Video over IP

What is a PTZ IP Camera?

Certain IP Cameras come with PTZ functions – Pan Tilt & Zoom, for better control over the video footage one is watching/recording. In this post, let us see what is a PTZ IP Camera and some useful PTZ features offered by IP surveillance cameras.

PTZ IP Surveillance Camera Video Demonstration:

What is a PTZ IP Camera?

An IP surveillance camera, as you know, is used for viewing/recording the video footage of an area that needs to be monitored. This video footage is sent over the IP network (Computer Network) and it can be seen from anywhere over LAN/Internet.

The PTZ functionality is an added feature in many IP cameras that gives Pan, Tilt and Zoom capabilities to the camera.

Pan – Move left and right

Tilt – Move up and down

Zoom – Move nearer and farther

The PTZ functions can be controlled using keyboard/joystick via a centralized camera management software provided by the camera manufacturer. The output of PTZ IP cameras can be seen on the computer monitor and it can be recorded, if required. Auto-focus is generally required in PTZ cameras and it needs to be sharp as the camera keeps moving/zooming over different areas. There are different PTZ camera models for indoor/outdoor use, wired/wireless applications, placed on a table/wall-mounted/ceiling mounted/pole mounted applications, daylight or day/night applications, etc.

Salient points you need to know about PTZ cameras:

  • PTZ cameras can store a fixed number of preset positions. A user can store individual parts of an area under surveillance, as presets. These presets can be accessed by pressing a button (1 – 16, for example) or the camera can be programmed to auto shift between the preset positions cyclically, after remaining in every preset position for a certain amount of time (usually few seconds, as determined by the operator).
  • Many PTZ cameras allow users to draw a small square (drag a square, actually) with their mouse and zoom into the selected region for a better/closer view of that area.
  • In some PTZ cameras, the administrator can decide which users can use/change PTZ functions. Only one user can control the PTZ movements at any given point of time and others maybe placed in queue.
  • Some PTZ IP cameras can freeze the image (pertaining to a particular position), move to the next position and then release the freeze so that users see only the target areas (and not camera movements, which can be jerky at times).
  • In some PTZ IP surveillance cameras, the speed of the pan/tilt/zoom functions can be adjusted (either on a relative scale like 1-100 or using metrics like degrees/second, like 180 degrees/second.
  • It is possible to limit the maximum pan/tilt angles, in some cameras. This is done to restrict its range. PTZ cameras generally provide a 180/360 degree pan and 90/180 degree tilt coverage.
  • IP PTZ cameras support optical zoom. If a camera supports 12x optical zoom, for example, the size of the object seen without zoom can increase up to 12 times after zooming, for closer/clearer view of the object. There is no picture quality degradation in optical zoom.
  • Digital zoom refers to getting closer to an image/part of it by just expanding the image digitally. Digital zoom always results in some image degradation as pixels are just expanded to give a closer view. If a manufacturer advertises 48x zoom, it is better to check the ratio of optical zoom : digital zoom (for example 12x : 4x) and evaluate the camera based on its optical zoom capability.
  • Some dome type PTZ cameras are designed for continuous PTZ movements/operation. One can use it to focus on individual parts of a larger area and cyclically rotate between these parts after pausing in each position for a certain amount of time.
  • Some IP Surveillance PTZ cameras have auto tracking feature. This enables the camera to center an (moving) object of interest and focus on that object as it is moving, until it moves totally out of coverage range. This is useful for tracking¬† the movements of intruders, delivery trucks, etc.

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