Managing your cameras can be a very difficult task if you’re not equipped with the best PTZ camera controller. It can be very time-consuming to control PTZ cameras with a remote, iPad, or iPhone app. There are certainly a lot of other options on the market, like DVR, software add-ons, and so on, but having an efficient controller will ease out the process of managing cameras effectively. Whether you’re using PTZ cameras for your church, for security purposes, or for live streaming, having a controller will prove to be very useful.
A PTZ controller usually comes with a built-in menu status LCD, a one-hand operation joystick, a simple keyboard, and a strong build. As soon as you connect the controller to your cameras, you'll see a big difference in how they look and function and will be able to use your cameras efficiently. It has never been easier to pan, tilt, or zoom than it is now! You'll be able to control the aperture and focus better and also control high-speed cameras more quickly with the help of saved presets.
We’re talking in detail about the top PTZ camera controllers after reviewing each aspect and configuration to help you make a perfect choice.
If you’re looking for a controller that will be focused on convenience but at the same time precision, this PTZOptics camera controller is your go-to. You will see a major difference when you shift from using an iPhone/iPad to control your camera to this controller due to the variety of features it comes with. The controller is broadcast-ready and you’ll be able to live stream directly with zero latency. It weighs just 4.7 pounds and the dimensions are 12.6x 7.1 x 4.3 inches.
Built with strong and durable metal housing, this PTZ camera remote controller comes with a three-axis joystick to make your experience even better. It also comes with a large on-screen LCD menu display that gives you a real-time display of the current status. The joystick is fully compatible with RS-485, RS-232, as well as RS-422 models and also supports industry-standard protocols VISCA, D, and PELCO-P.
This PTZ camera controller comes with a short circuit and overcurrent protection so you don’t have to worry about frequent power cuts.
You can easily control the menu, set up up to 6 cameras, and save up to 255 presets!
The controller comes with a 2-year warranty.
It isn’t exactly “plug and play” as advertised for users who aren’t that tech-savvy. You will need to find tutorials online on how to set it up as its manual doesn’t come in very handy.
The joystick isn’t precise enough for high zoom ranges and you may face issues if you choose to do so.
Even if the build is good, users may experience issues with the quality of the joystick after some time of usage in terms of precision and durability.
The PTZOptics SuperJoy Joystick does give joy to its users when they use it due to the amazing experience it offers. One of the key features of this super-functional PTZ Optics controller is the "Auto Focus Lock" button which lights up green when it's on so that the image focus doesn’t get disturbed every time the subject moves even a little. It is compatible with a lot of different protocols like NDI, VISCA, VISCA-over-IP, Pelco-P as well as Pelco-D that can be used over IP and RS-232 and RS-422.
It weighs 5.04 pounds and the dimensions are 8.6 x 5 x 14.9 inches. The camera supports several small and big PTZ camera brands like Sony, BirdDog, PTZOptics, NewTek & more. The large LCD screen with controller status and built-in decoder is certainly an added benefit. Also, you can easily set up up to 255 PTZ camera presets by holding down a number key for a few seconds.
The PTZOptics joystick can control up to 28 cameras in four groups of seven, and you can import and export configurations over the Internet or through the USB port.
A pan, tilt, and zoom can all be done with one hand on the joystick of this controller. It's easy to make complicated moves with it.
The focus and zoom dials are spring-loaded, which makes it easier to use them and gives the users excellent traction when they use them.
If you want to shift from one camera to the other, you may experience a slight delay if used for longer durations.
The camera can be slowed down when they are being controlled manually. However, when you use presets, it goes back to full speed.
The Leftek video conference PTZ controller is made for easy and quick control of PTZ cameras. They can be used in your church, for surveillance in government departments, and for your live streams as well. The controller can work with all kinds of IP PTZ cameras because it has a standard protocol and a Linux system. With this controller, you can quickly set up preset patrol patterns and control up to 999 devices!
Its dimensions are 9.84 x 5.91 x 3.15 inches, and it weighs just 1.96 pounds. It can be used with IE web settings and comes with a knob that lets you zoom in and change the speed of the camera easily. One of the best things about this controller is that it supports the function of POE, or Power over Ethernet, and you don't need to use different cables to make it work. The 5-inch LCD screen display is great and helps with better decoding of H.265 and H.264.
It is a unique IP PTZ controller which means that it allows you to control your network with a unique IP address.
With the joystick, you can control the pan, tilt, and zoom of your camera with ease. It has a 4D joystick control PTZ function that lets you do this smoothly.
The surface of the S3 Network PTZ controller is made of hardening aluminum alloy, which makes it less likely to get scratched or damaged.
If you have a network change, you may experience difficulties in connecting with the controller again. It may fail to reconnect.
The customer support isn’t that great and they’re trouble to reach out to in case you need any help.
Ever since PTZOptics came up with their 4th Generation IP Joystick Controller, the users could not have been more satisfied. The PTZ joystick controller is compatible with most PTZ cameras that use serial or IP protocol, including Sony. It can be used with a wide range of current and old protocols like VISCA, VISCA-over-IP, Pelco-P, and Pelco-D, which work over IP and serial RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 with the touch of a button. It can also control 255 cameras from various manufacturers over the network.
