PAL or NTSC for FPV | Camera Quadcopter Multicopter

NTSC and PAL are two video encoding system. For FPV cameras, the main differences are in the frame rate per second and resolution between the two.

They stand for NTSC – National Television System Committee and PAL – Phase Alternating Line.

Whether to use PAL or NTSC is no longer an important decision for FPV, because most FPV equipment nowadays support both standards. Having said that, you should always pay attention to what your FPV camera and other equipment support to avoid surprises.

Difference Between PAL and NTSC

NTSC is used in North America, Japan and South Korea. PAL is a different video standard that is incompatible with NTSC, and is used in most of Europe, Australia and large parts of Africa and Asia. They have different resolution and frame rate.

PAL: 720 x 576 @ 25fps

NTSC: 720 x 480 @ 30fps

So Which one should I use?

As mentioned, the concern about whether to use NTSC or PAL is unnecessary now, since most devices (VTX, VRX, FPV goggles and monitor) can play video in both formats. Most people I know just use the standard in their country. The only reason you want to use one over the other, would probably because what you intend to do with the recorded footage.

There are people prefer PAL over NTSC for OSD display advantages. The higher resolution in PAL allows slightly sharper and clearer text display on the screen. Some people prefer NTSC for the slightly higher frame rate, and it helps with smoother FPV video playback.

Apart from image resolution and frame rate differences, PAL also automatically corrects for tint control while NTSC offers a slightly more fluid picture. I personally found YouTube and Vimeo seem to handle NTSC footage better due the the higher frame rate, and smooth footage.

To learn more about how to choose a good FPV camera for quadcopter.

Post created in Dec 2014, last updated in Aug 2016.

5 thoughts on “PAL or NTSC for FPV | Camera Quadcopter Multicopter

  1. Aymeric

    If PAL resolution is always 720×576 (and NTSC 720×480), I don’t understand why most of FPV cameras have better resolutions but uses these video standards. Does HD-PAL/NTSC exist ?

    Reply
    1. tim

      I also wonder how 1080, 2600 and 4000 is possible using either of these two standards.?.?

      On another note, I understand PAL systems have a tendancy for ‘Hanover Bars’ to occur within the transmitted image. For fpv with rc quads this sounds like a big drawback especially since obstacles like trees are factors that make it more likely to occur. I understand UHF transmission of PAL data is affected the most.
      What about 5.8ghz??? I would choose an NTSC camera unless the PAL one is heavily discounted vs the other.

      Reply
  2. Marcin

    But the cameras does not have switchable systems right? So you have to choose right camera. I have runcam swift 2 and you can’t change it. My action cam and normal cam have avaiability of changing the system.

    Reply

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