Gear Report: Best PTZ Cameras 2024

by | Gear, Gear Report, Production, Streaming, Video

The best PTZ camera will help boost the quality of your streaming, web conferencing, or video production. PTZ stands for Pan-Tilt-Zoom, which means a camera with motors, so it can remotely be told to Pan (turn left and right), Tilt (turn up and down) and Zoom on a subject.

PTZ cameras can be operated by remote control, AI automatic operation, or both. Almost any scenario where a webcam can be useful, including video calls with presentations, and streaming content on social media can benefit from a camera that can follow you – especially if you like to use the whole space.

This list has PTZ options for every need (except security cameras, which we covered previously). 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. 

Do all PTZ cameras have an optical zoom?

No. The term PTZ is so well understood for remotely controlled cameras that, even where no zoom or a digital-only zoom is available, people often still refer to them as PTZ. On this list, for example, the Obsbot Tiny 2 has a digital zoom, though at least up until 2x you might not even spot it.

How can you accurately compare PTZ cameras?

What we’re looking for is how quickly the camera can move from one subject to another in different lighting conditions, as well as how easy the camera is to set up using the kind of equipment most streaming broadcasters have available to them.


1. Panasonic AW-UE50 PTZ

The AW-UE50 is an excellent camera, 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. 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 4K or 1080P
  • Zoom/digital: 24x optical, 28x digital in 4K, or 36x in 1080P
  • Frame rate: 25/30fps at 4K
  • Field of view: 74.1˚
  • Size: 92 x 166 x 160mm
  • Connectivity: USB, HDMI, Ethernet, RS-422, SDI-3G
  • Weight: 1.88kg
REASONS TO BUY
  • The best PTZ camera for broadcast
  • Built-in web browser control system +
  • Can be used as a webcam +
  • Widest lens on a PTZ camera 
REASONS TO AVOID
  • Most Panasonic software not Mac-friendly-
  • IP Streaming is 1080P maximum

2. Sony SRG-300H

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 sit 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, in both build quality and operation (even the IR remote feels robust).

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Zoom/optical: 30x
  • Frame rate: 59.94@ 1080p
  • Field of view: 65(wide) degrees
  • Size: 164 x 163 x 157 mm
  • Connectivity: HDMI, Ethernet, RS232 pass, RS422
  • Weight: 1400g
REASONS TO BUY
  • The best PTZ camera for large rooms like theaters or churches
  • Long throw zoom+
  • Elegant design+
  • Digital (VISCA) and analog remote systems
REASONS TO AVOID
  • SDI output an optional extra (300SE)

3. Hollyland Arocam C2

The Hollyland Arocam C2 is a compact and powerful PTZ camera, specially designed for live streaming and video meeting.

The cutting-edge auto instantaneous focus and its ranging function virtually eliminate distracting image blurring so your audience experiences a near-live view of the product or subject’s details. Featuring wide-angle rotations and fabulous image quality, its interfaces support simple settings and operations that are perfectly applicable to extended live production.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Zoom/digital: 12x (18x inc digital)
  • Frame rate: 50Hz: 1fps–50fps, 60Hz: 1fps–60fps
  • Field of view: 85 degrees
  • Size: 142.2×151.9×175.8mm (5.6″x6″x6.9″)
  • Connectivity: USB 3.0: Type C, HDMI: Version 1.4b
  • Weight: 1.5kg (52.9oz)

REASONS TO BUY

  • Fast and intuitive autofocus response
  • Convenient and simple user experience 

REASONS TO AVOID

  • None

4. Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera Kit with 28-135mm Zoom Lens

Capture cinematic, full-frame footage in PTZ form for broadcast use, reality shows, houses of worship, and live events and sports with the black FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera from Sony. This versatile camera features the unique ability to use interchangeable Sony E-mount lenses and is currently compatible with up to 70 E-mount lenses ranging from 12 to 1200mm. The large image sensor provides 15+ stops of dynamic range, captures up to UHD 4K120 video, offers live streaming, supports S-Cinetone, Cine EI, and MLUT looks for matching select Sony cameras, and enables you to create shallow depth-of-field bokeh effects.

