Complete Guide to the Best PTZ Camera System

Editor’s Choice

PTZ camera system

  • Features a Canon 1/2.3″ UHD 4K CMOS image sensor capable of UHD 4K video capture
  • It incorporates Canon’s DIG!C DV 6 Image Processor essential in providing high image quality
  • The camera is equipped with “Hybrid AF” to confirm autofocus from the camera

Best Overall

PTZ camera system

  • Cisco PTZ camera captures high-definition video from a full range of motion.
  • The camera system is outdoor-ready and has day and night operation capability. 
  • The camera features flexible power options.

Budget-Friendly

PTZ camera system

  • Crystal clear High Definition video
  • SDI connectivity to run video over long distances
  • It comes with a built-in wide dynamic range and 2D and 3D noise cancellation

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out the best PTZ camera system, then I’d recommend Cisco Systems Network Surveillance PTZ Camera System as the best one.

PTZ Camera Systems are famous for their ability to broadcast and live stream. They also allow you to see a large area and easily track activity. This article will discuss different types of PTZ Camera Systems. We will also look at some features you should consider when purchasing a PTZ Camera System. Let’s get started!

Here are the best PTZ Camera Systems we will be reviewing:

What is PTZ Camera System

PTZ Camera System is a type of camera that can rotate and tilt to view a large area. They are often used in live streams and broadcasting. They allow you to see a large size and check events from a distance. 

Features of a PTZ Camera System

High-powered Infrared LEDs

If you want to capture video at night, a PTZ camera with high-powered IR LEDs is good. Its powerful infrared lights can illuminate items in total darkness from far away.

Auto-tracking

Tracking in PTZ cameras has been around for a while. It’s gone even more efficient with recent advances. You may now set your camera to track items of various sizes, such as tiny, medium, and huge. The amount of zoom you choose is also essential for tracking accuracy.

Electronic Image Stabilization or EIS

PTZ cameras are often placed on buildings or poles to capture a wide area of interest. If you want to use your PTZ camera in this way, look for one that has Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). EIS helps the camera stay still. It reduces movement and blurring, particularly in windy areas. Remember that EIS crops your field of vision slightly for the camera to focus on something, so be ready for it.

Extra Back-up or Redundancy

Many pan, tilt, and zoom motions need more power, so most PTZ cameras come with a 24 Volt AC input. Some camera manufacturers make cameras that work with Power over Ethernet. This means that you don’t need to use a separate power supply for the camera. You can improve power redundancy by using a 24 Volt AC cable with your camera’s PoE connection. 

Suppose one cable’s power goes out, but you have a battery backup on the other cable. In that case, the camera will automatically switch to the second input. This video backup system is a great way to ensure your video is always safe. This is especially useful if you live in an area with frequent blackouts.

HDR or High Dynamic Range

Capturing video in areas with bright sunlight and dark shadows can be difficult. The light makes it hard to see what is happening in the shadows. If this sounds like your field of view, looking for a PTZ camera that uses High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a good choice.

HDR technology merges two separate images. One with a short and the other one with a long exposure. It does this in real-time to create the best possible balance of light.

What are the Pros and Cons of a PTZ Camera System?

PTZ camera systems have benefits and drawbacks. We will look at several different ways to use this product and its unique advantages.

Pros of a PTZ camera system

You can use PTZ cameras to film and broadcast events, conferences, and other programs. They have many advantages, such as panning and tilting the camera to better view the action. They provide a high level of flexibility and control when capturing the footage you need. Also, they’re easy to set up and use, which makes them an excellent choice for busy venues that need to get the job done.

You can also control PTZ cameras from a distance. This means that even if there are many people, you can still configure it to get a good view.

Powerful Capabilities

When you put up PTZ cameras, they are practically unnoticeable and out of view. The tiny, compact cameras on the market today have sophisticated shooting abilities. This is thanks to 4K and 6K technology, which amplifies their strength and coverage. You can set these cameras to follow motion automatically. One example is detecting motion on a stage or doing another activity.  

