Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera


Active Member
Anyone using a Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera? I guess the only way to get PTZ is to go with a network camera. I really like the idea of being able to PTZ so I guess I need to seriously investigate network cameras rather than fixed with a DVR card. Initially the high price turned me off. I was going with 3 fixed cameras - maybe 2 PTZ cameras would work instead. Can a PTZ camera be set to automatically pan or is it a static control?
Panasonic BL-C10A wired network camera - decent reviews
Pan/Tilt - no zoom
1/4" CMOS
15 fps @ 320x240
7.5 fps @ 640x480
about $180

How does CMOS stack up against CCD?
Is 15 fps (even though only 320x240) acceptable?
Is 7.5 fps jerky but workable?
Any other network cameras in roughly the same price range - about $200?
Stay as far from CMOS cameras as you can. This is the style of chipset that X10 cameras use. The saying on the HomeSeer bulletin board is CMOS stands for "Can't Make Out Squat". Don't get me wrong for $20 for an X10 camera you can't beat it but any more than that and it's a waste of money. This Panasonic is a really low end camera that has P&T. My suggestion to you would be to go to and buy a camera and test it and send it back. They are really good to work with and basically you can test drive any cameras they have.

I just helped a friend write an asp application for this camera and he loves them. He has 2 of these.

So budget is the key.
In general, CMOS has a reputation for being inferior to CCD. But I like my two Panasonic BL-C10A cameras better than my 1/3" Sony CCD cameras. On paper, the CCD cameras should be better, but at my house, using my setup, the Panny shines. And, IMHO, it does pretty good in low light situations too.
I have no desire to pay $1000 for a camera. What I am beginning to see is that 3 fixed high resolution CCD/LED outside cameras may be the way to go for now - or at least 2 to get started. The Vitek VTC-IRLED30A is about $224 and the VTC-IRHCM1 is about $200. Both have a 1/3" CCD, 771x492, 480 TVL. The VTC-LED667HRCB is $156 with 768x494. So I am back looking for a decent DVR PCI card. I will still explore IP cameras but I would hope to find a decent DVR PCI card that doesn't consume a PC.
Don't forget to add your time to the cost/benefit equation:

Find a separate pan/tilt unit

Find a card that will play nice with other apps on an existing machine

Find current drivers for it (or in some cases go back to an earlier rev to make it work)

Find software that will serve your video to a web page and provide pan/tilt control on the page.

OR plug in a $550 Pana outdoor model and your done.

When you add up the price of the camera, pan/tilt unit, PC card, Software, and your time; how much are you really saving with the PC solution?
I agree with Upstatemike. In the end the all in one is about the same price and a hell of a lot easier.
PTZ may provide the coverage of 3 cameras when you are using the PT to look around, but when you are away and you DVR is simply recording motion, 3 seperate cameras will provide you much better coverage and security.

I am all for a PTZ IP cam, but it would be the live camera feeding my TV when I am home, I would not even bother hooking it up to the DVR. I will use my trusted wired cameras that stay focused on what I decide they should, and use their custom motion detection zones, etc.

So go for the combo... neither option is perfect on its own. (Try setting up motion zones on a camera that moves....)

I actually have a 4XEM IPCAMWPTZ camera setup as a demo for my website which deals with IP cameras. The link is - username and password are "demo" - without the quotes of course ;). It is setup in a lizard tank which is a bit messy, i gotta clean it when i get home.

I think you can buy the same camera for under $600. It has a 10X optical zoom with Pan/Tilt. It also has two-way audio which is pretty cool and a video out.