What is PTZ Camera - An Overview

What is a PTZ Camera?

With the development of technology, various kinds of cameras have come to serve interesting purposes. In recent years, the significance of specialized cameras in the field of security has increased. PTZ cameras are evolving to be a game-changer in this aspect – these special devices have become incredibly useful in cases of live recording, sports broadcasting, surveillance, etc.

PTZ camera
Source: Telycam

A PTZ camera can be often seen to be employed for surveillance purposes – they are built with the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom across wide areas with great precision. The mechanical parts of the camera enable it to rotate fluently and pan wider areas of coverage. These remote-controlled devices can also be programmed to automatically follow motion-triggered activities.

 

The abbreviation of PTZ means ‘pan, tilt, and zoom’ – it exactly describes the actions that the camera is capable of executing. By choosing the right software to operate PTZ cameras, one can increase its scope of usage and application. There are different types of PTZ cameras that are employed in different places – for example, a PTZ video conference camera will be of great use to broadcast a board meeting.

 

These cameras are controlled in different ways including the usage of an IR remote and joystick controller. Effective in both 180° and 360° coverage, these cameras also come in handy when there is a particular preset schedule that needs to be followed.

What does PTZ Mean?

PTZ expands to pan, tilt, and zoom, which describes the abilities of this camera. They can pan horizontally and cover a wider area, tilt vertically, and zoom in up to astonishing levels. Even when an object is inspected with incredible zooming ability, the image does not undergo digital pixelation. The quality of the feed remains intact even when the optical zoom is at its maximum.

Types of PTZ camera

In general, PTZ cameras are classified on the basis of their video output format – USB, SDI, HDMI, and IP streaming are some of the common formats. PTZ cameras can also be segregated into different categories based on their application, their zooming abilities, and based on the location where they are employed.

PTZ IP Security Camera - Internet Protocol (IP) PTZ security cameras are a type of PTZ camera that is operated with the help of remote control. Commonly used in outdoor spaces for surveillance, this variant of PTZ camera sends and receives data through the local area network (LAN). Events in a particular space can be tracked with great precision using an IP security camera.

PTZ IP Security Camera
Source: Unsplash

PTZ PoE Camera - Connected through an Ethernet cable, a PoE camera boasts several advantages over cameras that are connected through Wi-Fi. A Power over Ethernet PTZ camera is powered through the same cable which is used in the transmission of data. This range of cameras works exceedingly well in low-lit conditions and offers detailed-rich footage.

Wireless PTZ Camera - Not all places can employ PTZ cameras that are connected through cables, and that’s where a wireless PTZ streaming camera helps. Typically connected through Wi-Fi, here the data is transmitted wirelessly. Sometimes, transmitters are also used to read analog signals. Wireless PTZ cameras are widely employed in large-scale outdoor venues.

WiFi PTZ Camera - With in-built Wi-Fi transmitters, WiFi PTZ cameras are used to cover surveillance in indoor areas. In a typical WiFi PTZ camera, the range of connection pans out across a few rooms, i.e, the range allows the camera to cover a floor with around 4-5 rooms. In advanced models, this camera also comes with special human recognition features.

ePTZ Camera - A bit different from a traditional 4k pan tilt zoom camera, electronic-pan-tilt-zoom cameras do not move physically to cover a wide area. Instead, they use digital zoom to achieve the same effect that’s managed by a non-fixed security camera. Although the range of view of an ePTZ camera is lesser compared to a PTZ, it is comparatively smaller in size and costs less.

EPTZ camera
Source: Telycam

PTZ Analog Camera - Analog or CCTV cameras are a popular option for surveillance purposes. Connected to DVRs, these cameras are not capable of transmitting data without the help of coaxial cables and the DVR. Their range of zooming and coverage makes them the perfect choice for security cameras.

By Video outputs

HDMI PTZ Camera - A HDMI PTZ camera is widely popular because of its compatibility with several everyday devices. Ranging from computer monitors to video switchers, the HDMI format of video output can be found very commonly, and that’s why it is an often preferred choice. HDMI supports an extended range of resolutions, including 4k.

SDI PTZ Camera - SDI stands for Serial Digital Interface; this type of video output is chosen because of its durability and reliability. An SDI PTZcamera also boasts an advantage over the HDMI cameras - they do not require any equipment to send data from one camera to another. Data up to 12G in 4k resolution can be sent smoothly in this video format.

