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Review of the IPEVO Ziggi HD Document Camera

Review of the IPEVO Ziggi HD Document Camera

Thanks to IPEVO, I have the opportunity to review a fairly new product, the IPEVO Ziggi HD document camera (see on Amazon). I am especially interested in its use as a document and book scanner. I started a DIY Book Scanner project a few years ago (see here and here and here), but never finished. Now that I’m in a new country during Ph.D. studies, I don’t plan on building a scanner anytime soon. The Ziggi works so well, though, that I wonder if I’ll ever get around to building one.

[UPDATED 1 July, 2016]

The Video Review

To see the product in action, I’ve put together the follow video which focuses on the book scanning use of the camera. You can watch it in HD (1080p) if you want to really see the text capture in detail.

Highlights

The camera comes with its own software which is intuitive and ‘light weight’ (easy on the hardware!).

The camera can be used with a computer to project images, take still shots, or capture/project video.

It has auto and manual exposure settings, and single or continuous auto-focus settings.

It is able to take a sufficiently high resolution photo of an open book, capturing both pages at OCR quality.

The ‘shutter’ can be controlled with the enter or return key, making for fast page turning and image capturing when scanning a book section.

I was able to scan as fast as one image every three seconds (that is 2 pgs/3 secs), though I would sometimes slow down when auto-focus delayed or my grip on the book faltered.

Scanning a book while holding it open has the disadvantage of ‘curved’ text in the captured image (fixable in scantailor), but it has the advantage of speed (in my case).

I used single auto-focus rather than continuous which seemed to work better for scanning multiple pages.

The stand itself is heavier than I expected, and this is a good thing. It keeps the camera stable.

The camera can be used with other software (like skype, etc.). While I do not anticipate using it for such, it may come in handy a time or two.

Concerns

The auto-focus occasionally produced an image that was not as sharp as expected. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t seem on par with the resolution setting. Of course, when scanning pages from a book, the distance between the camera and the book slowly changes. Even so, I think there is some room for improvement here. Having said that, the easy of use, mobility, and sufficient quality overcomes any deficiency as far as my needs go.

Also, I wonder how well the joints on the camera stand will hold up. I have no reason to believe the joints will wear quickly, but any joint will deteriorate over time.

Tech Specs

From the IPEVO site:

IPEVO Ziggi-HD High-Definition USB Document Camera

Features at a Glance

  • 5.0 Megapixel camera for exceptional high-definition images
  • A variety of high-definition and standard-definition resolutions up to 2592 x 1944
  • High-resolution formats and a 6X zoom to capture even the smallest text and other fine details
  • Multi-jointed stand and swiveling head for effortless, versatile capture
  • Built-in microphone for web conferencing, podcasting and demonstrations
  • Robust IPEVO Presenter software with a complete image capture toolkit
  • Integrated Evernote support for sending Ziggi-HD images to your Evernote Notebook

Specifications

  • True 5.0-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • High-definition resolutions up to 2592 x 1944
  • Full autofocus lens
  • Up to 2.2″ (5.5cm) macro focus
  • 6x digital zoom
  • Up to 30 fps live video capture (at 640 x 480)
  • USB 2.0 Video Class (UVC) interface
  • Mac & Windows PC compatible
  • LxWxH (when folded): 10″x 3.1″x 1.5″ (255 x80 x40mm)
  • USB cable length: 4.8ft (146cm)
  • Color: black
  • Compatible with popular image/video capturing and internet calling applications,  including Apple’s PhotoBooth, Google Picasa, Skype, Windows Live, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, GoogleTalk, etc.

Package Contents

  • IPEVO Ziggi-HD USB Document Camera
  • Quick Start Guide
  • CD with IPEVO Presenter Software and User Manual
  • Anti-glare Shield

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Let me know what you think and certainly feel free to ask questions in the comments below.

You can find the IPEVO camera on Amazon, as well as numerous accessories and related products.

33 Responses to Review of the IPEVO Ziggi HD Document Camera

  1. Thanks for posting on this and your YouTube video. I’m seriously considering getting it now. One thing I might suggest is if you have an old scanner laying around you could remove the glass from it and press it down on the open book to make it flat while taking a picture. Might help some. This seems like a great product for the price.

    • Thanks, Bryan. I do have a piece of plexi-glass that I’ve used. It helps but adds one more step to the process. I suppose it could be a tradeoff of time capturing images and time post-processing.

  2. I am interested in large documents such as building plans and maps. How large a document can you photograph and still have reasonable quality? – A3? A2?

    • John, I think A3 and especially A2 would be stretching it, especially if, as I assume, you want sharp detail. The camera has a 5.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a max resolution of 2592 x 1944. I’ve placed the stand on book to get a wider shot, but I’ve not tried larger than about A3.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to review this product on Youtube.

    I use my trusty Fujitsu Scansnap S1300 for all my documents but am now looking for something which can photograph and help me catalogue items in my very large storeroom – it’s mainly pieces of climbing equipment and general kit such as karabiners / rope but as I am never sure what I have or where it is then I am going to take photos of all of the objects then put them into different appropriately named Evernote notebooks ie Storeroom Cabinet 1 / Loft / Garage etc then when I need to find the item look for it on my computer rather than searching the rooms.

    Should work – once again thanks !!

    Gary

    • IPEVO responded to this very question as follows: “Linux is not supported by Ziggi-HD, so we do not have a Linux software, either. We have heard users who managed to get the UVC driver installed on their Linux and have Ziggi worked on their Linux successfully. But we are unable to provide a guide or installation file to make Ziggi work on all the different Linux systems.”

