Posts Tagged ‘ pan tilt zoom ’

Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) Cameras Explained

Written By:
Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Since there are a lot of Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Cameras available, I will explain in this article on how to best choose the correct PTZ for your Security Camera Installation.

I will start by showing the different parts of a PTZ camera.

1. Parts of a PTZ camera

(a) Housing – Usually composed of an aluminum bell shaped cover (image 1) or some models have abs plastic housings (images 2,3)

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

aluminium ptz housing plasticdome,jpg plasticdome2,jpg

(b) Camera module
This is where the image CCD sensor, optical lens, and the motors that control Zoom and Focus are located.

Camera Module

(c) PTZ control board
The PTZ control board processes RS485 data  that converts it into mechanical movements.

PTZ Control Board

Note: On this particular PTZ control board it has dip switches (the red block with white switches). This allows you to change the protocol and ID of the camera. Some of our cameras are configured via the OSD (On Screen Display) menu.

(d) PTZ motors – are the small motors that allow the camera to perform up, down, left and right functions. Marked by the arrows are two step motors; the one to the top controls up and down movements and the one at the bottom controls left and right movements (Image 1).

Note: The motors used on a PTZ camera are known as step motors which use steps (teeth) that allow a more precise movement vs. standard electromagnetic motors that require higher RPM’S and torque. Below are the two animated examples of an electromagnetic motor (image 2) and step motor (image 3).

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

camera motors2 electric motor animation 1 StepperMotor1

(e) PTZ Pigtail – is the cable that comes out of the camera which allows you to connect power, video, network, audio and alarms.

The Standard size IPPTZ cameras have alarm, audio, analog BNC out and an RJ45 jack (image 1). Mini-IPPTZ do not have an analog out option.

Our analog PTZ cameras have rs485, ground, BNC analog out and DC power plug (image 2)

Image 1

Image 2

ipptz-connection ptz-analog

Note: RS485 is a simple protocol used for communication between two or more devices. The nature of RS-485 allows transmission of  PTZ data along side power or in electrically noisy environment without interference. It has been tested to work at 1600 ft. on CAT6e cable.

2. Technologies

Currently our PTZs  come in three different technologies

1. Analog

2. IP


(a) Camera cable run limitations and options to extend if necessary

Analog has a 1000 ft. Video and RS485 Range but can only be powered up to 150 ft. before voltage drop. Two ways you can counter the power limitation is by:

1. Having power at the camera
2. Using a power supply with a higher amperage rating. An example of that would be if your camera is rated at 500 ma and your run is over 150 ft – use a 2-5 amp power supply. Although theoretically it should work we do not recommend exceeding the 150 ft. limit

IP has a 300 ft. limit due to standard networking limitation. Since power, video and RS485 can be run on a single CAT6e cable there is no way to increase the range without additional equipment. In the event you have to exceed the 300 ft limit you can use a POE injector that allows you to extend an additional 300 ft.

HD-CVI has 1600 ft. video and RS485 limit.  You can use CAT6e for both the RS485 and Video; for the video you will need video baluns to allow 1600 ft. range. The power has the same limitation as the analog cameras and will required local power or a higher rated 12v 2-5 amps depending on the camera requirements.

(b) Video quality and Resolutions

Analog – Our analog  cameras come with 700 TVL

IP – Range from  1.3 Mega Pixel, 2 Mega Pixel, and 3 Mega Pixel

HD-CVI – Currently only supports 1 Mega Pixel (720P)

(c) What are  differences between IP, analog + HD-CVI

1. An analog camera has to be physically connected into the DVR to record video and has a limitation of 1000ft.

An IP camera does not have to connect directly to an NVR. Simply by configuring some the network you can access your camera anywhere in the world. Let’s say your camera is in California and your NVR ( Network Video Recorder) is in New York. You can actually record the video from that camera at your New York location. This type of setup is used frequently by government and cities to monitor remote cameras.

2. Both the IP and HD-CVI support HD resolution, 720P and 1080P, whereas the analog only supports D1 resolution at 700 TVL

Note: The higher the resolution of a camera, the larger the images. It allows for wider coverage areas and more details vs the analog resolution. Because the images are larger on higher resolutions its better suited to use the digital zoom to get a closer look at an object.

3. Mini and Standard size cameras

Two of the major differences between our mini and standard sized PTZ cameras is the size of the housing and the optical lens capacities. The mini cameras are more aesthetically appealing in smaller homes and offices. The larger housings are better suited for larger homes and commercial applications.


Standard Size PTZ

4. Camera modules

(a) The camera module houses what is called the CCD or CMOS board (image 1), lens and motors that allow fine adjustments of zoom + focus (image 2).

Image 1 – CCD OR CMOS board

Image 2 – PTZ lens with control motors

ccdboard ptz lens

(b) Image Sensor – captures light and converts it into a digital image that can be stored onto the DVR/NVR. Currently there are two different types of sensors, CCD and CMOS. There isn’t much difference as far as image quality, but the CMOS sensors are known to handle brighter than normal scenarios extremely well. The CCD sensors were designed for IR applications where cut filters and automatic shutters are used. But in the past few years with advancement in technology, cameras now offer WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) and IR cut filters (Infrared Cut filters) which allows digital and mechanical adjustment for your specific setup. So it doesn’t matter if your using a CMOS or CCD as your end results are of high quality.

CCD Sensor

CMOS Sensor

CCD cmos

(c) Optical lens – Allows for adjustment of zoom or focus. When you zoom in, the lens moves closer to the image senor so the image becomes larger. When you zoom out the lens moves away from the image sensor which make the image small and results in a wider view.  When referring to 12x zoom on lets say our PTZ-LX700L12X mini it means it can zoom in 12 times the normal amount. Generally you can find out what the range on the lens is by multiplying the lens size by the times zoom. So in our PTZ-LX-700L12X you can multiply 5×12=60. Five being the lens size multiplied by zoom gives you maximum mm size of 60 mm. In this case this camera has a varifocal range of 5-60mm

Here is an example of our 23x PTZ camera. The approximate distance from the camera to the truck is 380ft.

6. Mounting options

PTZ cameras are designed to rotate a full 360 degree there for an arm mount (image 2), pendulum mount (image 3) or ceiling mount bracket (image 1) is used for mounting the cameras.

Ceiling mounts- A ceiling mounting is great for any application that requires a PTZ camera but with a low profile. The better half of the camera goes into any surface and has a clip mechanism to secure it. Only the dome will be visible for a aesthetically appealing look.

Arm mount- Are designed to mount a vertical plane or post. Generally this camera serves as a deterrence as it protrudes from where its mounted

Pendant mount- are designed to hang  from a horizontal surface such as ceiling, post.

 In ceiling mount   Arm mount  Pendant mount
plasticdome2,jpg 700tvl-12x-indoor-outdoor-pan-tilt-zoom-security-camera-59056big pr59195img4sma

7. Wiring PTZ cameras 

(a) Wiring RS485 for Analog PTZ cameras

There are two ways you can successfully wire PTZ cameras 1. Daisy chain  2. Star or direct connection

 Daisy Chain connection

  Star or Direct connection

multiple ptz connection daisy chain multiple ptz connection

Note: Recommended cable CAT6e but CAT5e works fine as well. Use a single pair ex: solid blue and white/ blue, use the solid blue as the positive and the white/blue as the negative.

The main difference between daisy chaining or direct connection is on a daisy chain the cameras rely on each other. So if one fails the ones that follow the failed camera will not work. On a direct connection the cable is ran directly from each camera to the controller or DVR. I normally splice in a 2-3 ft. cable to make it easier to connect. If a camera fails none of the other cameras are affected and continue to operate as normal.


The Advantages of a Pan Tilt Zoom PTZ Camera

Written By:
Friday, July 24th, 2015


It can be difficult choosing the right security camera for your needs. There are so many different types and sizes to choose from. Most cheaper security cameras are limited. The only view you get is the one that it is positioned in. If you have ever tried to video a moving subject such as a child, an animal, or an adult, you know that they will not just stay in the field of view of the camera. The purpose of a security camera for the most part is to keep an eye on your products, property, family, and or personnel. Any criminal would try their hardest to stay out of the camera’s field of view. With a pan tilt zoom camera it makes their attempt to hide from the camera almost impossible. If a security camera has a 60 degree viewing angle it will capture some objects but in greater detail than a security camera with a 90 degree viewing angle that will capture more objects but with fewer details.


The size of a cameras lens and or “focal length” is the main factor when it comes to determining the field of view. A camera with the focal length of 3.6mm will have a field of view of 78 degrees. A camera with the focal length of 5.1mm will have a field of view of 58 degrees. A camera with the focal length of 6mm will have a field of view of 51 degrees. A camera with the focal length of 9mm will have a field of view of 39 degrees. The smaller lenses are also known as wide-angle lenses, which can give you a larger field of view than cameras with a larger lens. When it comes to lenses in security cameras, bigger does not always mean better. With wide-angle lenses, the objects will appear smaller within the camera image but it will cover a larger area. The wide-angle lenses are meant for monitoring larger areas such as foyers, warehouses, back and front yards and parking lots. The other lens options are larger lenses, also known as narrow-angle lenses, and have a smaller field of view. These lenses capture a smaller and more limited area, but the objects will appear larger and more detailed. The purpose of these types of cameras are for narrowing in on a specific target such as a doorways, hallways, cash registers and other objects of value.

field of views

There is a lens option called “fixed lens” which means the focal length is set permanently and cannot be adjusted by the cameras user. When choosing one of these lenses it is very important you choose the right field of view because you can not adjust it later. “Varifocal Lenses” allow the user to adjust the cameras lens by using certain adjustment knobs and screws. Of course a camera with this ability will make the camera more expensive. Although they are more expensive, you have the capability of making the adjustments you may require later. The focus settings on these types of cameras may have to be adjusted from time to time. In order to unsure you are able to switch quickly between narrow and a wide field of view your best option would be a “Pan Tilt Zoom” camera also known a PTZ camera. The PTZ camera has a motorized varifocal lens that can be used to change the cameras field of view from your digital video recorder, network video recorder, tablet, computer or smart phone. In order to change the view, you will need the control panel which is normally sold separately. PTZ cameras are named for their capabilities, you can pan, tilt, and zoom in on what you want to focus on. Unlike all other cameras, the PTZ camera has a full field of view.


A useful innovation that is available with a PTZ camera is “Auto Tracking”. Auto tracking is a built-in firmware program that monitors any change in pixels generated by the video. When there is movement the pixels change as a result and the camera will then move and will focus on the pixel variation in an attempt to center the pixel fluctuation on the video clip. As a result the camera will follow or “track” the movement. This program also allows the camera to estimate the size of the object moving and the distance of the movements from the camera. These estimates help the camera to adjust the camera’s optical lens in and out to stabilize and focus on the movement. Once the movement exits the camera’s field of view, the camera will automatically return to its pre-programmed position until it senses movement again. In order to exit a PTZ cameras field of view which is 360 degrees you must exit the room, and if you are outside you would go around the building.


PTZ cameras are normally used to monitor a larger area with a single camera and a conventional PTZ camera is normally pointed at a specific area. This limits the video recorded unless it is being monitored and controlled by a person or auto tracker software.

Salient points you should know about IP/PTZ cameras:

– PTZ cameras can store a fixed number of preset positions. In order to choose the view you want, you set each view to a numbered button. It can also be programmed to auto shift between those positions for a set amount of time.

– Many PTZ cameras allow users to draw a small box with their mouse and zoom in on that selected area.

– With some PTZ cameras the administrator has the ability to designate users to change the position of the camera, but only one user can change the position/view at a time

– Some PTZ IP cameras can freeze the image, move to another position then release the freeze so the user can only see the targeted areas.

– the speed of the PTZ features can be adjusted.

– it is possible to limit the maximum pan and tilt angles.

– the quality of the zoom feature is restricted to the resolution of the camera chosen.

All in all a PTZ is one of the most technologically advanced cameras available today.


A Beginner’s Visual Guide to Security Camera Features

Written By:
Monday, December 29th, 2014

The security camera market today is a quickly evolving field with a multitude of camera styles and features to choose from. For beginners, this can be initially confusing especially when looking to purchase a multi-camera system. What features are most important, or more to the point, what features will be most important for your security needs? This article will attempt to help illustrate some of these security camera features with the help of some demonstration videos and graphics to help give you a better idea what features to consider when purchasing a security camera system.

1) Video Resolution


One of the first and most important things to consider when selecting a security camera is the video resolution. Older cameras used standard definition analog resolution and many cameras still made today also use this format. Due to the older technology, analog cameras do tend to be less expensive and offer the ability to record for much longer time periods while using far less memory / hard drive space. But, analog cameras do lack the fine detail that high definition cameras have. Megapixel, or High-Definition recording, generates an image that is several times larger than analog, which allows them the capability to capture far greater detail, including faces, tattoos, and other minute details that could be important if the footage has to be later used as evidence.

The higher the megapixel value of the camera, the more detail you’ll be able to discern from the footage. Keep in mind, as the resolution size increases beyond 1080p, the maximum frame rate will decrease. This is because each frame rendered at an extremely high resolution uses exponentially more memory and network bandwidth to encode.

This video will give you an idea of how the different resolution sizes and frame rates compare to each other.

For instance, a 2 megapixel (1920 X 1080 pixels) high definition security camera can easily record at a full 30 frames per second, but a 5 megapixel (2560 X 1920 pixels) camera will max out at 12 frames per second. Note: Higher megapixel cameras can also be set to lower resolution settings, with higher frame rates, if necessary.

3 MP vs Analog
Side by Side – 3MP vs Analog cameras @ approx. 20 feet away, digitally zoomed on both to show detail

Camera resolution will also factor into how much hard drive space you’ll need to archive your footage. The higher the resolution, and the more cameras you install, the more hard drive space you’ll need inside your DVR. Fortunately, most DVRs have the capability to hold several hard drives for storage. An easy way to figure out exactly how much hard drive space you’ll need for any given number of cameras is by using our Online Hard Drive Calculator

CCTV hard drive calculator
Screenshot of the CCTV Hard Drive Calculator

2) Infrared Mode

Some security cameras have a built in ability to see in complete darkness using infrared light. The way this works is infrared lights that surround the camera lens send a strong beam of infrared light (which is invisible to the naked eye).

These infrared LEDs switch on automatically when the lights are turned off or when the sun goes down and not enough visible light is hitting the camera’s image sensor. Some of that infrared light beaming out of the camera bounces back when it hits an object and that residual infrared light is captured by the Infrared sensor, which is usually directly above the lens of the camera. IR images usually lack color, but allow small, important details to be seen clearly.


The higher the IR rating of the camera, the further it can see into the darkness. For instance, a camera with an IR of 50 can see 50 feet, an IR of 250 feet can see 250 feet, and so on. NOTE- Be careful not to install a camera too close to another object, especially when installing a PTZ with infrared lights. This can cause the camera’s IR sensor to flood and will end up washing out any detail.

3) Lenses – Fixed, Zoom and Interchangeable Lenses

Many security cameras have static, fixed wide angle lenses, and are only intended to be used to capture an overall view of the environment. Varifocal lens cameras have the ability to go from a wide angle to a closer shot, and can be sometimes be controlled though the interface of a DVR or NVR, through a web browser, and others. However, most varificol cameras have a manual zoom and focus that need to be adjusted at the camera.

varifocal manual zoom lens
Some varifocal cameras need to be manually zoomed and focused. These controls are usually found near the lens. On dome cameras, it’s usually necessary to remove the protective dome to access these controls.

Interchangeable Lenses

cctv camera lenses
Fixed Lens vs Interchangeable lenses.

There’s a style of security camera that uses external interchangeable lenses rather than built in lenses. These are called “Box Cameras”. The lenses for these cameras can be purchased separately and are screwed into the front port on the camera.

The advantage of these cameras is that they can allow for exceptional zoom capabilities when paired with certain lenses, but they must be zoomed and focused manually via control knobs on the side of the lens.

This style of camera is also designed to be installed inside an outdoor camera housing, which protects it from the weather and supplies a cooling mechanism, and has a port for power.

camera housing article graphic
Box cameras can be easily added to a protective housing for outdoor use.

4) Pan-Tilt-Zoom

If you need to record an area where on-the-fly camera movement will be a necessity, and you don’t want the hassle of having to manually adjust, zoom and focus the camera, then a Pan tilt zoom camera is the best option. These cameras are typically rather large, so if you’re looking for a small, easily hidden camera, they may not be the best option. But, in terms of overall breadth features, Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras (or PTZ’s) are truly state-of-the-art.

Here’s an example of a PTZ camera in action.

Due to their range of movement (which typically 360 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically), PTZ cameras have an ability other security cameras are incapable of, such as the ability to detect and track movement.

Parameters can be created within the interface of your NVR such as a virtual trip wire drawn within the software in front of a doorway, as an example. When that invisible line is crossed, the camera will follow that movement until the person or object goes out of frame.

virtual tripwire
A user can create a virtual tripwire, so anything that crosses the line causes the camera to start tracking that moving object.

Additionally, parameters can be set to tell the camera what movement or areas within the camera’s view to ignore while it’s tracking movement, such as windblown trees, clouds, or small objects such as birds. All of these might trigger the camera to start tracking otherwise.

You can also set a PTZ to look around a given area on a predetermined scan cycle, and these cameras typically come with several of these cycles pre-programmed into the camera itself.

5) Wired versus Wireless

Many people have asked us why we cannot recommend a wireless security camera. The answer is simply that the battery technology needed to make wireless security cameras viable isn’t quite there yet. Cameras need a constant, reliable source of power, and there hasn’t yet been a battery designed that can run a security camera for days or weeks on end. So, for the foreseeable future, wired security cameras will be the standard.


Where Should I Place My Security Cameras In My Business?

Written By:
Monday, September 8th, 2014

2 Megapixel Bullet Camera

Where Should I Place My Security Cameras In My Business? It would seem a rather simple question. Exactly what did you want to see? However yet, there are some elements to consider when designing your camera plan that you may not have considered. I have listed some of the things you might want to cover in a section by section breakdown that you can peruse on a “by application” basis.

Exterior Building Parking Lots: Clearly one of the most popular placements for cameras, parking lots can also be difficult to secure. They are often large areas where targets are undetermined to enter, exit, or travel. Additionally, you are often working with a number of unknowns and variables. This enormous unknown factor means you have to be prepared for something to occur anywhere within this large area. The use of pan tilt zoom, multiple varifocal, and megapixel cameras are common, and combining them is an even more effective way to cover your lots.

Exterior Building Yards: Yard areas are often where a company keeps some of their most expensive assets. Machinery, inventory, and other large and bulk items are kept in these yards. This can be a perplexing situation for security. Ideally cameras focused on specific areas, megapixel cameras, or auto-tracking cameras are excellent options, and of course, combinations of these are even better.

Exterior Building Perimeter: Covering the exterior entrances of a building can be tricky, and if possible shouldn’t be combined with cameras being used to cover yards or lots. The wider the angle of picture used to capture an area, the smaller the objects in that picture appear (and therefore yielding less detail). Therefore, for the sake of detail, you should use separate cameras for these purposes. Obtaining the largest, clearest pictures of persons entering and leaving a building or area is absolutely critical in many situations.

Exterior Building Zone Management and Security: No access and sensitive areas can be managed easily and cost-effective with the right cameras and recorder. Many recorders can be set to send you a text, email, or push notification if there is motion within a certain area of a camera’s field of view. Additionally, Pan Tilt Zoom cameras can be trained to change direction and zoom in and out if there is a motion activation in a certain area.

Exterior Building Vehicle Registration: Capturing vehicle information can be accomplished very easily. The key to this task is more a matter of camera proximity than type. Capturing vehicle information can be very useful to authorities in the event that something occurs on your property.

Interior Building Security: When considering interior camera locations, there are many considerations. Certainly you will want overviews of any area of interest, but there is more than just that to consider. You will want to cover your major entry points. In the case of your home, doing this with a covert camera may give you critical information identifying potential intruders unaware of the camera’s existence. In your business, a super high quality varifocal camera will give you a record of all who enter. You will also want to cover high importance areas with their own camera. Cash registers and counting areas, gun and cash safes, jewelry boxes, and theater rooms can all be perfect situations to place an additional covert or high end camera.

Interior Building Inventory Control: Clearly one of the most important purposes for cameras is to protect the valuables contained within a building. Placing cameras at high traffic areas creates a registry of people entering and leaving the area with inventory. Additional cameras placed in areas of particularly valuable or important items is always suggested as an additional way to account for those items. Another philosophy is to place a camera at the exits to monitor persons as they exit the building.

Interior Building Time Theft Prevention: Keeping watch of your time clock can be far more important than you realize. Its becoming more and more common to find that another employee has been punching the time clock on the behalf of their friend, or employees punching themselves back in from break and then returning to the break room. These are just a few forms of a new crime known as “time theft”. Essentially, its fraud. You could easily lose thousands of dollars at your time clock.

Interior Building Supervisory: Large area overview cameras are gaining popularity these days as well. These cameras assist the business owner in keeping tabs on their employees and the activities they are performing. They can be used to enforce and ensure safety policies are being adhered to, observing and training employees on the job, observing customers/clients for research on behaviors, and enforcement of rules, regulations and standards of your business. Lastly, interior cameras give you piece of mind by giving you the power to simply look and see what exactly is going on while you are away yourself.

Interior Building Monetary Assets Control: In any business there are precious investments that need to be secured. Everything from expensive machines or computers, to safes and registers, to raw inventory, to the very people in the business (customers and employees alike) has/have potential to be stolen or damaged. Keeping an eye on valuable assets is an obvious use for cameras.

Interior Building Entrant Registration: Even though this is the last entry in my camera locations blog, it may actually be the most important. A registry of entries and exits and a detail of the people of the persons coming and going could prove critical in the cases of many events. Placing a camera at each entrance that only views literally the space required to enter or exit the building, and raised to the optimal zone the people’s heads travel through should give you a nice big detailed picture of their face. When paired with an overview camera of the area, you can now track that person based on a) their apparel and look and b) simply going from camera to camera and tracing their movements. If that person is caught on recording stealing, vandalizing, or any other action of interest; you can now simply reverse through the footage until you get to the point where they had entered the building. At that point, you have that nice large image of their face. If there are other confined entry points (like other doorways) that allow access into areas of interest or importance or value, you could place other facial capture cameras as a way to make certain the person is the same, and to get more details about them.


The Pros and cons of a PTZ Security Camera

Written By:
Friday, April 18th, 2014

When you are choosing a security camera for your home or business it helps to understand the different lens options that are available to you. Most common are the fixed lens, varifocal lens and the PTZ’s, otherwise known as the Pan, Tilt, Zoom cameras.


A fixed lens is just that, a non-adjustable lens. Typically they are a 3.6mm lens that gives a wide overview similar to what the human eye can see.

Then you have the Varifocal lens. Put simply this is a lens that can be manually zoomed and focused on a specific area. It’s important to realize that a varifocal camera is zoomed and focused at the time the camera is being setup.