Pre-set Schedule

You can also automate PTP camera systems. You can program them to operate regularly. It is handy for applications where you need to use the camera for activities. For example, if you want to make a time-lapse movie of your school or campus.

Fixed Camera System

PTZ cameras, unlike static cameras, have a wide range of motion options. Their pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities are effective for a fixed camera system.

Since they’re fixed, and all the operation is digital, you can use PTZ cameras in areas where silence is vital. And even if the camera is unnoticeable, you can still film coverage with complete 360° control. 

Disadvantages of a PTZ camera system

There are several benefits to the PTZ camera system, but it also has some drawbacks.

Limited View

Unfortunately, the camera will not be able to record some areas because of the limited vision. It implies that you’ll need to install many camera units in some cases. It is to maintain coverage, which may lead to gaps in recording.

Shorter life-span

Another disadvantage is they may have a shorter lifespan than others. In certain situations, PTZ cameras are more likely to break down. Another disadvantage is they may have a shorter lifespan than others. In certain conditions, PTZ cameras are more likely to break down. You might need to think about the cost of ownership. Also, what will be helpful for your facility before you decide.

What to Consider When Setting Up a PTZ Camera System

The letters “PTZ” stand for “Pan, Tilt, Zoom.” These are the camera’s basic mechanical capabilities. And it has become associated with the remote-controlled conference camera class. Let’s look at what you’ll need to build a solid camera system.

Survey Your Environment

You can start by assessing your current environment. PTZ camera systems are best suited for applications or productions. These may include houses of worship, education, legal or medical, and live events. 

Determine Who and What Your Target Is

Determine how you’ll use the camera system. Is it for online streaming, TV broadcasting, an event with monitors, video recording only, or simultaneous recording with a live event?

Define Your Criteria or Parameters

Setting your parameters ahead of time will assist you in determining other essential things. It may include what kind of cabling you’ll need, how many cameras you’ll need to cover the whole space, and if a remote controller is required.

For example, suppose you want to mount cameras on the wall or ceiling. Suppose you’re operating more than one simultaneously with a small staff without sending someone up on a ladder to adjust them. In that case, remote cameras could be a good option if you desire greater control over camera placement.

Camera Types

In general, because we deal with video and control signals and unsecured and possibly unstable wireless connections, physical wired connections are required for PTZ camera installations. However, suppose your camera location really can’t be connected. In that case, there are choices available that will increase your budget by an amount of money and additional equipment to manage. For the best results, experts recommend beginning with a wired setup.

There are several PTZ cameras, some of which can do non or little pan/tilt/zoom activities. Suppose you’re in a tiny conference room with no pan/tilt/zoom capability. In that case, an introductory video conferencing webcam may be all you need to connect your computer for web conferencing and video recording on your PC.

Suppose you’re in a larger setting like a church or an event hall. In that case, you’ll need remote controls and multiple cameras to cover the entire area.

Remote-Control Methods

Serial, IP, and infrared are the three most common methods of controlling PTZ cameras.

  • Serial Control. A direct serial connection is the easiest way to control the camera. You would plug a cable into a serial port on the camera (such as RS-232 or RS-485). It then transmits data between the camera and another device, such as a controller or switcher with buttons or dials. Specific communication standards, such as VISCA, Pelco-P, and Pelco-D, are used in these serial connections. You’d need to make sure your camera and the controller support the same protocols.
  • IP Control. You may use the NDI protocol to control a camera over an IP network, a standard LAN, by software installed on a computer, mobile device, or web browser. NDI refers to “Network Device Interface,” an IP-based communication standard created by NewTek for sending video signals and data on a local network. NDI makes it simple to add and manage new cameras and devices since the signaling language is known by both software and gadgets. 
  • IR Control. An IR control approach, like your TV remote, manages essential camera functions utilizing an infrared remote control. Many PTZ cameras come with an IR remote already installed and offer alternative options for management if needed.