      I hope that helps!

  4. Greetings from Glasgow! Thank you for your very informative video review of the Ziggi HD device. I have one question about the resolution, really a question about the lens quality. If you take a photograph of a flat sheet at maximum resolution with optimum focus and good light, how sharp is the image into the corners? Is there any noticeable softening? I suppose that my question really is how close is the lens to achieving the potential 2592 x 1944 resolution across its field?

    • Hi Simon. I do not have a precise answer for you, though given the price-point of the Ziggi, I would expect a medium-quality lens. The video above is available in HD on youtube, so when played at that resolution, you may be able to detect some softening in the picture. Unfortunately, I have deleted all the images I’ve taken thus far with the camera so I cannot offer any examples.

  5. Have you tried using this to conduct Skype or Facetime sessions?
    It seems like it could easily work for that as well, and IPEVO says there is an integrated microphone. What say you?

    • Mark, I don’t think the Ziggi model has a microphone. In any case, I have not used it for streaming video. I have recorded video, however, and my only hesitation to using it as a webcam would be a slow frame rate at higher resolutions. So I would not purchase the Ziggi HD for its video capture alone.

      • Thanks, Josh.
        Here’s info from the IPEVO site:

        Go Beyond the VideoQuickly and easily capture Ziggi-HD snapshots and manage them in Review mode. A built-in microphone — perfect for Skype and more — is another of Ziggi-HD’s improvements, making Ziggi-HD a complete audio/video solution for distance education and webinars.

        Maybe this is an upgraded model now. The video portion might be as a thumbnail size image when doing an online presentation with primary focus on the screencasted material – say, Powerpoint or a web page, but having the instructors face visible, at least some of the time.

        • Thanks, Mark. You’re right about the mic. I never tested the audio portion of the video, but perhaps I can do that next week. I suspect for a basic web cam+mic it would do the job so long as you didn’t need high quality streaming.

  6. I’ve been using the Ziggi for about 8 months in Linux Mint using Cheese Webcam. It seems a little nicer for taking images than the Windoze software provided, but does NOT support autofocus. I have to touch the button, which is a nuisance. Still looking for a solution on that, which is likely a matter of time and trying rather than an insurmountable obstacle.

  7. Thx for all the helpful info you provided. You have a convert! I normally use my all in one for OCR, scanning etc. but have been looking for something like this, and your work took some of the “fear” of making a purchasing mistake away. Well done mate!

    C

    • Glad I could help. As it happens, I plan to post a review of a newer Ipevo camera (the VZ-1 HD) next week. In the course of my testing this past week, I also realized I have been making a key mistake when I use scan tailor which actually lowered the quality of my final results. Translation: I am able to get even better results from these document cameras than I thought. More on this in a few days.

    • When you load up images into scan tailor, you have to enter the correct dpi for them. I always estimated 300×300. But one can be much more precise by dividing the pixel width/height by the real inch width/height to get the dpi. Long story short, 200 dpi seems to be about right for my ipevo scan images. I’ll have some output comparisons in the review I mentioned–still polishing it off, so will likely be next week.

  8. Joshua – Thanks for this review. It was great. I’m looking for a solution to digitise my mother’s diaries. They are in long hand and she wrote one page a day (A5 or A6) size. I have 60 years worth so it is a big project. I was looking at a scanner, but this seems a better solution. Do you agree or do you have another option I should consider? Thank you so much, Mark

  9. Hi Joshua,
    I just got my Ziggi HD today, my question is what is the best settings to make a OCR ? can I do it for both pages? or single page?

    thanks,
    Sam

    • Sam, for average size books I scan two pages at once, always at the highest resolution setting. Assuming you capture high res images, the key is then the software you use. I use ScanTailor (free) to strip down the images to black to white text, then Adobe Acrobat Pro to OCR.

  10. Hi – I am interested in using the microphone to record videos showing how to answer GCSE exam questions for my class. Thanks for the really informative video. This looks like exactly what I need but can’t find information about sound quality anywhere. Wondering if you have tested the microphone as ability to record sound is critical. Cheers.

    • I haven’t tested the model with the microphone although I would guess the record quality on the Ziggi HD Plus (w. microphone) is decent but not excellent (http://amzn.to/29QjMM7). However, I would recommend supplementing with a dedicated microphone. The snowball mic from Blue microphone is a cheap but quality usb solution: http://amzn.to/2a5NXhf. I use a slightly higher end mic from the same company called a ‘Yeti’.

  11. Dear Joshua Mann:
    I am interested in the Ziggi-Plus for scanning large books (A3). I know that you are only a user and not a commercial. What I ask is only a favor. If you refuse, I will understand. You are in your right.
    The problem is that there is no video where you can see a scan of books with size A3 and then show the quality of the images taken by Ziggi-Plus.
    In summary: I would like to see how some sheets of a book or magazine of size A3 (42×30 cm) are scanned and, most importantly for me, to be able to see the result of the photos taken to that book (quality of the letters and images of the same).
    Could that be possible? And if you could not, could you tell me, at least, if you have ever made photos to large books or magazines (A3 – 42×30 cm) and the images that have come out can be read?
    I am a teacher and I have a lot of large format books and I would like to have them digitized.
    A cordial hug in the Lord

    • I’ve made scans approximately as large as one sheet of A3 (e.g., when scanning two-pages/scan in a large open book), and the quality is reasonable. However, my guess is that you would need to do one page at a time.

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