Skip to main content

Camcorder Buying Tips

Question: Digital Camcorders are much cheaper in US than in UK, India or Singapore. However, the problem is that PAL is the standard playback format in these countries while cameras available in USA are only NTSC compatible.

Can we still buy a MiniDV video camera (NTSC) in the US and later use it to record, edit or play videos in India (PAL) on TV or the DVD player ?

Answer: First some boring but essential theory - The difference between PAL and NTSC is in terms of image resolution and frame rates. NTSC records at 29.97 fps while PAL records video at 25 fps. The standard sample size for NTSC is 720x480 while PAL mode has a resolution of 720x576.

For precisely the above reasons, you won't see any camcorders that can record in both NTSC and PAL formats. Most digital camcorders available in the US or Japan are NTSC compatible while PAL system is the video standard for video cameras in Europe, Australia and Asia [including India].

Now here are some answers to the most common questions that you would have before deciding to purchase a digital camera that uses a video standard not supported in your country.

Playback on Computer - Computers don't know about NTSC or PAL and your computer software is not tied to any video standard. All you need is a Firewire or USB port to connect the camcorder to the computer. The video can either be imported for editing in Windows Movie Maker or played directly using Windows Media Player or Real Player.

MiniDV Tapes - Just like most hard disk are compatible with either FAT32 or NTFS file systems, MiniDV tapes can be used with either PAL or NTSC cameras. They are independent of the video standard in your country. You can even use the same MiniDV tape inside two cameras with different modes.

Playback on TV or DVD Players - Most Television sets can handle both NTSC and PAL [check the program options]. Same holds true for DVD players but if you have an old TV, you might want to read the manual first.

Converting NTSC to PAL or vice-versa - While there will be some loss of quality when you are converting video formats, it is very much possible. Almost every video editing suite like Adobe Premiere Pro, Ulead VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio, Sony Vegas, Apple Final Cut Pro supports video in NTSC and PAL format. Infact you can use the same software to output the footing in the two formats.

If you need a simple 1-click solution to make VCDs or DVDs from your videos, try transcoding the video in MPEG format using TMPGEnc Express and burn it on a DVD. The rendering time would however depend on your computer configuration plus you need lot of free hard disk space.

Final Advice: If you are planning to watch your video footage directly on a TV without editing it on a computer, it's best to buy a camcorder that supports the format of your region (like PAL in India or NTSC in UK). But if you have a dual mode Televsion, the video standard is immaterial as the TV can play either of the format. Another important point here is that MiniDV tapes recorded on an NTSC camcorder will play only on NSTC supported TV or VCR (same for PAL). You may also like to check if the manufacturer warranty stays valid in your country if it's different from where you made the purchase.

Naming Conventions: Panasonic 3CCD Digital Cameras are available in two variants - PV GS300 and NV GS 300 - the PV denotes NTSC while NV refers to PAL standard. The same is with Sony cameras like the Sony DCR HC46 - they append an 'E' to denote PAL compatible cameras.

Popular MiniDV Camcorders for Video Podcasting: Canon Elura 100, Panasonic PV-GS500, Sony DCR HC36, Sony HDR HC3, Canon GL2

Popular posts from this blog

Using Latitude and Longitude with Google Maps

Whether you want to quickly add a waypoint to your GPS, or view a map of a known location, it can often be convenient to use real latitude and longitude values with Google Maps instead of dealing with street addresses.



Rerieving a map for a lat/lon value is simple enough with Google Maps. You can simply enter the decimal latitude and longitude into the search form instead of a street address.However, if you're viewing a map and you want to retrieve the lat/lon location, there unfortunately isn't a convenient "get latitude and longitude" button. Google Maps deals with latitude and longitude locations internally, though, so with this little snippet of javascript, you can easily get the job done: javascript:void(prompt('',gApplication.getMap().getCenter()) This will return the coordinates of the map's center point. You might want to double-click a position on the map before running the above code. Doing so will reposition that point to the center of the map …

310+ Essential readings, tools and Resources for Bloggers

I was looking for them and then I found them at Problogger, mashable and others from Matt Huggins. While some of you might be aware of some of them, for others it may be a new world. But then these tips help everyone.

Essential Readings

Can You Make a Living Blogging? (Graywolf SEO)Five Beginner’s Blogging Tips (John Chow)The First 7 Days of Blogging (Pronet Advertising)Put on Your Game Face (Pronet Advertising)How to “Announce” a Blog (Blog Traffic School)How to Use Social News Aggregators as a Source for Content Ideas (Dosh Dosh)5 Ways to Building a Better Blog (Pronet Advertising)Bring Your A-game to Write for Blogs (Freelance Switch)What Are You Learning from Leading Edge SEO Bloggers? (Graywolf SEO)How Great Headlines Score Traffic (Copyblogger)10 Sure-Fire Headline Formulas that Work (Copyblogger)Declaring War on Blogger Apathy (ProBlogger)How to Market Your Blog in 2007 (ProBlogger)21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic (SEOmoz)Five Steps to a Truly Unique Blog That Attracts Reader…

Social Bookmarking Widget for Blogger

On a social bookmarking system or network, users store lists of Internet resources that they find useful. These lists can be accessible to the public by users of a specific network or website. Other users with similar interests can view the links by topic, category, tags, or even randomly. Other than web page bookmarks, services specialized to a specific subject or format - feeds, books, videos, shopping items, map locations, wineries, etc. - can be found.


The biggest way of increasing traffic to small blogs is Social networking. As such social bookmarking becomes very essential for small blogs such as ours. With that said, it is very important to provide the readers with a very easy way to bookmark the articles they find useful. As you may have seen till yesterday, this blog used Addthis social bookmarking tool which the most of bloggers at blogspot use. But it needs an extra click as compared to thesocial bookmarking widget of wordpress.com blogs and hence comes this article to the …