How are PTZ Cameras Controlled?

Nowadays, the moment you walk into a mall or a store, you notice a surveillance camera in each corner, scrutinizing everything for potential malicious acts. But cameras able to pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) have found additional recognition regarding security surveillance. Read on to learn everything about PTZ cameras.  

You may outright ask, are PTZ cameras worth it? Well, that depends on your needs, but to help you, there are many options right now in the market; see here for the list. 

How do PTZ cameras work, and how are they controlled?

PTZ camera mounted on the wall outside a building

Behind every mechanical device, there’s always a human at play. The PTZ camera is no exception.

Once the controller gets the ball rolling, the camera moves in the default manner. This means that if the camera detects suspicious activity, it will focus on the activity and follow the action toward the conclusion.

However, there is also a feature of preset Guard Tours. With this interesting feature, the camera’s controller can set the device’s journey beforehand. The PTZ can be controlled via the image panel-on-screen controller. The alternative is to use the tool in the PTZ control pane.

Presets, Patterns, and Tours 

The controls of the device largely depend upon the model you’ve bought. If the camera supports the control panel, you can easily add presets, patterns, and tours that would give you much control over the otherwise automatic device.

The settings could be done right from the camera itself, and in case of customization, you can take the camera to customer support and have your configurations done by an expert.

From its swift up and down movement, right and left, and even zoom in and out, all these meticulous movements can be configured beforehand. Although, the field of view and the camera range must be considered before configuring the settings.

While an average PTZ camera is equipped with 360 pan-capability and 180 tilt, this figure could vary from model to model. Full movement cameras cover a vast expanse of a room. It could easily sweep a room that would take 2 or 3 units of traditional surveillance cameras. (1)

PTZ Controller 

For full-fledged control, you will be furnished with a comprehensive controller that can give you authority over the camera’s movements. To perform tasks, the controller will be equipped with a joystick, zoom toggle, and other control features. The joystick is used for panning and tilting, while the toggle is for zooming in and out. There will also be a keyboard that will be used for in-depth configuration. 

If you’ve got one of those CCU cameras, your effort in managing and adjusting the cameras has been cut in half. But before you begin your viewing, you must set up a monitoring system.

You could use a single monitor or a Multiview system for this task and have an excellent viewing experience. Standard video outlets such as HDMI and DVI would be apt for mirroring the camera on the screen as they are affordable, accessible, and yet exponentially effective on all fronts. (2)

Types of PTZ Camera And The Mode of Controlling Each

The type of PTZ camera you’ve got also has a major role in controlling it, as each type serves different needs in different locations. 

1. PTZ – IP Camera

Amcrest UltraHD 5MP Outdoor POE CameraThe PTZ internet protocol cameras are state-of-the-art inventions that use WIFI to function as a separate entity with no strings attached. There are no hardwires or thin chords; just a strong WIFI and router connectivity is enough to get the ball rolling. Although, there might be a single short wire for power. 

2. Outdoor PTZ Camera

EVERSECU 5MP Auto Tracking 30x Zoom IP POE PTZ CCTV Camera

As the name suggests, these cameras are installed outdoors. These specialized cameras are built to endure the unpredictability of the weather. They are encapsulated in a water-proof and dust-proof exterior that protects their components from harmful weather elements. It could be snowing or raining or be exponentially humid. The camera could sustain all the elements thrown at it. 

3. Wireless PTZ Camera

3MP HD Outdoor Wireless Security Camera

Wireless PTZ cameras function without the aid of chords. The principle used in its operation is simple transmission and reception of video signals, which then mirrors the image onto the video output you have wirelessly connected to the camera. You can also use the WIFI feature to mirror the images, but some cameras could receive the signals without the router working as the mediator between them. The outdoor PTZs are mostly bought for long-distance surveillance. But various shopping stores use the camera to screen their properties outdoors too. 

Wrapping UP

While PTZ may have some advanced features to traditional surveillance cameras, on some level, they are controlled just as the latter is. With the proper installation, monitoring connection, and controller knowledge, any PTZ can be controlled conveniently. 


(1) 360 pan-capability –
(2) CCU cameras –

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About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

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