Pan/Tilt/Zoom (or PTZ for short) cameras are among the most widely used cameras in the world. Despite being increasingly popular among business establishments, PTZ cameras tend to give people a false sense of security. Why? Mainly because they are often underutilized, if not misused, which means that owners just use them for their basic features when in fact they have a whole lot more to offer.
This is because PTZ cameras are part of a newer line of surveillance and security equipment, which has the capacity to do so much more than what a typical first generation CCTV camera can do. These special breed of “eyes” have the ability to capture events as they happen. Users are now able to see things from different angles and various perspectives, not to mention be able to scan and survey a huge part of a territory certain almost simultaneously.
Unlike before, one PTZ camera is all business owners need to guard a particular area. It replaces the need for installing multiple stationary cameras just to cover an area. This is because fixed cameras can only capture one angle and one direction, recording only anything that falls within its viewpoint. A huge number of the best pan/tilt/zoom cameras have multiple state-of-the-art functions, other than its signature feature, which is movement. These functions include vandal-proof lenses, night vision, protective casings, and IP capability.
Why Choose Pan/Tilt/Zoom Cameras
When considering which type of security camera would be best for your business, PTZ models is your best bet especially if you’re keen on outstanding functionality and want to cover as much ground in terms of surveillance without purchasing too many cameras. PTZs are unparalleled in terms of sweeping and monitoring wide areas, but still manage to remain user-friendly, offering easy management and control of its settings.
PTZ models, particularly Canon, C&B, Elmo, EverFocus, KT&C, Videolarm, and Sony, are extremely reliable and have been tested in tough environments and real-life situations. They are designed to be easy-to-use, so that any buyer can effortlessly tweak these surveillance cameras according to their business needs. Most, if not all, of these brands come with our high quality customer service, so owners can be assured that there is available assistance when needed.
Here’s a list of the multiple advantages a PTZ camera has over other surveillance cameras:
● Autonomous Patrol & Tracking – You can set your PTZ camera to survey specific areas or track movements of suspicious individuals or vehicles through optional video analytics.
● Multiple Alarm Inputs – PTZs usually have four alarm inputs. You can connect motion detectors, door contacts, glass break devices, and other security equipment that are installed in critical areas to PTZs and program your camera to stop all other activities and focus on capturing the activity in those hot spots.
● Low Light Capability – Many surveillance cameras fail to capture events in critical situations especially during hours of darkness. The good thing about PTZs is that they are specially equipped with a day/night feature that allows them to switch to a super sensitive mode. This way, the camera is able to capture events in excellent detail even in the lowest of light. Some PTZs with this feature typically accepts infrared illumination, or in some cases, already have infrared capability.
● Inconspicuous Design – Most PTZ cameras available in the market today are almost the same size as fixed dome-style cameras. They have a style that is non-obtrusive, they can be installed in multiple ways. Even larger models can be installed in such a way that you will be able to see only as small portion.
● Vandal-Resistant – Most surveillance systems become incapacitated when the cameras are vandalized by random groups or individuals, which is why PTZs are most often mounted high above the ground. This also gives owners the excellent view of the area they wish to cover. This – which affords them a certain level of protection. More importantly, most PTZ cameras have sturdy metal housings and are made out of high-tech polycarbonate material that is virtually shatterproof.
● Weatherproof – If PTZs aren’t damaged by vandals, it usually gives in to harsh weather elements. Thankfully, most recent models are now designed to withstand years of exposure to harmful natural elements, such as the sun, wind, rain, snow, and more. This is why many buyers now choose to mount their cameras in the most hard to reach areas, since they already put so much trust in PTZs’ durability.
● Powerful Zoom – Most PTZs, even the smallest models with low zoom ratios, are ahead by leagues when compared to the zoom ratio of conventional fixed cameras. For low zoom ratio PTZ cameras, the average is usually around 10x optical zoom, while there are several PTZ cameras that have extremely powerful 36x zoom ratio lenses. For high resolution surveillance cameras, it is only natural to offer digital zoom to provide even better magnification.
● Fast Pan/Tilt – If you hear people talking about speed domes, they’re most likely talking about PTZs that have lightning fast pan/tilt capability. This means it’s normal for a PTZ to pan or tilt in a certain direction in less than a second. What’s even more interesting and nice about this is that despite the speed, PTZs remain easy to control. They can move at such precision even when the focus is on objects that are at a great distance from where the camera is located.
● Auto-Focus – The auto-focus is one of the most overlooked features of PTZ cameras, although it’s also one of the most vital. Cameras that have the auto-focus feature activated will be able to automatically sense any moving or suspicious object or area and bring it into focus. It can easily keep up to that object, person, or vehicle in question with rapid speed.
● Flexible Control Options – While remote controlled cameras are not new to the ears, it is important to note that these older models send power only to a specific motor, which means the manipulation of the camera is limited. Nowadays, the setup has become more efficient because there is digital communication between a controlling device and PTZ camera. This gives users complete control over the camera. Such a feature is available for both analog and digital PTZs. The communication between controlling devices can be done using a cable, over the internet, or other wireless means. Through digital communication, a single controller can now manipulate multiple cameras.
Shopping and Installation Considerations
So if the benefits we’ve listed down has convinced you to purchase a PTZ camera. Let’s start considering the application. When considering to purchase a PTZ camera, as opposed to buying a fixed surveillance camera, you have to think about how wide you want your camera’s field of view to be as well as what your business requires. You can start by standing on the point where your camera is to be placed. If you discover that you have to to turn your head to your left or right, and up or down just to cover the whole area that needs to be guarded, then a PTZ is most likely the best choice for you.
Mounting options are also an essential consideration. Do not forget that one of the great benefits of a PTZ camera is that it can offer 360-degree views. This feature will become void if you mount it to the side of a wall or a pole, because a portion of that 360 degrees will have you looking directly at the wall or pole. As a solution, make sure that before you go on buying PTZ cameras, they can be mounted away from a wall, pole, or any obstruction in your establishment.
The best option would be installing in down from a ceiling or roof. Look for mounting options that will give you the best point of view.
PTZ cameras can be offered as analog or digital, with varying resolutions. Analog cameras are often measured in TV L or television lines, while digital PTZs are measured in pixels. As is the case in analyzing the resolution, the higher the number, the more detailed the quality of the images and videos captured. Remember that when identifying an object, a person, or any aspect of the video, it all boils down to greater detail, so you might want to invest on that. You might be able to determine what plate number a car has, or what item was grabbed in a particular shelf.
Another thing that you can check is how information is transmitted from the camera, through the cable, then the DVR, and lastly to the monitor. The latest technological advancement is digital transmission, the first being IP or internet protocol. An IP PTZ camera transmit signals over a cable much like how a computer or a VoIP phone transmits data. This type of camera is useful because there are IP networks have wide coverage.
The second mode of data transmission among PTZ cameras is through digital security video, called SDI or Serial Digital Interface. Cameras with SDI connections send their signals through a coaxial cable, also the same one used in ana analog transmission, which is useful when you just want to upgrade your old analog camera for a new HD-SDI system.