Currently people are demanding more from security products. Regular cameras cannot meet the monitoring needs of a wide range of viewing angles. PTZ camera emerged at an opportune time. It has acquired a lot of popularity since the COVID era with its flexible coverage and versatile features. This article will introduces PTZ camera’s features and the factors you need to consider when choosing a PTZ camera.

What is a PTZ Camera?

PTZ is the abbreviation of Pan-Tilt-Zoom. PTZ camera refers to a camera with the characteristics of pan (horizontal rotation), tilt (vertical rotation), and zoom (zoom in and out). These features allow users to monitor much larger areas than regular fixed-angle cameras.  The horizontal & vertical tilting and optical zoom (Zoom) are achieved by a physical mechanical structure on a PTZ camera. Its built-in motor system can adjust the direction, angle and focus of the camera through remote control or automobile procedures in real time.

There’s a sub-category of PTZ – ePTZ. It refers to electronic Pan-Tilt-Zoom, which is a digital processing technology. An ePTZ camera does not involve physical movement of the camera’s lens. It simulates the PTZ zoom effect by digitally processing the captured images. ePTZ camera movement enables wide field of view monitoring through software.

How PTZ Cameras Work?

PTZ cameras are equipped with mechanical devices that control the lens. Control the lens in the 0-360 degree translation range and 0-180 degree tilt angle to achieve various field of view monitoring. And the preset functions of the PTZ camera can also achieve a patrolling in specific areas (which can be remotely controlled by software or applications). In this way, it maximize patrol safety from various angles of view. PTZ cameras can automatically track in response to events. In these processes, the optical zoom and digital zoom functions combine to achieve zooming in and out of the scene or target and provide clear and detailed images.  

Types Of PTZ Camera

PTZ Network Camera:

Cameras that use network connection for video transmission. They have the ability of remote monitoring and control and is applicable for various network monitoring systems. Among network cameras, there are two main types: POE PTZ camera and WiFi PTZ camera.

PTZ PoE Camera:

Cameras powered by PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology to provide data and power through a single cable, which simplify the wiring process and facilitate the installation and configuration of security cameras.

 PTZ Analog Camera:

Cameras that transmit and save video data through DVR (digital video recorders) over coaxial cables. They cannot transmit video data by itself and can only use traditional analog video output.

 Outdoor PTZ Camera:

Cameras that are designed for outdoor environments withstanding harsh temperature changes and weather condition. They are usually waterproof and dust-proof with certain IP rating for instance IP67.

 PTZ Wireless Network Camera: (WiFi PTZ camera)

Cameras that use wireless technology for data transmission, reducing the need for some wiring. They are suitable for scenarios that require flexible deployment, but may be affected by wireless signal stability.

Features & Advantages of PTZ Camera

Wide Field Of View:

PTZ cameras feature wide fields of view and are often used to monitor large areas. They can rotate up to 360-degree pan and 180-degree tilt to cover a wider area and achieve all-around monitoring, reducing blind spots. This flexibility makes them suitable for complex environments that require dynamic adjustment of the viewing angle.

 Availability of Scheduled Cruising:

A PTZ camera can follow specified patterns of cruising. You can preset its cruising pattern and enable the camera to automatically follows the pattern to scan the selected area periodically. Efficiently, you don’t need to manually sit and monitor the area.

 Flexible Manual Control:

Manual control enables the user to look at what they exactly want to. The user can track down on a suspect, take control of the situation, and take necessary actions to prevent possible crime or incident from happening.

 Automatic Tracking:

A PTZ camera has auto tracking capabilities. It can identify, track moving objects and maintain lock on the target. With built-in motor system, the camera is able to intelligently adjust the lens angle and focal length, in which it precisely track targets. For example, when a conference video live proceeds, a PTZ camera can automatically track and lock the participants to ensure that it always focuses on the speaker during the conference.

  Zoom Function:

A PTZ camera zooms in or out by adjusting the focal length of the lens. Typically a PTZ camera will be employed with optical or digital zoom, sometimes both. Optical zoom usually ranges from 10X-40X (times of zoom); digital zoom 4X-16X. Different zoom values enable subject focus at different distances. Optical zoom directly affects the optics to zoom in or out while maintaining high image quality. Digital zoom has nothing to do with optics-It uses image processing technology to crop and adjust image pixels to enlarge or reduce it. You can compare it to cropping an cell phone photo to achieve a magnification effect, whereas the result of optical zooming is blurry and pixelated images. Digital zoom cannot present high-quality zoomed images but is helpful in adjusting focus.

