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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
For the Canon XA25, XA20, XA10 and all VIXIA / LEGRIA Series AVCHD camcorders.


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Old August 13th, 2014, 04:51 PM   #46
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Fairly sure I read that 4K would be a paid upgrade but don't quote me on that :-)

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Old August 13th, 2014, 06:27 PM   #47
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

I read that as well, but Sony could certainly decide otherwise once the cam is released.
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Old August 14th, 2014, 01:21 AM   #48
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

It actually is pretty smart of Sony to release it without the 4K option to start with, they can sell it at a lower price point, many users won't be able to resist to pay a small premium price considering all the extra features they will get and then after a year Sony can surprise everyone with a higher then expected 4K upgrade price. It's like these buy now pay later loans, it might sound cheap when you start but it will hit you in the face once it's payday :)
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Old August 14th, 2014, 08:03 AM   #49
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Watch for sophisticated bait-and-switch. I've seen many upgradable systems offered, but by the time the upgrade is available technology has moved on, and while the upgraded can still be added, the platform is behind the power curve. Whether or not it will happen with this Sony product remains to be seen, but Sony does have high turnover in portions of their product lines.

Given the persistence of DVD, is 4K end user media going to reach a critical mass any time soon?
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Old May 31st, 2017, 12:32 PM   #50
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Sorry to revive an old thread but it was the only one I could find pertinent to my inquiry.

Last Fall I purchased a Canon HF-G30 as an upgrade to my HF-G10. I had been contemplating the HF-G40 and took the opportunity to shoot some test shots in one of the camera stores in Montreal, largely to see if the new Wide DR and Highlight Priority recording modes were worth the added expense. I concluded that, for my purposes, they weren't. And a very good deal came up on an unused HF-G30 which was too good to pass up.

In many respects the HF-G30 is the perfect camcorder for my needs, but in the time I have been using it I have become increasingly frustrated with the AWB, and for all of the reasons discussed above in relation to the XA20 - being essentially the same beast under the hood.

AWB on the HF-G10 I found to be very good and I didn't expect it to be any less so on the HF-G30. But under what should be optimal outdoor conditions for AWB I'm constantly having to correct in post for blue casts on white objects in the shade/receiving shadows; even in the subtle contours of well illuminated subjects - a white car for example - the roof is white but parts of the bonnet get tainted blue. I rarely encountered that with the HF-G10. Even white window sills receiving strong early evening daylight would be preserved without casts. My impression is that because the HF-G30 does auto-balance a bit warmer than the HF-G10 it is struggling to rein-in the ultra-high K wavelengths. But didn't Canon account for that when they set the white balance algorithms for this warmer color tone?

Also the lag whilst AWB adapts to changed lighting conditions appears to be longer on the HF-G30 and often requires one or more power down/up cycles to get it there. Reminds me of times passed when I had a Panasonic NV-GS400; it became standard practice to power off and on again to get the AWB to kick in.

I agree that the 'Kelvin' option is a useful feature for impromptu adjustment of the color temp without recourse to a full manual balance, but when shooting under bright conditions with glare on the LCD that's more difficult in practice, and using the EVF, subtle casts may not be that obvious. Added to which, in run and gun situations the time spent fiddling with the white balance can be at the expense of a 'missed shot'. In some situations even cranking the K value up to max 15000K is not enough and the only recourse is a MWB off a grey card at reduced exposure.

I even toyed with the idea of auto white balancing through a Tiffen 812 warming filter in over-cast conditions to avoid the blue casts, which does work up to a point but then has a tendency to leave a slight magenta tint.

Anyhow, my reason for posting is not so much as to gripe (although I have) as to inquire whether this issue was addressed by Canon and resolved on the XA30/35 and/or HF-G40 or not. Unfortunately the test samples I shot when I was considering the HF-G40 don't reveal very much as they were all shot indoors under quite strong daylight balanced lighting. And what (assuredly) ungraded footage I can find on the web is not conclusive either.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; May 31st, 2017 at 05:30 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2017, 09:40 PM   #51
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Re: Frustrated with XA20

Well I've taken the opportunity to check out AWB on the HF-G40 myself, alongside my HF-G30. I had both camcorders set in (Manual) Program AE exposure mode, +12db AGC , iAF, Image Effects at default and with BLC and Face Tracking turned OFF. Recording format/rate 1080/29.97p, 24Mbps mp4. My usual set-up on the HF-G30 for general purpose run-and-gun.

Examining the matched clips on the PC a couple of things struck me. Firstly, dynamic range is definitely further improved on the HF-G40 - that's plain to see. I didn't test low light sensitivity as such, but you can clearly see evidence of it in the enhanced shadow detail....and clean too, at least in the Standard (default) 'look' mode - Wide DR mode is another matter. Secondly, I wouldn't say the colour tone is 'warmer' per se, but there's a tad more magenta in the mix on the HF-G40. The audio quality from internal mics (in default 'standard' auto mode) also seemed to be slightly improved.

As for AWB on the HF-G40 - well I must admit I was crestfallen to find that the behaviour is pretty much the same as on the HF-G30 - really the only difference was that in some shots where there were blue casts, on the HF-G40 there was a slight magenta tinge to them. So that settles it. Yes, the expanded dynamic range is enticing, but there's no way I'd pay double what I paid for the HF-G30 to get the same flaky AWB performance. Were it not for the x20 zoom, 60p, mp4 format option and cold accessory shoe, I'd be tempted to go back to an HF-G10 or HF-G20. In fact for the price difference I could probably pick-up a pre-owned HF-G10 as a fallback. What a ridiculous state of affairs that a Canon model from 6 years back has better AWB performance than their current 'flagship' prosumer model. I can't imagine it's any different on the XA30/35. Surely they could have and could still remedy this with firmware update.

I did have a brief look at a Sony CX900 in one of the camera stores, given it's reputation for having a good AWB. What put me off from the outset though was the optical stabilization (the sales assistant assured me that Steady Shot was on by default) and zoom behaviour, neither of which were as smooth as the HF-G30 and G40. I'm not a big 'zoomer' and when I do it's usually on a tripod, but a lot of my run-and-gun stuff is handheld.

Last edited by Bryan Worsley; June 15th, 2017 at 07:57 AM.
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