Having the right camera setup is a crucial part of a security system. And choosing between PTZ cameras – panoramic and fixed (or a combination of these) is one of the first steps. Our team explains their pros, cons and most common applications.
Pan, Tilt & Zoom PTZ Cameras
PTZ cameras provide both wide-area coverage and close-in views with a single camera. Their key value is their ability to change positioning and zoom in—an ideal feature to verify detected security events in a large area.
Since a PTZ’s field of view is limited to what they’re pointed at, these cameras are much more valuable with live operators. If, for example, an offender is detected, the operator can follow the suspect and zoom in to capture as much detail as possible. Without a live operator, there’s a high probability that the camera won’t be pointed at the right area at the right time—even when equipped with intelligent features. Additionally, PTZ cameras are best deployed in conjunction with fixed cameras that can provide continuous coverage of important areas.
Pros: Ability to track situations during active investigations. Great image quality and detail.
Cons: Limited field of view (can’t see everything at once). The need of live operators and fixed cameras, which increases costs.
Applications: Coverage of large spaces such as public squares, highways, open parking lots, shopping centers and acres of open land.
Panoramic cameras (180°, 270° or 360°) have the ability of recording an entire area at once, giving you complete situational awareness with just one camera. Video from the different sensors is stitched and blended at the boundaries to present you with a continuous panorama. They are an attractive alternative to purchasing and placing multiple cameras.
Compared to PTZs and fixed cameras, the biggest disadvantage of panoramic cameras is that they deliver significantly less image detail. While selected models integrate PTZ capabilities, this is still true for most systems. However, having a full uninterrupted field of view always available is useful to cover wide areas for later review or when operators are not available.
Pros: Provides a complete field of view. Lower installation and maintenance costs.
Cons: Less image detail.
Applications: Ideal for smaller to mid sized indoor areas, but suitable for all types of applications.
A fixed camera provides focused indoor or outdoor coverage exactly where you need it. This ensures that an area of importance is perpetually surveilled. Fixed dome cameras do this discreetly with compact form factors that blend in with the surroundings. Fixed box and bullet cameras do this overtly as a deterrent (“We’re watching you!”). These cameras often feature high resolutions and the ability to zoom into scenes.
Pros: Reliable due to their image clarity and consistency.
Cons: Footage is limited to the fixed frame.
Applications: Areas that need continuous focus in retail, banks, business offices, industrial sites and more.
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Understanding PTZ, panoramic and fixed cameras can give you a better idea of the kind of setup that would best fit your facilities. But we know things can get overwhelming fast, so talk to the experts! We partner with Pelco, Axis, MOBOTIX and other great brands for fixed and panoramic IP cameras, PTZs, thermal imaging, explosion-proof systems, and more. At EAS we’re experts at designing, implementing, and maintaining a wide variety of security and IT solutions for businesses in Puerto Rico, and we’re committed to protecting your most valuable assets.
[Related reading: Pelco’s Panoramic IP Cameras: Better Performance With Less Equipment]
EAS Security + IT is a technology integration company with 25 years of experience serving industrial, commercial, and government clients in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Our services include Video Surveillance, Access Control, Data Security, Structured Cabling, Intruder Detection Systems, Key Control & Management, Intercom & P.A. + more