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

Bosch G-Series Intrusion Tested on Jul 26, 2017
Bosch is one of the biggest names in intrusion, and the company's G-Series panels are their most advanced commercial and high-security panels. But...
Alarm.com Tested on Jul 13, 2017
Alarm.com has become the dominant force in smart home / remote service platform, with ~70% market share, combining their own traditional offering...
Genetec Mission Control Tested on Jul 13, 2017
Genetec continues to move up market with their Mission Control, "Decision Support System", bringing PSIM-like procedures and incident management to...
Smoke Detectors Guide on Jul 06, 2017
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors add a life-safety component to burglar alarm systems. As intrusion detection sensors are used to...
PTZ Usage Declines 2017 - Statistics on Jul 03, 2017
PTZ usage is declining, now at ~6% of all cameras integrator use, down from ~10% of cameras used in 2014, according to new IPVM...
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...
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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

$28M Drone Detection Startup Examined (Dedrone) on Jul 25, 2017
Dedrone has received ~$28M in funding to build what they call an "automatic anti-drone solution", a system to detect drones, and then automatically...
Dahua Suffers Second Major Vulnerability, Silent on Jul 25, 2017
Less than 3 months ago, Dahua received DHS ICS-CERT's worst score of 10.0 for their backdoor. Now, Dahua has received another 10.0 score for a new...
Hikvision H.265+ Bullet Tested (2035) on Jul 24, 2017
Continuing our tests of Hikvision's new low cost Value Plus line, we bought and tested the 3MP DS-2CD2035FWD-I, now including H.265+. We shot the...
Sports Stadium Security Design Recommendations on Jul 24, 2017
Sports stadiums pose many challenges for designing security systems. The facilities vary from being mostly vacant, to packed with tens of thousands...
Competing Against Convergint on Jul 24, 2017
No integrator is more aggressively expanding than Convergint Technologies. Owned and funded by private equity firm KRG, Convergint has acquired...
Security Robots Are Just Entertainment on Jul 21, 2017
Great entertainment, no real security value.  That is the happy (or sad) state of security robots in 2017. Knightscope robot's drowning, the...
Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide on Jul 21, 2017
Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems. However,...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision Launching Deep Learning Recorders on Jul 20, 2017
Hikvision has become a common choice for super low cost NVRs. Now, Hikvision is aiming to move up market, with deep learning NVRs that claim far...
PR Campaign Exploiting Manufacturer Cybersecurity on Jul 20, 2017
Manufacturers increasingly have a bulls-eye on their back. As cyber security solutions providers grow, they realize a great way to get publicity...

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