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Old October 25th, 2004, 09:05 AM   #241
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xl1s focus problem

Hi everyone. This is my first post and your advise would be appreciated.

I have owned a canon xl1s for over 6 months. From the first day I found that where there was motion it appeared to have trouble maintaining focus. Recently I filmed a wedding where everyone was on the dance floor. My colleague used a sony pd150. When I compared both footage I realised that sony always had a sharp picture whilst the canon footage showed continous problem with holding focus on the people. Similar to cameras from 20 years ago.

Is this normal for a canon xl1s or have I got a faulty model?

If this is a fault I am assuming i can get it repaired under warranty.

Thanks
Trev
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Old October 25th, 2004, 07:58 PM   #242
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hello trevor fox,

wow, i had the same problem. got my new xl1s about 3 weeks ago, and my first theater dance show last saturday.

several people at the time dancing at the stage, and my auto focus would go nuts. i did took it out of the auto focus mode, but the mf was a pain in the neck and the tape is terrible, in either mode.

used in the past a sony ...730, this was never a problem. i hope there is somebody out there with an answer.

help

greetings

karl
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Old October 26th, 2004, 01:01 AM   #243
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Hi Guys,

If you'll do a few searches on this forum, you'll find a lot of good information about the XL1s and focus--from people who explain things better than I do. But here's something to get you started:

First off, autofocus hunts continuously. Don't use it unless you have no other choice.

In manual focus, if you're going to have the camera in one position for a while, zoom in to the tightest point, focus, then zoom back out to where you want the shot. It should hold, but you still need to check it.

However, people have complained about the focus drifting over time, so in that case, you need to keep an eye on it and use the "push AF" button a lot. Be aware that this will undo any zoom focusing you did (as described earlier).

If none of that helps, you may actually have a problem with the camera and need to send it to Canon Service. If so, call Canon and they'll tell you about the warranty.

Karl, did you run into trouble because of other settings in manual mode, or just the focus?
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Old October 26th, 2004, 02:48 AM   #244
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I think this focus problem is ridiculous. You can't manually focus if the camera's on a steadycam or crane. This camera defocuses just sitting there in autofocus mode. Pan or zoom it goes out of focus. Canon needs to fix this. XL2 probably does the same thing. Audio drift is another pain in the ass. I love the quality of the video, but it isn't worth a shit if the shot's out of focus. I have a cheap old Sony consumer cam. Nuts on with focus unless you're shooting through a screen or something. This is probably the MOST annoying thing with the Canon XL series. I don't care if you're a "pro" camera user and you "need to get used to it". I watched a Madonna concert and the guy had a Sony on a crane. I really don't think he had to concern himself with focus as he was moving the camera all over the place.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 05:28 AM   #245
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Also, keep in mind that with the XL1 and perhaps the XL1s the auto focus needs about 50 lux to work reasonably well. It is the nature of the beast.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 10:34 AM   #246
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Thanks for ur replies guys. Filming wedding dances is quite common for me and this focus problem is putting me off the camera. I've decided to sell & move to a sony as I am not confident that the new xl2 will also suffer from this.

I am quite dissappoiinted after years of being in the business i have used panasonic cameras before moving to xl1s this year. None of my previous cameras had problems with focus.

Its a shame that such a great camera is let down by something so fundamental.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 01:23 PM   #247
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50 lux? How about a bright sunny day? Took some footage of a soccer game with the xl1 on a crane. Zooms in or out, a quick pan, or sitting there the lens goes out of focus or hunts.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 06:16 PM   #248
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<<<-- Originally posted by Lorinda Norton : Hi Guys,

If you'll do a few searches on this forum, you'll find a lot of good information about the XL1s and focus--from people who explain things better than I do. But here's something to get you started:

First off, autofocus hunts continuously. Don't use it unless you have no other choice.

In manual focus, if you're going to have the camera in one position for a while, zoom in to the tightest point, focus, then zoom back out to where you want the shot. It should hold, but you still need to check it.

However, people have complained about the focus drifting over time, so in that case, you need to keep an eye on it and use the "push AF" button a lot. Be aware that this will undo any zoom focusing you did (as described earlier).

If none of that helps, you may actually have a problem with the camera and need to send it to Canon Service. If so, call Canon and they'll tell you about the warranty.

