Is a cheap US import worth it?



Hi, looking to buy my first camcorder, and was looking at about £200 budget. However, I see a few on Ebay shipping from the US which are potentially much cheaper, but are NTSC instead of PAL.

Is this a major problem? At present my intention is to transfer, edit on a PC then burn to DVD, either as a DVD or just as a data file. I'd reckon most of playback would be on a PC, not a TV.

Given that I can get a cam of a much higher spec for less money is a major attraction, but is this false economy?


Active Member
Depends what is most important for you.

If you are viewing it all on a PC or with a NTSC compatible TV & DVD player that may not matter much to you, but are any of the people you want share copies with ?

You can with software transcode between NTSC & PAL (more expense ?)

The biggest problem for me personally however would be warranty issues with the camera, then cheap may not be so cheap.




Many thanks for the advice, I take all the points made.

Looking back on Ebay, prices range from £130-£160 for the ones I'm looking at. One was a Panasonic GS32. Looking to pay £200 for the GS17 model here.

I have a girlfriend in US, so postage not a problem, only prob is import duty if you are unlucky enough to get nabbed.

To be honest, think it'll come down to the final price - needs to be really cheap to take a gamble.


Well-known Member
One other thing to bear in mind is that if you use a US camcorder under UK fluorescent or other non-incandescent lighting, you get flicker due to the 5Hz difference in the frame rate (30Hz vs 25Hz).

That, and the guarantee issues mentioned by vonhosen would put me off for sure.

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