What is a PTZ Camera and What is it Used For?

Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras are machine vision cameras with the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom their lenses. Traditional machine vision cameras feature a stationary lens within a highly controlled environment for effective imaging. PTZ cameras have more flexibility and are used in less controlled environments. Historically, PTZ cameras were used in consumer applications and featured simple hydraulic motors to move the lens. Today, PTZ cameras are far more advanced and used in high-end security or surveillance environments. They can even pan, tilt, and zoom with entirely digital techniques – the cameras stay completely stationary within their housing units.

What are PTZ Cameras Used For?

PTZ cameras are used in situations in which the machine vision camera must move to cover a larger area or automatically identify and follow a moving target. They are a common choice for the most advanced security and surveillance applications, such as the monitoring of critical infrastructure. PTZ cameras are typically mounted in an elevated position to maximize their wide imaging area. This, in combination with advanced image sensors with ever-increasing resolutions and sensitivities, allow the latest PTZ cameras to monitor large areas.

Applications of PTZ Cameras

While most industrial PTZ cameras excel at similar functions – securing and surveilling large open areas with little human intervention – they can still be used in many different ways. Some of the most common applications include:

  • Traffic cameras in intelligent transportation systems (ITS), such as those used to read license plates
  • Facial recognition vision systems that can identify individuals, even in a crowded area
  • Remote surveillance posts that require long-distance fiber optic connections, such as for critical infrastructure monitoring
  • Inspection stations for large finished products

For now, the four applications listed above are among the most common for industrial PTZ cameras, but they’re not the only way these cameras may be deployed. With every passing year, new developments in machine vision technology enable more advanced PTZ cameras capable of automating a wider range of applications. PTZ cameras originally proved their worth in simplistic commercial applications but have evolved into advanced industrial machine vision solutions for security and surveillance applications. To learn more, find PTZ cameras from leading suppliers at Phase 1 Technology.