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Old May 18th, 2014, 03:33 AM   #16
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

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Originally Posted by Rainer Listing View Post
Auto WB is always hit and miss and unusable where there are predominant room colors or colored light changes like at some receptions. Just think about it - auto WB tries to make the predominant tone white, e.g. point it at a blue card or wall and it will set a higher temperature - the blue turns paler in your shots. WB doesn't have to be accurate to the nearest degree K. With maybe just a few test shots and a bit of experience you'll be able to judge close enough to get a proper result.
I agree, AWB should be left as the last option on any camera, but there is something particularly wrong with the auto , and the 2 sets of the XA20. Shooting sports at night the only reliable way is to visually set the Kelvin temperature (not that difficult after all) and leave it there, avoiding any camera interpretation. The other issue I have with the XA20 is the shutter speed :1/100 is a bit slow and 1/250 is too dark at night (pushing the gain results in nasty noise at night). I'd appreciate the good old 1/125 or 1/120 , strange it was left out in the XA10/20). No idea why... Any idea why?
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Old May 19th, 2014, 01:26 AM   #17
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

I too have constant problems white balancing this camera. What color settings do people find give the most consistent results. I too like the lok of the AX100 but 1700 with no XLR input, seems a bit stiff to me.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 04:33 AM   #18
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

James put the temperature yourself: it takes a second. select the K value that you like. ANY camera's interpretation of the white balance is not reliable. The XA20 gets it right only if I put a grey card and zoom in all the way. Not white, grey (12% better than 18%). But I can't do that all the time. So come on guys... to set the K value manually is not such a big deal after all. And it will stay that way until we set it again.
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Old May 19th, 2014, 06:43 AM   #19
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Lets make a list of the lighting situations that cause balance difficulty; i.e., what was the lighting source when you have the problem.

Discharge type lamps often have strange color spectrums, with some colors just plain missing from their output. This can cause issue for some sensors and processors, especially if their sensitivity and related filtering does not complement the lighting source. Lets face it, it is tough to beat plain hot old 3200K light bulbs. When shooting refelcted light situations (most scenes) if the color is not present in the light source, it will not be seen in the scene.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 05:01 AM   #20
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

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Originally Posted by Anthony Lelli View Post
James put the temperature yourself: it takes a second. select the K value that you like. ANY camera's interpretation of the white balance is not reliable. The XA20 gets it right only if I put a grey card and zoom in all the way. Not white, grey (12% better than 18%). But I can't do that all the time. So come on guys... to set the K value manually is not such a big deal after all. And it will stay that way until we set it again.
The K value function is useful, however, you have to stop recording to alter it. So what do you do if you are filming an event where you have to be continuously recording and the sun keeps coming out and then going behind a cloud again and so changing the colour temperature. With Sony cameras you can either tweak the white balance as it changes or quite often their auto white balance handles it beautifully. It is a really great camera but in my opinion does not offer enough options for changing white balance whilst recording - in this case a decent auto mode is essential which this camera doesn't have.

Does anyone dabble with the cinema modes on this camera, mine is always on Manual.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 05:17 AM   #21
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Especially during a ceremony in a church whitebalancing can be very tricky, you can't just guess it by dialing in a value and presets will also often give you a wrong wb, using a greycard would be the better solution but there is almost always no time to do that. I have had churches where there was different light on the alter and where the couple was sitting and for all guests in the church daylight was again more prominent, then you have got colored windows, sun shining or hiding again behind clouds and that can all happen on one single shoot. In that respect I can say it is very rare my sony cx730's give me a weird color, from what I remember seeing on location and afterwards in post the color is almost always spot on when using auto whitebalance. You'd have to pry my sony's out of my cold dead hands before I give them up. :)
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Old May 20th, 2014, 05:41 AM   #22
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Agreed Noa, I often use my CX730 as a second camera and it always handles the white balance situation nicely when the XA20 is struggling. In consistent light, they are a good match though. THE CX730 is a great camera but there are some things that the XA20 wins on. Firstly and obviously the XLR inputs, secondly you can change the gain whilst recording (which for some inexplicable reason you can't do on the Sony), it has a 20x zoom and the winner for me, a rocker control that has the quality and feel of any top of the range Canon such as the XF305. Have you tried the rocker on the new Sony NX5, it is a complete waste of time. That camera has other good points though, as usual never a perfect world, never a perfect camera.
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Old May 20th, 2014, 09:56 PM   #23
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

I use a color meter and dial in what it states the Kelvin temp is. Works well for the situations I have used the XA 25 for. "traveling " WB or AWB or "Shockless " WB will never really give you a temp you can lock into during post and maintain during the complete production without a lot of work. AWB on a opening scene of a wedding where everyone is seated and wearing suits and non reflective dresses, then into the major third of the shot walks in a large white target ( bride wearing dress ) come on the AWB is going all over the range. Sony may be a bit better at this then Canon. but as stated the audio and the zoom control would seem to matter more to me.
I dont shoot weddings because I know they are hard to do. so don't jump me for not know wtf is going on at a wedding.
I just have had the best luck when using a ten meter.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 09:03 AM   #24
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Never refer to the bride as a "large white target" - even if she is carries a few extra pounds <G>.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 11:19 AM   #25
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Robert, I used K settings for mine when I had trouble. Rarely used presets and never used auto. What was strange is I could not dial in K degree setting that would work at those times when I had issues, no setting would work. There seemed to be certain lighting or situations where the camera could not be set to a proper white balance no matter where on the K continum I put it.

When setting WB I would sometime try a preset first, when in a hurry, and of course at times it might be fine.

Very good advice Don, very funny.
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Old May 22nd, 2014, 03:40 AM   #26
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

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Originally Posted by James Hollingsworth View Post
The K value function is useful, however, you have to stop recording to alter it. So what do you do if you are filming an event where you have to be continuously recording and the sun keeps coming out and then going behind a cloud again and so changing the colour temperature. With Sony cameras you can either tweak the white balance as it changes or quite often their auto white balance handles it beautifully. It is a really great camera but in my opinion does not offer enough options for changing white balance whilst recording - in this case a decent auto mode is essential which this camera doesn't have.

Does anyone dabble with the cinema modes on this camera, mine is always on Manual.

well I'm trying to help considering what we have. I agree that the auto WB simply doesn't work with the XA20 , and I agree that in here we should tell the truth so others can evaluate things, but it's also true that we must produce with what we have at the moment, and from that point of view a K value is a solid advice to avoid frustrations . Sony cameras give a better auto? yes, definitely. So that's your advice? the colleague shoots XA20 and your advice is to buy a Sony? leave the event and sprint to get another camera?
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Old May 22nd, 2014, 07:13 AM   #27
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Anthony, Craig did not advise that anyone buy a Sony unless I'm reading a different post than you are.
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Old May 22nd, 2014, 10:43 PM   #28
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

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...What was strange is I could not dial in K degree setting that would work at those times when I had issues, no setting would work. There seemed to be certain lighting or situations where the camera could not be set to a proper white balance no matter where on the K continum I put it.
Exactly my experience:
At X600K- too Red
at X200K- too Blue
at X400K- a green cast, of all things
Very strange...
Again, I don't recall ever having this problem with the XA 10
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 07:18 PM   #29
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

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Anthony, Craig did not advise that anyone buy a Sony unless I'm reading a different post than you are.
Jeff, in fact I was talking to James (quoted in my post) , not Craig :)
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Old May 23rd, 2014, 11:33 PM   #30
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Have any of you experiencing XA 20 white balance problems actually sent your camcorders to Canon for service?
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