Should You Use PTZ Cameras?

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jun 14, 2009

Though popular, PTZ cameras often create a false sense of security. They make for great demonstrations but are often underutilized or misused.

The use of PTZ cameras varies significantly. Offices and fast food restaurants rarely use PTZ cameras. However, the majority of cameras at shopping malls and public surveillance are PTZs. In general, PTZs are the standard choice for monitoring large public areas.

Here's a short video demonstrating the use of a PTZ:

****** *******, *** ******* ***** ****** * ***** ***** ** security. **** **** *** ***** ************** *** *** ***** ************* or *******.

*** *** ** *** ******* ****** *************. ******* *** **** food *********** ****** *** *** *******. *******, *** ******** ** cameras ** ******** ***** *** ****** ************ *** ****. ** general, **** *** *** ******** ****** *** ********** ***** ****** areas.

****'* * ***** ***** ************* *** *** ** * ***:

[***************]

Advantages ** ****

  • ********** ***** *****: *** *** ****** *** ** ******, ****** and ****** ** ***** ******** ** ***** (* *** ****** kilometers). **** ** *** ******** **** ***** ******* ***** ******** only ***** * ***** **** (*** ******* ****** ******).
  • **** *** ** ****** ** ***** (********) **** **** *** camera ** * ************* *** ** ******* ***** ** ********. For ********, **** * * ****** ******, *** ****** *** capture *** ***** ****, *** **** ** *** ******* *** and *** *********. *** **** *** ****** ************.
  • ********* *** ******* *** ******* ** ***** * ******* ** respond ** * ******** ********. *** ******** *** **** ** to **** *** ******* **** ******* **** ****** ******** ** license *****. *** ******** *** **** ****** * ******* ****** a ***** ****.
  • ******* **** *** ***** * **** ****, **** ******* *** cost ** ******** *** ***** ****.
  • ****** **** *** *****. **** *** *** ******* ***** *** surveillance ******** *** ** ***** ******* ******* (*** *** **** above). ** ***** ****** **** ******* ***** *** *********.

Disadvantages ** ****
  • PTZs *** *** *** ****** **** ***** **** *** ********* *******. While the PTZ has a potential to view enormous areas, at any given time, it only covers the area of a fixed camera. If a PTZ on a tour is looking at the front door and an event happens at the vehicle gate, that event is missed (and vice versa).
  • Service ******: Since PTZs are complex mechanical devices, they tend to have much more frequent service calls and shorter life spans (compared to fixed cameras).
  • High ******* *****: Because PTZs move so frequently, their storage utilization tends to be 2 - 4x higher than a fixed camera with equivalent frame rate and resolution. Motion based recording often cannot be used, and if used offers little savings since the camera continues to move. Plus, encoding motion requires higher bit rates to maintain image quality.
  • Poorer ***** *******: PTZ image quality is often poorer than fixed cameras, especially when zoomed in. This is likely a result of smaller chip sizes (1/4" for PTZs vs 1/3" inch in fixed cameras) and the much larger focal lengths in PTZs (over 50mm focal length is common for professional PTZs).
  • Mispositioning ** **** ** ******. Operators routinely place (or leave) the PTZ in different positions. While this can be solved by using a 'home' functionality, many systems are not configured to use this properly.
  • Works ****** **** ** ********: Controlling mechanical PTZs are very sensitive to latency. If the latency is more than a fraction of a second, controlling PTZs become very difficult. This is not an issue for traditional analog systems but a growing problem for IP video. Furthermore, network viewing often requires on screen PTZ controls which are much harder for an operator to use. These issues can be somewhat rectified by using USB joysticks and manufacturer optimizations to reduce latency. However, this is a frequent problem with IP networks.
  • Higher ***-****** ****: Whereas a fixed camera may cost $200 - $500, a PTZ camera with a 15x or greater zoom can cost $1,500 to $3,000. The cost increase is significant.
  • The ***** *** ************ ** **** **** ************. While it's impressive to see a building a mile away, that ability rarely solves real security problems for users.

** *******, **** ****** **** * **** ** ********** ******** that ******* **** *** ********* ****** ** *****.

Alternatives ** ****

********* ** ******* *** ******** ** ** *********** ** **** but ****** ******.

*** ******* ********* ** ********* ******* ** ** ********* *** problem **** **** *** **** ****/****** ***** **** *** ********* looking. ** ********, ***** ********* ******* *** * ******* ****, viewing **** *** ****** *** **** ********. ****, ***** ********* cameras ********* *** ********** ********** ** ****, ***** **** ** lower (**** *** *****-*********) *** *** ******* ****** ****** ** less.

*******, ********* ******* ****** **** ***** ** ******** *** ********* coverage **** ** * *** ******. **** **** *** *** higher ***** ***** ** * ********* ******, **'* ******** ** provide ******** **** **** *** ********** ** * ** ** 3x ******* ****. ***********, ***** ********* ******* ******* **** ********* cameras ******* *** ********** ** ** ** ** ******** ********** cameras, *** ********* ***** ****** ** ******* ***** ** **** (especially ** ***** ***** **********).

