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PTZ cameras: what are they, advantages and aspects to consider?

With the increasingly widespread use of video conferencing, its visual quality has become crucial for companies and organizations. And to meet this need, PTZ cameras have emerged as a very versatile and complete solution. In this article, we explain exactly what PTZ cameras are, their advantages over fixed cameras in video conferencing environments and the aspects to consider when choosing one.

We will also talk about ePTZ technology, which simulates PTZ movement, but digitally.

What does PTZ mean?

PTZ is the acronym for Panoramic, Tilt, Zoom. This means that PTZ cameras have the ability to pan horizontally (pan), tilt vertically (tilt) and zoom in and out, all remotely and controlled by the user. 

This type of camera emerged in the 1960s and was initially used in industrial and security environments. Over time, they have evolved and are used in a variety of sectors, highlighting in recent years their use in videoconferencing, as their versatility allows a wider and more flexible visual coverage during meetings, focusing on different areas of a room or following a speaker in motion.

And what is ePTZ?

ePTZ stands for Electronic Pan-Tilt-Zoom. It is, therefore, the evolution of PTZ. Unlike traditional PTZ cameras, which have physical components to move and adjust the zoom, ePTZ cameras use digital image processing techniques to simulate those pan and zoom effects. That is, instead of physically moving, an ePTZ camera captures a high-resolution image and then uses software to perform the pan, tilt and zoom functions digitally. This allows for greater flexibility and control over image composition without the need for moving mechanical components.

Advantages of PTZ and ePTZ cameras

Compared to traditional fixed cameras, PTZ and ePTZ cameras offer several advantages, such as:

Flexibility: The ability to move the camera horizontally and vertically, as well as zoom in and out, provides greater flexibility to capture different angles and perspectives during a video conference. This is especially useful in large rooms or meeting spaces where there are multiple participants.

Automation: Many PTZ cameras come with automatic tracking functions and programmable presets, allowing the camera to automatically move to follow a speaker or switch between different predefined viewpoints. This saves time and effort during meetings, ensuring that attention is always focused on the important points.

Remote control: The ability to control the camera remotely via dedicated software or hardware gives users full control over the display during video conferencing, without the need to physically intervene on the camera.

Aspects to consider in PTZ cameras

When choosing a PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera , it is important to consider a number of key features to ensure that the camera meets the specific needs of each individual or organization and delivers the desired performance. Here are some important features to consider:

Video resolution: The video resolution determines the quality of the image the camera can capture. A resolution of Full HD (FHD) or even Ultra High Definition (Ultra HD, UHD or 4K) is recommended for sharp and detailed images.

Optical zoom: Optical zoom allows you to zoom in without sacrificing image quality. Therefore, a more powerful optical zoom will allow you to obtain fine details on distant objects.

Motion speed: The PTZ camera's motion speed determines how fast it can pan, tilt and zoom. The faster the motion speed, the better it can follow moving objects or the better it can cover large areas in a short period of time.

Range of Motion: The PTZ camera's range of motion indicates how much the camera can pan (pan) and tilt (tilt) in all directions. A wide range of motion provides flexibility to cover large areas or follow moving objects.

Auto-tracking functions: Some PTZ cameras are equipped with auto-tracking functions that allow the camera to automatically follow moving objects within its field of view. This is useful for video conferences where the speaker is moving or in the field of education, for example.

Image stabilization: Image stabilization helps reduce camera shake and vibration, which improves image quality

Imaging features: Advanced imaging features such as HDR (High Dynamic Range), WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) and DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) improve image quality in different lighting conditions and reduce image noise.

Compatibility with control protocols: The PTZ camera must be compatible with standard control protocols such as VISCA, Pelco-D, Pelco-P, ONVIF and others to ensure interoperability with third-party recording and control systems.

Connectivity and compatibility: The PTZ camera must be compatible with existing video systems and networks, including support for Ethernet, PoE (Power over Ethernet), Wi-Fi and standard video transmission protocols.

The importance of a good PTZ or ePTZ camera for video conferences

A professional-quality PTZ or ePTZ camera can help make video conferencing as close to face-to-face meetings as possible, because the better the broadcast, the better the user experience.

In conclusion, PTZ cameras are an invaluable tool for enhancing the visual quality and experience of video conferencing in enterprise environments. Their flexibility, automation and enhanced image quality make them an ideal choice for a wide range of applications, from conference rooms to auditoriums and live broadcasts. With a variety of types available on the market, there is a suitable PTZ camera to meet the specific needs of any professional environment.
With Laia we offer PTZ and ePTZ cameras for all types of environments, and compatible with most of the videoconferencing services on the market (Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, Cisco Webex, goFacing...). So if you are looking for a camera with movement and zoom, and with professional quality, for your hybrid or remote meetings, contact us and we will advise you the one that best suits your needs.