PTZ Camera Guide 2016

By Ethan Ace, Published Sep 15, 2016, 10:06am EDT

Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras remain critical parts of many surveillance systems, especially in large security operations. Because of this it is important to understand and consider the key elements in selecting and using PTZ cameras.

In this guide we cover the basics of PTZ cameras and their selection, including:

  • Pan/tilt/zoom basic terms
  • Zoom ratios explained
  • Using angle of view instead of zoom rating
  • E-flip examined
  • Available PTZ resolutions and their advantages/disadvantages
  • Form factor selection (speeddomes, mini PTZs, positioners)
  • Integrated IR PTZs
  • PTZ lens issues
  • Actual versus effective PPF
  • Presets and tours
  • Common applications

Pan/Tilt/Zoom ****** ******

**** ******* * ****** with * ********* ********* which ****** ** ** move ** ******** **********. These ********* *** ******** to **:

  • ***:****/***** ********** ********
  • ****:**/**** ******** ********
  • ****:**** *** *** 

**** ******* ************ **** of ***** *********:

**** **** *** ****** to ***** ******* *** be ***** ******. **** models *** ** ******* to ***° *******, **** may **** ***** **********, and **** ****** *** vary **** **** ****** magnification ** ********* **** distance. ***** ***** ****** on *** **** ** PTZ (******** *****) *** individual ************/*****.

*-****

**** **** ******* * feature ****** "*-****" ***** automatically ******* *** ****** 180° **** *** ******** is ********* * ******* directly ******* **. **** is * **** ********* control ****** **** ****** which ** *** ******* E-flip, ** *** **** must ******** ****** *** camera ** ****** *** subject ** **** **** below.

**** ******* ***** *** camera ******** ** ** is ****** **** ** *** ******, ***** only *** **** **** control ** *******.

Zoom *****

************* **** ***** ********* PTZs ***** ***** ******* zoom *****, *.*., ***, 26x, ***, ***. **** ratio ** ****** ****** by ******** *** ******'* maximum ***** ****** ** its *******, **** **:

Use **** ***** *******

*******, ***** **** **** ratio ** ** ********* of *** **** *********** misses **** *** *******. Since ****** **** ********* wide/telephoto ***** *******, *** cameras **** *** **** ratio *** **** **** different ****** ** ****.

*** *******, ******* ** *** specs ** *** *** zoom *******, ** *** see **** *** *** a ********* ***** ** view ~**% ******** (*** thus ****** ***) **** the ***** *** ** varying **** *****. *** the ******* ** **** true, **** *** ****** on *** ***** ****** a ***** ******** ***** of ****, ***** *** be **** ****** ** some ************.

***** **** ****** ** these ****** **** ********* PTZs *** ****** ***** on ***** ******** ***** of ********. 

Ignore ******* ****

**** *** ****** ******* ******* zoom ** ******** ** optical, **** ** **** cases *********** *** *** to ****** * ********* "total ****" ******, **** as **** ******:

*******, ******* **** ** a "****" ****, *** providing ********** *******, **** enlarging ****** ******** *** these ***** ****** *********** be ******* ** ***** of ***** ** **** as ********* *****.

*** **** ******* *** examples, *** *** ******* **** ********.

Resolutions *********

**** *** *** ********* in ******* ** ***********, as **** ** ******** definition. ************, **** ****** for ********* ******* **** not *********, ****** ** the **** *** *****, 1080p **** **** *** zoom **** ****** ******* available, **** ****** ******* *********. 

**** **** ** ** not *********** ********** ** PTZ ************, *** ** ***** in **** ***** ****** megapixel ******, ******** ***** in **** ******.