***** ********* ********* ****** ******** ********** *** ******** **** **** fixed *******, *****'* ****** ****** ** ******* **** ********* ** or *** ********* *** *** ** ****.

Best **** *** ****

**** ***** ************** ** ****, **** **** **** ****:

  • ** ************ *** ********* ******** ** ********** ******** *******. ** you *** * *** *** ******** ** * ****** ******* and **** ********* ********* ** **********, **** **** *****. *** PTZ ******* ***** ********* ** ******* ******* *****. *******, ** you ****** ******* *** ******** ****** *** ********* *** ** for **************, ********* ******* *** * ********** *********** ** ********.
  • ** ************ *** * ****** ***** **** **** ***** ** be *******. **** ***** ***** *** ***** ** *********** **** with ********* *******. **** * *** ******** *** *** ***** needed (** **** ** *** **** ****** ********). *******, ** you **** * ******** **** **** (**** * ******* *** with * *** ***** ******), *** ** *** ********* ******* are ****** ** ** **** ********* *** **** *********.
Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

ESX 2017 Final Show Report on Jun 16, 2017
The ESX (Electronic Security Expo) day 3 / Thursday is done and the exhibits are over. IPVM was in Nashville covering it in-depth. Below covers...
Camera Course Summer 2017 on Jun 08, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
RMR Integrator Importance Statistics on Jun 08, 2017
How do integrators feel about offering RMR / recurring revenue services? For many, their business revolves around RMR, while others see no...
Security Yard Signs and Stickers Guide on Jun 05, 2017
Many security integrators use signs or stickers with their company name and logo. Posting these in front the homes of residential customers...
Ex-ADT President And PE Firm Pay $200M+ For Alarm Dealer Guardian on May 31, 2017
Private equity firms are on the hunt for security companies with strong RMR numbers. One such security company, Guardian Alarm, was recently...
Remote Video Monitoring Providers Directory on May 21, 2017
Remote video monitoring can help integrators generate RMR plus end users lower their security costs and/or improve response to critical...
Shark Tank Startup Guard Llama Mobile Panic Tested on May 16, 2017
A Shark Tank TV show appearance has attracted big attention for Guard Llama, a security startup touting a 'panic button' paired with mobile app...
Burglar Alarm Partitions Guide on May 10, 2017
Many burglar alarm systems have a single designated level of access for users. A user can arm or disarm the entire alarm by entering a single code....
Panoramic Camera Usage Rising 2017 on May 08, 2017
Panoramic camera usage (including fisheye and multi-imagers) continue to rise rapidly. However, the race to the bottom is hindering even stronger...
Arming States For Burglar Alarms on May 04, 2017
Burglar alarms give the user the ability to choose how much of their alarm is active at any time. Activating alarm sensors on windows and...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Importance of Sales To Integrators - Statistics on Jun 23, 2017
One of the top trends in the industry over the past few years has been the rise of across-the-board sales (e.g.: Hikvision Sales, Dahua Sale,...
Deep Learning Surveillance Startups Deep Problem on Jun 23, 2017
The undeniably good news for the video surveillance market is that we are seeing the rise of more startups than in many years. The cause of this...
Avigilon Announces RADAR-Based Presence Detector on Jun 22, 2017
RADAR is gaining momentum within physical security. Two months after Axis announced a network radar detector, Avigilon has announced a RADAR-Based...
Covert Cloud Camera Service Launching (KJB) on Jun 22, 2017
Cloud IP cameras, for consumers, has become increasingly commonplace. However, covert cameras, lag there, with few options. Now, North America's...
Manufacturers Shipping Unlicensed H.265 Products on Jun 22, 2017
While H.265 support in video surveillance is growing, IPVM's research shows that most surveillance manufacturers are shipping H.265 products with...
Uniview Low-Cost Bullet PTZ Tested on Jun 21, 2017
Uniview is offering a HD zoom bullet camera, the IPC742SR9-PZ30-32G, with an integrated pan / tilt positioner, for the price of a low-cost...
QSR Video Surveillance Best Practices on Jun 21, 2017
Fast food restaurants or QSRs (quick service restaurants), are frequent victims of crime and fraud. Because they are open late, deal with cash, and...
45 Drives 'Lowest Cost' Enterprise Storage Company Profile on Jun 21, 2017
45 Drives claims the "lowest cost per Hard Drive Slot in the industry." But who or what is '45 Drives'? What started as a product design to...
No Hack, Still Liable, Court Finds ADT on Jun 20, 2017
Recently, ADT has been in the news for a $16 million settlement for a cyber security vulnerability class action suit. One of the most important...
Resolver / PPM 2000 Incident Management Platform Profile on Jun 20, 2017
You might have seen the company whose employees wear hockey jerseys at trade shows and wondered "what do they do?" PPM 2000 has been active in...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact