A PTZ camera can be rotated, controlled and zoomed - some can even follow a target themselves, this is called autotracking.

A PTZ camera is one of the most effective tools in the surveillance industry. Most PTZ cameras have an impressive zoom, which ensures you good images at great distances, but things like interaction with other cameras, autotracking, image stabilization, patrols, output relays, etc. are also common today.

PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt & Zoom (turn to the side, drive up/down & zoom in and out)

Read much more about the concept at the bottom of the page.

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PTZ / Speeddome camera

What is a PTZ camera?

PTZ stands for Pan Tilt Zoom, which means that the camera can be moved and zoomed due to the built-in motors, so you don't have to physically do anything yourself. Pan = to pan, to move the camera from side to side. Tilt = tilting the camera, up and down. Zoom = optical zoom.

Why use a PTZ surveillance camera?

Rotating and steerable surveillance cameras have clear advantages when it comes to monitoring large areas, complex scenes and long distances. An ordinary video surveillance camera sits and "looks" in one direction and has an overview, but when there is a need for razor-sharp details at longer distances, to look outside the "fixed" image or to follow a special target, moving cameras come into their own .

There are in particular 3 types of solutions where they are used:

  1. Manual operation
    1. Areas with active duty, e.g. for manual patrolling of construction sites, harbours, festivals, pedestrian streets etc. and here you can advantageously use "presets", which are fixed positions that are given a number, so that you can just call the number so that you want the camera to be rotated to this point.
    2. Process management, e.g. see the amount of goods in larger areas, inspection of production lines, etc.
    3. Fixed monitoring, e.g. for monitoring objects at a very long distance, e.g. number plates of 200 meters.
  2. Automatic control
    1. Autotracking is probably the most used form of automatic control, here the camera automatically follows the target.
    2. Pattern where the camera "records" your camera movements and then repeats the same pattern
    3. Patrol, here a number of "presets" are selected to which the PTZ camera alternately runs. How fast it should move over there and how long the camera should stay on each individual preset can often be adjusted. Zoom is also included in your preset.
    4. Input where the camera performs an action (go to preset, start patrol or pattern) if a button or relay is activated
  3. Cooperation with conventional video surveillance cameras
    1. VCA activated, e.g. if an ordinary camera detects "linecross" or "intrusion" it can call the PTZ camera, so that it possibly assists. with autotracking.
    2. Manipulation/sabotage, if a camera detects attempts at manipulation, for example, a PTZ camera can react to it.
    3. Input on the 3rd camera is activated, e.g. if a camera is connected to an alarm system and receives a signal from a gate or similar, that camera can then call a camera elsewhere on the network.

What is Autotracking?

If you need a new PTZ camera, choose one with autotracking.

Many newer pan and steerable cameras are equipped with autotracking. This means that the camera can follow a moving target and often zoom in on the target so that you get razor-sharp images. The trigger for autotracking is typically an intelligent analysis in the camera, which assesses that a target is interesting. It could, for example, be a person staying too long in an area, crossing a line, moving out of an approved area and many other scenarios. When a trigger has activated tracking of the target, the camera remains on the target as long as it can see it or until the maximum specified time expires. Then the camera moves in place and waits for its next target.

Example: A company needs to monitor their large parking lot surrounded by fences. In the event that the fence is breached, they will have clear images of the perpetrator, but it is too cumbersome to set up surveillance every 30 meters around the fence. The solution was instead to let a single PTZ camera monitor the entire square, however, it did not give very sharp images if you now jump over the fence 70 meters away. Therefore, the fence is drawn as a line on the camera and if the line is crossed, the camera must zoom all the way in and follow the person, and send a Push message to the guard.

Depending on which manufacturer you get hold of, it can be named differently: Autotracking, autotracking, intelligent tracking, target tracking, target tracking, intelligent target tracker and the list goes on, but common to all of them is the concept and large sums of money from the manufacturers are spent on development of this concept, because it has become a huge thing in the insurance market.

Can you control a PTZ surveillance camera from a mobile phone?

Yes, it can be controlled from a mobile phone, but also from

  • Tablet, both Android and iPad
  • Computer (PC and Mac)
  • From an NVR (hard disk recorder)
  • and even from stand alone joysticks like this: DS-1600KI

What is Preset

When you have to steer your moving camera around yourself, it is often because you have to see something in a certain place or in an area and time is often important as the alarm has just gone off or the like. Therefore, you can set some fixed positions on the camera that you can easily turn the camera to, and these are called presets.

Example: On a construction site there is a PTZ camera that the guard has access to. There are 4 entrances to the square and 3 important places where expensive tools are located. The guard has then turned the surveillance camera on each point from his mobile phone and saved it as a preset. If the alarm then goes off from entrance 2, the guard simply has to call "PRESET 2" on his mobile, then the camera itself moves to the saved position and even zooms in to where it was when "PRESET 2" was saved.

Virtually all PTZ cameras, from cheap to expensive, have the option to set a number of Presets. Most cameras have around 100+ presets available. A preset can be activated from mobile, tablet, computer (PC/MAC), automatically, on input, after time control and directly from the hard disk recorder.

Installation PTZ vs. Operations PTZ

Operations PTZ, also called Speeddome, is a camera you use in the operational phase, i.e. if you need to focus or track a target, run patrols, etc. In other words, a camera you can operate on a daily basis.

Installation PTZ is a camera that can be rotated and controlled, but only during the installation phase. Imagine that some cameras are to be mounted on a tall mast and then the cameras must subsequently be adjusted to the desired direction, but you want to avoid having to go up to the cameras during the adjustment phase. See it as an ordinary surveillance camera, where you adjust it to the desired direction from your computer/recorder.

What is a Multisensor speedome?

A camera with eyes in the neck! When a moving surveillance camera starts searching for a target, it often loses sight of it and this is a major disadvantage, as there are then unmonitored areas. This has often been solved by setting up several cameras that cover the same area, but this is no longer necessary if you use multi-sensor PTZ cameras. Hikvision, for example, calls them tandem view. The camera is often still only supplied with a single network cable.

Multisensor means "multiple lenses" and speeddome means PTZ, so a multi-lens rotatable and controllable camera.

Can PTZ surveillance camera run PoE?

Yes of course. Most people do it too, either PoE or PoE+ and also that a separate power supply does not necessarily have to be made, but a single network cable must be run from the switch or PoE injector up to the camera.

The best cable for these types of surveillance cameras is the network cable CAT6 or above.

What is a PT and ePTZ camera?

PT camera is actually the same as a PTZ camera, but just without the optical zoom and hence the name PT, where the Z for zoom is omitted. A PT surveillance camera can often still do digital zoom.

ePTZ camera basically means that the camera has electronic PTZ and therefore has no moving parts. It can be used, for example, on fisheye cameras and cameras with very high resolution.