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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old September 9th, 2005, 03:27 AM   #1
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NTSC or PAL Camera?

I live (well, most the time) in America and it is of course NTSC but, from reading a lot of posts it seems the PAL camera captures more pixels...? Now... in post (i.e. editing program) can I capture NTSC or render out to NTSC from the PAL captured video? Would this enhance the picture at all? Does most software (looking at Vegas, because so compatible with the Z1) support PAL then output to NTSC? Am I making to much of a big deal for a very small increase in quality (if there is any) and should I just go with an NTSC version?
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Old September 9th, 2005, 05:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Downs
I live (well, most the time) in America and it is of course NTSC but, from reading a lot of posts it seems the PAL camera captures more pixels...? Now... in post (i.e. editing program) can I capture NTSC or render out to NTSC from the PAL captured video? Would this enhance the picture at all? Does most software (looking at Vegas, because so compatible with the Z1) support PAL then output to NTSC? Am I making to much of a big deal for a very small increase in quality (if there is any) and should I just go with an NTSC version?
Huh? If you are thinking of the Z1, then it can record in either NTSC or PAL (it's switchable).

As for the "extra pixels in PAL" statement... If you're recording DV this may hold some water, but 1080 NTSC HDV is exactly the same pixel count as 1080 PAL HDV. Sony's cams record this as 1440x1080 (that's a 1.3333 pixel aspect ratio - so when viewed on a HDTV you see a 1920x1080 image) just as 720 NTSC and PAL 720 recorded by the JVC cams are both 1280x720 (1.0 pixel aspect ratio) video streams.

If you're thinking of the FX-1 series of HDV camera, then you would need to consider carefully whether you purchase the PAL (FX-1e) or NTSC (FX-1) version.

Conversion between PAL and NTSC requires a change in frame rate, and as software improves in quality, this conversion is less problematic. It's generally preferable to go from a higher frame rate source to a lower frame rate product, i.e. 60i to 25p or 50i to 30p to try and reduce 'jitter' from frame loss.

The quality of any conversion is also dependent on the skill of the operator, as well as the capabilities of the equipment.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 07:48 AM   #3
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I think the simple answer to all your questions is to buy the HVR-Z1. You can switch it between both PAL and NTSC as needed. But Steve is right, the distinction is only important if you're working in standard definition mode, not high def (the Z1 can do both).

I'm not familiar with Vegas so I really don't know if it will convert between PAL and NTSC, however it isn't as simple as just enlarging the image - you need to resample the frame rate as well. DVfilm Atlantis software is one way to do this conversion. But there would be no advantage whatsoever from shooting NTSC and then converting to PAL. In fact, it will degrade your image and not improve it.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 09:59 AM   #4
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Thank you both for your replies

I have been researching the FX1 but never came across the fact it can record in both. Anyways... don`t really want to record in PAL just got the impression it had more pixels by some posts. But, by your excellent explainations, I can see it is not worth the effort to consider a PAL camera (conversion seems a hassle and... the camera can switch anyways). Thanks.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 10:19 AM   #5
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The FX1 shoots NTSC only. Like Boyd said, the Z1 is switchable. Again though, the ability to shoot 1080i it makes the resolution point moot. If you have a lot of SD multi-continent clients the Z1 is the way to go.

The Z1 also offers some other key features like phantom powered XLRs with independent audio channel settings and a neato black-stretch feature that adds details to the shadows. But you're also looking at a $1400 - $1800 difference in price. I would say for the features it is totally worth the price difference. I have an NTSC FX1. I love it, but if I had the cash I would have gone the Z1 route.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 07:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Downs
I have been researching the FX1 but never came across the fact it can record in both.
Just to be very clear, and to augment what Patrick said, the FX1 does not shoot both PAL and NTSC. You need to buy a Z1 to get that feature.

You are correct that PAL has more pixels: 720x576 vs 720x480 for NTSC but of course these are only applicable to standard definition mode.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
You are correct that PAL has more pixels: 720x576 vs 720x480 for NTSC but of course these are only applicable to standard definition mode.
To clarify (or confound) things a bit further: PAL has more pixels PER FRAME, but NTSC has more frames per second. So if you look at it in terms of pixels per second, both systems are exactly the same.
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Old September 9th, 2005, 08:50 PM   #8
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Gotcha

Ok, I got it. The FX1 is NOT switchable to PAL but the "professional" Z1U is. (my mistake "I have been researching the FX1 but never came across the fact it can record in both."). Yes... the Z1U... another big decision. is the extra 1,500 worth the extras. Like many people have said, for audio a beachtek adapter is a lot cheaper... but the "extras" are... very nice... AA!
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Old September 9th, 2005, 08:56 PM   #9
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Personally I feel the extras are worth the cost. But in my case I needed both PAL and NTSC capability so it was sort of a no-brainer. See Chris' chart for a feature comparison:

http://hdvinfo.net/articles/sonyhdrfx1/compare.php
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