The NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 is no ordinary pan tilt zoom camera. Sure, it can shoot 1080 60p and has a 20 times optical zoom, but this PTZ camera also has NDI built in — and that’s it secret. With just one ethernet cable, you can transmit video from the camera and also control the pan, tilt and zoom along with focus and exposure. That single ethernet cable will even provide power to the camera.

If you are not familiar with NDI, you should be. NDI is a protocol that allows for two way communication to a camera. It can send and receive high-quality video with low latency for frame-accurate switching. The NDI HX-PTZ1 also has 3G-SDI and HDMI output, but NDI makes these redundant. There’s no need for communication cables to and from the camera nor for a power source. These can all be replaced by a single ethernet cable, giving you more options when it comes to where the camera can be installed and used. Anywhere a remotely controlled PTZ camera can be used, an NDI PTZ1 would do the same job more simply. Churches, public broadcast channels and internet streaming can offer a multi-camera live cast with a few NDI PTZ1’s and a switcher that is NDI compliant.

Product Breakdown

As a PTZ camera, the NDI HX-PTZ1 can be programmed for specific moves and shots. Even more than pan tilt and zoom, that same person can remotely control the exposure focus, iris, shutter speed and white balance. Additionally, when using an NDI system, the camera offers a tally light. This camera doesn’t need a dedicated camera operator, and the inclusion of a tally light means a floor director isn’t as necessary, either. From an NDI system, a user could in theory technically direct a show, while also being every camera operator and floor director at once. With remote control and monitoring in combination with pre-programmed shots, even the viewer would be fooled into thinking that they are watching a team at work.

From an NDI system, a user could in theory technically direct a show, while also being every camera operator and floor director at once.

The NDI HX-PTZ1 can also be powered over ethernet. As long as the network can provide PoE (power over ethernet) the camera can just be plugged in and power is flowing. For those who don’t have a network switch with PoE, individual adapters can also be added inline to power the needed inputs.

One other cool benefit of NDI is that you don’t have to use it in a broadcast setting. With NDI virtual input, the camera can also serve as the video input source for Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Skype and other video call platforms.

In Use

During the review, we set up the HX-PTZ1 with two different NDI systems. The first is the NewTek TriCaster Mini Advanced Edition and the other is the NewTek TriCaster TC1. Getting set up for either system was relatively simple as long as we followed one procedural step: Plug in the NDI product into the network before powering it up. This issue is that the camera would auto assign itself an IP address when powered on and not connected to the network. When plugged into the network, it would also have an IP auto-assigned, but it would be chosen from an IP available on the network. Once the camera assigns the IP, it’s a pain to have to manually tell the camera to go to a different IP address.

The TriCaster Mini Advanced Edition is essentially a computer with extra HDMI inputs and outputs. Switching with the TriCaster Mini can be controlled with a keyboard or dedicated switching interface. For the Mini, we had software control of the camera. It worked well and took very little to get going. However, depending on what kind of camera movement you need, this control method can be somewhat cumbersome.

The TriCaster TC1 solves this issue with its control surface, making it the perfect use case for the NDI HX-PTZ1. With the control surface, you get a joystick that makes moves much easier along with all of the manual controls you need during production. That manual control is much more intuitive to operate than the software control offered in the TriCaster Mini.

Marketplace

Although there are a few NDI PTZ cameras on the market today, the NDI HX-PTZ1 was the world’s first. NewTek developed NDI, so it makes sense that the first camera to the integrate the technology would be their own.

However, while the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 hit the market first, there are a few other PTZ cameras offering NDI connectivity. For instance, both Marshall and Lumens make NDI PTZ’s that feature the same exact specs as the NewTek, even down to the price. The Marshall CV620 and the Lumens VC-A50P both use 1/2.8-inch sensors that can capture 1080 60p with NDI, HDMI and 3G-SDI output. Like the NewTek, these are both priced at $2,800.

One camera on the market that isn’t an exact clone of the NewTek is the BirdDog Eyes P200. The P200 offers a different aperture of f/1.6 to f/4.7 and a longer 4.3-129mm optical zoom lens. The P200 is also cheaper with a price of $2,500.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

The NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 camera offers a good-looking image and all of the automated control one could want. Additionally, with NDI, the camera can operate with just one cable. Connection is easy and the camera works as expected.

There are a few other NDI PTZ camera offerings on the market, but there is very little that differentiates the various options. If you need a PTZ camera and can benefit from NDI connectivity, the NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 should be considered.

SUMMARY:

The NewTek NDI HX-PTZ1 is a pan tilt and zoom camera that requires just one ethernet cable for complete remote control, power and video transmission.

NewTek

STRENGTHS:

  • Power and transmission over one cable
  • Long optical zoom

WEAKNESSES:

  • Confusing process for obtaining an NDI IP address

RECOMMENDED USES:

  • Corporate and Event Videography
  • Online Video Production

TECH SPECS:

Video Output:

  • 1 x RJ-45, NDI|HX, Ethernet
  • 1 x BNC, 3G-SDI
  • 1 x HDMI Type-A
  • Video Formats:
    • 1080p 29.97/30/50/59.94/60
    • 1080i 50/59.94
    • 720p 50/59.94/60
  • Lens Zoom: 20x (optical)
  • Focal Length: 4.7-94mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.6-f/3.5
  • Shutter Speed: 1-1/10,000 sec
  • Rotation Speed: Maximum: 300°/sec
  • Pan Angle: -170 to +170°
  • Tilt Angle: -30 to +90°
  • Horizontal Viewing Angle: 63°
  • Audio Input: 3.5mm stereo line-level
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x 8-pin DIN, RS-232 input
    • 1 x 8-pin DIN, RS-232 output
    • 1 x 9-pin serial, RS-422
    • 1 x USB micro-B
  • Power Accepts: PoE+ (Power over Ethernet 802.3at) or 12 VDC, 1 A from included power supply
  • Dimensions: 6.9 x 7.2 x 7.2″ / 17.5 x 18.3 x 18.3 cm
  • Weight: 4 lb / 1.8 kg