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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old May 14th, 2008, 04:22 PM   #1
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HF10 and Exposure compensation

I've had the HF10 for a week now, and I have a lot good to say about it. Coming from an xlh1, it's taken some time getting used to the "consumer protocol" for adjusting the image quality, but for the most part, its easy enough to do. The image quality is surprisingly nice, I've been shooting with the Low Sharpening setting and the images are buttery smooth, with little of the edginess I expected from this camera. This is, of course, in healthy light, because as soon as you dip into the shadows this camera "brings on da Noize, and brings on da funk". But at 10oz dripping wet, what can you expect?

Well, I was expecting some exposure compensation. The salesman said it had it, showed it to me right there on the screen, but it's really just an exposure lock with adjustment (which is useful, don't get me wrong) but I was looking, expecting something more akin to an AE shift or traditional exposure compensation, where you can tweak the automatic exposure in desired direction. It's especially important when you have a camera that seems to have a bias in the direction of burnt out highlights. It does all right in flat situations, but in typical daylight contrast, the AE on my camera is definitely tuned in the direction of preserving shadow detail at the expense of highlights.

So far I can't find anyway to correct this in the manual or menus. Anyone have any tricks they'd like to share? I'll probably move to the cinema mode, but I'm not too keen about complete loss of control of shutter/aperture in this mode (it boggles me that cinema mode is an exposure program setting instead of an image quality setting.)

Barry
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:10 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, the HF10 doesn't have exposure compensation in the classical meaning of exposure compensation. What you are looking for is a function that applies a fixed bias to the automatically computed exposure (classical exposure compensation), and the camera doesn't have that. Canon has renamed exposure-lock-with-manual-adjustment to exposure compensation, which has caused lots of confusion.

Having said that, there are some scene modes that may help as an intermediate between full auto and full manual. If you are looking at preserving highlights, you might want to try the "spotlight" mode, which tends to modify the exposure algorithm to try to avoid clipping highlights. I don't have an HF10/100, but this is the way it works on the HG10, which I have used before. The spotlight mode seems to limit the max gain, however, so it doesn't work well in extremely low light.

There may be some other scene modes that can help as well. As you noted about the cine mode, most of the scene modes do remove some manual control. I guess that's the trade-off you have in a consumer camcorder.

EDIT: I don't know how tied to the HF10 you are, but if true exposure compensation is important to the way you shoot, the Sony HF11/12 does have it.

Last edited by Dave Rosky; May 14th, 2008 at 07:43 PM.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:17 PM   #3
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That's an interesting approach that I wouldn't have thought of, and it might also solve another problem...which is the camera seems to engage gain when it really doesn't need to, again trying to make the image too light. In most cases I find myself dialing the exposure down manual 3-4 bumps and the image looks great (lcd, computer and the plasma). It's as if the engineers decided to preserve detail in that black no matter the cost, which in my view is exactly the opposite of how you treat video.

I'll give it a go.

thanks.

Barry
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Goyette View Post
the camera seems to engage gain when it really doesn't need to, again trying to make the image too light.
Yes, that's something I also don't like. It could be that they want to preserve shadow detail at all cost, but what I had guessed was that they figured typical consumers want to follow their kids around a dimly lit house and want the video to look nice and bright like it was taken under studio lighting, even if that results in a noisy image. Some of us, though, would rather have a dimly lit room actually look dimly lit as it was in reality. I suppose it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

From other posts here, the cine mode also appears to limit the gain in a similar way. My observations of the spotlight mode are from an HG10 I had for a while, so it will be interesting to hear if the HF10 behaves similarly.
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