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, **** ** *******************, *** *******.

********** ** ********** **** ************ 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

Dahua 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 20, 2019
Dahua's new Pro Series 4K N85CL5Z claims to "deliver superior images in all lighting and environmental conditions", but how does this compare to...
Verkada People And Face Analytics Tested on Aug 16, 2019
This week, Verkada released "People Analytics", including face analytics that they describe is a "game-changing feature" that "pushes the...
Installation Course - Register Now on Aug 15, 2019
Register Now for the September 2019 Video Surveillance Install Course. This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...
Axis 4K Camera Shootout 2019 on Aug 14, 2019
Axis' 4K Q3518-LVE claims the "best video quality possible", with Lightfinder super low light performance, Axis' high end Forensic WDR, and...
Biometrics Usage Statistics 2019 on Aug 13, 2019
Biometrics are commonly used in phones, but how frequently are they used for access? 150+ integrators told us how often they use biometrics,...
Milestone "GDPR-ready" Certification Claim Critiqued on Aug 12, 2019
Milestone is touting that its latest XProtect VMS is "GDPR-ready" with a 'European Privacy Seal'. However, our investigation raises significant...
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...
Dahua Analytics+ Tested on Aug 07, 2019
Dahua's analytics have performed poorly in past shootouts. But now, they claim their new Analytics+ "algorithms significantly improve accuracy and...
Hikvision 4K Camera Shootout on Aug 02, 2019
With their latest Smart Series 5 cameras, Hikvision is claiming cameras "fully loaded" with "state-of-the-art technology for high performance and...
Hanwha 4K Wisenet P Camera Tested on Jul 30, 2019
Hanwha claims "premium performance" and to "deliver the best in high resolution performance and efficiency" with their Wisenet P series 4K models,...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Uniview Beats Intel In Trademark Lawsuit on Aug 19, 2019
Uniview has won a long-running trademark lawsuit brought by Intel, with Beijing's highest court reversing an earlier Intel win, centered on...
Suprema Biometric Mass Leak Examined on Aug 19, 2019
While Suprema is rarely discussed even within the physical security market, the South Korean biometrics manufacturer made global news this past...
Verkada People And Face Analytics Tested on Aug 16, 2019
This week, Verkada released "People Analytics", including face analytics that they describe is a "game-changing feature" that "pushes the...
Dahua OEM Directory 2019 on Aug 16, 2019
US Government banned Dahua OEMs for dozens of companies. The following directory includes 40+ of those companies with a graphic and links to...
Installation Course - Register Now on Aug 15, 2019
Register Now for the September 2019 Video Surveillance Install Course. This is a unique installation course in a market where little practical...
Axis Suffers Outage, Provides Postmortem on Aug 15, 2019
This week, Axis suffered an outage impacting their website and cloud services. Inside this note, we examined what happened, what was impacted...
Hikvision Scrutinized In The Netherlands on Aug 15, 2019
Hikvision is facing unprecedented scrutiny in the Netherlands, at the same time the US government ban has taken effect. This week, a Dutch...
Axis 4K Camera Shootout 2019 on Aug 14, 2019
Axis' 4K Q3518-LVE claims the "best video quality possible", with Lightfinder super low light performance, Axis' high end Forensic WDR, and...
CheckMySystems Company Profile on Aug 14, 2019
CheckMySystems says that too many users respond, "I get an email when something is wrong" when talking about their video system maintenance plan,...
Hikvision OEM Directory on Aug 13, 2019
The Chinese government-owned and US-government banned Hikvision has become the world's largest video surveillance manufacturer and generally hidden...

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