A camcorder is not exactly cheap, so choose one wisely. PAL is the standard playback format in most countries (Europe, Australia and Asia other than USA and Japan) while cameras in USA are NTSC format only. If you are a frequent traveler, you might find it very inconvenient to travel with an NTSC camcorder that is incompatible with the PAL system in your destination. Consider buying a PAL camcorder.
The major difference between PAL and NTSC is the image resolution and frame rates. NTSC will record a video at 29.97 fps while PAL will do the same at 25 fps. The standard sample size of NTSC systems is 720×480 while PAL has a resolution of 720×576. Due to these differences, no camcorder is capable of recording in both NTSC and PAL formats. That said, there is no compatibility issue when playing videos in a computer, as computers are not limited to any video standard.
It makes sense to buy a PAL camcorder if you are one of those people who watch your video footages directly on a TV without editing it on a computer. MiniDV tapes recorded on a PAL camcorder can only be played on a PAL supported TV or VCR. Also, before you purchase a PAL camcorder from another country, make sure the manufacturer warranty is valid in your country.
To identify an NTSC from a PAL, look at the model number. In Panasonic 3CCD digital camera models like PV GS300 and NV GS 300, the PV denotes NTSC and NV stands for PAL. In the case of Sony cameras such as the DCR HC46, an ‘E’ is appended to indicate PAL compatibility. If you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask questions. It’s much easier to buy a PAL camcorder online as the product description will indicate compatibility right away.