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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.

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Old June 27th, 2005, 09:08 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Newb question(s)

All things being equal, is the Pal version from a quality standpoint different than the NTSC version? I live in the USA so the NTSC would be my choice I'm sure, I was just confused when I came along a post stating "whenever possible buy Pal" and convert to NTSC.
I have been reading these boards for some time now w/much interest. I'm still intimidated as I will be going from analog cam's to this wonder of a machine - - the XL2. I'm still saving so all I have is the boards to keep my mind occupied until IT arrives :). I appreciate all the posts and excellent tips and hints. I shall learn quite a lot by viewing these forums. I just wish I could ask something like which lens to get as a starter, but I'm still learning what's what.
I do have many L glass EF lenses around the house from my 10D. It is correct that you can buy an adapter and use these? If so, can you still use the AF of the lens or does it become totally manual?
Sorry for the newb posts, but you have to start somewhere I guess.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 10:28 PM   #2
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Hi Ron,

PAL video offers a higher resolution in image quality over NTSC but at a slower frame rate. In the United States there are some folks who are advocates of using PAL gear in this NTSC land. However I feel that its benefits are outweighed by distinct disadvantages. First, it's more expensive. You will also have to purchase a PAL monitor to go with the camera. You will need to consider how you will power this equipment. Warranty and service on PAL gear is provided outside of the United States, which will incur expensive overseas shipping fees and lengthy downtimes. Finally the PAL to NTSC conversion is a major extra step to add to your workflow which is time consuming, and if not done properly, you'll take a hit on image quality which will more than negate any advantage you had in the first place.

Consider also that even though having PAL equipment might give you an edge over your competition who's using regular NTSC equipment, it's still only standard definition. Somebody else will come along with high definition gear and there goes any advantage you had by shooting standard definition PAL. It's just not worth it in my opinion. If you want to "take a leap," forget about PAL and instead go with High Definition.

Autofocus is not available through the XL - EF adapter. You must focus manually.

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Chris Hurd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 28th, 2005, 07:10 AM   #3
Join Date: May 2003
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Having lived in a couple of PAL countries before, I wholeheartedly agree with Chris' opinion. People jump on something like the 625 vs 525 line specs and say "PAL is better" but I would just say that NTSC and PAL are "different." Different color space, different frame rate, different line spec. IMHO, any slight end-product resolution difference ain't worth all the hassle if you are in the NTSC part of the world.

I think a lot of those opinions come from indie filmmakers who have elected not to go with film cameras or HD out of cost considerations and are trying to squeeze the last bit of resolution out of DV without totally breaking the bank. They are going to convert 25fps to 24 fps, which entails a bit of work in both video and audio. If you ever want a 30p or 60i output, a PAL camera will be a royal pain.

I also agree that at this point in history (on the cusp of affordable HD), if you're a high-end enough kind of person to consider PAL over NTSC while living in NTSC-land, you're a lot better off to spend the extra money on an HD camera than tweaking around with PAL-NTSC conversions.

FWIW, I bought my XL2 (NTSC) as an interim camera until I'm able to buy an HD camera that lives up to my expectations...and I expect that to happen by the end of this year, but I like my XL2 (NTSC) so much that I may not part with it when I buy the HD camera!
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