Remote controllers determine the efficiency and convenience of using PTZ cameras. That is why you need the best PTZ camera controller to get the most out of your camera model.
The control device can be a PTZ IP controller, joystick, software control, or IR remote. Many cameras let you alternate between using two or more of those PTZ control options. And this article will help you choose the most suitable one for your video production.
I have carefully analyzed different products on the market and narrowed the most feature-packed camera controllers to half a dozen. They let you choose the camera movement, adjust video quality, switch between cameras, etc.
People shooting or directing live video production will benefit from these cameras due to:
I will outline the controllers’ interesting features, what you will love about them, and a few areas they can improve.
The HuddleCam Serial Controller Joystick is a quick control PTZ joystick controller from PTZOptics, one of the leading names in PTZ camera production. This controller weighs just 5.3 pounds, meaning you won’t get muscle fatigue from holding it for a while. You get a power supply out of the box, removing the cost of buying one.
The design of this 3rd generation of the HuddleCam controller improved on the previous generation with more intuitive controls. There are six quick selection buttons and an on-screen display for menus. The device also uses PELCO-D and Sony VISCA as its control protocols, making it compatible with any camera that runs on them
I believe the zero latency is the most valuable feature of this keyboard controller with a joystick. When paired with your cameras, any movement you make on the joystick will instantly affect the cameras’ motion. You won’t encounter lags that could make you miss any shots in fast-paced events.
The keys on the keyboard feel well-placed, with no wobbles or signs of poor craftsmanship. The joystick control works as precisely as I expected; every twist produces a commensurate pan and tilt, depending on your configuration.
Speaking of configuration, I had no issues with programming the presets. However, the 6-feet cord linking the joystick to the camera isn’t long enough, meaning you can’t stay as far away from the camera as you may want.
If you are looking for a PTZ camera controller to control PTZ cameras with RS-422, RS-485, and RS-232 interfaces snappily, this FoMaKo PTZ controller deserves your consideration. You can connect it to 255 cameras and control their panning, tilting, and zooming. It also supports PELCO-D, VISCA, and PELCO-P protocols, which are ideal for professional video conferencing and broadcast.
At 4.97 pounds, the FoMaKo conference camera controller is lightweight but don’t assume it makes the product flimsy. On the contrary, the metal housing of this controller keeps it from breaking if it accidentally falls from your hands. The backlit keyboard design mimics a computer keyboard with adequate button travel, which is pleasant to touch.
The controller lets you adjust the lens’s aperture and focus, ensuring the video is more illuminated, devoid of digital graining, and not blurry. It comes with a 9-feet-10-inch-long RS-232 cable, and you can connect it to your camera via SDI, HDMI, and USB. But you can get a 50-foot cord if you are far from your camera unit.
I noticed that the default pan and tilt speed is too fast, causing me to overshoot my mark when panning to follow a subject, like a preacher on the stage. After some snooping, I entered the device’s settings with 8888 as the default password to access and reduce the speed settings.
The SuperJoy Joystick from PTZOptics is a reliable substitute for web controls for IP cameras. This IP PTZ controller lets you simultaneously control compatible cameras through NDIv4, IP, and a serial connection. Supporting serial and network-based cameras means the device is like a universal remote; it works with cameras from different brands and generations.
This PTZOptics joystick looks sleek with a black keyboard and backlit neon lettering. The LCD screen for seeing the menu options and controller status also makes using the device enjoyable. It is light, weighing 5.04 pounds, and connecting it to my PoE switch was easy.
You can assign 255 preset functions for controlling cameras without many keypresses on this NDI PTZ controller. Set the presets by holding a numbered button for some seconds; after, you can use the four super presets to send commands on the programmable network.
I like the autofocus lock feature, which makes your camera lock unto subjects, preventing blur whenever the subject moves.
The LEFTEK device is the best PTZ camera controller for anyone who doesn’t want to compromise on IP camera functionality. It prioritizes speed and simplicity, ensuring you get the most functions out of your PTZ camera in the shortest time. Its controls are also accurate, and I experienced no failed button taps.
This device is black with a keyboard with white silicone knob keys, which feel durable. On the right of the keys is a 4D joystick that lets you move the camera at various speeds. You also get a 5-inch LCD screen, which for comparison, is bigger than that of an iPhone 8. And the device’s surface is made from scratch-resistant aluminum alloy, which aids longevity.
The controller can control cameras with independent IP addresses on your network and enjoy top-quality H.264 and H.265 decoding. This feature will come in handy for people working with multiple PTZ cameras at events. I used the knob to adjust my camera’s speed and zoom, which worked flawlessly. Though you can use a power brick, the LEFTEK video conference PTZ controller also uses a PoE switcher for people looking to reduce the number of wires running through it.
I also recommend this controller because of its compatibility with countless IP PTZ cameras. AB scanning and setting camera movements on the preset buttons are smooth. You can connect it to 999 devices, though most people won’t ever need to.
PTZOptics makes some of the best PTZ camera joystick controllers available, and the PTJOY G4 is no exception. Weighing 6.18 pounds, it isn’t the lightest controller you can buy. However, this controller makes up for it with many handy features.
Firstly, the setup management is superb, thanks to a refreshed web UI that lets you set up the device with multiple cameras in minutes. You can import and export settings to make your setup faster. You get the basic, matrix, and normal modes that affect how much control a single operator would have over the cameras. The control system lets you adjust camera positions, set white balance, shutter speed, etc.
It uses an Ethernet connection to link your cameras and a PoE switch for the power supply. For compatibility, this PTZ Optics controller leaves you with no complaints as it connects to PTZ cameras running IP or serial protocol connections while boasting a protocol switch button. So, it will likely fit right in with the rest of the equipment in your production lineup.
The AViPAs AV-3104IP joystick for PTZ camera operations is notable for its sleek, modern design with a black metal body and white keys. It is relatively smaller than many other PTZ controllers in its class, but that doesn’t mean you lose out on necessary functions.
The 4D joystick is soft and moves smoothly, and you get advanced controls for adjusting the red, blue, and green gain. This controller guarantees precise controls when panning, tilting, or zooming with your camera. You can even use the focus feature to keep your camera centered on a specific subject and reduce blurring or a situation where the background is in focus while the foreground isn’t.
If you need a PTZ joystick that supports VISCA and VISCA-over-IP, you should put this unit in your budget. You can choose between its serial (RS-232 and RS-422) and IP control (IP VISCA and ONVIF) modes. The hotkeys work well, and you can define the functions they control.
A PTZ camera remote controller is a portable device used to operate a PTZ or IP camera. It often includes a keyboard and joystick or several dials, with preset buttons for assigning specific functions. These PTZ camera controllers can control multiple cameras and relay images in real-time, ensuring that your live event coverage is hitch-free.
You can operate your PTZ camera with a connected controller joystick to transmit commands. The controller will require an RS-232 or RS-485 cord, a coaxial cable, or use a wireless link through desktop software or mobile applications.
Press the IP key on the keyboard and input the second camera’s IP address and host ID to add an extra camera. Input the same UDP port number and select CAM 2 as your camera name. You can repeat this process every time you want to add a new camera.
For a PTZ camera controller setup to connect to many PTZ cameras using the RS-232 protocol, you will need as many 8-pin RS-232 cords as the cameras you plan to use.