PTZ **** *******

***** *** ***** ******* types ** *** ****** in *** *****, **** different ********* *** **********, ********** in **** ***** *** detailed *****:

*********

*** **** ****** **** of *** ** *** is *** *********, ***** packages *** ******/**** *** pan/tilt ********* ** * dome **** ******, ********* 8-10" ** ********. ********** have ******* **********:

  • ***-********:*** ** ***** ************, speeddomes ********* ******* **** work ** ***** **** positioning ******* (*****), *** may ** ******* ** a ******* ** *********. Wall, *******, ******** *******, and ***** ****** *** all ******* *********.
  • ********** ** *********:******* ************* *** ***** speeddomes **** ********** ** (detailed ******* *****), ***** greatly ******** ***** ********** in *** *****, ** speeddomes ************ **** **** relatively *****-**********, **** ** **** scenes.
  • **** *** ******:********** *** *** ******* movable ******* *********. ****** over ***º *** ****** are *** ********, *** over ***º *** ****** is *** ******* **. This ****** ******** ** faster-moving ********, *** ******* movement ***** **** ********* between *******, ***** * fraction ** * ******.
  • ***/**** *****:********** ********* ******* **** 360º *** *****, ******* stops, *** ***º **** range **** *-****, ** allow ******** ** ******** as **** **** ******* the ******. **** ******* **** extended **** ****** **º, with **** ******** ** to **º ** **-****, above *** *******. **-**** previously ******** * ***/**** positioner.
  • **** **** *******:******** ** ***/**** *********** systems, ******** *****, ********** do *** **** ** many ****** ** ****** winds, ***** *** ***** vibration ** ***/**** *******.

Mini ***

**** *** ***** *** a ********** ****** ***********, with ******* ************* *** offering ****** (*** ************ **** *** **** *** *******). ***** ******* PTZs **** *** *** advantages:

  • *** ****: **** **** *** **** less ********* **** **** size **********, ***** ~$*** USD ** ****, ******** to $***-**** *** * speeddome.
  • ***** ****:***** ****** *** **** smaller **** ******* **********, close ** *** **** of * ******* ***** dome ****** (*-*" ********) and **** ******* ** height.

*******, ***** *** ************* to **** **** ** well:

  • ******* ****:**** **** *** ********* limited ** *** ******* zoom ****** **** ** 3x, ****** **** *** be ***** ** ** ~10x. ******** ** ***** PTZs, ***** *** ** more, **** ** **** low.
  • ******* *********** *****:**** **** ********* ** not ******* **** ***° panning, *** *-**** ***** in **********.
  • **** ***/**** *****:******* ***** ** * mini *** ** ********* very ***, **-** ******* per ******, * ******** of ********* ******* *****.

Pan/Tilt ***********

***/**** *********** *** *** oldest **** ** ******* camera ******, ********* ***** to ********** *** **********. These ******* ************ ********* of ******** *********** ***** were ******** **********: *** positioner ******, * ******** camera, *** **** ****. 

*******, **** ************* *** offer ***-******** ** *********** systems, **** ** *** **** ***/*** ******** ******.

*** *** ********* ** pan/tilt *********** ** ***********. Users *** ****** **** multiple ******* *** **** lenses, ******* ** ***** limited ** ********* ********* options. **** ** ****** when ********* ****-***** **** lenses *** ********, ** ****** over **** **** *** available.

*********** **** ********** *** **** option **** ******** ************ were ******* ** * PTZ ******. *******, ********** with ********** ** **** now ******* ****** **, offering **** ***** ********.

***** *** *** *** drawbacks ** ***********:

  • *** *****:*********** ***** **** *** pan/tilt ******, *** ** the ****** *** ******* of ******* ******* ** them. ********** ****** ***** lead ** ********* ********* and "******" ** ******* started *** ******* ******, making ******** **** *********.
  • **** *******:*** ** ***** ********* profile, *********** ******* ** exposed ***** *** ****** from ********* *** ** wind, ***** ** ******* or *** ******* **** using **********.

***/**** *********** ******* *** a ******* ***** *** readers ****** *** *** *** **** ********** ******** *** **** *******.

Integrated ** **********

*** ****** ******* ** PTZ ********** ** *** addition ** ********** **, previously ****** ***** ** positioners ****. **** ************* now ***** ********** ** speeddomes, **** ** *******************, *** ******* [**** ** ****** available].