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: Actual: 12.9 Megapixel Effective: 10.3 Megapixel
  • Zoom/optical: 4.8x
  • Frame rate: 1/8000 to 1 Second
  • Field of view: Horizontal: 75 to 18° APS-C (1.5x) Horizontal: 54 to 12°
  • Size: 11.4 x 9.2 x 8.9″ / 289 x 233 x 227 mm (Without Protrusions)
  • Connectivity: 1x BNC (12G-SDI) Output, 1x SFP+ Output, 1x HDMI Output
  • Weight: 10.1 lb / 4.6 kg (Body Only)
REASONS TO BUY
  • Supports up to UHD 4K120 Video
  • 28-135mm Zoom Lens
  • 4K Full-Frame Sensor
REASONS TO AVOID
  • None

5. PTZOptics 12x SDI Gen2 camera

If you want a camera with a full range of connectivity and remote control options, including iOS and Android apps, the PTZOptics SDI series (also available with 20x and 30x lenses) is the ideal choice. 

These cameras have all the sockets 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 its devotion to PTZ tech, is also known for its 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.

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Zoom/optical: 12x
  • Frame rate: 60fps at 1080p
  • Field of view: 72.5 (wide) – 6.9 (zoomed) degrees (12x)
  • Size: 320 x 181 x 110mm
  • Connectivity: HDMI, Ethernet, SDI, RS232 pass, RS485, USB
  • Weight: 1.6kg
REASONS TO BUY
  • The best PTZ camera for connectivity and remote control
  • Excellent lens quality+
  • Extremely adaptable+
  • Thorough image quality adjustment options
REASONS TO AVOID
  • Resolution dial a little fiddly

6. Sony BRC-X1000

The BRC-X1000 has the chops to handle any 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 are 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 store 100 preset positions, which should be more than adequate for most purposes. Userswill also appreciate a front and rear tally light (‘live’ light) with adjustable brightness, the fact that Sony supplies 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).

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Zoom/optical: 12x, digital up to 24x
  • Frame rate: 59.94@ 1080p / 4k@30fps
  • Field of view: 64.6 (wide) degrees
  • Size: 164 x 163 x 157 mm
  • Connectivity: HDMI, Ethernet, RS232 pass, RS422
  • Weight: 1400g
REASONS TO BUY
  • The best PTZ camera for sports
  • 4k video resolution+
  • Large one-inch sensor
REASONS TO AVOID
  • Less zoom range than some

7. Sony FR-7

The FR7 takes high-end PTZ cameras into a new space with interchangeable lenses. It’s a genuine game-changer for PTZ, sitting in a cinema range (and sharing a lot of spec with the Sony FX6). It even features standard 15mm rods for mountable accessories. The 10.3MP back-illuminated 35mm Exmore R sensor has ISO up to 409600, 627 phase-detection focus points, and a built-in variable ND filter.

If you want to zoom, you’ll probably want Sony’s FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS (it has powred zoom). Sony takes pride in their web/tablet app, offering extensive control including programmed operation.

Output fully supports 4K thanks to a 12G SDI connection, but there are also LAN, HDMI, and dual MicroSD / CFexpress type A cards, just like the Sony FX6 camcorder. 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 4K or 1080P
  • Zoom/optical: depends on lens (Sony FE mount)
  • Frame rate: 120fps 4K
  • Field of view: depends on lens
  • Size: 289 x 227 x 233mm
  • Connectivity: USB, HDMI, Ethernet, RS-422, SDI-3G
  • Weight: 4.6kg + lens
REASONS TO BUY
  • The first PTZ camera with interchangeable lenses
  • Unique potential for Sony E-mount users+
  • 12G SDI supports 4K at up to 120fps+
  • TC connector for sync+
  • Dual CF express A or SD cards
REASONS TO AVOID
  • Potential for high expense-
  • Relatively few lenses support powered zoom

8. PTZOptics Move 4K SDI/HDMI/USB/IP PTZ Camera with 30x Optical Zoom

Add a high-resolution streaming and tracking camera to your classroom, house of worship, or conference room for remote meetings with software such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom with the gray Move 4K SDI/HDMI/USB/IP PTZ Camera with 30x Optical Zoom from PTZOptics. The Move 4K camera captures resolutions up to UHD 4K60 with its Sony CMOS sensor, and it features auto-tracking for presentations where your subject moves around the room, great for education, how-to, and corporate environments without the need for an operator. Its wide dynamic range, 3D noise reduction, and low-bandwidth, high-quality NDI|HX 3 capabilities provide a sharp, consistent image, even in low light.

