Optical Zoom Types in Security Cameras

When shopping for security cameras for business premises, most buyers look for the most obvious features, such as infrared night vision, remote access and cloud backup, motion sensors and wireless technology. However, few business owners pay close attention to the zoom feature. Security experts contend that ignoring the zoom feature negates the reasons for buying a security camera. The reason is that zoom influences the amount of detail you can see when viewing footage. Notably, there are two types of ways one can zoom on modern security cameras: digital and optical. Each option produces different results in various settings. This article focuses on optical zoom and the different types available to businesses.

Manual Optical Zoom

As the name suggests, security cameras with manual optical zoom require manual adjustment before recording. The adjustment process requires removing a camera's housing and adjusting the varifocal lens inside the gadget. Thus, installing security cameras on high walls and poles around your premises can be a great inconvenience. However, you can avoid such inconveniences by working closely with a service provider during the installation process and letting them know your desired zoom level since it allows them to adjust cameras before installation. Security cameras with a manual optical zoom facility are only ideal for small businesses that just need one or two cameras.

Motorised Zoom with Auto Focus 

It is another type of optical zoom found in advanced security cameras and an excellent option for businesses looking to replace fixed lens security cameras. The best thing about motorised zoom is that you can use the on-screen controls to zoom in and out at your convenience. You can do it on a self-monitoring control panel on a PC or the system's mobile application. Thus, you do not have to touch security cameras after the installation. Another positive about motorised zoom is that the lens auto-focuses during installation, saving time. Most importantly, the motorised feature helps maintain focus when you zoom in or out, preventing image distortion.


Pan-Tilt-Zoom, commonly referred to as PTZ, is the best option for security cameras with optical zoom. The zoom quality of a PTZ camera is several years ahead of standard fixed cameras if you consider that its low zoom ratio is 10x optical. PTZ cameras with a powerful 36x zoom ratio are also available for vast business premises and facilities. In addition, the pan and tilt capabilities in PTZ cameras allow a camera to change direction quickly without losing image quality. It is particularly useful in business facilities that receive heavy foot traffic, such as malls and airports, and need to zoom in different directions fast.

Contact a local security systems service near you to learn more.