What is a PTZ camera ?

If you like technology, certainly you pay attention to the movies where people are operating a security camera remotely. That's an example of a PTZ camera.

PTZ (PAN TILT & ZOOM) Security Camera

A PTZ camera is simply a camera that can move its own lens left to right (PAN) and up and down (TILT), it's also capable to use magnification (zoom). Every one of these movements can be remotely controlled by an operator using a device such as joystick, a mouse or even a remote controller.

So, PTZ stands for PAN, TILT and ZOOM, exactly the three movement this type of camera is capable of doing.  You can easily find this type of camera everywhere.

Types of PTZ cameras 

There are different types and classifications of PTZ cameras.

Nowadays is easy to find Digital PTZ cameras, also know as IP PTZ cameras, but many years ago all camera were analog and had to be controlled with extra wires.

If you visit a television studio, you certainly will see some of these cameras in operation, since they are largely used to film scenes with motion.

In the security industry, PTZ cameras are very common as they help to monitor and record suspicious activity more closely to have better details.

How to control an analog PTZ camera 

If your PTZ camera is analog model you have two options to control it:

1. Send commands to the camera using extra cables.

In this case, you just need to run cables in parallel with the coaxial cables and use an RS-485 interface and a PTZ protocol such as Pelco-P, Pelco D, etc.

PTZ camera using RS-485

The analog PTZ camera and the joystick (or DVR) must have the same type of protocol to guarantee that the command is going to work.

2. Send commands to the camera using the coaxial cable.

Some cameras manufacturers have a protocol to send command via coaxial cable.

Pelco was the first manufacturer to invent this type of protocol called "coaxitron" and later other protocols were also created to work the same way.

By using such protocol, is possible to control the camera without running extra cables since the coaxial cable can handle video and camera control.

How to control an IP PTZ camera 

IP PTZ cameras don't need extra cables for control, the video, audio, command and even the power is sent through the UTP cable. 

To learn more about how to power a camera via UTP cable, read the article: 


PTZ cameras are very useful to get details of everything that is being monitored and recorded. Its operation is very easy and the results are usually very good.

The idea is to use a PTZ camera to support other fix cameras and allow the operator to look for details in scene by using the Pan, Tilt and Zoom.

Nowadays the better option is to use an IP PTZ camera with high-resolution.

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