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Old March 13th, 2004, 11:45 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pinellas Park, FL
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XL1 White Balance Drifts

I have a used XL1 that I picked up recently. After doing my first shoot with it, while doing the editing I noticed that the white balance is drifting around. I searched the prior posts here and found a reference to someone else reporting a similar problem, but didn't find a post describing the actual problem.

The camera is set to "manual everything" (nothing is set for automatic), white balanced prior to shooting, with proper studio lighting. While watching the footage the white balance can be observed to drift toward yellow and then back to correct and then toward yellow, repeating over and over throughout the footage. We had a second XL1 shooting the same subject at the same time but from another angle, and it did not exhibit this effect, so it seems reasonable to conclude that the camera is to blame.

The obvious response would be to ship the camera off to Canon for service, but I thought it would be worth a shot to drop a note here and see if anyone has experienced this, and if so, what did they do to fix it?

Thanks in advance for any experiences!
Brian Blakley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 13th, 2004, 03:20 PM   #2
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Location: Northern VA
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May not apply in your situation, but use of shutter speeds above 1/120 with flourescent light can cause the apparent back and forth changes in white balance over time.

Also, changes in the image lighting (e.g., panning to see more/less daylight in a incandescent lit room) can cause a color balance shift.
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 15th, 2004, 10:04 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pinellas Park, FL
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I'll check into the shutter speed of both cameras and see if there was any difference. Both were set to "Ma" and I don't think we did anything that could have affected the shutter speed, but I'm pretty new to the XL1, so I can't say that for certain.

During the footage where the white balance can be seen to drift, the camera was "locked down" (no panning or zooming), so I don't think any changes in image lighting can be to blame.

Thanks for the ideas!
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Old April 1st, 2004, 11:37 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Pinellas Park, FL
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I just wanted to post a little more information on this in case anyone else has the same problem.

On Don's suggestion, we tried shutting off the overhead flourescent lights and the problem went away. Previously we shot with studio lights and the flourescents. Then we did a lot of playing around and found that for whatever reason, the drifting only seemed to happen with the 14x (manual) lens, and not the 3x (wide) or 16x (standard) lens. No matter what we did, we could not get the problem to happen on the other XL1 however.

In any event, it seems like making positively sure that the shutter speed is set to 1/60, and being sure to redo the white balance after changing lenses seems to fix the problem.

I agree with Don's use of the word "apparent" when referring to the back and forth changes in white balance, because I don't think it is white balance at all, I think it is just the shutter speed being out of synch with the flickering of the flourescent lights (which flicker at 60 Hz although your eye can't tell). I'm guessing that the camera that has "the problem" might have a shutter speed issue where it's not exactly at the speed it should be. We found that in messing with the knobs on the side of the camera it was easy to accidentally increase the shutter speed without meaning to (since the buttons are right there).

Anyway, Don, thanks for the lead, it really helped.
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Old April 2nd, 2004, 07:33 AM   #5
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I had this same problem, and i found it to be a result of the florescents as well. I found that in a room with this lighting, i just switch the white balance to the indoor light preset and it goes away.
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Old May 16th, 2004, 08:35 PM   #6
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I too have experienced this problem recently while shooting with the XL-1s. My father-in-law is in the lighting business and I was decribing the problem to him. He said that many times, businesses, schools, etc. will replace flourescent bulbs without matching temperature. The end result is a mixture of lamp temperatures that might not be noticed with the naked eye. However, cameras, he said, will pick it up. What I find interesting is that at the same locations and under similar lighting conditions, I did not notice the problem while shooting with the GL-2. It was mentioned in this thread that keeping the shutter speed at 1/120 will help. Anyone notice whether the color shifts at shutter speeds 1/75 - 1/100?
Clint Till
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