What are the requirements for the built-in Windows 10 camera-based barcode scanner?

Raymond Chen

The Windows Point of Service Barcode Scanner supports a camera-based scanner. What are the requirements for this camera?

Basically, the camera-based scanner needs to be able to get a clear, large picture of the barcode.

If the camera is fixed-focus then there’s a good chance it’s just going to get a blurry picture unless you manage to get the target at the right focal distance.

And even if you manage to hit the right distance, it’s probably going to be far enough away from the camera that the barcode itself will be very small.

Autofocus cameras will do much better than fixed-focus camera, since you can hold the barcode relatively close to the camera (to make it big), and the autofocus will try to make the image sharp enough to be readable.

The Point of Service folks tell me that the Surface Pro 3 camera isn’t very good for camera-based barcode scanning. The Surface Book and Surface Go cameras do much better.

You can use the JustScanIt app to tinker with the software camera-based barcode scanner. On the Settings menu, turn on Show Camera Controls to see the controls available for your camera. You can also go to the Device Information screen to view the capabilities of your camera.


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  • cheong00 0

    It happens that I’m doing a mobile website that will use media API to “play” video on canvas object, then use a javascript library to read QR Code from it.

    The performance is also largely depending on the auto-focus ability of the mobile phone camera, and higher-end models tend to do better.

  • Ian Yates 0

    It was a disappointment for me that the surface pro 3 had a fixed focus camera. We had a couple of hospitals acquire them early due to the great new form factor but then I couldn’t work out why they’d get such horrible photos of documents, patients and other things.

    Fortunately the Pro 4 and onwards fixed this. Despite still occasionally seeing people in a crowd using their ipad as a camera, I’ve never seen someone do that with a surface… Wise users

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