Pan Tilt Zoom Camera (PTZ)
The Pan Tilt Zoom camera, or PTZ, has been around for a long time. They are usually larger cameras that can mechanically pan 360-degrees, tilt up and down, and zoom in mechanically.
They used to be very popular in retail settings. Most commonly they are used by Security and Loss prevention personnel to follow people of interest through a store or business. They used to be very important for businesses because their ability to zoom in made the picture clear enough to get the useful information that was needed to prosecute. With higher resolution cameras being very inexpensive and easily deployable however, the PTZ isn’t the justifiable expense that it once was.
Reasons I don’t often use PTZ Cameras:
- A good PTZ camera can cost five times or more than a regular camera.
- Most camera systems are used in a passive manner. There is not someone sitting in a room actively monitoring the different views. It is much more cost effective to put up multiple stationary cameras then to use a PTZ.
- When PTZ cameras go through a power cycle, they return to a starting point that has been programmed. This may not be where the camera was last pointed at.
- PTZ cameras have more things that can go wrong with them mechanically.
- Although the PTZ can move and zoom, it is still limited to one angle and can be blocked, malfunction, etc. It is safer to put in more angles for the same investment.
- PTZ cameras are often left unattended and looking in the wrong area when something happens. It is more effective to have the operation blanketed from multiple angles by higher resolution fixed cameras.
- When a client understands the weaknesses of the PTZ and still wants to spend the money on one for the occasion when they want to actively look around with the ability to zoom in on something in their operation.
- When the client wants to demonstrate an increased presence to customers by showing a PTZ on a monitor set on an auto tour that will move it around to different spots. (not revealing all the static camera positions)
- They are sometimes used because of their high zoom capability, when there is something that needs to be monitored from very far away and a 50 mm lens won’t make it. The future of PTZ cameras:
PTZ cameras are already being used in conjunction with smart sensors and software that point and zoom the camera in on specific targets and threats based on various analytics. Once this software becomes more and more cost effective, PTZ camera use will dramatically increase as camera systems evolve to more active and less passive systems.