The best PTZ camera will help boost the quality of your streaming, web conferencing or video production. And this guide will help you choose the best Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera for your needs, at the best possible price.
PTZ cameras come with motorized stands which allow for remote control, or intelligent automatic operation. Their popularity has boomed in recent years, and that's no surprise. Almost any scenario where a webcam can be useful, including Zoom calls with presentations and streaming content on social media, can benefit from a camera which can follow you – especially if you like to use the whole space.
So how do you choose the right PTZ camera for your particular needs? Mounting options are one important thing to consider. Resolution is another. Connectivity is critical, too: you'll want to know what quality video signals you can get out via what sockets, and whether it’s possible to attach a microphone for pro quality sound. This is especially important if you’re using the PTZ camera to create a live stream over IP.
Below, we've listed the best PTZ cameras available today, for a range of uses. We've included the facts and figures you'll need to choose between them, plus links to the best prices, updated in real time.
The best PTZ cameras in 2022(opens in new tab)
The AW-UE50 is an excellent camera well-suited to the needs of the modern broadcaster thanks to the inclusion of IP, USB-C and SDI video output. With a subtle dome-like design, it’s compact, manages 24x optical zoom and can even be operated via a single (PoE+) cable.
The wide-angle field of view (74.1˚ horizontal at the wide end) means smaller venues aren’t an issue, and there's a variety of control systems. Its near-silent motor system genuinely impresses with its subtlety. And the dark UI makes operating the camera from the web interface without distraction practical.
NOTE: If this model is too expensive for you, its similar sibling, the AW-UE40 (opens in new tab), lacks only 3G-SDI connector so might make a cheaper alternative.(opens in new tab)
The SRG-300H is an excellent camera with one of Sony’s EXMOR sensors, operable in light down to 1.4 LUX (f/1.6). This offers a wide dynamic range and, paired with Sony’s XDNR digital noise reduction and 30x optical zoom, produces great streaming-friendly video.
Despite the generous optical zoom, Sony’s mechanism maintains autofocus as you zoom, resulting in much more professional looking footage than many PTZ systems which need to hunt again after zooming. Indeed a broadcaster-friendly version with lockable SDI connectors is available (the Sony SRG-300S).
Ceiling, desktop or tripod mount are no problem, and some may find the physical switch for image mirroring handy. There are some thoughtful aspects to the design, too, which sits more discretely in a corporate environment (or reality TV set) than some, and the truly style conscious can opt for black or white.
Overall, this is a top notch system which doesn’t disgrace a brand much loved by broadcasters. And this tells in both build quality and operation (even the IR remote feels robust).(opens in new tab)
If you want a camera with the full range of connectivity and remote control options, including iOS and Android apps, the PTZ Optics SDI series (also available with 20x and 30x lenses) is the ideal choice.
These cameras have all the socketry you could want, and these work simultaneously. That means you can send HDMI to a nearby monitor for your talent while using 3G SDI or LAN streaming. You can also set the resolution and frame rate with a physical switch as you set up your broadcast.
The firm, whose name gives away their devotion to PTZ tech, is also known for their devotion to creative software development. So along with their Mac/PC app for camera control, they have a dedicated OBS plugin, and make their system open source to help users create their ideal system. This, in turn, yields useful features that traditional broadcast brands might not have thought of, such as compatibility with Xbox controllers in lieu of expensive broadcast joysticks.
If you don’t choose one of the near limitless controller connections, there is an IR remote in the box which has a very thorough range of options – including slow and fast zoom rockers, auto and manual focus, camera select, and the keypad you need to choose one of the 255 preset positions.(opens in new tab)
For event television – sports or otherwise – the BRC-X1000 has the chops to handle the situation. Not only can it shoot in real 4K but boasts a one-inch, back-illuminated Exmor-R CMOS sensor and a 9.3-111.6mm optical zoom with an aperture of ƒ/2.8 at the wide end. All this is, of course, remotely controllable, and the speed of pan/tilt and zoom all adjustable.
