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(MPG4) Sanyo Xacti (all models)
A compact 720p MPEG4 digital media camera recording to SD Card.

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Old September 8th, 2006, 10:30 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Coshocton, Ohio USA
Posts: 29
HD1 fickle White Balance

I recently discovered a flaw with my HD1, which I'm thinking could be a common problem with this camcorder, although "fixable". In short, quality of this camcorder has been erratic: meaning, that sometimes it's perfect, other times, it's terrible! Over time, I noticed that the HD1 performed best in BAD WEATHER, i.e. dark, gloomy, cloudy weather; and, that it performed erratically on clear days, in blue sky situations. I meticulously varied my approach when shooting, as a means of trying to insure that my settings were optimal for the scene being filmed. This is to say that I experimented with all manual settings: WB, Aperture, Shutter, etc. Result: unexplainable variance in quality, even when shooting the same scene with different, or identical manual settings.

With my loving this camcorder, when it shoots perfect video, I was not about to allow the fickle machine to get the best of me. Having configured the HD1 to perfect, manual white balance, I did a re-shoot of scenes which the day before turned out badly. During filming, I decided to check and re-check my settings, just to make sure that the camera was filming with the intended settings. Aha! Just as I thought, the camera intermittently discarded the White Balance settings that I had chosen, and defaulted to INCANDESCENT, for no apparent reason! Keep in mind that I was filming outdoors, in perfectly blue-sky weather.

Conclusion: my HD1 arbitrarily resets WB whether previously set manually, or set as Auto White Balance. Likewise, the reset problem may occur when using SCENE MODE (presets). So then, why does this happen? My experience suggests that the WB-reset condition occurs, when initializing filming with the camera pointed at a low-light (outdoor, or indoor) object SOMETIMES. Example: under a canopy of trees in an otherwise, brightly-lit, sunny-day environment.

Solution: always double-check manual WB, or Scene preset WB, before resuming filming. Forget about using Auto White Balance. As stated earlier, my HD1 appears to default to INCANDESCENT WB, perhaps resetting when the LCD screen is closed, or when resuming filming while pointing the lens at a dark subject. A simple re-check of the WB settings, before pushing START, and resetting to your intended manual, or scene settings does the trick! The 2-hour test footage that I just shot, with intervention as indicated, yielded 100% perfect footage!

Hope this helps others, who are experiencing erratic performance of your HD1.

Hawood Giles is offline  
Old September 9th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Los Angeles - California
Posts: 114
WOW, that is a bit disconcerting.

Strangely I have not experienced any WB resets, but like you I do stick to manual selection of actual custom WB, however it have managed to stay where it was set between shoots. Regardless, I have experienced enough drift in lighting conditions that I tend to do a WB every time I move or start shooting something.


Bo Lorentzen is offline  

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