By Ben Cornett - Last update July 2, 2014
PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) security cameras provide many benefits over standard stationary security cameras. With stationary cameras, the field of view is determined at the time of installation and will not change without a manual adjustment of the mounting angle or a change of the camera lens. PTZ cameras offer great flexibility and a simplified install with their ability to rotate on a 360 degree plane.
Just like our other security cameras, our PTZ cameras offer remote viewing software so you can view and even control your cameras from your laptop computer, iPad/iPhone, Android device, or other smartphone. PTZ cameras offer uncompromising security and, depending on the features you need, can be had for a price that won't break the bank. Below, we cover 10 of the key benefits that PTZ security cameras have to offer.
Large Field of View
Depending on the mounting location they can cover a full 360 degree area. Most models allow the installer to set several surveillance modes based on the viewing angle you need at pre-determined times. Both pan and tilt can be pre-programmed. This gives you an easy install for locations such as parking lots or rooftops that would normally necessitate a multi-camera install. Sometimes, one or two PTZ cameras can cover entire large areas, helping minimize your costs while maximizing your level of protection.
Built-in Motion Tracking
All of our PTZ Cameras come with built-in tracking which can be set to detect motion and track the person or object, automatically panning, tilting or zooming to follow the person or object as it moves. This is a great benefit and will provide you with the video evidence you need in case of theft or vandalism to your property. Don't skimp on this feature when buying a PTZ camera - make sure it has full motion tracking capabilities.
Night vision is a very important benefit when you need to provide surveillance in any area with poor lighting conditions. The amount of light is critical to capturing a high quality image. The advanced PTZ Speed Domes developed over the past few years have the ability to capture images in total darkness. This is accomplished with the use of small LEDs that emit infrared light and a special IR filter for the camera lens that allows the PTZ Camera to capture excellent video images even in very dark conditions. Infrared light is not visible to the human eye, but through the use of an IR Filter the camera sees a well light area. It is important to understand that a PTZ Camera that is rated for a detection range of 600 feet or more will usually be rated for a maximum range of 400 feet for night viewing. It is a good idea to set up your PTZ cameras in the same lighting conditions they will be recording in, whether dark or bright. At he very high of the product category PTZ Speed Domes with both Night Vision and Tracking have recently been introduced. You should expect to pay around $2500.00 for a top quality PTZ Camera with both night vision and Tracking features.
Pan Tilt Zoom cameras are made to live in even the harshest of elements. Our PTZ cameras are built for extreme outdoor reconnaissance. Wind, rain, snow and even extreme heat won’t affect performance. This gives you the ability to install them in even the most remote locations such as rooftops and the sides of tall buildings.
PTZ Cameras are available with detection ability of 150 feet on the low end and up to a 1,000 feet on the more expensive models. The ability to zoom in on a person or object is from around 12X to 36X for the higher level PTZ Speed Domes. Normally the more advanced PTZs with tracking ability will provide 36X zoom providing a clear image of a person or object several hundred feet away. This is excellent for large parking lots or building tops as it allows the camera to be discreetly out of sight from most people while still giving you the ability to zoom in for a clear picture of what's going on.
Multiple Alarm Inputs
Most Pan Tilt Zoom cameras have four alarm inputs. This allows you to connect other important devices such as motion detectors, door contacts and glass break sensors. When any activity occurs in those hot spots, the PTZ camera can be programmed to stop all other programmed activity and zero in on the area to record what's going on.
The ideal location for a PTZ camera is mounted high above the ground. This gives the best view possible and allows it to survey a wide 360 degree range. This also affords them a certain level of protection. Additionally, most PTZ cameras are built with rigid metal housings and use high-strength poly-carbonate domes that are virtually shatterproof to vandals. All this while still providing crystal clear images and offering you full pan, tilt and zoom control.
Unlike some cheaper dome or bullet cameras, all PTZ security cameras have full range auto focus built in. This ensures that no matter where you pan, tilt, or zoom the camera, the resulting picture will always be clear. Most PTZ cameras also have an auto adjust IR LED that quickly focuses the picture when moving the camera in areas of complete darkness - a feature almost always missing from cheaper security cameras.
As mentioned before, PTZ cameras can cover a much wider range of property than even multiple well-placed fixed cameras. Rather than drop $5-10k on monitoring your parking lot, garage, or property with several fixed security cameras, consider whether one or two PTZ camera can meet your needs. They usually can, and if so, will save you a lot on both the initial cost as well as the time spent installing your system.
High Definition Options
Higher end PTZ Speed Domes are also available in IP Versions and will deliver resolutions from 720i to 1080P. Alternatively, you can also choose from PTZ Speed Domes featuring new HD-SDI Technology. These specialized HD-SDI PTZ cameras provide high definition video in full 1080P resolution and are much easier to install and maintain than IP Cameras. HD-SDI Cameras are installed and set up exactly the same way as standard analog cameras. Both HD-SDI and IP cameras are only recommended when you need the highest resolution images possible for your installation. The main reason is that they require 2-4x as much hard drive space as regular analog security cameras, which can prove costly for large installations.
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Ben Cornett, CEO of EZWatch, is an expert in security camera systems and video surveillance. Ben is recognized as a leader in the security industry and has spent his career growing businesses and greatly contributing to their achievements. Prior to joining EZWatch, Ben served as President of Honeywell Security Group for over 7 years, a $3 billion entity in the security industry. Ben also worked over five years with ADEMCO Group from 1995 to 2000, serving as Executive Vice President of Sales and as President later in his tenure.