Pan–tilt–zoom camera

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A modern PTZ camera

A pan–tilt–zoom camera (PTZ camera) is a camera that is capable of remote directional and zoom control.

In television production, PTZ controls are used with professional video cameras in television studios, sporting events, and other spaces. They are commonly referred to as robos, an abbreviation of robotic camera. These systems can be remotely controlled by automation systems.

controller for ptz cameras
A PTZ controller

PTZ is an abbreviation for pan, tilt and zoom and reflects the movement options of the camera. Other types of cameras are ePTZ or virtual pan-tilt-zoom (VPTZ) where a high-resolution camera digitally zooms and pans into portions of the image, with no physical camera movement. Ultra-low bandwidth surveillance streaming technologies use VPTZ to stream user-defined areas in higher quality without increasing overall bandwidth usage.

PTZ Cameras are commonly used in applications such as surveillance, video conferencing, live production, lecture capture and distance learning.

Auto tracking[edit]

Some PTZ cameras have the ability to detect movement within their field of view. This can then be used to move the camera to keep the target in the center of the video frame.[1] Once the target exits the camera's field of view, the camera returns to a pre-programmed position until further movement is detected.

Video surveillance[edit]

Pan-tilt-zoom cameras can be an essential part of modern surveillance systems. They can direct the attention to suspicious events. Unlike fixed cameras, PTZ cameras give an operator the ability to physically move the camera remotely to survey another area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Real Time Target Tracking with Pan Tilt Zoom Camera" (PDF). 2009 Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications: 492–497. 2009. doi:10.1109/DICTA.2009.84.