Got a PAL unit instead of NTSC; should I keep it?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by shepx13, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    I bought a Gx7 from Ebay from one of these really low sales that's been listed. I figured it would be gray market, which is fine as I figured I'd buy a square trade warranty on it and still be way ahead. Turns out the unit I received is for a PAL country instead of NTSC. As such, it only has 24p (AVCHD only) and 25/50p options for filming (even though their ad states 60p video). The seller was quick to respond and offered to pay for return shipping, but couldn't tell me when he'd have NTSC units available.

    So, my question is, how big a deal is this for us in the US? I am a video noob, and only shoot video for family stuff. Is it a huge hassle to convert to 30 for web from 25/50 or from 24p AVCHD? Just wondering if I can't find one remotely close in price that's made for an NTSC country, if I should just keep it or not.
     
  2. Rangerob

    Rangerob Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Oct 9, 2013
    Howdy!
    Well first, Square Trade wont cover the camera. If you talk with an agent up there that knows what he or she is talking about, they will tell you, that in order for the camera to be covered, the camera has to at least have a minimum of a 90 day manufacturer warranty. Which the camera your talking about doesn't because it is not a USA market camera. I know this, because I purchased one from Amazon along with the warranty, and when I called to ask about the specifics, the agent notified me about this policy and offered a refund.

    Second, ive had no problems playing any video from my pal GX7. There is an option in the camera settings to output to ntsc. I can directly hook it up to my tv via hdmi and play videos. I can play the recording on both my Samsung Note 12.2 pro, and my windows. So I am completely satisfied with the camera.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    I thought the squaretrade warranty offered for Ebay was different than the one you get for Amazon (and other retailer's) products. Guess I'll need to find out about that.

    Yes, I'm aware I can play video from the camera to my TV no problem. Just didn't know how big of a deal it was when downloading to your computer and converting it for web or TV viewing afterwards.

    Thanks for your input!
     
  4. Ellsass

    Ellsass Mu-43 Regular

    88
    Apr 15, 2014
    Take a video and see if your TV plays it. These days many TVs/DVD/BluRay players will automatically convert the video, and even if they don’t just about any video software will convert it for you. For YouTube, Facebook, et al it doesn’t matter one bit. (How much of the video are you going to watch on a TV compared to online?) Note that I’m not a video pro, I’ve only played/converted movies before.
     
  5. Geemone

    Geemone Mu-43 Regular

    64
    Aug 9, 2014
    Germany
    There is a way to put every Lumix camera into factory mode, which automatically sets it in the NTSC norm. Works of course with PAL versions, too.
    So you can put it in this factory mode, record your videos and afterwards put it in normal mode again. Or leave it in the factory mode, won't do any harm to your camera. It will just show you a yellow warning sign every time you turn the camera off. Just ignore this, no problem.
    How to put it in factory mode? Just google "GX7 factory mode" and you will find plenty of instructions... .

    Just to be on the save side: even if it worked for me as well as for many others, you do this at your own risk! Don't blame me, if you did anything wrong. It's a lot of button pressing combinations and you have to so it absolutely correctly!
     
  6. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    thanks for the info. Wasn't aware you could change NTSC/PAL when in the service menu. Will need to look into that a bit.
     
  7. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Maybe replacing the firmware with an ntsc one would work.

    Barry

    Sent from my Note3
     
  8. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    That shouldn't be necessary. The GX7 menu allows selection of PAL or NTSC video output, for playing video from the camera. So set it to NTSC and you will have no trouble playing video on a TV.

    Regarding video files, computers don't know about PAL and NTSC, so any computer will read the files perfectly. If you want to burn a DVD for playback, select NTSC on the computer software that you use for burning the DVD.

    IMO the only significant concern is making videos under mains-powered fluoro lighting that uses the cheap, non-electronic ballasts. You won't be able to avoid flicker in this situation.
     
  9. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sooner or later ....

    This "factory mode" is used as part of the main PCB replacement procedure. The camera will only allow you to enter and exit this mode so many times, the same as when you choose the region code of DVD drives. This is not a practical or logical work around, especially if you don't have a solid understanding of what you are doing. More important, when the camera needs service, whose going to fix it? My opinion is that your "bargain" isn't really a bargain. Sooner or later it's going to make you regret you purchased it. If the price seems too good to be true, it's probably worth passing up.
     
  10. Geemone

    Geemone Mu-43 Regular

    64
    Aug 9, 2014
    Germany
    Wow, I didn't know that you can enter factory mode only so many times... are you sure about that?
    Because over here in Germany many Lumix users do that when shooting video in oder to get 60p or 30p depending on the model.
     
  11. arson519

    arson519 Mu-43 Regular

    82
    Feb 10, 2013
    Canada
    ntsc is 60hz and pal is 50hz its when your shooting anything with lights you will get the flickering that is your main concern you can change your camera from pal to ntsc but your camera might still be pal region with the 50hz.
     
  12. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Tungsten lights are okay, but fluoro lights with old-style ballasts will flicker.
     
  13. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    For good reason!

    I know of two people who this happened to. Service menus are hidden for good reasons. They protect the camera from people who have no idea what they are doing!
     
  14. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    No. There is only one version of the firmware. The camera decides which country version it is.
     
  15. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    Thanks for all the input. I decided to send it back. Not worth my hassle to keep.
    But I'm not even sure if I'll get another one, as the shutter sound was really obnoxious and my hands apparently aren't steady enough to reliably use the electronic shutter. Sigh...
     
  16. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    What's the connection between steady hands and electronic shutter? I'm confused by your last comment.
     
  17. shepx13

    shepx13 Mu-43 Regular

    196
    Aug 7, 2012
    Tyler, TX
    Ken
    Moving hands introduces a little blur. Hence the reason image stabilization helps. Using the electronic shutter gets rid of the loud mechanical shutter that bothered me, but if your hands aren't steady enough you're still going to struggle with a little bit of "blur" regardless of what kind of shutter you're using.

    I'm sure if I was using the 12-35, I wouldn't have had any problems.
     
  18. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    380
    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    Return it for refund if possible. You want all of the frame rate options if in NTSC territory.

    I got mine used from B&H used dept, had only 272 "clicks" on the shutter. I just "haunted" that dept until one showed up. Makes a great video camera especially as a backup to the GH3 and GH4
     
  19. Rangerob

    Rangerob Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Oct 9, 2013
    Just an update to my last post. I was indeed able to register the black GX7 with 20mm kit lens that I purchased through Amazon on Panasonic USA's website last night, and was also offered an extended warranty through their squaretrade program.
     
  20. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Unfortunately, registering your camera does not validate the warranty. Officially, in the US, warranty service is contingent on a copy of the proof of purchase, when it's received by the service facility. When its discovered it's not a US version, it's probably going to result in notification that the camera has no US warranty.

    I have seen Panasonic cover such cameras for minor problems, but major more expensive repairs are often rejected, probably because they can't get reimbursed.