The zoom isn’t as long as some cameras here, and Sony’s digital system – ‘Clear Image Zoom Technology’ – extends it, without abandoning quality, to 24x in HD or 18x in 4K. On the plus side, the camera is good in low light and has a menu-switchable ND filter.
The system can ‘only’ store 100 preset positions, but that should be more than adequate for most purposes. Broadcasters will also appreciate a front and rear tally light (‘live’ light) with adjustable brightness, the fact that Sony supply user upgrades and the IR remote, ceiling brackets, mounting screws and cable clamps in the box. The only real irritation is the step up in price from the BRC-H800 (1080p version).(opens in new tab)
This on-board streaming encoder can encode two data streams to the cloud at once (though you need to drop down to 30fps). In addition, you have SDI and HDMI out, so you can operate in pretty much any creative environment, taking audio via the 3.5mm stereo line input if needed for convenient encoding. H.264 and H.265 with AAC, MP3 or PCM audio are all on offer, from 16KHz to 48KHz.
The low noise 1 / 2.8-inch CMOS sensor has 20x optical zoom. This makes for great images as with two megapixels there are no superfluous pixels (though the 10x digital zoom extension is best avoided). Control is via industry standard systems and there is a good movement range (120˚ tilt, 340˚ pan). If you don’t opt for one of Datavideo – or compatible – control systems, there's also an IR remote in the box, as well as the ceiling mounts and UV filter.
This is a great choice for using with either RTSP (broadly better for localized streams) or RTMP (widely compatible and flexible), and you’ll find the frame rate you need. Additionally the styling is nicely subtle and, at under 55db, so is the motor noise.(opens in new tab)
Sporting the equivalent of a 25 to 382mm optical zoom with image stabilization, Canon’s new PTZ camera is ideal for shooting a low-staff, high quality production. Modern broadcast standards are met with Log 3 and wide dynamic range, so you’ll be able to produce 4K at 4:2:2 10-bit, just like a high-end camcorder. Super-fast focus and face tracking also help keep things professional.
You’ll also have no problem getting your content out. In fac, the back is so full of connectors there will be too much for many. Dual XLRs for audio and a genlock socket are definitely unusual in this category, but may earn it a live gig speciality.
Another extra is the microSD card slot, although this is for future updates, not recording – which seems a shame. Instead, video will go via the output and control via either Canon’s Windows software or their RCI-100 joystick controller for this and the series of cameras. The camera can also be given a turn in network scenarios – from CCTV to broadcast – thanks to built-in NDI.(opens in new tab)
Perfect for a conference room of about 20 people, or perhaps a classroom, the Logitech PTZ Pro 2 Video Conference camera plugs into your computer’s USB (Mac or Windows) via the generous 10-foot (3m) cable and provides a more flexible and (probably) better quality alternative than the system camera you’re used to.
A simple remote control is included in the box, and the camera can be set with presets to move between (something it does more smoothly than Logitech’s original PTZ Pro, though could still be better). Mac or PC users can also control PTZ & image settings via a downloadable app, and this give the option of controlling from near or far.
It’s worth noting that Logitech do have a pricier option, the 4K Rally which they would likely prefer you buy (it’s nearly twice the price), but the PTZ Pro 2 is certified for Skype, Zoom and many other popular systems – Logitech’s devotion to certification is greatly appreciated, though of course it stills works where any USB webcam will. With a Kensington lock fitting, this is also a good choice in less-than-secure locations. See alsoBest Logitech webcam (opens in new tab)s.(opens in new tab)
With a dedicated, and very friendly, phone app, the Mevo is controlled via a WiFi network, or your phone’s hotspot, designed for livestreaming on the go. It’s not technically a PTZ camera, but the experience is somewhat like one. It is a follow up to the 2018 Mevo Plus, meaning the manufacturer's had a couple of years to listen to customer feedback and the result is a really polished product.
