Bringing a NTSC camera to Europe... pros/cons at

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Old April 15th, 2008, 04:08 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Denmark
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Bringing a NTSC camera to Europe... pros/cons

Hi Everyone,
glad to be aboard on DVi - I'm thinking that I'll find much use of this forum once I get my new camcorder...

But right now I'm having a hard time deciding on a couple of things.

The camcorder will be used partly for family footage (I'm becoming a father in a few weeks) and "professional" usage for web and media presentations etc..

For the past 7-8 years I've utilized the various 3D applications, the Adobe Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and Dreamweaver to produce web pages, media presentations, "local" cinema commercials etc. For the commercials I've extended my toolbox to include AfterEffects/Premiere as well.

Working with graphics, I'm a sucker for image quality which is why my mind was initially set on the Canon HV30 but the whole MiniDV tape part seems hopeless outdated and doesn't fit well in my "digital" workflow. Having to forward/rewind to get to a scene and transfer footage in 1:1 real-time is something I have a hard time accepting.

I've researched the market for a cam that suits my needs and narrowed down the selection to about 4 cameras: (prioritized)
Canon HF10/100
Sony HDR-SR11/12

I like the idea of having direct access to scenes, which either of the cams above provide. I like the storage capacity of the Sony, but I'm a little scared that the harddrive solution is too fragile for a camera. I think that SDHC cards used by Canon will continue to drop, making the HF10/100 a good solution.
My only true concern is that noone seems to know when the Canon HF10/100 will be in stock again and I need the camera anytime soon, since my girlfriend is due to give birth to our son very soon.

Another thing I'm considering is getting the camcorder from US, I know about that the formats differ from Europe to US, but again I think most recent TV's can playback either format.
On my computer, I expect that the using a NTSC cam will be less of a problem.

I've read on several boards that PAL is the best format for "professional" use but then I think about all you American guys using NTSC every day ;)

The reason I'm even considering getting a cam from the US, is that I'm visiting Texas next week and due to the low dollar currency I can save a LOT of money getting the US version (or upgrade to get a bigger model ;)
Basically the Sony SR12 is around $2,017.68 in Denmark and in the US I expect I could get the NTSC version for $1.399 - that's a $600 difference!!

So what do you think? Should I save the money and get a NTSC cam or stay safe and get the European PAL edition?

That post got a little bigger than expected, hope to still get some input on this topic, since the deadline is moving closer any minute ;)

Martin Christiansen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2008, 05:24 AM   #2
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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Check to find out what duties and taxes you'll owe when bringing a new camera back into Denmark. Another issue is warranty service - should you need it you might find you'd have to ship the camera back to the States as warranties are often through the distributor, not the manufacturer.

Large dealers like B&H Photo will often have the PAL versions available. Have you checked with them? (Be careful with the advertised prices for some US dealers as many that offer the bargain basement prices are scams. OTOH you can trust B&H.)

My feeling is you ought to go with the PAL version. Conversion is rarely as good as the original. And if you count on the European versions of the other equipment you or your clients use being NTSC compatible, the one time you need it most is the time it won't be.
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2008, 06:33 AM   #3
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Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
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I did this many moons ago in 1994 with an NTSC Video8 camcorder that I bought in New York while on a trip (I was still living in Europe).

As Steve mentions, import duties could hit you - it's a risk. You can reduce the risk by throwing all the packaging away and carrying the camcorder as if you had owned it for at least six months.

Having an NTSC camcorder in a PAL country was a pain - I wish I hadn't bothered.

Thankfully for that camcorder, the warranty issue never arose and it still works today(!) I had a PAL version of the same camcorder (see - not exactly cost effective to get the NTSC one) but it died a long time ago in the English Channel (literally).
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2008, 10:50 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2
Thanks for your input John and Steve

I appreciate your input. I don't fear customs, but warranty and unforeseen PAL/NTSC incompability issues probably isn't worth the risk.

On another note, can anyone enlighten me on the fact that the Canon HF10/100 can record at different framerates (60i/24P/30P) while the Sony has a fixed framerate at (60i - I think).

Also is this relevant for the PAL version? I'm a bit puzzled on the various framerates and even more confused if the framerates differ from NTSC and PAL

Thanks again for your wise words ;)
Martin Christiansen is offline   Reply

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