Once you have positioned and zoomed your fixed lens or varifocal camera, that is the view that you will see from that point on when viewing the cameras or watching recorded video.

If you wanted to see a different view you would need to get up on your ladder and re-adjust the view, zoom or focus manually.

What you probably want is a fancy camera like you see in the movies. One with a cool joystick that will allow you to move the camera around and zoom in and out in real-time. That’s a PTZ or Pan, Tilt, Zoom camera.


Many PTZs can zoom in up to 36 times with optical zoom and can also digitally zoom after that. They also have the ability to be set on a tour or a pattern. That means you can set the camera on a predefined repeating cycle. You might want to have it look in one direction for 5 seconds than turn 60 degrees, zoom in and look in another direction for 10 seconds. The pattern options are fully customizable.

Some PTZ security cameras even have special features like Motion Tracking. This is where the camera will automatically detect movement, lock on to an object and track it.

So you might be asking yourself, why I would you ever not want a PTZ. It seems like they do it all. Well before you go out and buy all PTZ cameras here are a few things to think about.

The first thing you need to know is that PTZ’s are typically a lot more expensive than fixed or varifocal cameras. If you want to add IR (Night Vision) the cost jumps up even more.
A high quality varifocal with 100ft of IR like the (VD-EF700IR100L2812D-W) will run you around $159. Compare that to a good 36x PTZ with IR like the (PTZ-EL700IR300L36X) and you will spend about $1990.

Although it is possible to get a very nice 12x PTZ with no IR starting as low as $229. I highly recommend it the (PTZ-LX700L12X-E) from

When you install a PTZ a couple of things need to be taken into consideration. First, most PTZs are larger than a typical security camera and require more power. It is usually recommended that PTZs have their own dedicated power source. Many come with a power supply but in some cases you may have to buy a separate one.

Most PTZs today are controlled via RS485. RS485 is a standard on most new DVRs but an extra set of wires may need to be run to control the Pan, Tilt and Zoom of the camera.
If you are installing an IP PTZ the power, video and control can all be done over a single CAT5 cable but a separate POE Power injector is recommended.

In order to control your PTZ you will have to use the on-screen buttons or UI of your DVR, PSS Software, Web Interface or mobile App assuming they have that ability. If you want to use a Joystick you will probably have to purchase one separately.

Here’s a scenario. Let’s say you are going to install an 8 camera system. You decide to buy 7 varifocal cameras and 1 PTZ.
Sounds like a good plan so far, right.

Now let’s say your system has been up and running for a while and you realize someone ran over your garden gnome.


So you go back and start looking at the recordings and realize the only camera that could have caught this is the PTZ.

You find the segment of the recording you’re looking for and wouldn’t you know it, just when the gnome was run over the PTZ was looking in the other direction! Trust me this happens a lot.

You might decide after this happens a few times to take the PTZ out of tour mode, but then you just have a very expensive fixed lens camera. Of course you do still have the ability to Pan, Tilt and Zoom via your DRV or a Joystick.

One other thing I have noticed. If you do decide to set your PTZ to a fixed view and the power goes out or the camera reboots there is no guarantee the lens will automatically go back the desired position. You may have to go back and point it there again.

Remember earlier when I spoke about Auto Tracking? There are a couple of things to keep in mind.
1. All PTZs do not have Auto Tracking Abilities.

2. Typically the camera will track the largest object in its view. If a car pulls up and 3 guys get out and run in different directions the camera will most likely follow the biggest guy.

3. If you want to use Auto Tracking then your PTZ can’t be in Tour Mode. The PTZ will not be able to detect motion and track an object if it is constantly moving because it’s in tour mode.

Although PTZ’s might seem like a great idea there are several things to consider before going out and spending a lot of time and money on something that is not necessarily going to be the best solution for you particular situation.

That being said I personally have a PTZ and couldn’t live without it. They definably have their place and are always a great addition to your security system but may not be the best choice as you only line of defense.