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Live streaming and video conferencing are growing as more of us work from home and practice distancing learning. What was once unfamiliar is now more comprehensible as we become more experienced with these mediums. But of course, there may still be uncertainty on a few aspects. For instance, what is the difference between a PTZ and ePTZ camera?

They each have their advantages and we’ll discuss the similarities and differences in this article.


What Does PTZ and ePTZ Stand For?

PTZ is an abbreviation for “pan-tilt-zoom” and refers to the movement options of the camera. There are motors that physically move the camera so it can rotate horizontally and vertically. As well, it can zoom in to images without losing any quality in resolution, even at full zoom. The movements and zoom can all be controlled with a remote control, or if you like, a computer or even a smart device.

ePTZ is an abbreviation for “electronic pan-tilt-zoom” but is also referred to as digital PTZ or virtual PTZ. Unlike a PTZ camera with motors that physically move the unit, an ePTZ camera does not move. It simply takes the image within the camera frame and moves within said image. Similar to when you record a video or take a photo on your smartphone and then are able to zoom in and move around the image. An ePTZ camera is essentially magnifying pixels as you zoom. As a result, this means you will lose resolution quality the more you zoom in.


Zoom Zoom Zoom

As mentioned, PTZ cameras will retain resolution quality even at full zoom. This is because they are using optical zoom. On the other hand, ePTZ cameras are using digital zoom meaning you are basically “stretching out” the original image and decreasing its resolution the more you zoom. So a 5-megapixel image zoomed in 2x will result in a 2.5-megapixel image, losing half its resolution.

Fortunately ePTZ cameras, like the BZBGEAR® BG-EPTZ-UH4K, can now support 4K resolutions, allowing for more magnification capacity. You can zoom in 3x on a 4K image and still get 720p quality. 720p is considered standard high definition and will suffice for many video conferencing applications.


Range of View

Because of its motorized parts, a PTZ camera has a much wider range of view. Many PTZ cameras can pan horizontally 340 degrees and tilt vertically 120 degrees, allowing a single camera to cover practically its entire environment.

An ePTZ camera’s range of view is restricted to the view of its fixed camera head and fixed lens. Typically meaning a horizontal range of only 40 to 110 degrees and a vertical range of around 70 degrees.


Size and Cost

Up to this point, it seems PTZ cameras have an overwhelming advantage over ePTZ cameras. But ePTZ cameras do have a couple key advantages working in their favor: size and cost.

PTZ cameras consist of motors for the pan-tilt-zoom functions along with other components involved in adjusting the lens and camera positioning. They also use advanced firmware to communicate its control signals.

As for ePTZ cameras, they don’t need any of these fancy components. They have a much simpler build: a lens and a sensor. This results in a smaller camera ideal for mounting in places a larger PTZ camera would just not fit.

Not only is an ePTZ camera smaller in size, it is in cost as well. Without the need for all the advanced mechanical parts, the cost of an ePTZ camera is much lower.



There are pros and cons to both camera types and both are fantastic solutions for live streaming and video conferencing. Depending on what your needs and situation are is what will determine which camera is perfect for you. If you are a first-year teacher wanting to create a great distance learning experience for your students, perhaps all you need is a simple ePTZ camera. But if you’re trying to create something more professional and need the ability to zoom in close without losing image quality, or need a wider range of view, then a PTZ camera would definitely be the choice.


For more information, contact BZBGEAR at 1.888.499.9906 or email [email protected]. Browse our online catalog for economical solutions regarding your project. We have a wide range of PTZ and ePTZ cameras for any size application or budget. Make sure to catch the buzz on BZB Express TV for unboxings, demos, and How To videos. And please show your support by subscribing! We appreciate you and will keep you informed on all the latest AV gear.

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