Buying a New Badging Camera
The primary goal of using badging software is to enter data, capture a photo and print a badge. The badging software should be enabled with features so the user can easily capture a photo. The first badging systems in the early 1990's used CCTV and camcorders for video capture. Then came the digital camera. As digital cameras became a commodity with many brands, makes and models, each had different communication protocols/firmware. This has made it impossible for the badging software programmers to keep up with the many changes. The current result: there are only a limited number of digital cameras that work best with each brand of badging software.
You must be careful in your camera selection to ensure that photo capturing is activated within your badging software; that is you control the photo capture, image adjustment (brightness and contrast) and cropping directly using the controls activated from within the badging software.
Having to capture photos using a stand-alone camera is only acceptable for remote photo capture. In a remote capture scenario, you have to treat the camera like a portable storage device requiring the photos to be downloaded onto the computer, then imported into the badging software. There are some current versions of badging software that require you to purchase additional software for in-software capture capabilities. eXpress badging is not happy with this industry oversight. Changes are on the horizon for those manufacturers who have not yet resolved this issue, according to their product managers.
There is a select range of cameras to choose from. They include digital cameras, web cameras and video cameras that range from $100 to $2,000. First consider the environment where you will be capturing photos, and determine if lighting is sufficient and current wall color eill effect image quality. Improper lighting may require a camera with a built-in flash, or a change in external lighting sources. In some cases, a new coat of paint may increase your photo quality as pale yellows and greens are not photo friendly. Web cameras are a good low-cost alternative. However, if lighting is an issue we suggest considering a digital camera that can be set to auto flash. If you manage a high volume badging office, advanced cameras with autofocus, zoom, and face find features can increase your processing time.
NEVER buy a new or replacement camera for your badging system before checking with your authorized badging dealer or the software manufacturer first. It is highly recommended to pay a little more and purchase through your badging dealer so you receive the best service. Otherwise you may save a few dollars getting it from another source, spend time setting it up, to then find out it is not compatible with your badging software.
Author: Joe French