NDI PTZ Camera - A NDI PTZ camera is connected to a video-compatible device with the help of cables and routers. Specifically designed for carrying high-resolution data without any potential latency problems, this type of camera is suitable for live events, medical productions, and educational environments. NDI PTZ cameras are preferred because of their ability to transmit video and data without the breakage of quality.

NDI HX PTZ Camera - A variety of NDI PTZ cameras, this HX type is typically employed in the transmission of data in lower-bandwidth applications like smartphones. If the quality of the video can be negotiated, then this HX variant is a good option for mid-range environments like video conferencing. In this format, the videos are compressed.

USB PTZ Camera - Just like connecting a webcam to a personal computer or a laptop, USB cables can be used to connect a USB PTZ camera. A popular and common option of connectivity, USB might seem like a good option for a PTZ camera, but limited bandwidth is a serious disadvantage of this type.

USB PTZ camera
Source: Telycam

PoE PTZ Camera - PoE PTZ cameras are widely employed for the camera control options they offer - the connection through an ethernet cable acts both as a power supply and means of data transmission. This type is particularly known for its longer and more detailed night vision range that comes in handy in certain situations like surveillance.

By zoom

Optical PTZ Camera - Optical zoom is the ability of a PTZ camera to zoom in on a particular object (for example, 20x) - it is the physical change made by a lens to focus on a faraway subject. Technically, it can be understood as the maximum focal length divided by the minimum focal length.

Digital PTZ Camera - When a camera is equipped with digital zoom, the position of the lens does not change. Instead, with the help of magnification technology, a captured image or video is enlarged in digital PTZ cameras. Most of the time, digital zoom ends up compromising the quality of the footage as it enlarges a previously-captured image/video.

By location

Outdoor PTZ Camera - PTZ cameras that are designed for the outdoor purposes are manufactured with sturdy mechanical parts that are more capable of withstanding extreme weather and temperature conditions. These cameras also boast a wider range of coverage as they are employed in outdoor spaces.

Outdoor PTZ Camera
Source: Unsplash

Indoor PTZ Camera - Indoor PTZ cameras are employed in working spaces, hotels, educational environments, medical centers, etc. These cameras are equipped to map out a particular range with great accuracy. Also, indoor cameras can be either connected through Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

How does a PTZ Camera Work?

A PTZ camera can be remote-controlled, software-controlled, or can be present for detecting patterns and human recognition. PTZ cameras can pan a long-range horizontally, tilt up and down vertically, and zoom in on a subject up to a great extent. The lenses present in these types of cameras are driven by powerful motors.

PTZ camera working principle
Source: Google

When the camera focuses on an object, the motors adjust accordingly and zoom in on the particular aim. Also, the ease of changing of angles of the lens lets the camera capture a wide range of angles and capture information that may escape the naked eye at the first look.

Features & Advantages of a PTZ camera

Wide Field of View - As a PTZ camera is capable of panning horizontally and tilting vertically at different wide angles, a wide area of surveillance is covered. Monitoring large indoor and outdoor areas is made easy with PTZ cameras.

Preset Settings and Motion Sensing - Preset options in surveillance PTZ cameras help in achieving excellent patrol and security settings. Also defined preset settings can be a real game-changer when it comes to motion sensing and object verification.

Remote Control - One of the biggest advantages of PTZ security cameras is the fact that they can be controlled by remote controllers to view the required angle. By tracking a certain object or viewing a particular field of vision, one can control what is being recorded.

Flexible Placement - There is no need to adjust the camera manually once it has been placed in the necessary position - the pan, tilt, and zoom options of a PTZ camera will cover different angles and this can be done with the remote control.

Outdoor PTZ camera 2
Source: Pixabay

Effective Zooming Abilities - Optical zoom-in PTZ cameras have the capability to zoom in for ranges of 20x, 30x, and so on. The better the zooming ability of a PTZ camera, the easier it is to recognize objects and patterns in the video output.

Cruise, Tour, and Patrol - These are the advanced preset options and settings available in some of the advanced models of the PTZ cameras. They are of great use because they define a particular path for the camera to follow, at certain time intervals.

HD Resolution - PTZ cameras that are equipped with optical zoom offer video output in a wide range of resolutions, ranging from HD to 4k. In most of the PTZ security cameras, the quality of the feed is clear enough to recognize human faces.

Disadvantages of a PTZ camera

Possibility of Blind spots - When set in a preset mode, there is a possibility that the camera might miss a few areas in the field of view. These blind spots can be avoided only when a guard is controlling the camera continuously.