Lens Options

PTZ cameras are designed to target a specific area. Because of their high mobility and flexibility, these cameras can capture a wider field of view than stationary CCTV cameras. These cameras aren’t built for close-ups; instead, they’re meant for recording broad activities and huge settings. They have varying degrees of coverage; be sure the camera sees a lot of ground.

Suppose you’re filming in a meeting room with a standard configuration. You may need a wide lens to include the entire space – mainly if you’re using a static camera without controls. If you’re shooting in an area with lots of cameras, or if you can manually control your camera, so it moves onto the subject, you may use a longer lens (narrower angle of view).

Recording

SD card slots are standard in PTZ cameras, allowing you to record your programs. Others want you to send a file to a recording destination such as a DVR, an NVR, a PC with recording programmability, or a social media site with the ability to save material.

Control and Switching

The cameras may be controlled via serial, IR, or IP, each with its hardware for panning, tilting, zooming, iris control, and focus adjustment.

Control Options

A typical selection for camera control is a serial remote with a joystick that allows you to use source select and complete PTZ function control over many cameras. There are also some variants with a PTZ Keyboard that lets you operate your camera via serial and connect to an NDI network. You can then broadcast your video through the local area network (LAN).

Video Switching

In addition to controlling the camera or cameras (if you are using multiple cameras in your setup), you will need to be able to choose which camera’s video is shown on your broadcast. This is done with a video switcher.

You can use a hardware switch to connect your computer to a screen. The button will allow you to input HDMI, SDI, DVI, NDI, or other video signals. Another option is to use software that will let you send your event using it.

Hardware Video Switches

PTZ camera systems usually come with a hardware video switch. A hardware video switch is a physical device that sits between your PTZ camera and your computer. The hardware video switch allows you to manually select which PTZ camera is active at any given time. 

The main advantage of using a hardware video switch is that it frees up your computer’s processing power. When using a hardware video switch, your computer doesn’t have to work as hard to manage the PTZ cameras. 

Another advantage of using a hardware video switch is that it can be used to create custom views. For example, you could create a picture that shows all four PTZ cameras at once. 

Software Video Switches

Some PTZ camera systems come with a software video switch. A software video switch is a program that runs on your computer and allows you to select which PTZ camera is active at any given time. 

Using a software video switch is usually cheaper than a hardware video switch. The downside is that it uses up your computer’s processing power, which can slow down your PTZ cameras. 

If you’re not sure whether you need a hardware or software video switch, ask the PTZ camera system manufacturer for advice.

Encoders and Decoders

PTZ camera systems use encoders and decoders to control the movement of the cameras. The encoder is a device that converts the video signal from the camera into a digital format that can be transmitted over the internet. The decoder is a device that converts the digital signal back into an analog signal so that it can be displayed on a monitor.

Connecting It All

This guide will help you understand how your PTZ cameras connect to switches, encoders, and computers. It does not cover more advanced networking concepts or how a distributed system works. However, it is still essential to know this information.

For example, suppose you use a LAN to connect your cameras and computers. In that case, you will need a DHCP server/router to assign IP addresses and manage separate private networks. Additionally, an Ethernet switch can add components to the network. Some controls have PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) support, so unsightly electric cabling is not required.

If you want to use NDI, you need to connect your cameras to a LAN. The Ethernet switch is already on your network, so do not worry about that. However, keep in mind that it is best for closed networks with lots of bandwidth when sending high-resolution video using NDI. This means that the network should have Gigabit Ethernet.

In addition to these, you’ll find some PTZ cameras that include an HDMI output. This video transport method transmits all control signals, power, and video through a single cable. HDBaseT networks require a compatible switch and cameras.

Extras:

After you have decided on your camera system, don’t forget to factor in the following elements of the production.

Camera Features

Monitoring: You’ll want to watch the monitor output on your camera or switcher so that you can set it up for monitoring. The monitor output has a lower resolution than the actual program output, so match your monitor with the maximum exit to see the best results.

