PTZ Cams: Not Just for Surveillance


You’ve seen them, but maybe you’re not quite sure what they are. Often encased in domes, PTZ or Pan Tilt Zoom cameras, are cameras that can be panned, tilted and zoomed remotely. You’ll see them mounted on the ceilings of department stores and other locations where someone wants to keep an eye on things. But they can be used for a lot more than simple surveillance.


Ironically, the most prominent application for PTZ cams is in surveillance. That’s because one of the main ways to deter theft is to have multiple security cameras set up right out in the open, where would-be thieves see them and wonder if anyone’s watching. That’s usually enough to prevent casual pilfering.


People tend to associate surveillance footage with grainy, dark video. But the latest PTZ cameras can shoot in full HD. That makes them well-suited for a lot more than just surveillance. Today, these cameras are used for sports events, video conferencing, television production, houses of worship, professional staging, virtual classrooms and traffic and weather-cam applications.


Panasonic's AW-HE50H HD Integrated PTZ Camera can form the key component in a complete IP and serial control capable video-capture system. The integrated pan-tilt-zoom mechanism is operated remotely via RS-422 serial control. The camera can be controlled from a computer or from Panasonic AW series controllers or third-party control systems. The camera can pan from -175 to +175 degrees and tilt from -30 to +90 degrees. It has a maximum rotational speed of over 90 degrees per second.


The AW-HE50H HD captures impressive video with its 1920 x 1080 1/3” full-HD MOS sensor, 18x optical zoom lens, and 10x digital zoom. It can capture HD or SD video in a variety of resolutions.
Dynamic Range Stretch optimizes the gamma curve and knee slope to match the contrast of each pixel in real time to increase the dynamic range. Hybrid Noise Reduction suppresses after-images in difficult lighting conditions. The Flesh Tone Mode helps produce a more pleasing and realistic picture. Other features of the AW-HE50H include an electronic shutter, seven-step chroma adjustment, and three-step gamma correction.


Interfaces include 10/100 Ethernet and RS-422. The camera can also be controlled from a Web browser by connecting the AW-HE50H to a PC. The model AW-HE50H HD features one HDMI output and composite and component connections can be made using an optional breakout cable. The AW-HE50H HD costs $4,319.95. The model AW-HE50S HD is the same camera but with an SDI output instead of HDMI. The AW-HE50S HD costs $5,279.95.