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Pros and Cons of PTZ Cameras

Posted by Marko on 3/26/2014
The PTZ in PTZ cameras stand for pan, tilt and zoom – the three things a PTZ camera can do that other security cameras can’t. The mobility it offers makes it a great choice for surveying large open spaces, but its price makes buying one for a small store or an office overkill. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind all the pros and cons of PTZ cameras when looking into buying cameras for security systems – you may not need a PTZ camera at all, or it may be exactly what you need.

As opposed to fixed cameras, PTZ cameras can be manipulated so that they can be used to monitor a large area. The ability to zoom the camera allows it to capture important details, like faces and car license plates. The manipulation of the camera can be done automatically – by setting a pattern the camera follows at certain times, or by having security camera operators control it. With the automatic manipulation, the camera is programmed to spend some time monitoring a certain area before moving on to monitor another area for a determined period of time, before moving on. Manual manipulation, on the other hand, enables tracking with the camera, and it gives the operator the ability to zoom in on any emerging point of interest. All of these characteristics can potentially reduce the cost of security surveillance.

On the other hand, PTZ cameras can be impractical for monitoring small areas. In some cases, a fixed camera can capture a sufficient amount of detail, removing the need for zooming. Also, having two fixed cameras monitoring specific points of interest can be less expensive than getting a single PTZ camera that moves from one point to another. Especially because a PTZ camera, like any other camera, only captures what it’s pointed at – if looking at the back entrance of the store, for example, the camera isn’t covering the front door, which makes having two fixed cameras a better choice. There’s also a good chance a PTZ camera will have poorer image quality, especially when zoomed in. PTZ cameras can also be quite expensive, which is another thing that should be considered when planning a security surveillance system.