A PTZ camera is the ideal solution for all those who want to install a quality solution that allows you to remotely control large areas thanks to vertical, horizontal and zoom movement.
But how does a PTZ camera work?
Table of Contents
Let’s start with the name!
PTZ is the acronym of the movements that characterize these systems: Pan, Tilt and Zoom.
- PAN: horizontal movement both to the right and to the left
- TILT: vertical movement both up and down
- ZOOM: lens shift and focal control
The first PTZ cameras were very expensive systems, but today they have become absolutely affordable products and this makes them the right alternatives in many solutions in the world of video surveillance.
But what are the advantages of a PTZ camera?
PTZ cameras are increasingly known and purchased, here are the reasons to choose a Pan Tilt Zoom system:
- Greater coverage: a PTZ camera rotating on the entire vertical and horizontal axis and being able to zoom strongly is very suitable for covering a very large area. If I wanted to give an example to achieve the same coverage with fixed cameras it would be necessary a much higher number of devices, considering that a 3.6mm camera covers about an area of 70 °, a PTZ allows you to cover the entire 360 ° with ease.
- Remote control : this function allows you to observe specific points not covered by fixed cameras and greatly magnify their details. This is a very useful camera in situations where the space to be framed is vast such as in the case of car parks, warehouses, etc.
- Direct Illumination: All the latest generation PTZ cameras are equipped with directional illuminators with camera positioning. This allows a particularly clear vision even at night and in any position.
- Motorized Zoom: PTZ cameras have a zoom indicated in “x” which is equivalent to the zoom multiply, for example a 10x camera usually has a lens from 5mm to 50mm , an 18x camera has a lens from 5 to 90mm. To better clarify this aspect, we invite you to consult our article which contains some examples , the opportunity to remotely control the zoom is definitely a big advantage especially when you are operating remotely.
- Thief-proof: usually those who intend to carry out a tampering action do it with ease on fixed cameras (moving them or passing them where the cameras do not shoot), the PTZ by its nature does NOT have a fixed position therefore it is impossible for an intentional subject to make a break-in to know if the camera will frame him or not.
- Environmental detection: one of the biggest advantages is the possibility in the event of an alarm, but also only as a preventive measure, to be able to view what is happening in the surroundings. Usually in the event of an alarm the thieves put themselves in a position not to be framed by the cameras (under or in blind spots) with a PTZ camera it is possible to move around to detect any movements even in uncovered areas.
- Patrolling: PTZ cameras have another great advantage, that is the possibility of carrying out scheduled “patrols”, this is also very important in the detection activity in a large area, because it allows to cover it completely by planning a continuous path. This function is very useful as it “displaces” any figure who wants to try to enter through the blind spots of the cameras, moreover patrolling a large area allows you to cover everything with a single camera.
- Intelligent positioning: another feature of the most advanced cameras is “Mapping the covered area” and knowing specific needs such as “illegal parking”, “exiting and entering from areas”, “speed”, “stopping in specific areas”, “Zoom in on a moving vehicle so as to detect the license plate”. These cameras therefore allow to record anomalous behaviors such as a signal in case of parking in an illegal area and the registration of a license plate.
As you can see , the advantages of PTZ today are enormous and the costs are really irrelevant when compared with those of a normal fixed camera. The PTZ camera has therefore become a solution adopted in an increasing number of installations.
Is installing a PTZ camera really that complex?
In reality, even here the operation is COMPLETELY SIMILAR to a normal camera, but with some precautions that largely concern positioning, here are our recommendations:
- Avoid points that make it reachable, in order to avoid being able to tamper with it
- Provide a power box near its installation because it requires a higher power supply than a common camera
- If possible, install it on a pole or corner. By installing it on a wall, it effectively loses 180 ° of coverage area because 360 ° rotation cannot take place
- Making it accessible for maintenance, being usually installed outdoors, the lens may require more cleaning
That said, all the cameras on the market today DO NOT require any additional cables to be able to control the camera itself.
The PTZ IP cameras are controlled directly from the network and have protocols now widely supported
The PTZ AHD cameras are also controlled directly using the coaxial cable to transmit the management and piloting commands.
CVI PTZ cameras use the Dahua PTZ protocol that allows you to manage them without any additional cable, the coaxial cable is sufficient
Only Analogue PTZ cameras require an additional cable (RS485) to be able to control the camera
How to choose the PTZ camera?
The factors of choosing a PTZ camera are mainly these:
- The resolution: just like any camera we decide what resolution we want on the basis of the recorder on which we will keep the images. Our advice is to find a good compromise between resolution and zoom, a high resolution with a low zoom or vice versa are not recommended.
- Zoom: extremely important, as PTZ cameras are usually placed at a considerable distance from the area of greatest interest. Tendentially 10x is already a good compromise, but obviously it depends on the needs, to be sure to correctly choose the maximum focal length
- Protection: if it is IP66 or more, it is a product suitable for outdoor use.
- Lighting: almost all outdoor PTZ cameras today have illuminators, if the area is NOT completely open in fact they are necessary to have clear images. The quality and distance covered by the illuminators are an important discriminating factor for the choice of these cameras. General indications can be from 40 / 50mt for a 10x up to 100mt for a 20x, however there are various combinations, but it is a factor to be taken into consideration and evaluated carefully.
- The speed of PAN / TILT: if the use is frequent and the coverage area is large, this can be an important factor, if the use is occasional the speed will have little impact on your choice. This parameter is measured in ° / S (degrees / second) and will be present for both TILT and PAN, the advice is to choose a system with at least 20-30 ° / second.
- The rotation: here there are 2 main types, those with continuous rotation and those with block rotation. The first type includes all those cameras that can rotate continuously 360 ° (PAN movement), so they do not stop and do not need to go back to move even a few degrees to view the shots and those with block rotation, which instead arrived at a certain point they require to go back. Usually this happens for PAN, there are few cameras with continuous rotation TILT.
- Preset: the number of presets that can be set define any pre-recorded path, this can also be a reason for choice if it is a function that you intend to use
Here are other interesting features that you could evaluate for a correct evaluation on the purchase of a PTZ camera:
- Operating temperature: before purchasing, consider the place where the camera will be positioned, in some areas it is not uncommon to go to very high or very low temperatures
- Optics characteristics: these can greatly affect the cost as happens for StarLight cameras, for thermals or in any case for systems with specific functional characteristics
- For IPs: the ability to store on board when it happens can be very useful, especially when the DVR is “stolen”
- Intelligence functions on board: this is a factor that affects the cost a lot but brings enormous benefits
- Adaptive IR: widely used on high-end cameras, useful to avoid overexposing nearby areas that could be too bright with very strong LEDs. Adaptive PTZ cameras reduce IR power based on the framed area
These are certainly the main features to observe on a PTZ camera , to understand all its potential, however, it is necessary to try it! Starting to use PTZ cameras makes everything much simpler and easier and the benefits that can be obtained in a large area are countless.