On account of their panning, tilting and zoom features, PTZ cameras have certain advantages over other security cameras. Moreover, manufacturers are incorporating innovative features as per customer requirements
By Richa Chakravarty
January, Monday 20, 2014: Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras have the ability to rotate 360 degrees, tilt more than 180 degrees and zoom to focus on objects at a considerable distance. Due to their capability to pan, tilt and zoom, only these cameras are suffice to perform the functions of multiple fixed lens cameras as they can be used for surveillance over a large area. They are ideal for verticals like hospitality, railway stations and airports, retail, BPO, manufacturing, educational institutes, transportation, industries, etc.
PTZ cameras have certain advantages over other security cameras. Fixed dome, box and bullet cameras have limitations when it comes to viewing angles, and hence, a number of cameras are required for a given space. Fewer PTZ cameras are needed to provide seamless surveillance over a wider area as they have 18x to 37x zoom for distances ranging from 60-400 m.
“The demand for PTZ cameras is on the rise due to the growing number of video surveillance projects. Increasing government awareness regarding city surveillance is leading to the need to install PTZ cameras,” informs Kaushal Kadakia, product owner, Video Surveillance Solutions, Matrix Comsec.
The latest in the market
Vantage Integrated Security Solutions has recently added a full range of HD PTZ cameras to its product range. Launched in July 2013, these laser and IR PTZ cameras are capable of showing a clear view during the day and night.
In September 2013, Hikvision India launched two MP network infrared (IR) PTZ cameras—DS-2DF7286 and DS-2DF7276. “These cameras stand out because of their 30x optical zoom capability, hence offering excellent surveillance options for high resolution and clear video monitoring as both can provide long-range visibility in all lighting conditions. They help users observe close-up details of distant objects and individuals. This can be particularly beneficial in environments where tracking and zooming are paramount,” shares Ashish P Dhakan, MD and CEO, Prama Hikivision India.
Satatya CADRP700VL90SW is the latest PTZ camera that Matrix Comsec has launched in September 2013, which has a Sony Super HAD CCD II image sensor. It is a 700TVL high-speed IR dome camera, which covers a distance of 120-150 m and has a 30x zooming capability.
Bosch has revamped its PTZ camera portfolio by launching a standard definition IP PTZ camera called VG5-7036-E1PC4 in June 2013 and a high-definition IP PTZ camera called VG5-7220-EPC4, which has an intelligent auto-tracking facility. According to Sudhir Tiku, senior general manager and country head, Bosch Security Systems India, “Intelligent auto-tracking helps the customer track an object in a field of view without any false alarms.”
SVS54IRWSD and SVSD540WP-30 are the latest models introduced by Autocop in May 2013. These are 30x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom cameras with IR functionality, which give high quality images even in very low light conditions. Autocop has also added Vivotek’s SD8363E, speed dome, full HD 20x PTZ and FE8172/V fish eye 5MP ePTZ cameras in its product range.
IP-based PTZ cameras: The latest technology dominating the PTZ space is the network or Internet Protocol (IP)-based PTZ camera. “Earlier, analogue PTZ cameras were ruling the market; now, there has been a technology shift and the IP-based (digital), open source and fully integrated systems, with the option for remote surveillance, background screening, video analytics, digital video and sensor-based detection are gaining popularity,” informs Jayendra Modi, product manager, Autocop India Pvt Ltd.
Better picture and video quality: The video quality of PTZ cameras has improved tremendously. The cameras have higher picture clarity and can now withstand harsh weather conditions. Even moving pictures over a wide coverage area are much clearer. For example, Hikvision’s PTZ dome cameras can detect any moving object and follow it within the camera’s area of coverage without any fault. “The facial detection feature ensures that an individual’s face is captured in the picture during tracking. The camera also has a smart defog feature to help improve the clarity of images captured in poor weather conditions, such as rain or fog. The smart IR technology helps to address the problem of over-exposure of IR LEDs at the centre of images,” says Ashish P Dhakan.