“Image flip”: If you’re mounting your PTZ camera on the wall or ceiling, check if it has an image flip option so you don’t end up with upside-down footage.

Noise level: If you are filming in a quiet place, like a church or an event, check to see if the manufacturer of your PTZ camera specifies a quiet motor. Some models make a bit of noise.

Adding Graphics and Titles

You may want to add some graphics or titles if you use a computer to switch your PTZ camera and other video sources. This can be done with software.

Cisco Systems Network Surveillance PTZ Camera System

PTZ camera system

The Cisco Systems Network Surveillance PTZ Camera System is designed for superior performance, image quality, and ease of deployment. If you need a high-quality camera that’s easy to use, this is just what your business needs. 

With the clarity of 1080p video at 30 frames per second, a continuous 360° pan rotation, and a 220° tilt angle range, you can be sure that your captures will look as good when they’re being watched back from any perspective. Plus, with 20x optical zoom, it has all eyes on it. 

Also, with the 16 preset locations, you can program up to a customized cycling camera that will automatically change between shots while recording. 

The camera is also equipped with powerful digital imaging technology to capture high-quality images in various lighting conditions. It uses an image sensor built using global shutter wires, eliminating blurring caused by rapid movements and natural color rendition without any blooming or smear while minimizing motion blur. 

The housing for this camera is rated at IP66, meaning you can mount it outdoors without any need to protect against water or other elements. The camera is perfect for any scene and can capture everything in perfectly lit detail. It includes an IR filter that automatically switches to night mode when needed, so you won’t miss out on those low-light shots!

Pros:

  • Cisco PTZ camera captures high-definition video from a full range of motion.
  • The camera system is outdoor-ready and has day and night operation capability. 
  • The camera features flexible power options. 
  • It has 16 preset camera locations.
  • It’s easy to operate with its simple web interface. 

Cons:

  • Only those with contracts with Cisco can use this device. 

Canon CR-N300 4K NDI PTZ Camera System

PTZ camera system

The Canon CR-N300 4K NDI PTZ Camera perfectly fits your house of worship or corporate conference room application. With features such as the 1/2 3″ dual pixel CMOS sensor and Hybrid AF, this camera will make video production easier! 

The DIG!C DV6 Image processor, provides even more processing power to capture every frame correctly. It also ensures smooth playback on any device without lag time at HD resolution up to UHD 4k30 fps speed. It does all this within a compact package, making it easy to transport around locations where events occur. You can put a camera in your existing network with NDI support without worrying about additional licenses or configurations.

The Remote Camera Control Application can be used to control the CR-N300. It is a Windows application for centralized management of multiple cameras, and it’s possible to operate up to 9 at once, achieving “multi-camera operation.”

Pros:

  • Features a Canon 1/2.3″ UHD 4K CMOS image sensor capable of UHD 4K video capture
  • It incorporates Canon’s DIG!C DV 6 Image Processor essential in providing high image quality
  • The camera is equipped with “Hybrid AF” to confirm autofocus from the camera
  • It produces stunningly detailed FHD video
  • It has a Remote Camera Control Application for centralized control of multiple cameras 

Cons:

  • The only WIFI capability is the ability to administer/control the camera over WIFI. It’s not capable of connecting to another WIFI network.

Vaddio RoboSHOT 30 OneLINK Bridge System PTZ Camera System

PTZ camera system

The RoboSHOT 30 OneLINK Bridge System by Vaddio is a two-camera system that gives you the power to capture full HD video (native 1080p/60) with incredible color accuracy. With its improved color mapping, you’ll get natural, vivid colors faithful to the original scene. The casual, friendly tone of voice makes this product easy to use and understand. Plus, the lightweight design means you can take it wherever you go.

The RoboSHOT 30 is also a compact, two-input, two-output audio bridge that enables the connection of two balanced audio sources – line level or mic level – to a single display output. The front panel buttons provide access to the IP and MAC addresses for the device and the ability to reboot.

