Where I work, we use them in video meetings to show content from pages of books or articles. Who needs to make PowerPoint presentations when you might already have the information you need on paper?
Just place the paper under the V4K and it will show up clearly on screen or in your meeting.
It would be perfect for a teacher who does distance learning, and it’s perfect for story time. Place the book under the camera and the students can see the pages of the book and hear the teacher read.
The document camera head flips up to act as a webcam, and it also falls under the amazing image quality category. The camera also has a microphone for meetings.
The V4K has a light to illuminate the subject. It’s not very bright, but the camera is only designed to be about a foot away from its subject.
The V4K is also good if you need to demonstrate with your hands. In my office we needed video training on cleaning hearing aids. A document camera is perfect for capturing a demonstration involving small objects.
It would also be good for scanning photos or documents or even book pages.
The V4K also has an add-on application called CamControl for Macintosh or Windows PC to allow full control and capture of the camera.
Advantages: Excellent image quality, highly adjustable for all paper sizes.
Bottom line: A great addition to your office or home office, especially for teachers.
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He can be contacted at [email protected]
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