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 8.42 Megapixel (3840 x 2160)
  • Zoom: 30x
  • Frame rate: 1/10000 to 1/30 Second
  • Field of view: Horizontal: 59.2 to 2.5° Vertical: 34.6 to 1.4°
  • Size: 9 x 7.1 x 6.7″ / 228 x 181 x 170 mm
  • Connectivity: 1x HDMI 2.0 Output, 1x BNC (3G-SDI) Output, 1x RJ45 (NDI) Output, 1x USB-A 2.0 Output
  • Weight: 4.4 lb 
REASONS TO BUY
  • 1/1.8″ Sony CMOS 8.42MP 4K Sensor
  • 30x Optical Zoom, 16x Digital Zoom
  • Capture Video Resolutions up to UHD 4K60
  • HDMI, 3G-SDI, USB, NDI|HX 3 & IP Output
REASONS TO AVOID
  • None

9. Canon CR-N300

The CR-N300 PTZ produces incredible 4K and HD image quality with the combination of a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and the DIGIC DV 6 image processor. This camera incorporates a Canon 4K lens that exhibits a 20x optical zoom ratio that maintains a high level of precision throughout the zoom range. On-air pan and tilt movement is possible thanks to the smooth and responsive pan and tilt mechanism. The camera supports multiple professional interfaces, including single cable PoE+ connectivity, which allows you to use NDI®|HX2 to stream audio and video, control (IP), tally, and power over a single cable. The camera supports other protocols, such as SRT, RTSP/RTP, as well as RTMP/RTMPS, to stream to social sites such as Facebook Live and YouTube. Even better, it can be controlled remotely by IP, Serial, IR or wirelessly via Wi-fi. The camera supports multiple control standards, including Canon’s XC protocol as well as Standard Protocol (serial and IP) for easy connectivity to a wide range of 3rd party hardware controllers.

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Zoom: 20x
  • Frame rate: 60fps @ 1080p / 30fps @ 4K
  • Field of view: 3.6 to 65.6 (wide) degrees
  • Size: 154 x 178 x 164mm
  • Connectivity: HDMI, BNC, Ethernet, RS232 pass, RS422, Canon XC, NDI
  • Weight: 2400g
REASONS TO BUY
  • The best PTZ camera for cinematic quality
  • Hybrid AF+
  • PoE LAN+
  • Smaller format for easier install+
  • 4K UHD recording
REASONS TO AVOID
  • anon RCI controller is Canon-only-
  • 3G SDI not suited to 4K broadcast

10. Logitech PTZ Pro 2

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 gives the option of controlling from near or far. 

It’s worth noting that Logitech does have a pricier option, the 4K Rally which they would likely prefer you buy (it’s near 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. 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Zoom/lens: 10x
  • Frame rate: 30fps at 1080p
  • Field of view: 90 degrees
  • Size: 130 x 131 x 146 mm
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Weight: 580g
REASONS TO BUY
  • The best PTZ camera for videoconferencing
  • Accessible price+
  • USB convenience 
REASONS TO AVOID
  • Autofocus can be distracting-
  • Remote of dubious quality

11. BirdDog P4K 4K Full NDI PTZ Camera with 1″ Sony Sensor

Reap the benefits of NDI without compromising on resolution with the P4K UHD 4K PTZ Camera with NDI, HDMI & 6G-SDI Output from BirdDog. Optimized to provide you with an efficient way of getting UHD 4K video into your productions, this black P4K connects to systems, devices, and applications that support NDI via only an Ethernet connection. Simply plug in your Ethernet cable on the back to connect to your network, and the camera instantly receives Power over Ethernet (PoE) and becomes available as an input source for any NDI-compatible hardware or software on the network.

