Pan-Tilt-Zoom vs. Fixed Lens Cameras
The age-old question (okay, maybe not age-old but, still) when folks are purchasing a camera system is whether they need Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras or fixed lens cameras. First, let’s talk about the difference in the two.
Fixed lens cameras have a set viewing direction once they are mounted. They can be equipped with a zoom, but as a general rule it is not as powerful as the PTZ zoom in either distance or image quality.
PTZ cameras have built-in mechanical parts that allow the lens and the camera to move. This movement can be done either manually with a controller, or automatically through presets on the camera. PTZ cameras can pan up to 360 degrees and can tilt up to 220 degrees. Higher-end PTZ cameras are also equipped with a zoom lens which maintains image resolution when the camera is zoomed. Finally, users can incorporate several helpful features into their PTZ cameras including autotracking, and preset camera positions.
We have to come to find that PTZ cameras are very helpful in tracking and pursuing threats if you have a security guard physically manipulating the cameras. If you are just hoping that the camera will allow you to view instances by itself, we may run into a problem. Despite the advances in autotracking technology (check out autotracking video here), Murphy’s Law dictates that if something is happening on the left side of your screen, the camera will likely be looking at something on the right. Several instances come to mind of customers calling us hoping to recover video footage, but the camera was facing the wrong way and the PTZ ended up being useless.
In sum, fixed lens cameras are less powerful than PTZ cameras. However, there is never any question over whether or not an incident in a fixed camera’s range was recorded. It will be! This is one of those instances where it does not always help to have all the bells and whistles. Just because certain technology is newer does not mean it is going to be better for your specific application.
If you are wondering which cameras would be best for you, give us a call. We’d be happy to talk to you about your options.