You didn't mention casinos - one of the largest users of PTZs. We use them to zoom in on areas that are also covered by fixed cameras. Also, outdoors where it would take a much larger number of fixed cameras to cover the same area. In fact, approximately 15% of our cameras are PTZs.
Of course, casino systems are usually manned 24/7.
No, it doesn't surprise me at all. Casino Surveillance is a very demanding market which the vast majority of integrators who try have trouble getting into. Over the years, I've seen more integrators try unsuccessfully to enter the market than are actually in the market.
Are these very small casinos? Tier A casinos (annual gross revenues less than $5M), don't need to have manned Surveillance Rooms. As stated by John, there is little benefit to PTZs without the staff to control them.
Also, I was not being facetious when I asked if you can tell the difference by sight. We, like many casinos, have a large number of Pelco DF5 back boxes containing fixed cameras. Even I have trouble telling which is which between them and Spectra PTZs from the floor. The same is true of our IndigoVision 11000-series of fixed and PTZ domes.
They also seem to be less reliable than fixed cameras.
That's quite true. Until we started repairing them ourselves, our budget for PTZ repairs was quite substantial. For out-of-warranty repairs, Pelco charged, on average, around $400 to $500. We found a company who services PTZs and the average cost dropped to $200 to $300 but we had to return a number for re-repair. Once we started repairing them in-house, our average repair cost dropped to $100 to $200.
For the first time in many years, I am starting to sell and install more PTZ cameras.
Outdoor rated 1080 to -22 F at integrator price of 1000 dollars (800 dollars for 720). These were more than twice this a year ago.
POE plus powered with new lines of switches supporting this
Can park to default view with good resolution same as fixed but can take control for investigative reasons
Most systems can now support 30 fps and storage is cheap
High profile H.264, high frame rates, low storage costs, makes continuous record instead of motion more cost effective
Use of fixed in exterior scenes will not give license plates or facial recognition (and will not zoom in to the forensic detail needed for cases
New IR integrated PTZ units can function at hundreds of feet. This option only 250 dollars extra integrator cost. I can only imagine that these systems will improve. (how can you see something at long distances in the dark with fixed cameras)
VMS systems have advanced ability to prioritize control and reduce latency
Static power consumption of 7 watts, and more efficient heating systems finally make solar/wireless with a PTZ possible
Onboard storage is an added plus for specific situations (still no sdxc though on models I am using)
I remember my selling statements when I installed some of the first Arecont H.264 5 MP cameras outside (7/2008) and my explanation that this would replace PTZ with digital PTZ. You do the numbers, and realize low light ability on these sensors is horrible at night, and the only true way to provide usable video for cases is a ton of fixed or an operator with a HD PTZ camera.
I probably would have agreed with this article a year ago. Not now, though.
I was referring to the ds-2de line from Hikvision. Just recently put 35 of the 1 mp 20x models in a well known retail establishment all running at 30 fps. These cameras also are outdoor rated. Cost as integrators is under 800 dollars. 4 year warranty. We also put a whole bunch of their 2df 1080 pro series cameras outside in parking lots via fiber and wireless. Very slick at a cost of about 1300. One of the selling factors is hardware (quality mounting hardware for 45 per camera) and also, to my surprise, every camera comes with a Poe+ injector. (they even come with gloves). Hardware accessories have been the printer ink for camera manufacturers for awhile now ( I stopped selling iqeye domes because of the 85 dollar wall mount charge for their chunk of metal).
I have to also say that technical support from Hikvision was top notch when a firmware issue came up. It took them 24 hours to come up with a solution. A month laTer and still no answer from our VMS manufacturer.
PTZs make a guards time on the console more interesting. Operators could conduct active "video patrol tours" to ensure the operator is alert and of course, make sure the masking is turned on where private spaces are involved.
Yes, Bryan, you're totally right, but I already knew that...
That's why I specified in the first paragraph of the article that PTZ camera I'm using for comparison is a 35X speed dome going from 3.6 mm to 126 mm.
Look again the 1st paragraph, where here I put this information in Bold:
"Suppose you had installed an analog speed dome camera with 35X optical zoom, viewing the entire area of a parking lot when it is at its maximum aperture (3.6 mm - 68°). If you want to see some detail, just position the camera and zoom, taking the lens aperture from 3.6 mm to 126 mm."
The risk in equating zoom number to picture size is how imprecise it is.
Using the Q6044 above for example, if I say 30X makes my picture 30 times bigger I am not clearly expressing/ignoring the FoV width change. This may be obvious to someone with experience, but a novice may not understand this - especially given how careless marketers use this number.
Even when used for calculations, it can be a bad metric to use. Again, the Q6044 has a 62.9 degree wide FoV width at the shortest focal value.
Multiplying that widest FoV by (1/30), or 30X less returns 2.09mm. To get the actual claimed 2.2mm, we need to use 28.
So is the 'zoom number' 30X, 29X, or 28X?
As long as we make sure we are only using it for focal length values, there is no risk, but since it is open for rounding errors, using this number to calculate FoV size is problematic.
Yes, agree that it would take a 400MP+ camera to replicate the level of detail that a 35x vga camera could.
Though it should be noted that you would have a total field of view of 35x as well with the digital zoom, something that comes in handy when you are recording. Plus, nearly instant PTZ with no-refocusing.
"An easier way to get to the number may be to simply square the zoom ratio and multiplty by the low resolution, aka for a 2MP 20X its just:
2MP * 20^2 = 800MP"
Many thanks for your answer!
Yes, as an engineer, I certainly know that, but the main purpose of my website is to distribute information in a very easy and understandable way. My target is not only those very professionalized integrators but also those small installlers that are starting in the CCTV business now. That's why I always try to present the theory in a very simple way.
Method you suggested is very easy for an engineer or technician to understand, but not everybody will understand will they have to multiply the square of zoom ratio... (By the way, what square means? Some would ask. Believe me, some will...)