Review of the PTZOptics 12X NDI PTZ Streaming Broadcast Camera

by Josh Biggs in Tech on 15th February 2020

When it comes to options, live streamers and video production professionals have more than enough but not all hardware and software is created equally. And when it comes to the PTZOptics 12X NDI PTZ streaming and broadcasting camera, there isn’t really much competition. From sporting a range of features that streamers and broadcasters of all types need on a daily basis to its ability to streamline workflow, this camera stands very much in a category of its very own.

Perhaps that is why it is such a compelling option, or maybe it is because of the more-than-reasonable price. In this article, we will look at the PTZOptics 12X NDI PTZ streaming and broadcast camera and let you know why we think it would be a great solution for live streaming systems small and large.

To start, the PTZOptics camera is one of the few on the market to support HDMI, SDI, and NDI standards. NDI is a newer standard often seen in streaming and the inclusion of it in this camera, while coming with a price premium, is a huge selling point and advantage over others on the market.

The PTZOptics camera also interfaces well with software-based and hardware-based broadcast management systems which further makes it a price-competitive piece of hardware for streaming professionals. The entry-level model, for example, comes in at $1600 which, when considering the prices of equipment with similar performance, is remarkably competitive.

As we detailed above, the NDI compatible camera does have a slight premium in price due to licensing fees and should set you back about $2000. For people who do a lot of streaming and want to dynamically switch between multiple cameras on the fly, the PTZOptics system, again, presents a strong argument for being your go-to management apparatus. Not to mention that this price gets you a standard 12x zoom camera capable of outputting at 1080p and 60fps, but also gives you the chance to power the camera via either ethernet injector or an ethernet switch.

What that means is that your unit can both receive and transmit data as well as power the device over the ethernet capable. When it comes to extending the distance and reach of the camera, this is a huge benefit. You can also run video outputs simultaneously such as capturing and recording while broadcasting via NDI. Perhaps most critically for many users, the camera supports hardware-based management options as well as software including the popular OBS.

Powerful software like Tricaster integrate quite seamlessly with the camera right out of the box while software solutions like OBS. OBS gives users the option of controlling the camera via an interface as well as setting presets and other options. Interestingly, support for Xbox One controller controls is supported though there is a bit of latency in controller input and screen movement reported by many users. The trade off in precision and ease of use for a little bit of lag might be off putting to some broadcasters but it hasn’t cropped up as a major issue for many reviewers.

For those that prefer to control the PTZOptics camera via some other method, the included remote control is not only a robust and precise option but also has many benefits if you are running an integrated PTZOptics camera cohort.

Not only can you control multiple cameras with one remote but you can also access their various presets from the remote as well. A powerful option in a pinch, it isn’t recommended as the permanent way to control camera movement and positioning though it is a really great thing to have.

In terms of managing camera hardware settings, color matching and other options can be accessed via user interfaces and menus baked into the device itself.

This is also one area where hardware management options like Tricaster truly show their value as color balancing is done via vector scope. There is also a web-based control panel for other settings and even bitrate adjustment. Many reviewers have pointed out that this is something people should look at immediately because the manufacturers have set the rate lower than the device is capable of performing. To adjust it, go to the NDI presets and adjust it from the default of low to the recommended setting of high.

Praised for its high image quality and multiple zoom options, the PTZOptics 12X NDI PTZ streaming camera is easily the most consumer-friendly option on the market. From a nice bokeh at upclose zoom to its dynamic movement options, this product can help broadcasters and streamers truly take their production to the next level in terms of overall execution.

Categories: Tech