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PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) CCTV Cameras

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras are becoming an increasingly common sight in commercial as well as domestic properties. Also called video surveillance systems, CCTV cameras make use of video cameras that transmit footage over monitors for both real-time monitoring as well as recordings.

They are an integral part of security and are considered one of the most effective deterrents against threats such as burglaries and intrusions.

There are a variety of CCTV cameras to choose from. They include:

In this article, we will discuss PTZ cameras, how they work, the different types of PTZ cameras, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to choose the best PTZ CCTV camera for your security needs:


PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt, and Zoom, all of which refer to the ways the camera can be adjusted to focus on the field of view.

Pan refers to the lens’s ability to rotate, tilt means to move the lens up and down, and zoom means to focus in and out on a part of the image/footage that you’re trying to capture.

PTZ cameras are highly flexible and controllable cameras that can be adjusted over 3 axes. They are one of the most versatile options available and are suitable for a variety of applications.

The adjustable lens of a PTZ camera is its standout feature as it is what makes it an all-in-one camera. You can easily change your field of view with a few simple taps on your screen and focus on a specific detail.

Often used in large, open, public spaces where a big area is in need of CCTV surveillance, some common applications include construction sites, supermarkets/shopping centres, airports, and parking lots.


Pan/Tilt/Zoom CCTV cameras have in-built mechanical parts that allow them to move left to right, tilt up and down, and zoom in and out of a field of view.

They are the ideal solution for monitoring wide open areas that require a 180° or 360° view and have deployed active personnel to operate them through a remote controller.

They are generally used in tandem with an extensive surveillance system and, depending on the type and model of the PTZ camera, can also be set to trigger automatically following any activity related to motion or according to a pre-set schedule.

The range of movement of PTZ cameras varies between the different types. In cameras with 360° pan, the lens can be turned in a complete circle to cover all the blind spots.

With 180° tilt, the lens can be moved to see straight ahead, below, and above its original position. Panning and tilting combined allow the camera to see behind or next to it.

Although a small range of movement may work, it is more beneficial to get complete movement for more elasticity and flexibility. Some PTZ camera models may also include digital pan and tilt, giving you the ability to move the footage after it has been recorded.

With respect to their zooming capabilities, there are two types available – optical zoom and digital zoom. Optical zoom refers to when the lens on the camera physically moves to zoom in on an area of interest by moving closer to it.

The good thing about optical zoom is that it is able to maintain the quality of the image and the camera can continue to record clear footage, whether zoomed in or not.

Digital zoom, on the other hand, allows you to zoom in on an area of interest after the video has been recorded. It doesn’t offer the same image quality as optical zoom because it simply increases an existing image and can pixelate if it is zoomed in too much.


PTZ cameras are a popular choice when it comes to surveillance cameras. They have a wide range of applications and are in demand in several sectors of the industry.

Due to their widespread use and popularity, they are available in several different types to fit the perfect scenario in which they need to be used.

Following are some of the most popular types of PTZ cameras available in the market today:

Indoor PTZ cameras

As mentioned above, PTZ cameras can be used in a variety of applications and can be installed both indoors as well as outdoors. When looking for a suitable PTZ camera to install in indoor environments, an indoor PTZ camera is the most suitable.

These cameras are compact, discreet, and offer great coverage owing to their pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities. They are effective in monitoring both wide angles as well as close-ups and are a great choice for offices and retail stores.

Outdoor PTZ cameras

Outdoor PTZ cameras, as the name suggests, are built specifically for outdoor use. They have the necessary features and components to withstand harsh weather conditions such as sunlight, wind, rain, and snow, all the while providing efficient surveillance.

They are most commonly used in large outdoor spaces such as parking lots and offer powerful panning, tilting, and zooming capabilities to capture clear footage over longer distances. They are kept protected from the challenging environment in weather and vandal-resistance housing and this is what makes them suitable for outdoor use.

Network PTZ cameras

Network CCTV cameras, also called IP (Internet Protocol) CCTV cameras, connect over the internet or a computer network and offer incredible features such as remote access control and monitoring.

These cameras also often offer advanced features such as motion detection, video analytics, and integration with other security systems on the network. A strong network and internet connection are required to ensure that any issues such as lag and video quality are prevented.

Network CCTV cameras can be used in a wide range of environments such as public spaces, retail stores, shopping centres, and offices, and also for domestic surveillance purposes.

Wireless CCTV cameras

Unlike traditional wired CCTV cameras, wireless CCTV cameras transmit audio and video footage to a device or monitor without any physical wires or cables connecting the two components. These systems use wireless technology and typically rely on Wi-Fi to transmit data.

These systems require a stable and secure Wi-Fi network in order to work efficiently, and factors such as interference, signal strength, and security should be taken into consideration.

They are usually the cameras of choice when cable installation may be an issue for practical reasons or simply for aesthetics. Wireless CCTV cameras are often installed in homes, small businesses, offices, retail stores, museums, and places of historic significance.


PTZ cameras are one of the most popular types of CCTV cameras available in the market today. Their incredible features make them a valuable tool for surveillance purposes.

However, like every other type of CCTV camera, they have their own set of pros and cons. Here are the advantages of using PTZ CCTV cameras for surveillance purposes on your property:

Wider field of view

Since PTZ cameras offer the ability to pan horizontally, tilt vertically, and zoom into an area of interest, they offer a much wider field of view compared to fixed static cameras. Depending on the model of the camera, they can provide a complete 360-degree pan and 180-degree tilt. Perfect for monitoring a large area, network PTZ cameras can be remotely controlled to keep an eye on specific areas on the property.