********** ** ********** **** ************ non-IR ****** ** *** tests ** *** ******, with ************ ** ***' and ******. *** *******, the ********** ***** ***** a ***** ** *** versus * ***-** ***** at ~***' ********, **** the ******* ******* ********* in *** ** *****. The ***-** *** ******** only *****, ** ****** image.

*******, ******* ** **** (but *** ***) ** tested *** ****** ******** subjects ** ***** **** IR **, ****** ***** for * ******* ** more, ***** ** **** video:

PTZ **** ******

**** ******** *** ****** use, ***** ****** ** aware **** *** *** other **** ***** ****** lenses ** *** ******* images *** **** ** shorter ***** ****** ******,********* ** * ********* in ********* ******* ********* (*** *** * ***** **** ** Long ****** *** **** Found ******). ******* ** ****, when *********** ****** *** using *** *******, ***** should ****** * ~**% or ****** ********* ** ********* details.

*** *******, *** ***** below ***** * ******* at ~***' ***** * 1080p ******, ** ** 87 *** *****. *******, details ********* *** ******* to ~**-** ***, **** than **** ** ******.

**** **** ** **** do *** ****** ********* suffer **** ***** *******. For *******, *** *** PTZ ***** ******** * better ***** **** *** 1080p ***** ** *** same *****, ******* *** much ***** ****** ***.

PTZ ******* *** *****

** ***** ** **** PTZ ********* ******, ***** cameras ******* *** ****** to ****** ************* *********, called "*******", ***** *** be **** ** ******* move *** ****** ** a ******** ********. *** example, *** **** ***** shows ******* ******* ******** a ******* ***, ******* called ** ********** ***** a ***.

** ******** ** *******, PTZs ******* ***** (**** called ********) ***** **** the ****** ************* ** a ****** **** ******** (typically ***** *-** *******). Tours ** ******* ******* **** often **** ******* ** a ******** ***** (****** a ****** ****).

*******, ** *** ****, tours **** ********* ******* by ********* ** ******** manually ****** *** ******. This ***** ** **** has ********* ****** *** of *****, ******, ** it ******* **** ********* to **** ***** ******* in ****** ** *** camera ** ******, *** the ******** *** ******** precludes *** *** ********-**** ***** ****** *********, ***** *** ** used ** ****** *****.

Most ****** *** ************

*** *** **** ****, PTZ ***** ** ******** in ***** ** ***** megapixel ******* (*** *** **********), *** ***** *** still ************ ** ***** they *** ********** ****.

  • **** ********** **********:** ******* **** ************ operators, **** *** ***** often ****, ** **** allow *** **** ** more ******* ******* *** follow ******** **** ** possible **** ***** *******. Live ********** ** **** often **** ** ******, higher ******** ********, **** as ********, ******** **************, city ************, ***., ****** many ***** ********* **** employ **** *** *********.
  • ***** *****:** **** ***** *****,**** ** ****** ******** are ***** ********* **** instead ** ***** ********* cameras*** ** *** ****** details **** *** ******* at **** *****. *** example, *** ***** ***** compares ** *** *** cameras ******* ** *** SD ****, **** **** the ****** ********** *** delivering ******* ** *** subject ** **** *****:

Comments (4)

Ethan,

You wrote "For the most part, PTZ usage is dropping in favor of fixed megapixel cameras (see our statistics), but there are still applications in which they are frequently used."

Yes, I've noticed that trend 2 years ago and I made a theoretical comparison between a VGA PTZ x a Megapixel camera. You can see the results here: http://www.cctvinstitute.com.br/megapixel-or-speed-dome.html

Another trend I've noticed about the same time was people started thinking that a fisheye camera would replace a PTZ. Again, the results of my comparison are here: http://www.cctvinstitute.com.br/fisheye-cameras.html

PTZ, Megapixel or fisheye? Which one is the best for all situations? None. It will depend on the application.

Thank you for the great article.

Easy to catch up with the advance information and application of PTZ cameras following this guide.  Good work.

When a customer asks for a PTZ camera I ask him/her if they will have some one to operate the camera because as you say on a tour setting you can miss a incident unless you have Smart Tracking to follow the person but the customer do not like the increased price.

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