Security cameras are a must in the world of home or business security. Perhaps while shopping around for a system to protect your property, you might ask, “What’s a PTZ camera, and how’s it better than regular ones?
The “PTZ” stands for “Pan, Tilt, Zoom.” It’s a camera that comes equipped with the ability to move around, permitting you to position your camera on the fly, rather than having to break the ladder out every time you want a different view.
PTZ cameras allow you to cover a large area that would otherwise require you to have multiple cameras to achieve. These cameras make it, so you don’t need to purchase multiple cameras or have to worry about having to select multiple locations for installation.
How do PTZ Cameras Work?
PTZ cameras work through a combination of mechanics and software. The mechanics of the camera allow it to move up and down, side to side, and zoom in and out.
The software allows you to control the mechanics, but with some cameras, it allows you to set the camera to behave like a patrol. Patrol behavior means constantly looking around to protect a greater area without you having to be at the helm.
Different cameras have different abilities or limitations. For example, some PTZ cameras can only move from side to side a certain amount of degrees, while others might be able to spin a complete 360. The same types of differences can be found in the up and down motion and different magnification levels of zoom.
Why Should I Choose a PTZ Camera?
There are several good reasons that you’d be better off using a PTZ camera rather than a stationary option.
There are also a few reasons why a PTZ camera may not be best for your needs.
But for starters, we will look at the reasons why using a PTZ camera may be beneficial. Here are a few of those reasons.
- They cover a large area and are best for large yards.
- When strategically placed, their field of view can look around corners.
- You can zoom in closer to people or objects in real-time to gather greater details.
- Most systems allow you to establish patrol parameters and also adjust the speed of the patrol view’s motion.
- Because of the capabilities of a PTZ security camera, you’ll be spending less money on installation costs, or less time installing several different cameras to cover the same range.
There are pros and cons to everything. Along with the reasons why you should choose a PTZ security camera system, there might be reasons why you might not want one over a traditional stationary type.
So, here are a few of the cons,
or reasons it may not be beneficial to you:
Maybe you have a small yard that can get full coverage in one shot. In this case, a stationary model would probably work best for you. Some yards are small enough that any zoom feature might not ever be necessary either.
Or, because of how the property is situated, you might not want to open up a range that picks up on traffic areas. Depending on the alert software, false alarms can come quickly if a camera can’t distinguish between normal traffic and intruders.
What is a PTZ Camera System I Can Trust?
To answer this question, we’ve compiled information on four different companies that offer PTZ cameras, all being slightly different from the other. We’ll lay them out and see their strengths and features.
From there, you should be better equipped to determine whether or not these would be the right option for your yard or business. The four cameras that we’re going to look at are made by Annke, Netvue, Soliom, and Reolink.
So that you know, these cameras share many of the same or similar features. Because of this, features will be described once or twice, rather than repeating the information three or four times.
Price: $71.99 US
- 360 Degree Pan- A full rotation of the field of view.
- 160 Degree Tilt- It can look nearly all the way up or all the way down. Just shy 10 degrees on either end.
- AI Human Detection- Human detection is an effort to cancel out false alarms that could come from wind-blown trees and branches, pets, or other four-legged critters. It is designed to distinguish the difference between a person versus anything else.
- 2-Way Audio- With 2-way audio, you can listen to things going on in your yard or talk to people you see through your camera. This ability is effective in scaring away unwanted company or greeting friends and family.
- 1080p Full HD- 1080p offers a clear and smooth picture, making it easier to identify others.
- IP66 Weatherproof- This rating means that it can withstand powerful jets of water. The test is to replicate severe weather.
- Compatible with Alexa- Hands-free operation can be made possible if you have an Alexa already in your home.
- Wi-Fi Internet Connection- All you have to worry about when installing this camera is power. The Wi-Fi takes care of the rest. Just be sure that you don’t install outside the reach of your router.
- Up to 128G Micro Storage- Your data is stored locally on a micro HD card. Still, you can upgrade to hold much more information through their cloud system. This upgrade will record and store 24/7 coverage for up to 10 days.
- Night Vision- When it gets dark, the camera switches over to night vision to ensure that nothing gets past the camera’s eyes.