This camera also features status lights that show you the activity of your USB, Network, Source, and OneLINK connections. It makes it easy to keep track of your system’s connectivity and status.

Pros:

  • Improved color mapping for true, vivid color
  • It has two balanced audio inputs
  • It has Status lights to show activity
  • 2.38 megapixels total, full HD
  • Display the IP and MAC address for the device on the display outputs

Cons:

  • There are currently no audio recording options defined by the manufacturer.

PTZOptics 20X SDI Gen 2 Live Streaming Broadcast Camera

PTZ camera system

PTZOptics features this next-generation model of their famous live streaming camera, the 20x-SDI Gen2. This sleek and stylish grey rig features an advanced 3G-SDI output for connecting it directly to your switching equipment if you’re looking at broadcasting conference sessions or other high definition video content! 

In addition, there are 1080p60/50 resolutions instead 30 fps max, which provides much smoother playback with less lag time during transmission. It can stream with H.265 or MJPEG videography to any device without buffering delays. 

The camera’s 20x zoom range and fast f/1.8 -2 aperture make it perfect for group meetings and face-to-face shots, even in low light conditions where illumination must be at least 0.5 lux. This device also has a built-in wide dynamic range plus 2D and 3D noise-cancellation feature that provides an excellent conference experience.

The camera has been designed to give developers access, so they can customize everything as they prefer using simple HTML commands. A large variety of software is supported, including most online meeting applications and mobile apps for control over your network

In addition, there are advanced PTZOptics Network Control application that allows you to manage all devices on the system or even create new ones from scratch if needed. It would be convenient during emergencies when every second counts. On the one hand, VISCA Control provides accessible connection settings between any two points within its boundaries via wifi link cables. It is a perfect choice in professional environments where privacy matters more than anything else.

Pros:

  • Crystal clear High Definition video
  • SDI connectivity to run video over long distances
  • It comes with a built-in wide dynamic range and 2D and 3D noise cancellation
  • Features 3 simultaneous video outputs for maximum flexibility
  • Easy control

Cons:

FoMaKo 20X-SDI Simultaneous 3G-SDI/HDMI PTZ Camera System

PTZ camera system

The FoMaKo FMK20SDI offers full HD video with an optical zoom of up to 20x. This PTZ device supports simultaneous 3G-SDI or HDMI output at 1080P@60fps rates – and can even stream over IP networks. This device can stream video in low quality when there is insufficient bandwidth to handle high-quality video. You will always see clear pictures, no matter what the bandwidth.

This camera has the best autofocus technology on the market and provides superior image clarity and sharpness. It also has low noise with high SNR (signal to noise ratio). These features allow for excellent video surveillance applications like banks, schools, or other locations where security is needed. It also allows for use in conference rooms to easily see your speaker from anywhere in the room.

Pros:

  • 3G-SDI PTZ conference camera
  • Maximum 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution w/ a frame rate of 60 fps
  • Simultaneous 3G-SDI, HDMI, IP Streaming
  • It supports H.264/H.265 encoding which makes motion video more fluent and clear
  • 30-day money-back guarantee for no reason. 1-year limited warranty.

Cons:

  • The RTMP does not stream to YouTube. 

In Conclusion

A PTZ camera system is a great way to improve your live streaming or video production. They can up the ante on your content quality. We recommend researching PTZ camera systems and finding one that will work for you and your budget. With so many options on the market, you’re sure to find one that fits your needs.

Among these five picks, the one that stands out for us is the Cisco Systems Network Surveillance PTZ Camera System. This PTZ camera system lets you view your target clearly, even if they’re far away. It also comes with a built-in motion detector. This means that you’ll know if there’s any movement in your area, even if you’re not there. Finally, the PTZ camera system comes with night vision capabilities. This means that you’ll be able to see what’s going on even when it’s dark outside.

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Alex Shute
EDITOR
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.


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