Digital PTZ cameras: An advanced version of PTZ cameras is ePTZ or digital PTZ cameras. ePTZ refers to a software feature rather than the hardware. A camera using ePTZ does not physically move like PTZ cameras. Users can digitally zoom and navigate the camera’s viewable area.
Essentially, there are just two different ways to control the view from a camera.
The intelligent auto exposure (iAE) feature makes the camera adapt its settings to the relevant part of the scene allowing more visible details. This feature is available in Bosch PTZ cameras. “These cameras work even more effectively in challenging light conditions, at low bandwidth, without compromising the resolution of video, thus retaining video quality. This results in reduced storage requirements and, hence, a low cost of ownership for the customer,” explains Sudhir Tiku, senior general manager and country head, Bosch Security Systems India.
Some other advanced features: Wide dynamic range (WDR), automatic gain control (AGC), digital noise reduction, and auto white balance (AWB) are some other technologically-advanced features now being incorporated in PTZ cameras to enhance performance. These features are found in PTZ cameras offered by Matrix Comsec.
“For large areas and for 360° seamless surveillance, we recommend a combination of fisheye global view and a speed dome camera. This is called Panaromic PTZ. For example, Vivotek megapixel fisheye camera offered by Autocop provides 360° surround view without blind spots, while Vivotek speed dome provides fast, precise pan/tilt/zoom movement through its robust design and captures details with precise quality from extreme distances,” says Samir Ramadas, product manager, Autocop India Pvt Ltd.
The combination of a fisheye global view and a speed dome camera accomplishes a seamless surveillance solution in which the fisheye camera’s global view is used as the ‘command’ unit to detect events across an area, and the speed dome acts as the ‘slave’ to track and zoom in on suspicious objects for detail at up to HD resolution with optical zoom. In both the panoramic as well as surround views, users can utilise the ultra-smooth PTZ function to easily zoom in and focus on a region of interest via a mouse to track the object of interest, allowing views of objects such as license plates from up to hundreds of metres away. By activating the auto tracking feature, surveillance efficiency is increased as the fisheye is used to trigger the speed dome to track moving objects within a wide area before an operator may be aware of suspicious activity.
Cameras with WDR feature incorporate techniques for handling a wide range of lighting conditions. For example, in extremely bright and dark areas or in backlit scenes, these cameras use different exposures for different objects and make them visible.
The digital noise reduction feature removes the specks on the photo (noise) and saves space on the hard drive where the video is saved, making the image clearer and easy on the eye.
Auto white balance (AWB) is a technology that enables users to make adjustments to white and gray-scale parameters in video, based on the colour temperatures of the viewed scene.
Investing in a video surveillance system is a smart move. But selecting the right camera is critical. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a PTZ camera.
The requirement: Buyers need to determine what they want to monitor; whether they need an indoor or an outdoor camera; how much area is required to be covered; up to what distance face recognition or object identification is required; whether there is a requirement for zero or no-light conditions, etc. Based on the distance the coverage is required for, users can go in for an 18x to 37x zoom PTZ camera. “The buyer and the vendor should understand the requirement and then choose the right product. It is important to consider the location to be able to get the maximum coverage from the camera. Also, the zooming capability should be chosen carefully, keeping in mind the distance that is to be covered, as well as lighting and other key factors,” suggests Prateek Verma, sales director, Vantage Integrated Security Solutions (P) Ltd.
Open platform: For an IP PTZ camera, users should go in for ONVIF compliant PTZ cameras as they support open platform application software (VMS/CMS).
Storage capacity: The camera should have an extendible storage capacity, so that in case the in-built capacity is used up, there is an option to attach an SD card to it for continuous capturing and recording.
Some other factors to be considered are:
WDR pro-technology for high-contrast environments
Good panning and tilting range like 360-degree continuous pan and 220-degree tilt
IP66 and NEMA 4X rating
Wide temperature range for extreme weather conditions
Extended tilt range
Auto-tracking of moving objects
PoE plus and high PoE
Built-in SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot for on-board storage
Vantage’s IR PTZ camera
Matrix Comsec’s Satatya CADRP700VL90SW
Bosch’s VG5-7000 Series
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