What are PTZ Cameras?
Cameras are cameras with the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) and allows you to monitor larger areas that would require multiple fixed cameras. These movements can be manually controlled by using monitoring software or a joy stick, or automatically set up using camera management software.
Being able to move the camera necessary by a security guard allows your security staff to respond quickly to events they spot with the surveillance system.
You can also use camera management software to set up guard tours, where the camera will automatically move to monitor pre-set locations on a schedule. Some cameras can also auto track movement, following a person or car moving in its field of view by moving to monitor suspicious actions or high-action areas, PTZ cameras offer the security of video surveillance while minimizing installation.
How PTZ Works
- The camera can swivel to the left and right, allowing it to have a wide area of coverage
- Pan can range from a complete 360 circle to smaller area
- The camera can tilt up and down, giving it a wide vertical range of coverage
- The amount the camera can tilt will vary by camera model, but goes up to 180 degrees
- Optical zoom physically adjusts the camera lens, changing the focal length to zoom in and out; this allows the camera to maintain image quality
- The amount of optical zoom is expressed as #x, such as 18x, and represents how
much the camera can zoom (change the lens focal length)
- Digital zoom blows up the image using software, often resulting in pixilated
images when zoomed too far, and is not recommended
How PTZ Cameras Can Help You
Because PTZ cameras can automatically move in response to activity or pre-set schedules, a single camera can often be used to monitor an entire room or area that would require two or more fixed cameras. This flexibility makes them idea for locations where a lot of activity occurs including shopping areas and parking lots, because they can follow anything out of the ordinary that happens. Other uses for PTZ cameras can include:
- Wide open areas with many points of interest, so the camera can move to monitor them all
- In guard stations, where security personnel can pan, tilt, or zoom the cameras as they see suspicious activity
- As part of the overall surveillance system, in conjunction with fixed cameras—the PTZ camera can follow activities, while a fixed camera can take detailed shots.
When installing PTZ cameras as part of a surveillance system, there are some important factors to consider. PTZ cameras should be a part of your overall system, so ask yourself:
- Is facial recognition important? You may want to consider using a PTZ camera to monitor the entire room from a high viewpoint, and a strategically placed HD camera to capture faces
- How much do you need the camera to pan and tilt? A 360 pan removes all blind spots, but a camera in a corner doesn’t need to record the blank wall directly behind it
Do you want optical or digital zoom? Optical zoom provides clearer, more detailed images because the zoom isn’t taken after the image is taken PTZ cameras are available from all major surveillance camera brands including Vista, Axis, Optica and Vivotek.