PTZ Camera Guide 2016

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 15, 2016

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

***/****/**** ******* ****** ******** parts ** **** ************ systems, ********** ** ***** security **********. ******* ** this ** ** ********* to ********** *** ******** the *** ******** ** selecting *** ***** *** cameras.

** **** ***** ** cover *** ****** ** PTZ ******* *** ***** selection, *********:

  • ***/****/**** ***** *****
  • **** ****** *********
  • ***** ***** ** **** instead ** **** ******
  • *-**** ********
  • ********* *** *********** *** their **********/*************
  • **** ****** ********* (**********, mini ****, ***********)
  • ********** ** ****
  • *** **** ******
  • ****** ****** ********* ***
  • ******* *** *****
  • ****** ************

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

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.

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

Camera Resolution Usage Statistics 2020 on Mar 12, 2020
The average resolution used, for new cameras, is now 4MP, according to new IPVM statistics, continuing the rise that we have mapped from 2014,...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the basics of cameras and features used in 2020. In this report, we...
Camera Field of View (FoV) Guide on Nov 13, 2019
Field of View (FoV) and Angle of View (AoV), are deceptively complex. At their most basic, they simply describe what the camera can "see" and seem...
IPVM Camera Calculator User Manual / Guide on Oct 16, 2019
Learn how to use the IPVM Camera Calculator (updated for Version 3.1). The guide below includes instructions, images, gifs, and videos...
Camera Focusing Tutorial on Oct 14, 2019
Camera focus is fundamental to quality imaging. Mistakes can significantly reduce details, making cameras less effective. In this guide, we...
Lens Iris Tutorial on Aug 08, 2019
Cameras, like humans, have irises, controlling the light which hits the imager and impacting image details. However, cameras have multiple types of...
Lens Focal Length Tutorial on Jul 10, 2019
3mm, 6mm, 2.8 - 9mm, 5 - 50mm, etc. Camera specifications often list lens lengths but what do they mean? These metrics are important in...
Repositionable Multi-Imager Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Panasonic, Vivotek on Jun 19, 2019
Repositionable multi-imager cameras are one of the fastest growing segments in video surveillance, with a slew of new offerings being recently...
Panasonic 32MP Multi Imager Camera Tested (WV-X8570N) on May 16, 2019
Panasonic has released their first multi imager models including the 32MP (4x4K) WV-X8570N, claiming "Extreme image quality for evidence capturing...
Dahua Repositionable IR Multi-Imager Camera Tested on Apr 16, 2019
Dahua has released their first repositionable multi-imager camera, the Multi-Flex 4x2MP, claiming integrated IR, true WDR, and flexible...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Pivot3 Mass Layoffs on Mar 27, 2020
Pivot3 has conducted mass layoffs, the culmination of grand hopes, a quarter of a billion dollars in VC funding, and multiple failures to gain...
Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes on Mar 27, 2020
Athena Security's CEO Lisa Falzone has strongly objected to IPVM's reporting on Athena, calling it 'deplorable' and repeatedly criticizing IPVM's...
Hikvision Admits Sanctions Harming Its Financial Performance on Mar 27, 2020
While Hikvision initially downplayed being sanctioned for human rights abuses, the company is now admitting a significant impact in a new PRC...
New Axis M30 Cameras Tested on Mar 26, 2020
Axis has released a new generation of, for them, relatively low cost M30 series cameras, claiming to deliver "sharp video quality even in poor...
Coronavirus Shuts Down ADT Door Knockers on Mar 26, 2020
Coronavirus has another victim - this time, alarm giant ADT has stopped all door to door sales. Door knockers are a critical but controversial...
Access Control Course Spring 2020 - Save $50 Last Day on Mar 26, 2020
Register Now - Spring 2020 Access Control Course. Today, March 26th is the last day to save $50. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
Convergint Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 25, 2020
One of the world's largest security integrators, Convergint, has made a major move to handle the impact of coronavirus, with cuts across the...
VSaaS 101 on Mar 25, 2020
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud video. But what does it mean? How does it all work? Inside this...
TVT / InVid Facial Recognition Tested on Mar 25, 2020
Facial recognition is frequently sold for thousands of dollars per channel but some China manufacturers are offering full facial recognition...
IPVM Launches On-Demand Courses on Mar 24, 2020
For nearly a decade, IPVM has been a leader in online live courses. Now, we have added on-demand versions for all courses. The same course...