Expensive - Compared to similar alternatives like fisheye cameras, PTZ cameras cost a bit more. A 4k fisheye camera is capable of covering the same field of view as a PTZ camera, but its purchase and installation cost is lesser compared to the latter.

Limited Life Span - As PTZ security cameras contain various mechanical parts that are continuously in movement, these devices tend to wear out sooner.

Latency Issues - Latency issues are common in PTZ surveillance cameras. Lag in latency can often lead to problems and inconveniences for the user. Also, it might potentially damage the device.

Malfunction - If not installed properly, PTZ cameras can be a huge waste of money. This is why these cameras should be mounted in the right place with the help of professionals.

Privacy Breach - Installing the PTZ camera in a problematic place can invite legal troubles. If a private property lands in the field of vision of a PTZ camera, then the firm that has installed the camera can land in trouble.

What is a PTZ Camera Used For?

Once prominently used in the security industry, PTZ cameras are now widely employed in several industries including entertainment and sports. Due to their ability to output high-quality videos, they have found a great range of applications.

Telehealth Live Streaming
Source: Google

Broadcast Television Studio - In addition to the traditional camera systems, PTZ cameras are used in the entertainment industry because of their dynamic movement and clear picture quality. Not to mention that these cameras reduce the cost of operation and purchase. These cameras offer better efficiency at lower costs.

Sporting and Event Production - PTZ cameras offer excellent motion-based auto-tracking, which comes in handy while recording sporting events. The lenses of a PTZ camera are perfect to record or live streaming an indoor game as it is capable of great optical zooming. Also, this camera is useful in event production because of its versatility.

eSports Live Stream - Live streaming events like eSports are made easier with PTZ cameras as they offer high quality footage at lower costs. Also, the installation of these devices in a streaming room is easy, so anyone can install multiple cameras and live stream an event effectively.

Live Streaming for Education - With online education taking the main stage, it becomes important to record and live stream classes in high quality. PTZ cameras are perfect for this purpose - some types of software also enable the device to live stream through platforms like Panopto.

Corporate Training - Live coverage of corporate conferences, meetings, and training can be of immense use for guests who are unable to attend them in real-time. Recording presentations, programs, and seminars can be done using PTZ cameras for better quality.

Houses of Worship - In houses of worship like Churches, Mosques, and Temples, PTZ cameras serve major functions. They play a key role in recording worship sessions and displaying them on a bigger screen. Also, events, celebrations, and festivals can be live-streamed to a larger audience with these cameras.

Theaters - When recording in theaters, it is important to consider the quality of the recorded audio and video. Advanced PTZ cameras are capable of capturing sensitive audio and video data, and this feature is helpful while recording in big theaters and opera houses.

Telehealth - The medical field has advanced greatly in terms of technology, and telehealth is one of the prominent features of modern healthcare. This has been made possible by streaming and video conferencing using PTZ cameras. With cameras that have better features, physicians can access effective telehealth sessions.

Politics Live Streaming - In crucial political situations, it is important to have evidence of what is happening, and this is done by installing PTZ cameras in important places like the parliament. Proceedings and meetings are recorded and live-streamed whenever necessary, and the higher quality of the output is possible only through these cameras.

Courtroom Video Recording - The Judiciary system functions lawfully, and this is ensured by the recording and streaming of judicial hearings. Without disturbing or interrupting the proceedings of the courtroom, the trails can be recorded using PTZ cameras.

How to Install a PTZ camera?

Be it installing a camera PTZ full HD on a temporary stand or on the wall, there are certain precautions that one should follow. If not installed properly, the camera will malfunction and be of no use.
Wall Mounted bracket for PTZ camera
Source: Google

Wall Mounted - Wall-mounted PTZ cameras can offer eye-level views of large outdoor spaces. To mount it on a wall, screw the base to the wall, or you can even use a junction box.

Ceiling Mounted - Ceiling mounts should be done the same as the wall mounts. The wiring can be a bit tricky, but by finding the right power outlets and controllers, one can easily install a PTZ camera.

Pole Mounted - Pole mounts have to be done safely as the cameras need to be mounted on a pole rather than a wall. From this angle, a PTZ camera will offer a great angle that will be perfect to view and observe crowds.

How to control a PTZ camera?

One of the biggest advantages of using a PTZ camera is the feature of controlling the camera using different methods. This includes a remote control, software control, and much more.

Joystick controller for PTZ camera
Source: Google

IR remote control - The simplest and easiest way to control a PTZ camera is to use an infrared (IR) remote controller. These remotes are provided along with the camera - one disadvantage of using this controller is that the camera cannot be moved quickly and precisely.

