PTZ Camera Overview
1. The Difference between “optical” and “digital” Zoom on PTZ
When you see a PTZ Camera that has (for instance)
a 27X Optical Zoom and a 10X Digital Zoom, they usually are marketed with a ZOOM
factor of 270X. While this is nominally true, the fact of the matter is, at 27X
optical, you’re getting as much “clarity” as you’re going to get, and as you
begin using the digital zoom on your PTZ camera, your picture will start to
pixelate and quickly will be reduced to something you can’t even see.
If you need to reach out long distances, make sure you buy a PTZ
camera with the highest OPTICAL zoom that you can. Optical means just that,
you’ll be using the camera's LENS to achieve the zoom…that means you’re PTZ
camera will be giving you the BEST QUALITY image that it can offer you. Using
the Digital Zoom on your PTZ camera means that you’re depending on the
electronics to digitally enhance the picture, meaning you’re blowing up
(distorting) the pixels. As you do that, the quality of your PTZ camera's image
becomes grainy and gets bad rather quickly.
2. PTZ Camera Protocols
Today, MOST PTZ Cameras use a common “Pelco” protocol. The Pelco
standard means that most PTZ cameras will work with most DVRs. While there are
some unusual configurations out there, ask your dealer if the PTZ camera you
want uses a Pelco Protocol. If it does, you’re good to go.
3. PTZ Camera Telemetry
In addition to providing power and a video feed (typically a
Siamese cable), you will need to run a wire pair to the PTZ camera so that you
can control the telemetry….in other words, the Pan, Tilt and Zoom features of
the PTZ camera. This wire will run from the PTZ camera, back to the DVR. If
you’re using a standalone DVR, there will most likely be an RS485 Connector on
the back of it, this is where you’ll plug that wire in. If you’re using a PC
Based DVR, you may need an RS485 to RS232 adapter. This changes the native RS485
that the PTZ camera speaks, into the RS232 Communication that the PC needs to
see. These adapters are inexpensive (25.00 or less) and you can connect multiple
PTZ cameras to it. Each PTZ camera will be set (via a dip switch inside the PTZ
camera) to it’s own unique ID (1-2-3 etc) and then you’ll plug those values into
the DVR software. That will allow you to control the PTZ camera with your
keyboard and/or mouse.
4. PTZ Camera Controllers
If you want a Joystick Controller for your PTZ camera, you will
connect your telemetry feeds back to the controller rather than the DVR. This
gives you an easy way to control all of the functions of the PTZ camera with a
5. PTZ Camera Makes
If you buy a Pelco PTZ camera….plan on spending 2k plus – OR you
can buy a “clone” PTZ camera which is what most people do. You’ll find our COP,
KT&C and WATCHNET PTZ Cameras to be every bit as good as a Pelco PTZ camera,
at about 1/3rd of the price, and with a better warranty. We sell both the Pelco
and clone products, but I’d urge you to look at the clone PTZ cameras…you’ll get
much more bang for your buck.
6. PTZ Camera Mounts
Most of our PTZ cameras come with both a wall mount and a ceiling
mount bracket. There are other options such as a pole mount, corner mount, etc.
Let us know if you need something different or unique as we can build them for
If you cannot find a PTZ Camera that meets your specs on our
website, please give us a call. We have many sources and can find a PTZ camera
that will meet your needs.
Call us today about your PTZ Camera needs. We've got time for