In terms of hardware, the tiny camera shoots either at the full 84˚ width or cropping in and tracking your face. At the same time, it records to its MicroSD card, so you’ve got a backup to edit with. You can take sound via your phone, a 3.5mm mic, or the in-built 3-microphone array which uses Fraunhofer upHear Spatial Processing.
In terms of operation, the app is not only easy to use and connect to standard streaming platforms (Facebook, Youtube, any RTMP), but offers extensive picture adjustments – either preset or manual. A paid subscription will allow you to stream to multiple platforms at once, and add live graphics.
If you’re looking to take your streaming channels on the road, this device gives you the power to broadcast anywhere, wirelessly, with impressive sound quality. You can keep going for up to 6 hours on a single charge, too.(opens in new tab)
If you’re looking for a webcam which can lock its framing on you, even if you need to move around a little, then you’ve found it; the Obsbot Tiny 4K. Based on the proven Osbot Tiny, this is a 4K sequel to the (even cheaper) 1080P Osbot Tiny; in fact they share the same shell, save for a red ring around the lens.
It exists thanks to the enthusiasm of Indiegogo backers and they, in turn, have developed a very effective AI system. Operation is as simple as plug and play and the 4K 30fps output should match (or beat) most webcams, especially if you’re using a MacBook more than a year or two old.
Just the HDR is a benefit for many home workers with incontinent lighting. Support of scaleable H.264 encoding keeps quality good, while tracking is engaged and disengaged by hand-gestures. An LED flash lets you know the AI understood it, which is very natural very soon. Even more instinctive is the privacy mode; just grab the camera and point the lens down! We also appreciate the included hard case so you can use it wherever you go.(opens in new tab)
If you’re a vlogger who has invested in a good quality phone, but doesn’t quite have the budget for a production assistant or camera operator, the Obsbot Me is the solution; it turns your phone into a camera which can follow you. OK, not strictly meeting the tilt and zoom criteria (though there is always post-production), but this is still a very handy tool for to-camera shots.
We like that it folds small, yet opens to hold any phone (even a chunky iPhone Pro Max), and that you can use it with the standard camera software – no need for an extra app. The lens in the device is used to spot your high-five to enable and disable the tracking, but every other video feature so there is no need to pair or go through any other tiresome process – you can also switch devices easily (oh, and yes, there is a tripod mount).(opens in new tab)
The VC520 Pro 2 is a dedicated conference room webcam (opens in new tab) system which can continuously track meeting participants and re-frame accordingly. It’s designed for medium and large meeting rooms and has wide 340˚ pan and 120˚ tilt capabilities, though whether it will actually need that range at one or another end of a table is another matter.
Dynamic range benefits from the Sony low-light friendly 2-megapixel image sensor (the benefits of higher resolutions aren’t always clear when zoom is used), while sound quality is an option in part left to you thanks to the ability to daisy chain speakerphones.
In terms of usability, this device will probably work best installed in your conference room but left with a trailing USB cable so you can rock up with a laptop and connect to your favored meeting platform, though LAN control is an option too. We did like that the subject tracking could cope with face masks in these times.(opens in new tab)
PTZ Security cameras need to be reliable night and day, rain or shine, though the budget shouldn’t be the same as for broadcasts. Here just a few hundred dollars bring 4K resolution and a 18x (4.7-84.6mm) motorized zoom backed up by up to 50m (165ft) of infrared night vision which you can operate using your choice of software.
The Power over Ethernet (POE) and H.265 makes installation a breeze and the 8MP sensor shows in the very sharp video compared to other security PTZs. Compatibility with the Hikvision and ONVIF protocols is included, as is phone control via the Danale app (iOS/Android), so the lack of external branding needn’t be a worry. Pan and tilt could be quicker, but the mechanics are reassuring, no doubt thanks to the largely metallic construction, and the zoom and focusing is pretty prompt.
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