Live streaming has become relevant for some time now, especially since the immergence of Twitch and other live streaming platforms.
However, not everyone’s streams are of high quality. One of the factors that differentiate between a good live stream from a bad one is the video quality. Even with a high resolution camera, the quality may not be good enough due to focusing and zooming issues.
Many people use DSLRs and other cameras that are usually meant for photography, for their streams and vlogs. But those cameras don’t have the most flexible or convenient control systems. That’s why today we’ve brought to you your best option for recording live streams: a PTZ camera.
A Pan-tilt-zoom or PTZ camera is what the name suggests; it pans, tilts and zooms! The controls are much easier and they come with various features such as, auto face tracking, smooth zooming and panning; features that regular cameras usually don’t offer. PTZ cameras are great for surveillance, video conferencing, filming and most importantly-live streaming.
Say you want to buy a PTZ camera, but don’t know which one would be the best for you? Well, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve included our top picks on PTZ cameras and also explained how you can buy the best one for yourself. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Quick Look: Our selected best ptz cameras
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Below we have discussed the details of each ptz camera with its pros and cons.
For the first product on this list we have a PTZ camera from the renowned brand PTZOptics. The PTZOptics 20X-SDI Gen-2 PTZ camera is one of the best for live streaming in the market.
This amazing camera offers 20X high resolution optical zoom and has a 0.5 Lux with 2D and 3D noise reduction features, so your stream will remain sharp even in zoomed in and low lighting conditions. The camera supports IP streaming (dual streaming with H.264 and H.265), HDMI, and 3G-SDI for broadcasting or video conferencing. It records in Full HD (1920 x 1080p) with a frame rate of 60fps and 60.7 degree wide-angle for maximum video coverage.
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The camera has RS-232 and RS-485 in/out ports which use VISCA commands that can be integrated with larger control systems like Crestron and Extron, so you can connect to more cameras together in your auditorium or wherever you’re streaming from. The controls include zooming in, smooth camera adjustments, face tagging, etc. You can control the camera manually by yourself or via computer software.
- Full HD video with 20X optical zooming
- Good for low light
- 2 ports for connectivity
- Easy control system
Not too budget friendly.
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Next on the list, we have the incredible PTZ camera by Minrray. The Minrray 20X-NDI PTZ camera is one of the best you’ll find. The camera offers up to 1080p 60fps video recording and streaming with a wide angle of 60.7 degrees.
It provides a pan/tilt rotation of ±170 degrees/ -30 ~ +90 degrees, so you get a flexible view. It comes with 20X optical zoom which retains the quality of the video even when zoomed in and functions great in low light as well.
The camera is compatible with windows PC and Mac, with several connectivity options such as HDMI, SDI, IP, NDI ǀ HX 4.0 and can be controlled via VISCA, RS-232 and RS-485 and IR controller. The camera can be mounted on a wall, ceiling, or tripod, or simply placed on your desk. It is a great camera for streaming and comes at a medium affordable price.
- HD recording with 20X zoom and high wide angle.
- Great control system
- Wide range of pan and tilt
- Reasonable price
Some customers had trouble setting up the camera networks.
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For the third product on this list we’ve brought to you a PTZ camera by the brand AViPAS. The AV-1080G 10X Full HD 3G-SDI PTZ camera is a great option if you’re low on budget.
The camera supports 1080p high resolution video recording and streaming at a frame rate of 60fps and IP streaming in H.264/ H.265. The lens provides a wide angle of 60.9 degrees as well. It also features a high SNR of CMOS sensor along with 2D and 3D noise reduction algorithm. The camera provides 10X optical zoom as well as 5X digital zoom at f1.6 ~ 3.0 aperture, so it’ll be clear even when fully zoomed in, and 0.5 lux for a clearer image in low light.
The AV-1080G has 2 outputs: 3G-SDI and LAN; RS232 which can be controlled via command protocols such as VISCA/ Pelco-D/ Pelco-P. Other than that, the camera can also be controlled using a remote control and RJ45 over network. It is a great camera with easy controls and great features and also comes at an affordable price.
- FullHD video
- 60.9 degree wide angle
- 10X optical and 5X digital zoom
- Good connectivity
Some customers didn’t receive the remote control.
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The next product on this list is another PTZ camera from PTZOptics. The PTZOptics 12X-SDI camera is perfect for Broadcast and conferencing indoors.
With a Full HD resolution of 1080p, the 12X-SDI offers a 12X optical zoom (F3.5mm-42.3mm) with an aperture of f1.8-2.8, and a maximum frame rate of 60fps. The camera has a pixel count of 2.12 mega pixels and has a 1/2.7” CMOS sensor for clear and noise free video.
This PTZ camera comes with a remote control for operation and an RS-232 cable for connectivity. There are three simultaneous video outputs in the camera for streaming full HD videos: HDMI, 3G-SDI and H.264/H.265 IP streaming. The camera has both RS-232 and RS-485 ports which can be integrated to larger controls via VISCA commands. Besides, the package also includes a power adapter and cord, a user’s manual and a warranty for 3 years.