Equipped with a 1″ Sony Exmor R 14.2MP CMOS sensor and a 9.3-111.6mm lens, this camera captures video at resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps in a 64.6 to 6.1° field of view. In addition to 12x optical zoom, the P4K provides up to 18x digital zoom at 4K or up to 24x digital zoom at Full HD. The integrated pan/tilt system allows for ±350° continuous panning and 120° tilting at up to 100° and 50° per second respectively. Focusing can be performed manually or set to automatic. In addition to NDI, the camera offers HDMI and dual 6G-SDI interfaces.

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 14.2 Megapixel
  • Zoom/digital: 12x / 24x ( in 1080p)
  • Frame rate: 1/10000 to 1/8 Second
  • Field of view: Horizontal: 64.6 to 6.1°
  • Size: 6.5 x 9.7 x 7.7″ / 165 x 247 x 196 mm
  • Connectivity: NTSC
  • Weight: 7.5 lb / 3.4 kg
REASONS TO BUY
  • Up to 3840 x 2160 Resolution at 30 fps
  • 1″ Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • RJ45 NDI, HDMI & 2 x 6G-SDI Outputs
  • 350° Pan & 120° Tiltce
REASONS TO AVOID
  • None

12. Obsbot Me

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.

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).

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Zoom/digital: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Frame rate: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Field of view: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Size: 320 x 181 x 110 mm
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (NDI), USB-C, 3.5mm mic
  • Weight: 200g
REASONS TO BUY
  • AI powered phone mount for vloggers and phone streaming
  • Use your phone camera’s quality+
  • No app required+
  • Ideal for vlogger’s B-roll
REASONS TO AVOID
  • Resolution dial a little fiddly-
  • No tilt function

13. Hollyland Arocam C2

The Hollyland Arocam C2 is a compact and powerful PTZ camera, specially designed for live streaming, live commerce, live shopping, and video meeting.

The cutting-edge auto instantaneous focus and its ranging function virtually eliminate distracting image blurring so your audience experiences a near-live view of the product or subject’s details. Featuring wide-angle rotations and fabulous image quality, its interfaces support simple settings and operations that are perfectly applicable to extended live production.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Zoom/digital: 12x (18x inc digital)
  • Frame rate: 50Hz: 1fps–50fps, 60Hz: 1fps–60fps
  • Field of view: 85 degrees
  • Size: 142.2×151.9×175.8mm (5.6″x6″x6.9″)
  • Connectivity: USB 3.0: Type C, HDMI: Version 1.4b
  • Weight: 1.5kg (52.9oz)

REASONS TO BUY

  • Fast and intuitive autofocus response
  • Convenient and simple user experience 

REASONS TO AVOID

  • None
  • Resolution: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Zoom/digital: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Frame rate: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Field of view: dependent on phone’s camera
  • Size: 320 x 181 x 110 mm
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (NDI), USB-C, 3.5mm mic
  • Weight: 200g

14. Panasonic AW-UE160 UHD 4K 20x PTZ Camera

Capture optimal 4K images, even in the most challenging lighting conditions with the white AW-UE160 UHD 4K 20x PTZ Camera from Panasonic. This pro PTZ camera outputs up to UHD 4K 60p over a variety of 4K connections including 12G-SDI, HDMI, optical fiber, and IP streaming. It features a large 1″ type MOS sensor, a 20x optical

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Zoom/digital: 20x
  • Frame rate: 1/2000 to 1/48 Second
  • Field of view: Horizontal: 75.1 to 4° Vertical: 46.7 to 2.3°Diagonal: 82.8 to 4.6°
  • Size: 10.9 x 9.4 x 8.4″ / 27.7 x 24 x 21.3 cm (Without Protrusions, Bracket)
  • Connectivity: SDI/BNC / HDMI / RJ45
  • Weight: 10.1 lb
REASONS TO BUY
  • Great choice for videoconferencing
  • Full duplex speakerphone+
  • Bluetooth for easier setup+
  • Simple USB compatibility
REASONS TO AVOID
  • Price Point

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