XL2 20x lens won't keep backfocus and clunks! - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old June 10th, 2008, 05:00 AM   #16
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Hey guys,

I have an XL2 as well, and I've often thought I may have a backfocus problem. Would there be a backfocus problem if zooming in, focusing, and zooming out seems a bit soft (it's just tough to tell, really).. but then I zoom back in and it's perfectly sharp? Does this mean mine has a problem or no problem at all?

Also, I often shoot with a Soft/FX3 filter, and it seems to have a different effect based on how far zoomed in I am, which makes it tougher to know if I'm in focus or not.

Any thoughts? Is this normal?

I have I think almost 3 more years on an after market warranty that I need to register (I have to transfer from the original owner, I've had it about a year).

Thanks,
Eric

P.S. I didn't make it to NAB this year :( Not that I know any of you but still. :)
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Old June 10th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #17
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Eric,

If it happens without your filter, I think this may be a backfocus issue as your camera seems to be having exactly the same problem mine had a couple of weeks ago: when I fully zoomed in, got the focus, zoomed out to full wide, the full wide was a bit soft. Whenever I zoomed in once again, the subject was in focus. This was most noticeable at f.1.6, at f4 or so, it was barely visible but it was. At 1.6 DoF may affect the planes in front of or behind your subject so they may look like out of focus but your subject you focused on must be sharp, regardless of aperture size.

I took my camera for adjustment to Canon, they did it very fast since my XL2 was out of warranty - I was told that paying customers are treated as a priority :) It was an expensive fix but the problem's gone - now when I zoom out to full wide, everything's in focus.

I would advise you to send our camera to Canon but before you do that check it yourself: sometimes when you shoot too many closeups (as I was) then you may forget about the low resolution of DV, visible especially at wide shots so these may appear somewhat muddier. But see if you can fix this softness by turning the focus ring - I could, so definitely it was bacfocus issue.

Hope that helps,
Piotr
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Old June 10th, 2008, 09:33 AM   #18
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Thanks for the info, Piotr!

I will try to experiment with it a bit, maybe with it attached to my computer monitor and see if I can spot any problems when I zoom out.

I have about 12 hours of footage I shot for a movie we're working on, in post production on it now.. And some of the shots we're reviewing, to find the best take, the best framing, etc, I'm looking at it onscreen saying, "Where is the focus in this shot? Is anything actually SHARP here?".. But it could be that the actor moved after I focused and I wasn't aware of it, or the Soft/FX3 when shooting wide makes it a little too soft. I'm not sure. Other shots (and other takes of the same shot), I would say "okay, this one looks a lot sharper". So I'm not sure. I'll try testing it in and out, now that I have some time. :)

Funny how paying customers get priority with most companies, eh? ;) I know you're in Poland, but out of curiosity, how much did they charge you for the repair? I need to find my warranty card here to setup the transfer first.

Eric
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Old June 10th, 2008, 12:17 PM   #19
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Eric

Youre'right. Connecting your camera to PC is the best way to check the focus - that's what I was doing. I was told by Canon technician that, normally, they test and adjust focus using Siemens chart about 2 or 3 meters from the camera lens, which is the optimal distance. I was using a mobile phone (lots of small details) and a pen, I also cranked in-camera sharpness all the way up and changed colors to black and white.

Regarding the soft shots, you're probably right about the subject going out of focal plane. This, or just some error during focusing. I experience it all the time, especially when I shot indoors in low light (hate low light), XL2 stock viewfinder isn't the best, sometimes when I don't have time to zoom in-focus-out, it is just hit or miss. Some are OK, some aren't.

As for backfocus adjustment, I paid about 271$, guess the price is similar in the USA, however, we earn, less, therefore, it is about 70% (or more) of minimal salary (monthly).

BTW. It was a lady at the front desk at Canon that told me obout this 'priority'. It does make sense (though I don't know if it's a fair policy) as they got nothing from warranty repairs.

Piotr
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Old June 10th, 2008, 11:09 PM   #20
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Thanks for the additional tips, I'll give them a shot this week. =)

One other thing. I notice in my footage sometimes that I have vertical lines, equally spaced. Well not lines, but 'differences'. Like if I'm panning, I can see something like if you took a photo, cut about 10-12 vertical lines in it, and overlapped them slightly when you taped it back together. It's either missing a pixel or two, or doubling a pixel or two. I haven't figured out when or why. Is this an XL2 'feature'? It's really weird. Related to this, it seems to have trouble with saturated reds and blues, which make this vertical line thing more noticeable. I normally shoot cine gamma, with R/G/B at 0 and saturation at 0 or boosted a little bit maybe.

I love my camera otherwise. :)

Eric
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Old June 11th, 2008, 07:17 AM   #21
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Unfortunately, XL2 picture isn't always perfect but I don't recall having vertical lines in my footage, sometimes I get this moire effect or whatever when at wide shot there's e.g. a wall with with lots of fine detail or repeating patterns. These, however, are not vertical lines equally spaced but rather moving random curve-shaped lines so can't help you.

Often I get some very fine noise equally everywhere or in some parts of the image (which worsens If I apply some stylized look or gentle color correction) but again these are not lines.

I agree that there's problem with reds or other saturated colors but its a known DV issue. I always lower saturation in camera (I prefer boosting in post), which helps a little bit and then I use Magic Bullet Deartificator to remove color compression artifacts. Works well.


Piotr
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Old June 11th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #22
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Yeah I get the moire' and noise as well. This is more of an invisible line, like I mentioned cutting up an image and either repeating a pixel or two, vertically, or removing. So there's no visible line, but there's a cut in the picture, all equally spaced. It seems to be more noticeable on the highly saturated stuff. I'll try shooter a little less saturated and boosting later.