What is zoom speed?

zoom speed refers to the movement speed of the PTZ camera when adjusting the focus. For example, how long does it take for the lens to switch from telephoto to wide angle? It is usually measured in degrees/second or times/second. Zoom speed affects the applicability of the camera in different scenarios and directly affects the user’s experience. A fast zoom speed may be more suitable for dynamic monitoring, while a slow zoom is suitable for a less changeable scenarios.

Cons of PTZ Camera

Limited View

A PTZ camera can cover far more space than a regular one by rotating in different orientations, but not simultaneously. As a consequence, surveillance loopholes happen. And potential intruders can sneak into the blind spots escaping from being detected by the camera. When the camera is looking at a specific location and the event has happened somewhere else, the camera will not capturing that event. To conclude from this drawback, a PTZ camera is also not a recommend for high-security ares. That’s because when the camera rotates, obviously the opposite area will be under the blind spot. They are more suitable for general surveillance. Even if you have to employ a PTZ camera in high-security area, we suggest a secondary camera for back-up.

 Labor-Consuming

To get the best use of a PTZ camera, it is better if we have a dedicated person who knows how to set its pan&tilt functionality quickly. But most of camera users are not professionals. For many users, a PTZ camera might be a tricky stuff.

 Durability

Because PTZ cameras often keep rotating, they tend to serve less durably than fixed-angle security cameras. If you’re trying to pick a PTZ camera, it’s better to take durability into consideration when calculating the total cost of a security camera system. Security cameras with an IP66 or IP67  rating and IK10 rating suit better for outdoor environment installation. In addition, don’t forget to make sure that there is a fair warranty when purchasing a PTZ camera, or you can purchase extended warranty services separately. When the PTZ pan/tilt occurs to get stuck, the camera will fail to exert its advantages of broader coverage.

 Cost

There’s a high possibility that a PTZ camera is more expensive than using multiple fixed cameras to cover the same surveillance area (in some cases). Because PTZ cameras have a higher failure rate with their moving parts for pan and tilt functionality, subsequent maintenance will cost more money and labor.

 Response Delay:

When the user remotely control the PTZ camera through the APP or software, the response time may be relatively long, insufficient in scenarios that require quick capture of images.

Things You Should Consider Before Picking A PTZ Camera

Briefly said, when selecting a PTZ camera, there are mainly 3 key factors you need to consider: know your needs, know the compatibility and know your budget.

Know Your Needs

  • Firstly, clue out your purposesof employing the camera – Do you want to deploy it to monitor remote areas, record videos or do live online? Consider whether the scene you need to monitor requires the camera with auto tracking capabilities. For example, at an entrance, intruders will be automatically tracked.
  • Secondly, understand the environmental conditions such as operating temperature, waterproof performance, low-light conditions, etc. be aware of the durability and adaptability of the camera when choosing a suitable model.
  • Choose the right storage solutionwhen considering storage needs, data retention periods, and backup capacity. Regular storage types include local storage (SD card, NVR, DVR), cloud storage, professional cloud platform, hybrid cloud (combination of local storage and cloud storage), NAS (network hard disk central storage).
  • To ensure effective monitoring, determine your anticipated monitoring visibility. Therefore you should pay attention to the camera’s resolutionand infrared imaging
  • Furthermore, select the corresponding type of PTZ cameraaccording to your installation environment. For instance, if you need a PTZ camera that can work inadvertently in an outdoor corner, a dome-shaped camera suits better.
  • Understand network connection requirements- POE, or wireless connection. Figure out whether the camera requires professional installation support and  Also, pay attention to the availability of minimizing blind spots and avoiding irrelevant recording areas.

 Know The Compatibility

When you decide to choose a PTZ camera, don’t forget to check whether it is compatible with your existing NVR system and network. Also, check the whether your installation conditions ( port and outlet standards for instance) can meet the requirements to install the camera. If you’re going to pick a POE PTZ camera, ensure there is a Ethernet port in your place.

 Know Your Budget

Based on comprehensive consideration of the factors above, you can avoid lot of unnecessary costs. But here is the last thing you may need to consider: balance camera features and your budget. Don’t solely focus on the specifications of cameras.

Conclusion

More complex security needs being demanded for individuals or businesses, PTZ cameras have been increasingly popular with its versatile functionalities. They have functions that fixed cameras do not have. If you’re looking for a camera that provides a wide field of view without much labor costs, a PTZ camera will be a good choice. But keep in mind about the compatibility of the camera with your actual requirements and conditions.

 

 

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