Karl, did you run into trouble because of other settings in manual mode, or just the focus? -->>>

hello lorinda,

well, off course this was the first time i used the camcorder, so i have to learn a lot about the xl1s.
the show was 2 1/2 hours, constand light changes, way to much red...gh...from one to 15 people on stage. my set up is off course a tri-pot, sitting on a chair, lcd monitor, and no way to adjust or press any buttons in front of the camcorder while shooting, since i am controlling the camcorder by remote control, watch a field monitor/ recording set up, and i am way behind the camcorder. i was stressed out, more then the dancer since i saw the final product only the day after within a group of about 50 people!!!

here are the settings i used:
a auto mode
nd filter off
stabilizer on
m focus (after the auto focus went nuts)
gain +18db
white balance indoor light

after reading the instruction and the canon web site, i could not find out where the point is within the field of view of the lence, where the camera starts to focus. did i say that right?

overall the video turned out ok, we still can burn dvd's, much better then past tapes with my sony. even i don't understand everything 100% yet, i liked that i was able to adjust color/ gain, and audio, oh, i was shooting in a mode and indoor light position, since you can't adjust anything in the automatic position.

have an other indoor show nov. 17 with the same group, but different light condition, no colors, no theater set up, just neon light, so lets see how that will turn out.

thanks for your input and advice and i wonder if other xl1s owner could comment.

greetings
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Old November 6th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #249
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Hey Karl. You said the cam was on a tripod? If I'm not mistaken people always say to turn the stabiliser off if you have your camera on a tripod.
I could be wrong, though.
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Old November 8th, 2004, 10:39 PM   #250
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mathieu Ghekiere : Hey Karl. You said the cam was on a tripod? If I'm not mistaken people always say to turn the stabiliser off if you have your camera on a tripod.
I could be wrong, though. -->>>

hello mathieu,

thanks for your post. yes i did read that and did put it in mf at the second show, but the af still was on the run. after reading/ searching here i found a lot of postings in regards to that problem. it seems to me that the professionals here just shoot in mf because of that problem, or because they are professionals?.

i did find one post which recommends to clean the contacts from the lense and the camera body, which i did. the next show i have is on nov 17, so lets see.

greetings
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Old November 9th, 2004, 01:30 PM   #251
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Hey, Karl.
I certainly am not a professional, but I think many people just shoot on manual focus because you have much more control, and you can choose on what to focus. If I am not mistaken, AF mainly focuses on things in the middle of your frame, so if you want to have a rather special composition, that already is almost lost, because your camera sets focus on the wrong thing

And it's very annoying to see in a shot that in the middle of your shot, the focusing changes. If you set focus manually, it doesn't shift, it's really annoying to see that, and in narrative work really unacceptable.
(If you would think I know a lot of it... I don't :-p I have the XL1S only since a couple of days, but I come from a simple 1CCD camcorder, and I shoot narrative work (I'm still in high school, but the lesson package I'm taking is Audiovisual Forming (now it sounds stupid in English :-p)) so I already made some little shorts with my little camcorder, and if you set up a dramatic scene, focus shifting is sooo disturbing :-) :-)

But if you just want to shoot a little around or make documentaries in the style of the guerilla filmmaking, than it's very handy ofcourse. Manual focusing is offcourse only to use if you have much time and ofcourse are willing to put much time in focusing on that specifically thing you want

Hope it helps a little bit :-)
**bye****
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Old November 14th, 2004, 12:06 PM   #252
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If you use green box mode the camera takes over and reosrts to auto everything , regardless of the position you put the swiches in ,eg. manual focus resorts to auto focus in green box.DON'T use green box.
Mathieu you are correct.If on a tripod and you use the image stabilizer the camera may assume subject movement as camera movement and try to stabilize the subject movement.How do you spell disaster?
Try Lorinda's suggestion of the search because many focus problems are operator inducted BUT some can be camera problems whuch can be repaired by Canon.
P.S. few pro cameras have an autofocus
smitty
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Old November 14th, 2004, 08:44 PM   #253
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jack Smith : If you use green box mode the camera takes over and reosrts to auto everything , regardless of the position you put the swiches in ,eg. manual focus resorts to auto focus in green box.DON'T use green box.
Mathieu you are correct.If on a tripod and you use the image stabilizer the camera may assume subject movement as camera movement and try to stabilize the subject movement.How do you spell disaster?
Try Lorinda's suggestion of the search because many focus problems are operator inducted BUT some can be camera problems whuch can be repaired by Canon.
P.S. few pro cameras have an autofocus
smitty -->>>

hello smitty,

well, i bet it is all operator error, like i said i have the xl1 new, now about 4 weeks, but it seems to be interessting that the af problems has many postings here.

this tuesday i shoot an rehearsal and the show is on wednesday, so lets see if i can put some of the good advice to work.
will keep you posted.

greetings
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Old November 15th, 2004, 12:27 AM   #254
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few pro cameras have an autofocus

Huh? Try manually focusing when the camera's on a steady cam or crane. I have two XL1's and they are both the same when you need to autofocus - going out of focus on quick pans or zooms, hunting, etc. I manually focus when it's on a tripod, or my shoulder. You have to. Is this a topic with other cameras of this caliber? I don't think so.
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Old November 17th, 2004, 12:03 PM   #255
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the rehearsal went fine much better auto focus control because of better lighting and background condition. no "hunting" this time.
the theater was about 42 degree..needed a heater.
will post the show expirience incl. settings.

greetings
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