Choosing Security Cameras — Pan-Tilt-Zoom Versus Fixed

When it comes to security cameras, there are a lot of different things to take into consideration. First, you need to figure out where you need the cameras and how many you need. Then comes the hard part — figuring out just which type of security cameras would be best. These decisions include wired versus wireless cameras, analog versus digital cameras, and fixed cameras versus pan-tilt-zoom cameras. Understanding the pros and cons of PTZ and fixed cameras will help you make a more informed decision.

PTZ Cameras

What people tend to like most about pan-tilt-zoom security cameras is that they can have the camera follow someone, which means that the camera can move from side to side or up and down and zoom in when needed. The camera can be set to move in a pattern to cover a large area, called a tour, meaning fewer security cameras may be needed. This is great when the video camera is constantly monitored by someone. However, when it isn't being monitored this can actually be a bad thing. That's because if the camera is constantly moving, there's a high chance that if something does happen, the camera will be pointed in the wrong direction.

If you do opt for one of these cameras, be sure that the camera is covered so it isn't possible for anyone to tell exactly where it's pointed at any given time. Otherwise, it will be too easy to avoid the camera's view. Also, look for a camera with built-in motion tracking so if the camera does pick something up, it will stick with it rather than continuing on a pre-programmed tour. Another drawback to this type of camera is that because it has so many more mechanical parts than a fixed camera, it's also a lot more likely to break and need to be repaired. 

Fixed Cameras

A fixed camera means that a specific location is always being monitored by a camera, so if something happens, there will be a record of it. This isn't always the case with a PTZ camera. Fixed cameras also tend to take higher quality images and need less storage space for the images they take than PTZ cameras do. While it may seem counterintuitive to some people, fixed security cameras can often be the better choice, as long as you get multiple cameras so all of the necessary areas are still covered. Another alternative is to have fixed cameras on specific points that should always be monitored, such as entrances to a building, along with a PTZ camera to cover the rest of a large area that needs to be monitored.

Cost Considerations

The costs of these cameras can vary quite a bit, but fixed cameras typically range in price between $300 and $500 each, while PTZ cameras often cost between $1,500 and $3,000 each. Because fixed cameras are about three to five times less expensive than PTZ cameras, using multiple fixed cameras may not even be more expensive than using one PTZ camera. 

For more information, contact local professionals like Arapahoe County Security Center Inc.