It seems odd that there are so many adjustments in the custom presets, but that to make a nice image that can be fixed properly later, you have to make things not so nice going to tape. Why is there the ability to make my footage look like The Matrix or something else that's kind of extreme in-camera, if it's not going to be as usable as shooting it a different way and adding the effect later? :)

Eric
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Old June 11th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Shepherd View Post

It seems odd that there are so many adjustments in the custom presets, but that to make a nice image that can be fixed properly later, you have to make things not so nice going to tape. Why is there the ability to make my footage look like The Matrix or something else that's kind of extreme in-camera, if it's not going to be as usable as shooting it a different way and adding the effect later? :)

Eric
True. But still, it's nice to have the ability to tweak the image, even if it's only to fix or alleviate possible compression artifacts etc. This is mostly what I use custom presets for.

There were some discussions about if it's better to set the look in-camera or in post. People say it's better to tweak image before it is compressed but let's be honest, XL2 in-cam controls won't give you the look you might get only by doing advanced color correction in post. Instead, you may limit yourself later due to worse picture quality etc. I prefer to do minor tweaks as pressing black, master pedestal and warming the image, but the rest I leave for Magic Bullet Looks, even if color correction gives me images a little bit noisier than original clips.

Anyway, I just saw my brother's in-law wedding video: he said it might have been shot with sony vx2100. Low light performance is great, but the rest.... let's say I started appreciating my XL2 :)
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Old June 12th, 2008, 03:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Zubik View Post
True. But still, it's nice to have the ability to tweak the image, even if it's only to fix or alleviate possible compression artifacts etc. This is mostly what I use custom presets for.

There were some discussions about if it's better to set the look in-camera or in post. People say it's better to tweak image before it is compressed but let's be honest, XL2 in-cam controls won't give you the look you might get only by doing advanced color correction in post. Instead, you may limit yourself later due to worse picture quality etc. I prefer to do minor tweaks as pressing black, master pedestal and warming the image, but the rest I leave for Magic Bullet Looks, even if color correction gives me images a little bit noisier than original clips.

Anyway, I just saw my brother's in-law wedding video: he said it might have been shot with sony vx2100. Low light performance is great, but the rest.... let's say I started appreciating my XL2 :)
Yeah I think the pressed blacks might be a little too extreme sometimes. I almost always use cine gamma, but then I think I'd prefer the mids to be brighter. Still learning I guess. :)

I've seen some pretty rough looking footage since getting my XL2 as well. I take it for granted til I see other cameras' stuff, or use other cameras and then wonder how people can deal with them sometimes. :) "What do you mean you can't control everything on this camera with a hardware knob or button?!"

Eric
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Old November 26th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #25
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OK, I finally found the time to send in my second lens and now I am really pissed. Shelled out the $70 to ship the cam to Canon, for the second time, and the lens came back with the exact same backfocus issue that I sent it to them with.

I am extremely pissed off at this point. I work with professionals and like to consider myself a professional as well, but it is really hard to hand a professional shooter a cam and tell them to "watch out for the backfocus problem" that for some reason I can't even get fixed. It sucks because the XL2 is a great cam otherwise, but I probably won't be buying Canon in the future.

I did have my heart set on XL-H1s for my next cams, but now I am seriously thinking that the Sony XD cams are starting to look pretty damn good.

Is there any such thing as great customer service anymore?
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Old November 26th, 2008, 07:13 PM   #26
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Wow, that stinks. You didn't send in the camera with it though?

I still have a thing with mine where I zoom in and get a perfect focus, zoom back and the shot looks dull, so I refocus til it's sharp (zoomed out), and zoom in and it's out of focus.. But if I zoom in, focus, zoom out, and zoom back in, it's still perfectly focused, so it's not back-focus I guess?

And then another thing.. If I focus at mid-zoom and get it sharp (speculars, hair, etc), and then zoom all the way in, it's no longer in focus. I'm not sure if this is normal behavior or not and I haven't had enough downtime (or cash) to ship it in..

Eric
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Old November 26th, 2008, 07:44 PM   #27
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Yeah, the cam was shipped with it.

Anytime you zoom in and grab critical focus and then lose that focus when you zoom out, you have a backfocus issue. Both of my XL2s suffer(ed) from the same condition that you describe and it is definitely a backfocus issue, one of them they actually fixed when I sent it in. I wouldn't be so mad right now if they had actually fixed the problem. I still think it's BS that the cams are shipped with such a perceivable disrespect for quality control.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 08:02 PM   #28
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Ryan, which Canon center did you send it to? I've had good and bad results at times, usually a phone call will clear it up, and they'll cover the reship charge.

I'm a huge fan of the manual 16x for the exact reasons you point out. Razor sharp, adjustable back focus, a delight to use. AND I have a buddy who uses his with his XLH-1 all the time... looks gorgeous.
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Old November 26th, 2008, 09:27 PM   #29
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Hey Richard,

I sent it to the Cali service center. They did an excellent job on my last lens, but this one not so much. I'll definitely have to call them after the holiday.

I have given some thought to the 16x, but I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with the XL2s long enough to justify picking up any more lenses for them. Maybe I'll just have to pick one up anyway, they seem to keep their resale value pretty well. Man it sure would be nice to have an all manual lens.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 08:30 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mueller View Post
I did have my heart set on XL-H1s for my next cams, but now I am seriously thinking that the Sony XD cams are starting to look pretty damn good.

Is there any such thing as great customer service anymore?
Ryan, it will not help you with your current camera, but I just want to let you know that on the XL-H1 cameras, you can adjust the back focus by yourself, you will not need to ship it back to Canon.
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