Motion-based intelligent tracking

Many newer models of PTZ cameras come equipped with advanced features such as motion-based auto tracking that allow the lens to automatically adjust the field of view by following moving objects. Perfect for places that are quiet and have minimal movement, such as offices after business hours, they can also trigger alarms when they detect any unusual activity and are a great solution for improving overall security.

Flexible monitoring and remote control

Due to their ability to pan, tilt, and zoom, PTZ cameras offer much more flexible monitoring and can be remotely adjusted to monitor specific areas in real-time. This not only allows users to adjust the view according to the situation but also do it remotely without having to go on-site. Specific details such as faces or licence numbers can be zoomed into, which can be particularly useful for gathering evidence.

Immediate response

Compared to static cameras, PTZ cameras, particularly those with optical zoom, allow operators to adjust the view of the camera in real time. This feature can be extremely helpful in situations where immediate action is required such as a security incident or an emergency. This level of active monitoring makes PTZ cameras an effective deterrent for potential criminals since they know the camera can always see them and capture their actions.

Replace multiple fixed cameras

One PTZ camera can be used to replace multiple static cameras. This is made possible due to their ability to easily adjust the field of view and cover a much larger area. Instead of installing multiple static cameras in various positions, you can install one PTZ camera with 24/7 monitoring so that the operators can pan, tilt, and zoom the lens accordingly.

Integration with other security systems

PTZ cameras, particularly those connected over a network, can easily integrate with other security systems on the same network such as security alarms and access control systems. This allows for a more comprehensive and cohesive security solution that uses various security systems to provide much better security. For instance, the alarm system can be set to go off as soon as the camera picks up any unusual movement, or the camera can be triggered to zoom into a particular spot when the access control system detects unauthorised entry.


PTZ cameras are a great option when it comes to increasing the security on your property. Compared to other types of CCTV cameras, they offer much more in terms of flexibility and control. There are, however, a few limitations to consider:

Less durable

Since PTZ cameras have more moving parts to allow for the panning, tilting, and zooming features, continuous usage can lead to mechanical wear and tear. Compared to fixed cameras, they are less durable and are also more susceptible to environmental conditions. The easiest solution to this issue is to have them regularly maintained by professionals so that any potential problems can be fixed before they start to affect the functionality and efficiency of the camera.

Higher cost

PTZ cameras generally come at a higher price than fixed cameras due to their additional components and features. Although one PTZ camera can be used to replace multiple fixed cameras, not only do they have a higher initial cost but also require professional installation and more regular maintenance due to their mechanical parts that can make them less durable.

Limited field of view when zoomed in

Although you can zoom into the field of view using PTZ cameras, zooming in at a very high level can often limit the field of view and make the coverage area too narrow. Due to this, it may become challenging to monitor multiple areas at the same time and limit efficiency. This might cause delays in capturing critical moments and result in missed incidents.

Complex installation

When installing PTZ cameras, or any CCTV cameras for that matter, proper placement is absolutely crucial in order to ensure maximum coverage and efficiency. Setting up PTZ cameras can be a tad bit more complex as they often require additional wiring and have advanced features and components. It is necessary to properly install them, although it can be time-consuming and require professional expertise, otherwise, you run the risk of malfunctioning and putting the security of your property in jeopardy.

Dependence on the system operator

The efficiency of PTZ cameras is dependent on the skills of the system operator and how well-trained they are in controlling the camera and catching all the right moments in time. A lack of expertise in this regard can result in missed opportunities, which is why it is very important to train the operators to work with the camera’s features and functionality.


When deciding which PTZ camera is best for your property and assessing whether it will be the right choice for your property’s security, you need to weigh in both the advantages and disadvantages and take into account factors such as the cost, installation, maintenance, operator skill level, and much more.

To help you make an informed decision, you need to:

  • Determine your security needs and requirements, which include assessing the area of coverage, placement of the camera, and lighting conditions.
  • Determine the range and speed and look for a PTZ camera with the right pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities to help you monitor the area to the best of your abilities.
  • Choose a PTZ camera with optical zoom capabilities so that it allows you to capture detailed zoomed-in footage.
  • Go for PTZ cameras that offer better image quality and resolution for clearer footage, especially when zoomed in.
  • Look for PTZ cameras that are built to work in low light conditions, especially if you intend to use them in such situations.
  • Go for models that offer user-friendly and intuitive controls so that it becomes easier to remotely control the camera.
  • Check if the camera supports integration with other security systems for a more comprehensive security solution.
  • Consider the build quality and durability of the cameras, particularly if you intend to install them outdoors.
  • Go for reputable brands that are known for producing reliable PTZ cameras and offer warranty and customer support.
  • Consult with security professionals to get insight and recommendations depending on your security needs.


Calder Security offers a comprehensive solution for CCTV cameras that are state-of-the-art and comply with CCTV laws and regulations.

We understand the special security and safety needs of various properties and offer professional installation services for CCTV systems bespoke to each property.

We are expert SSAIB-approved security system installers and supply only high-quality CCTV equipment from trusted brands such as Hikvision, one of the world’s leading CCTV manufacturers.

We conduct every aspect from surveys, design, specification, and installation ourselves, and our professional repair and maintenance services ensure that your CCTV systems work in optimal condition all year round, guaranteeing effectiveness and compliance with the law.

We also offer professional CCTV monitoring services that help detect criminal activity and security breaches as they are in progress for the appropriate action to be taken, even when the property is empty.

Contact us here or call us at 0800 612 9799 to talk to our security experts right away!

Photo by Zetton Zhang on Unsplash