Why Do Cameras No Longer Have PAL/NTSC Options.

460x150-Banner-Box Why Do Cameras No Longer Have PAL/NTSC Options.

PAL and NTSC are very specifically broadcasting standards for standard definition television. PAL (Phase Alternating Line) and NTSC (National Television Standard Committee) are analog interlaced standards specifically for standard definition broadcasting and transmission. These standards are now only very, very rarely used for broadcasting.  And as most modern cameras are now high definition, digital and most commonly use progressive scan, these standards are no longer applicable to them.  

As a result you will now rarely see these as options in a modern video camera. In our now mostly digital and HD/UHD world the same standards are used whether you are in a country that used to be NTSC or used to be PAL. The only difference now is the frame rate. Countries that have  50Hz mains electricity and that used to be PAL countries predominantly use frame rates based on multiples of 25 frames per second. Countries that have 60Hz mains and that used to be NTSC countries use frame rates based around multiples of 29.97 frames per second. It is worth noting that where interlace is still in use the frame rate is half of the field rate. So, where someone talks about 60i (meaning 60 fields per second) in reality the frame rate will actually be 29.97 frames per second with each frame having two fields. Where someone mentions 50i the frame rate is 25 frames per second.

Most modern cameras rather than offering the ability to switch between PAL and NTSC now instead offer the ability to switch between 50 and 60Hz. Sometimes you may still see a “PAL Area” or “NTSC Area” option – note the use of the word “Area”. This isn’t switching the camera to PAL or NTSC, it is setting up the camera for areas that used to use PAL or used to use NTSC. 

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