The device weighs 6.18 pounds and is built with the dimensions of 10.78 x 4.88 x 13.62 inches. This generation of PTZ camera controller with joystick comes with a new web interface that will help you set up multiple cameras in just a few minutes. Also, when you save presets on this controller, you can shift from one to the other with one click with a very easy-to-use joystick. Just import and export settings for specific use cases or production environments, then use them again as you like.
This controller lets you change the white balance setting, the red and blue gain, shutter speed, aperture, and more.
The PT-JOY-G4 has Power Over Ethernet (PoE). Using a single Ethernet cable, you can control all of your cameras across your network at the same time.
It is very easy to set up on your own with the instructions provided.
The buttons on this device are not backlit and you may face issues when working in darker environments.
The LCD isn’t as large as you may find in other camera controllers.
The PTZOptics Superjoy has been built for smooth and efficient production workflows. It has a simple user interface, but it also has more advanced controls for people who know how to use them. This device lets you control pan, tilt, and zoom and at the same time on IP, NDI, and serial cameras from different brands, like PTZOptics, Honey Optics, Sony, BirdDog, and NewTek. It lets you manage four groups of up to eight cameras each, and the powerful super-preset buttons can be programmed so that they all do the same thing at the same time when they press one of them.
The PTZOptics SuperJoy comes with a joystick for the PTZ camera and four buttons that can be set up to do different things and also control anything that is IP-controlled including lights, and projector screens as well. You can use the built-in decoder with HDMI output to set up and keep an eye on things, while the device's built-in LCD screen shows the current configuration status. The dimensions of this controller are 8.6 x 5 x 14.9 inches and it weighs 5.48 pounds.
The controller has three user-centered control modes that can be used by people with different skill levels. This gives production teams of all kinds of backgrounds and experiences a level of flexibility that they can't get anywhere else.
This device can be used to control any type of PTZ camera because it can mix and match serial and network-based control.
The build of this product is very durable as it comes with metal housing.
It does not support USB for functions other than a firmware upgrade.
As far as PTZ controllers go, this one from AViPAS is one of a kind because of the features that come with the price you pay. When you buy this, you get a joystick and button control for your PTZ cameras, and it can communicate with them over IP and over serial RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 lines. It supports Pelco, Visca, Visca-Over-IP as well as Onvif protocols.
The joystick also has presets for things like gain, iris, focus, red and blue gain, and speed control. These presets let you control the PTZ camera's finer settings. It also has two serial control modes: RS-422 and RS-232, which can be used to control it. This NDI PTZ controller comes with a 12 VDC power source, but it can also be powered by Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). They are 14.1 x 8.8 by 5.5 inches and it weighs 4.75 pounds.
It lets you conveniently control the speed of pan, tilt, and zoom processes simultaneously.
This is one of the most budget-friendly PTZ camera controllers on the market.
The PTZ joystick lets you have user-defined hotkeys.
Since the buttons on the controller are very close to each other. For example, the "Preset" button is for storing a preset and it is right above the "Call" button to recall a preset, making it easy to accidentally erase instead of recalling a preset.
Before you choose your preferred camera controller from the list of the best PTZ camera joystick controllers, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
The number of cameras
When you have a small space, you should expect to have at least two PTZ cameras. As long as that's the case, you can just use the IR remote control to do what you need to do. Larger areas, on the other hand, may have up to eight cameras. If you want to make a lot of videos or stream them, a joystick or OBS PTZ controller is the most efficient. An easier way to use a joystick controller is to use one with a button on it. In this way, you can switch from one camera to the next with more ease.
The user interface
Controllers have a PTZ camera joystick, buttons, and dials or knobs on their user interface. These are the main parts of the interface. The quality and feel of each part of the user experience are equally important. In most cases, if the controller has a metal build, it is more likely to last a long while. Check if the device has speed adjustment knobs, pressure-sensitive focus dials, and rubberized buttons to have a better experience. Also, having back-lit buttons helps you use the controller effectively, even in darker setups. Test your options out at the store if you’d like. However, if you’re buying the PTZ IP controller online, look at the customer reviews to see how well the parts work.
Almost all PTZ camera controllers can be used with most cameras as long as they have been supported by the same communication protocols such as VISCA, Pelco-P, and Pelco-D, which is what most cameras use. You should check the camera's protocol specifications before you buy the device. To make things easier, look up your PTZ camera's brand and which controller is compatible with your camera's model before you think about anything else. Most of the time, PTZ controllers are made by the same companies that make the cameras. This saves you a lot of time and narrows down your options.
As with all other things, the price is not a good indicator of how good or how well a camera controller works. With a lot of research and planning, you'll find that there are better PTZ controllers that cost a lot less than they should. The controllers range from $300 to $15000 and you should look for the features like the number of cameras supported, a number of presets, protocols, etc. that will be most helpful before making the purchase.
Most of the time when a product has more features, it costs more money to buy. Think about adding a few more things that will be useful in the long run. Having features like programmable buttons, an LCD screen, and more advanced image controls like white balance, lens aperture, etc. is a good thing.