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

Last Chance February 2018 Camera Course on Feb 15, 2018
This is the last chance to get into the Winter camera course, starts next Tuesday. Register now. IPVM provides the best education, live online...
Assa's Lowest Power Draw Maglock: Securitron M680E Examined on Feb 14, 2018
Securitron produces some of the most extreme maglocks on the market, including massively strong maglocks and even ones with integrated CCTV cams...
Simplisafe 'All New' Generation 3 Tested on Feb 08, 2018
Feared by the traditional alarm industry, Simplisafe has launched its 'all new' Generation 3 platform that they declare is "Stronger. Faster....
"First Of Its Kind" Stove Knob Alarm Sensor (2GIG) on Jan 15, 2018
At CES 2018, 2Gig/Nortek announced the Stove & Grill Guard, a "first of its kind" sensor in the security industry, allowing users to be...
NVRs - Embedded vs Separate PoE Switch (Statistics) on Dec 21, 2017
Many NVRs now offer PoE switches embedded, allowing IP cameras to be connected directly to the recorder. On the plus side, these units can...
2018 Top Sales Interest For Integrators on Dec 20, 2017
130+ integrators answered: This is a key question, especially for manufacturers, as it impacts what areas to focus more on and what...
Lock Status Monitoring Tutorial on Dec 18, 2017
Just because your doors look secure does not mean they are. Unless access systems are using lock status monitoring, the doors and areas they...
Testing DMP XTLPlus / Virtual Keypad Vs Alarm.com & Honeywell on Dec 13, 2017
DMP has a strong presence in commercial intrusion alarms, but not in residential. However, the company's XTLPLus wireless combo panel and Virtual...
Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference Review on Dec 08, 2017
Investment bank Imperial Capital holds an annual Security Investor Conference where 60+ companies present, including this year: IPVM bought a...
'Catastrophic Problem' For Videofied App on Dec 06, 2017
Less than 2 months after closing their DIY division DragonFly, Videofied has been hit with a problem the company calls 'catastrophic'. Now the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Directory of 30+ LPR / ANPR Providers on Feb 21, 2018
License Plate Recognition / Automatic Number Plate Recognition are a type of video analytics software that can identify and match license / number...
New Whole Foods Installs Hackable Access Control on Feb 21, 2018
Whole Foods has built a reputation for high quality. And their 2017 Amazon acquisition has increased that, plus added deep pockets for buying...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Feb 21, 2018
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2018, with more and more users relying on mobile apps as their main way of operating the system....
Visio For Video Surveillance Design on Feb 20, 2018
Many integrators have standardized on AutoCAD for camera layouts but new users may be overwhelmed by its learning curve. Microsoft's Visio...
Health Care Insurance Integrator Benefits Statistics on Feb 20, 2018
How common and how much healthcare coverage is typically provided by security companies? 150+ integrators explained how their companies provide the...
Hikvision Deletes Genetec Support on Feb 20, 2018
There will be no peace between Hikvision and Genetec. A year after Genetec expelled Hikvision (and Huawei, citing Chinese government control...
Change Orders - Sometimes Necessary, Sometimes Unethical on Feb 19, 2018
Change orders are a common element in project sales. Sometimes they are a necessity and appropriate ways to deal with arising issues, but sometimes...
Bosch Merges Video, Intrusion and Access Businesses on Feb 19, 2018
Bosch is merging their "video systems, intrusion detection, as well as its access control and management software business units to form a single...
Why 3VR Failed on Feb 16, 2018
3VR destroyed transformed ~$65 million in VC funding into a $6.9 million exit. The reason they failed is simple. They bet on analytics. They...
"Fear Mongering": Hikvision USA Cybersecurity Director Dismisses Chinese Government Ownership Concerns on Feb 16, 2018
The facts are: The Chinese government created Hikvision and is Hikvision's controlling shareholder. Hikvision's Chairman, a Communist Party...

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