- Motion Detection- This is a feature most associated with security devices such as cameras and lighting because it’s the oldest feature. The motion detection will begin recording and send an alert to your mobile device via the Netvue app.
Price: $169.00 US
- 100% Wire-Free- With this wireless outdoor security camera, all you need to worry about is mounting the camera within reach of your router.
- Solar Powered- Because of the powerful solar battery, you won’t have to worry about the life of the battery in your camera.
- 320 Degree Rotation- Though it won’t spin all the way round as others might, it would still be effective if mounted on an outside corner of your home. Being corner mounted, it would be able to see around both areas around that corner.
- 90 Degree Tilt- The angle can be adjusted at 90 degrees, which is more than enough for security purposes.
- Digital PIR Motion Detection- A PIR sensor detects heat. It can help the alert system to distinguish between inanimate objects and humans to avoid false alerts.
- Color Night Vision- The camera has bright LEDs that can illuminate your field of view after dark.
- Night Vision- Attached to the face of the camera is 2 Infra-Red LEDs that provide for traditional night vision.
- 1080p Full HD- 1080p will give you clear pictures, videos and help you to make out details that lesser quality cameras can’t.
- Wi-Fi Equipped- Be sure that where you mount your camera is within the range of your internet service.
- Weather Resistant Casing
- 2-Way Talk with Noise Cancellation
Price: $229.99 US
- IP66 Weather Resistant
- Pixel Resolution of 2560 x 1920- This resolution is 2.4 times greater than that of a 1080p camera.
- 360 Degree Pan
- 90 Degree Tilt
- 4x Optical Zoom
- Night Vision- The camera is equipped with six infra-red LEDs.
- Customizable Motion Zones- You can create zones where the sensors will either detect or ignore. This feature is great for heavy traffic areas, to help eliminate the chances of false alarms.
- Adjustable Sensor Sensitivity- You can adjust the sensitivity of the camera’s sensors to make it less likely to be triggered by small animals or falling debris like leaves.
- 64GB of local Micro HD Card Storage
- FTP Storage- You also have the option to store data to their cloud.
- POE Powered- POE stands for Power Over Ethernet. This cam is powered and connected to the router via an ethernet connection. Though wiring is involved, it’s less wiring than traditional types of cameras.
- 360 Degree Pan
- 90 Degree Tilt
- 24x Zoom- Of the four cameras in this list, this bears the most impressive zoom. The Annke website claims that this camera can read license plates from 1,000 feet away.
- POE Powered- Same as the camera above- powered and connected to the internet through one ethernet cable.
- Complex Detection System- This camera has several different layers of detection to choose from. These are line crossing detection, intrusion detection, region entrance detection, region exiting detection, unattended baggage detection, object removal detection, audio exception detection, and AI human recognition.
- 300 Pan and Tilt Presets
- Smart Auto Tracking- If the camera detects movement, it will follow the source of the movement until it is out of the camera’s field of view.
- 4MP Super HD 2560 X 1440 Pixels at 30fps
- Eight Image Adjustment Functions
- Full Color Night Vision up to 164 Feet
- Traditional Infra-Red Night Vision
- 256GB Micro SD Storage or NAS Storage- Micro SD card not included.
- External Audio Support- This unit does not come stock with an audio system. However, there are connections to make this feature available.
- IP67 Weatherproof
These outdoor security cameras are able to prevent wrongdoers from getting away with whatever they’ve done, in ways that a stationary security camera can’t.
With a stationary camera, you could get footage of someone walking into the frame, then out of the frame. Your chances of obtaining any identifying information are limited to where the perpetrator decides to walk.
The ability to record someone walking from the street to your home, then sneaking across the lawn and into a tree line to retreat, leaves you with much more potential for collecting incriminating evidence.
PTZ cameras are superior to others out there in a wide variety of ways. But, as stated earlier, they might not be practical for your purposes. Only you can determine whether or not it would be worth your while to pick one of these up.
But if these are of interest to you, and you believe that they would suit your needs, all four of these are solid options to go with. So, click the link to the product above that you want and be sure to check out some of each vendor’s other products that you may find useful.
We’d love to hear from you if you have any input, questions, or experience with any of these products. Feel free to leave us a comment below.