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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 12:12 AM   #1
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Xl1s Auto Focus

Just changed my GL2 for Xl1s

The first thing that I noticed is how weak is the auto focus. It seems to always be searching and losing focus for half a seond or so.

I never had such problem with the GL2. Keeping the camera in manual solve the problem, but its a pain to always have to hit the auto focus button everytime you move the camera (plus its not very fast and effective)

I really like the XL1s features, its a great camera, but this thing is really upsetting me for a camera of that price.

Thanks for your help

Hugo
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 05:14 AM   #2
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I'm not sure there is a question in there. Focus hunting has
always been a "problem". I've never had much problems with
it when doing serious stuff. Because I'm always doing manual
focus and mostly using the ring on the lens for that.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 10:53 AM   #3
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I have experienced this problem as well and made the (rookie) mistake of thinking (in the middle of a shoot) I'll change to manual and just wing it. Boy was that a mistake! Couldn't focus to save my life (especially when zoomed in). Ruined a few shots, but they were just a little worse than what the auto-focus was doing.

I was wondering if anyone has any tried and true techniques for the XL1s manual focus settings. I don't have one at my disposal right now, so I will have to practice next time I get my hands on one...just wondering what to practice or if anyone had some good advice on going manual? Thanks in advance...

Clay
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 11:17 AM   #4
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What I found deceiving if the fact that even my little sony DCR TRV 230 dont loose focus like the xl does.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 11:56 AM   #5
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I'm not sure who leaves autofocus on. Autofocus is pretty hard to use when people are moving about the frame. I leave autofocus off and only touch the autofocus button as needed.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 01:42 PM   #6
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The only time I have ever left the autofocus on is when my camera was in it's SurfAce Splashbag, on a whitewater rafting trip last summer (thus unable to manual focus). If you move the camera slowly from subject to subject it actually doesn't look too bad. In editing I'm using short clips so it doesn't matter that much.
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Old December 7th, 2003, 12:54 AM   #7
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well,
The XL1s really sucks at AF, even in daylight! I used to set it to manual, but there wasn't much control really.
So I finally got the 16x manual servo. Boy, what a lens! you just need to master manual focusing (for moving objects).
One thing I know: I'm never using the 16x AF again.
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Old December 7th, 2003, 01:24 AM   #8
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I believe it is an amatuer's mistake (and believe me I know!). But, for those of use who rent, it makes it difficult to figure out. Hey, now I know! I don't have one to practice with daily, but the next time I have one in my hands, I will do it manually. As we say in the music business...."perfect practice makes perfect." I will hold that to be true with the XL1s as well...

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Old December 7th, 2003, 04:04 AM   #9
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I'm smiling, because I've been using these cameras in the manual setting with the stock lenses for over two years now and still have trouble in event situations sometimes!

Someone will probably have to correct me here because I'm so FAR from an expert, but these are a couple of things I *think* I've learned:

Keep in mind that the focus and zoom rings don't have stops--they'll just spin as long as you keep 'em going. That can make you crazy in a "panic focus" situation.

Depending on the shoot, I zoom in tight and focus, then go back out. After that, I can keep my adjustments to a minimum and the AF button seems to be more effective. That idea is better explained somewhere else on this forum.

Most frustrating for me is trying to do a smooth zoom using the ring--it's not responsive, then takes a big jump. I've worked and worked on that--still looks really bad.

I'll tell you one thing. Though I'd hate to have to explain myself, I feel like this camera's "faults" make me be a better shooter. Somehow, that's consolation.

Someday, I'd like to purchase the lens that Nawaf mentioned. That would be great!
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Old December 7th, 2003, 05:56 AM   #10
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Keep in mind that auto focus needs contrast (esp. vertical edges) in the focus sensing zone, and it needs a reasonable amount of light, on the order of 50 lux. Stuff in the image can confuse auto focus, motion, bleachers, objects closer/further than the primary subject of interest, etc.

Canon was not the first to use a servo-controlled lens on a camcorder intended for the lower end of the professional/industrial market. cosider the Panasonic AG-455 and related camcorders.

It boils down to learning the limits of the gear and working within and around those limits.
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Old December 7th, 2003, 01:18 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Don Palomaki : It boils down to learning the limits of the gear and working within and around those limits. -->>>


That's it, EXACTLY !! Just what I wish I'd said. And it's more fun than a person might think.
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Old December 7th, 2003, 09:54 PM   #12
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Hugo,

Below are a couple of links to existing threads that might help answer your question.

The bottom line is that the Canon auto lenses are pretty much useless for serious shooters.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17405'

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=14110

Good luck and stay sharp.

RB
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Old December 8th, 2003, 07:38 AM   #13
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If you haven't got a manual lens, focusing with the XL1(s) is all about the Push AF button...
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