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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old April 13th, 2002, 09:12 PM   #1
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Dirty heads and focus problem

Just wondering if anyone else has experienced these problems...

Problem #1: I have a brand new XL1s with only 2-3 Sony Excellence tapes put through it total, I have never shot any other brand and two days ago I get the "Heads Dirty, Use Cleaning Cassette" message... so I clean the heads once with a JVC head cleaning tape for about 12 secoonds. Today, I start to shoot a wedding and the first tape in the camera after the cleaning throws up the same message again.... Could my heads be that dirty from the factory? Is there another problem? Should I just keep cleaning them?


Problem #2: Today during a wedding, I was shooting everything in manual mode and several times during an attempt to focus the camera manually, it seems the "little motors" that control the focusing were going spastic... I would get close to being in focus and then the image would blur and you could actually see the lens trying to auto-focus, albeit unsuccessful, it was trying... even though the focus was set to manual as was everything else (ie. mode, WB, gain, audio). This happened on several occasions through-out the day today. Just seems like the focus motors were possesed for a brief period... Does this sound like something that I should send my camera in for? Again, has anyone else expereinced anything like this?

Rather Concerned...

thanks,

Chris
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Old April 13th, 2002, 10:24 PM   #2
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Were You Using a Varizoom?

Regarding problem #2, you didn't mention if you were using a Varizoom lens controller or not, but I've had a similar problem after turning the camera off to change batteries. When powered back up, even though the lens is set to manual focus and the camera is *not* in green box mode, I'm unable to properly focus on the subject. It almost seems like AF is on. Quickly zooming with the VZ causes loss of focus. The solution is to unplug the Varizoom connector and plug it back in with the camera on.

A variation on this same problem is that zoom speed control is sometimes lost when the camera is turned back on. Rotating the speed control dial on the VZ does nothing. Again, unplugging the VZ connector and replugging seems to put everything back on track.
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Old April 13th, 2002, 11:56 PM   #3
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Also make sure you're not in the "Green Box" (easy recording) mode, where auto-focus is always on, even when it's switched off at the lens. This is a very common oversight. Also, regarding the playback problrm, I would definitely consider sending the camera back to Canon with a sample tape a a description of the problem.
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Old April 14th, 2002, 08:21 AM   #4
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No Green Box and No Varizoom controller, everything was set manual. In fact I have never shot green box with any of my canon cameras, I have always been a "control freak" and leave everything manual.

It wouldnt do it for long, it was a period of about 1-2 seconds that it would start trying to focus on its own then it would resume normal functioning and let me focus....

Chris
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Old April 14th, 2002, 01:21 PM   #5
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I have had the #1 problem since I recieved the camera, even more extreme. Camera is in the shop again for "adjustments." It is killing me because I enjoy shooting the camera and have learned to get some terrific footage out of the thing, but it has been in the Canon shop more than in the field.

I have talked to many XL-1S owners and it seems that it may just have been a bad batch or inconsistent manufacturing. Not everyone is having trouble.

Best bet is to send it in for repair. Signing up for the XL-1 club is a good idea. Many times it helps speed up the time. This last time they somehow couldn't find my records and were trying to charge me $250 for those "adjustment." Now that I have called and cleared things up the repairs are again under warranty, but it is going to be over 2 weeks before getting the camera back instead of the usual week. Big tip is to keep ontop of the repair status, calling every few days to make sure it is moving along and all the documents are in order.

I also had as critical and back focus issue when I first used the camera, but that was also "adjusted" the first time in and all seems well. I have been lucky with cameras and never had any other problems like this, so I am just assuming I am paying back some past dues.

Good Luck.
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Old April 14th, 2002, 04:15 PM   #6
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Thanks for the insight, I had a feeling I may have to send it in. I have another wedding in 2 weeks and various other projects inbetween so going without my XL1s is going to be difficult... I will call Canon and see what they can do for me. I did sign up for the club so I hope that helps me!

thanks again,

Chris
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