Joystick controller - While connecting a joystick with PTZ cameras, one can control them with clear precision. It is easy to use a joystick - by moving the joystick or by using the direction keys, the camera can be positioned in desired positions.

Control Software - There are a variety of excellent software and apps that help in connecting a PTZ camera to the local area network. One can also connect multiple cameras and control them all with the software.

Automatic tours - Instead of closely monitoring and controlling the settings of a PTZ camera, one can opt to configure an automatic tour. In this setting, the camera will cover more areas and change its position periodically.

Hardware Controllers - Hardware controllers are often provided with the purchase of a PTZ security camera, but one can also find third-party devices available in the market. These can even be used to control multiple cameras at the same time.

Third-Party Control - Using third-party platforms to control PTZ cameras is also a great option, especially in corporate environments. These interfaces are easy to use and can be really effective.

What to Consider When Purchasing a PTZ camera?

Before purchasing a PTZ camera, there are several aspects of operation and maintenance that one should consider.

PTZ camera 2
Source: Unsplash

Distance/Size of the Room - Some types of PTZ cameras are perfect for outdoor purposes as they are resilient to harsh weather. Also, some models like Wifi PTZ cameras are only perfect for indoor events.

Resolution - Not in all situations will one require a PTZ camera that delivers high resolution video/images. So, if there is a need for high-quality output, one can opt for models like 4k PTZ cameras. Also, choosing cameras with optical zoom is best if the quality of the feed matters.

Quality of the Lens - The quality of the lens will determine the quality of the output data and the level of zooming the device is capable of. The two common types of lens found in PTZ cameras are varifocal and fixed - with the former, focal length, angle of view, etc. can be adjusted.

Sensor - For people who require auto-tracking and motion-sensing, advanced PTZ cameras can be a good choice. Not all PTZ cameras are equipped with motion sensors - if employed in indoor surveillance, then motion sensors might be a necessity, so an advanced model will help.

Optical Zoom Options - One can find various optical zoom options like 20x, 30x, 40x, etc., and based on the requirement, a PTZ camera should be chosen. If the camera is to be used for surveillance in outdoor spaces, then a camera with better zoom options must be chosen.

Compatible with Various Devices - Often, PTZ cameras are connected to a wide range of devices for handling the output. PTZ cameras that are compatible with several devices pose an advantage over the basic ones.

Processing Speed (without delay) - The processing speed of a PTZ camera decides its ability to process and store images as it records. The correct bitrate of a camera is based on its usage and application - choosing a camera with the best processing speed plays a crucial role in determining the quality of the PTZ camera.

What kind of cabling is needed to support the system (network connectivity through PoE, WiFi, wireless?) - Not everyone has the facilities to install a WiFi PTZ camera - so, it is important to keep in mind the wiring support and connectivity options before buying a camera from an able PTZ camera factory.

How much pan and tilt functionality is required? (Though a 360 pan may remove all blind spots, the corner camera wouldn’t need to record the wall behind it.) - There are PTZ cameras that offer 360-degree pan/180-degree tilt and also cameras that are configured for a minimal angle of tilt and pan. If the camera is positioned in a place where it requires pan and tilting to a maximum, choosing a model that is capable of extreme tilting, panning, and zooming for it will be effective.

What environment will the camera be deployed in? (Indoor, outdoor?) - This is an important question to consider, as some PTZ cameras have a lesser field of view compared to others. Indoor surveillance cameras need different requirements than that of one used in recording and live streaming festivals.

Cost - Based on the model of the PTZ camera, its price varies. For example, analog PTZ cameras tend to cost less compared to an IP camera or a WiFi camera. After considering other features and needs in a PTZ camera, one can compare and contrast prices.

Product Guarantee - PTZ cameras tend to wear out easily, so it is important to look out for a camera with a good warranty. Webcam manufacturers offer a guarantee period between 2-4 years. Also, one should make sure that the replacement policy is worthy as well.

Can I use PTZ cameras on Ethernet network?

Networking options like optical cables are expensive and often not accessible by everyone. This is why many people choose to connect their PTZ cameras with their Ethernet connection. With the addition of a few devices like switchers, connectors, and encoders to enhance performance.

Conclusion

PTZ cameras are not just used for surveillance – they serve many other purposes including live streaming and event recording. As per the requirement of the user, the right camera can be chosen and installed without much hassle. To find a wide range of PTZ camera models and types, go to webcam & PTZ camera manufacturer Telycam, and find the perfect camera for your needss!

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