The camera is great for live streaming or broadcasting indoors. However the price is on the higher side, so this is more recommended for offices or companies, and not personal use.
- Good for indoors
- FullHD streaming
- 3 years warranty
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We’re back with another product from PTZOptics; the PTZOptics 12X-USB Gen2 camera is one of the best for broadcast and conference.
This one also has full HD video streaming and recording at 1080p resolutions at a frame rate of 30fps. The lens has 12X optical zoom, which allows you to zoom into a narrow 6.9 degree as well as provide a wide angle of 72.5 degrees.
The camera can stream HD videos using HDMI, USB 3.0 and H.264 or H.265 IP streaming, simultaneously. It also has the feature of plug and play, so you can stream directly into your preferred CDN; just input the CDN’s RTMP information in your camera’s IP interface, and you’re good to go.
There is a built in 3.5mm audio jack and also USB 3.0 line level audio input option for installing external microphones. It also comes with an open-source camera control software for you to customize and program your own controller. It is a great camera for professional streamers.
- 72.5 degree wide angle
- USB plug and play
- Comes with open-source software for maximum control.
Not too affordable.
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For the last product on this list, we’ve brought to you a budget friendly pick. The SMTAV Full HD PTZ camera is one of the best affordable PTZ cameras in the market.
As the name suggests, it records and streams full HD videos at 1080p resolution with a 60fps maximum frame rate, and has a Panasonic 1/2.7 inch CMOS sensor with effective pixels of 2 mega pixels.
The lens comes with 20X optical zoom and an additional 16X digital zoom with an aperture of f1.8 ~ 2.8, so the quality remains the same, even after zooming in completely. It works great in low light with 0.5 lux illumination.
The camera features a horizontal rotation of ± 170 degrees and a vertical rotation of ± 30 degrees; it has a pan and tilt speed range of 1.7 ~ 100 degrees per second and 0.7 ~ 28 degrees per second, respectively.
This best PTZ camera for live streaming supports both H & V flip and image freezing. It comes with an RS-232 cable which can be integrated with VISCA command control protocol for operating the camera. The product is easy to use and control when streaming.
- High optical and digital zoom
- High range of vertical and horizontal rotation
- Budget friendly.
The product does not have USB plug and play feature.
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PTZ Camera Buying guide
When looking for a high quality PTZ camera, you should always keep a few factors in mind such as:
- Video resolution
- Zoom range
- Flexibility and rotation
- Connectivity and Controls
- Brand name
Most modern day PTZ cameras come with 1080p full HD (2 mega pixels) resolutions, while some may be 720p (1 mega pixels) so all you need to do is just check what the frame rate is, how many mega pixels it has, and how well it works in low light.
Usually 60 fps is considered a high frame rate, however, some cameras provide great quality at 30 fps as well. The zoom range of the camera should be at least more than 10X for it to be considered a good quality PTZ camera, and it must be rotatable up to at least 150 degrees and 30 degrees (horizontally and vertically respectively) during panning and tilting.
Flexibility and rotation
Make sure the camera has RS-232 and RS-485 ports and can be integrated with external controller systems via VISCA, Pelco-D/ Pelco-P or any other command protocols.
The ones with USB plug-and-play feature usually have everything you need in a good PTZ camera, but those can get pretty expensive, so check if you can get one with USB connectivity at an affordable price.
You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on PTZ cameras, as there are so many affordable yet high quality cameras available. However, all cheap ones- even if the specifications seem great- aren’t really the best quality.
Brands such as PTZOptics, AViPAS, and SMTAV are notable among renowned manufacturers that offer a wide range of PTZ cameras at various price points. And lastly, make sure you know what you want and what your budget is; and buy your camera depending on that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I stream live videos with a PTZ camera?
Yes, it is possible to stream live videos using a PTZ camera. Just make sure to connect it to your computer or whatever device you’re using and have an internet connection.
How do I control the camera?
Most PTZ cameras come with a remote control which can be used to operate and control the camera with. But if it is not included, the camera should have RS-232 and RS-485 ports so that it can be integrated with external control systems.
Can I connect a PTZ Cam to my PC/Mac?
Yes, the cameras can be connected to PC/ Mac via USB/ HDMI/ SDI. The cables are usually included in the package.
Do PTZ cameras have a built in microphone?
Most cameras on this list have built-in microphones. However if it doesn’t have a built-in mic, it should have a 3.5mm audio input jack, so that you can connect it to an external microphone.
Can the camera be wall/ceiling/tripod mounted?
Almost all PTZ cameras can be wall and ceiling mounted; some can also be mounted to a tripod.
By now, we suppose you have become an expert on PTZ cameras, and hopefully you have figured out which camera would be the best for your streaming purposes.
Live streaming is not going anywhere anytime soon. Starting from news portals to e-sports players, many people need the best quality streaming camera they can get.
Depending on what task you want completed and what features you want in your camera itself, get the perfect one that works for you. Make sure you get one that’s a bang for your buck! We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and learned something new today as well. Get yourself the best PTZ camera and start streaming high quality videos today!