With the increasing need for better security in public areas, more and more organizations are investing in cameras that can do more than they typically used to. Single-vision cameras are long gone ever since everyone is opting for the best PTZ camera that recently entered the market.
If you’re new to the surveillance camera domain, PTZ stands for pan, tilt & zoom and a single PTZ camera can cover large areas effortlessly. These cameras can zoom in up to 50x and help you catch even the farthest objects with superior picture clarity. Users can control these cameras remotely with a joystick, software, a gamepad, an app, and more. Not only are these cameras more cost-efficient, but they’re also extremely useful for those who wish to stream videos online. The ultra-high-quality video recordings are great for web-conferencing, live lectures, and church sessions as well.
It is evident with the wide range of benefits that PTZ cameras provide that they are more expensive than regular surveillance or streaming cameras. However, in this review, I’ve picked out the most efficient and affordable PTZ cameras that are of different price ranges and offer top-notch features for you to choose from.
Honey Optics was launched with the idea of providing an affordable pan tilt zoom camera to organizations that didn’t want to spend a lot on surveillance and streaming cameras. However, affordability does not mean that this company manufactures anything of low quality. Featured with superior-quality Sony 4.42 – 132.6mm, f/1.8-2.8 lens and 20x optical zoom, this camera can stream crystal-clear videos of up to 4K quality. The greatest thing about this Honey Optics camera is that it uses PoE or the power of ethernet. It means that you don’t need to use hundreds of power cables to use the camera; you just need one cable that will do it all! Its dimensions are 11.65 x 9.8 x 9.6 inches precisely.
In cases where you lose high-speed internet or are faced with low bandwidth, streaming in the same HD quality may be an issue. However, all the Honey Optics cameras come with an NDI or Network Device Interface license by Newtek that will help one seamlessly transmit 4K HD video across your network. In my opinion, this is an extremely useful feature. You can easily stream simultaneously on HDMI, 3G-SDI, LAN, and USB 3.0 with this camera.
Extremely compatible with a majority of devices. You can easily control these cameras with a mobile phone and stream online as well.
The pan tilt zoom HD camera comes with a 5-year warranty and boasts its excellent technical customer service.
Multiple cameras can be controlled with any NewTek TriCaster in their TriCaster software.
Users may find it difficult to manage because of its 6.14 pounds weight.
Connectivity is possible only through USB or Ethernet and this camera can not function wirelessly.
The Honey Optics 12x 4K Camera is yet another great option to choose from if you wish to record in smaller areas. This comes with 12x optical zoom as opposed to 20x but functions just as effortlessly. It allows you to stream with superior 4K or 2160p at 60 FPS even at a low latency across your network! With the 2D and 3D noise reduction features, you can go live with high-quality pictures. Above all, with the power of ethernet, you can charge this camera while recording with just one cable. You can definitely consider this as one of the most high-quality PTZ HD cameras on the market that you can buy.
If you’re looking for cheap PTZ cameras, the PTZOptics-20X-SDI GEN-2 can be a good option for you. With this camera, you can record and stream videos of up to 1920x1080 resolution and benefit from their 10 IR/255 RS232 presets. The 20x optical zoom in this camera allows you to zoom into objects that are far away with superior clarity even in low-light settings. However, one thing I noticed was that it makes highly lit areas burn in the final image. The product weighs 3.1 pounds and the dimensions are 9.2 x 9.3 x 11.4 inches which is super convenient to use and mount according to me.
It can be remotely operated in basically any operating system with web-based software but the live video does not show up on most popular browsers. You will need to install VLC, IE, or JPEG to watch what you’re streaming. Initially, many users may face difficulty getting the camera up and running for streaming purposes, but their customer service is prompt and ensures that you can work well in the future.
Comparatively lower in price and delivers decent enough features for the price.
Dual streaming is a huge benefit with this camera. You can live stream with two different settings for your audience.
The product is well built in terms of quality parts and comes ready to use.
Does not come with a wall mounting bracket and it has to be bought separately from the same company or a third-party manufacturer.
The virtual stick that comes with the camera is slightly jerky and you may need to purchase another joystick.
PTZOptics cameras have taken over the market with their high definition output quality and wide range of features. Talking about the dimensions first, the product measures 5.6 x 6.7 x 6.5 inches. The image quality goes up to 1920x1080 pixels and can be used to stream your web conference, online videos, and church live to your audience. This camera’s 30x optical zoom will allow you to focus on objects more than 60 feet away and target a single one efficiently as well. Hence, I would suggest you buy this camera only if you want to install it in larger areas. The weight of 5.1 pounds is slightly higher as compared to several other cameras that you can purchase. You can use the product easily with a USB plug and immediately start streaming. The camera can also save up to 10 streaming settings and you can easily switch between the settings whenever needed remotely and go live.
Gives out composite output that can be used on its own to deliver solid 576i/480i resolution.
You don’t need to worry about areas that aren’t well-lit with this camera because it works perfectly in low light because of its Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) feature.
The wide-angle lens goes up to 60.7°, meaning that it is a great benefit for large rooms.
For powering it on and off, you need to be standing right in front of the device and there isn’t a back or side button to do so.
Although it is well-suited for areas with low light, its white balance goes way off when it is present in highly lit areas. White or brighter objects do not capture well.
The camera may struggle to focus properly on objects regardless of how far or close they are.
Out of several other PTZ camera systems currently on the market, the Avkans AV-CM20-NDI is one of those licensed by NDI. This means that when you buy this camera, you receive a simplified installation and setup for your live streams. You can easily power the camera, stream the audio as well as video and control it all through a single ethernet cable (Cat5/6). Most of the PTZ cameras need additional software like OBS before streaming live but with this camera, you can easily stream directly on Youtube or Facebook. The 20x optical zoom can autofocus on objects that are even 100 feet away and it does not lose clarity. This camera’s dimensions are 6 x 5.8 x 7 inches and it weighs 4.4 pounds. In terms of resolution, it can go up to 1920 x 1080p HD resolutions with a frame rate of 60 frames per second. The supported frame rates are 1080p59.94/29.97, 1080i59.94, 720p59.94.
This camera is featured with high SNR CMOS and when this feature is combined with 2D & 3D noise reduction, it gives out amazing low light image quality.
Its shutter speed of 1/30s – 1/10000s allows the camera to protect its all-glass optical lens.
Even when the internet is not working well, the Avkans AV-CM20-NDI prevents low-quality streams. You can seamlessly stay live in crystal-clear image quality.
The color contrast, when in its auto mode, tends to fluctuate a lot which is not preferred when you’re going live.
The camera consumes high power of approximately 12–15W and isn’t power-saving in any way.
Zowietek may not be a very renowned name on the market but with the amazing quality of PTZs it manufactures, they will soon be very popular. Talking about this specific model, it stands out because of its low price point. If you don’t wish to spend much on a camera, this could be a good choice. The PTZ camera system comes with a 20x optical zoom that is well suited for your place of worship, web conference, medical streams, and online class as well. Its dimensions are 5.91 x 5.91 x 6.59 inches and it weighs just 3.08 pounds. When you wish to record or stream videos through this, the image quality goes up to 1920 x 1080p with up to 60 frames per second. One of its key features is the advanced ISp processing algorithms that help you stream vivid, high-resolution images with a strong sense of depth and amazing color rendition.
Comes with a free camera PTZ controller application that can help you watch over up to 9 PTZ cameras simultaneously.
If you adopt a high-accuracy step driving motor mechanism, it will work extremely quietly and move smoothly and very quickly to the designated position.
There isn’t a mobile app for the camera yet so you will have to use other devices or third-party apps to operate the camera.
It isn’t featured with NDI.
The installation can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the IP address assignment.
Features to Consider Before Opting for a PTZ Camera
Whether you’re new to the PTZ camera domain or you wish to purchase your second or third device, this guide will be helpful for you. Here are some features that you must take into account before choosing the best PTZ camera:
1. Focal length and resolution
Depending upon the type of placement you’re going to have, whether it is outdoors or indoors, you should choose the camera accordingly. I would suggest measuring the distance between the camera and the objects you wish to capture with it. Then, you can decide the focal length of the camera from 10x, 20x, 30x, etc. If you wish to capture objects that are further away, it is recommended to look for at least 2 megapixels in resolution.
2. Camera placement
Considering the plethora of applications that the best PTZ cameras provide, you must understand where you’re going to place the cameras. You can go for a ceiling mount, wall mount, tripod mount, or pole mount. The ceiling mount and wall mount are very popular camera placements and are used by a majority of people. However, when these placements are not convenient, you can choose to go for a pole mount that helps you place the camera as low or high or closer to the objects as you’d like.
3. Camera connectivity
There are several ways you can connect your PTZ cameras with. The available options are USB 3.0, HDMI, SDI, Ethernet & NDI. USB 3.0 also works with USB 2.0, but you need to consider the bandwidth that you have and the length of cable needed. HDMI & SDI let you stream uncompressed high-quality video of up to 1920 x 1080p, 60 FPS resolution. Ethernet and NDI will require a network switch to be set up.
4. Streaming system
This is one of the most important points to consider before buying the best pan tilt zoom camera. What is the type of system you will run the stream on? You can go for a Mac, a PC, an HDMI recorder, or separate and dedicated hardware. Depending upon your operating system, you will have to check whether it can handle the live streaming you will be doing. I would suggest that you go for top-quality systems for seamless streaming experiences.
5. Camera control
There are several ways in which you can control your camera. Either you can operate with a joystick, with a mobile app, or by integrating software into your streaming system. The most popular software include OBS, vMix, Wirecast, Tricaster, and MimoLive.