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Old February 7th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #1
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Why are we so forgiving to the lousy ATW?

I wrote about this one before, but while a couple of EX1 users did confirm my observations, the thread was far from conclusive. In the meantime, my camera has undergone an overhaul at the Sony Center (sending it in, I asked explicitly to "repair" the ATW not responding, or responding inconsistently, to colour temperature changes). Alas, nothing has changed when it came back - i.e. :

- when in ATW mode and pointed towards day light, it will increase the reading from say 2400 to 4800K without much hesitation, but

- when pointed back to where it should be some 2400K, it will take from 1 to several minutes until it reverts back.

Can you confirm this, and does the EX3 operate the same way (please don't tell me anything "auto" is for amateurs; there are situations when you just need to rely on ATW).

Also, after the servicing, I've noticed another phenomenon I hadn't seen before: the Push White Balance button (AWB) acts inconsistently with the ATW system. Suppose the ATW stabilized and set to 3400K (which I assess as more or less correct setting for the actual light temperature); when I press AWB it will go down as low as 2200K, only to revert back to the 3400K within a couple of seconds after releasing the AWB button ! Shouldn't both measuring systems give the same results, or am I missing something here?
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; February 7th, 2009 at 01:29 PM.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 10:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
Also, after the servicing, I've noticed another phenomenon I hadn't seen before: the Push White Balance button (AWB) acts inconsistently with the ATW system. Suppose the ATW stabilized and set to 3400K (which I assess as more or less correct setting for the actual light temperature);

when I press AWB it will go down as low as 2200K, only to revert back to the 3400K within a couple of seconds after releasing the AWB button !

Shouldn't both measuring systems give the same results, or am I missing something here?
[Edit]
Never mind... I may have misinterpreted your question. Ooops!
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Old February 7th, 2009, 10:21 AM   #3
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I find it is pretty much crap too. My cheapo SR11 and every other "Best Buy" camera I've had was able to handle (for example) walking from inside to outside with little trouble. The EX3 will just sit there and sit there.... finally it will correct itself... I adusted the speed of the shockless white but never seem to get it to work as good as the SR11..

Now I just either live with the funny color or constantly stop what I'm doing to adjust it again.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:30 PM   #4
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Maybe I don't use the EX3 in the same shooting situations as you, but...

I find that I never use the ATW. I will set to the A setting, push the white balance button while framed on a white card, but then I will go back to Preset and adjust it so that it's set to the same color temperature.

If I had to walk from inside (tungsten) to outside (daylight), I guess I would set A for inside and B for outside and then flip the switch at the opportune time. But honestly, that's a shot I've rarely done before.

My point is, I never shoot with the camera in ATW so it's constantly adjusting for white balance. If you watch the Vortex Media training DVD, Doug Jensen is pretty harsh about advising never using it.

But maybe you have a critical need for using it, and in that case, yes I agree, it doesn't work very well.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
(please don't tell me anything "auto" is for amateurs; there are situations when you just need to relay on ATW)

Sorry Piotr, but I've got to tell you that ATW really is for amatuers. :-)

Just because you don't want to hear it doesn't make it any less true. In 28 years of shooting there has NEVER been a situation where I needed to rely on ATW. Not one.

Why are you fighting against something that you can't fix or do anything about? ATW is no good and and never will be any good, so why bother?

Focus your energy on learning to master the other white balance functions and you'll be much better off in the long run.

Doug
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #6
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I think we are so forgiving because it is not a function that is often used in a professional camera. I agree that it is slow and not incredibly accurate. What it comes down to is that Sony probably believes that it is a less than important feature of the camera.

I'd like to see the camera have a quick white balance preset switch (switching btwn 3200 & 5600) and the ability to dial in specific white balance settings on both A & B in the PP settings.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #7
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I'd like to see the camera have a quick white balance preset switch (switching btwn 3200 & 5600) and the ability to dial in specific white balance settings on both A & B in the PP settings.
Yes! Now THAT would be useful features.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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I'd be happy with a dail or at least let us grab the color temp in the direct menu and scroll up or down until we like what we see.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #9
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A situation with ATW that has caused me problems more than once is when pointing the camera at lush greenery, in the middle of the shot the white balance unexpectedly goes magenta or blue.

So I'm kind of afraid of ATW, but I honestly haven't experimented with it as much as I should have. Is there no success by turning shockless white off, of adjusting the ATW speed?
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Old February 7th, 2009, 01:03 PM   #10
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I will defend my standpoint. The technology is there (my V1E never let me down with ATW), only it hasn't been properly implemented in the EX series.

Of course I agree that inability to instantly switch between 3200/5600, or dial in any specific value other (faster) than by modifying the currently used PP are even greater omissions (BTW, on the V1 the latter it is also possible "on the fly"), but nevertheless - ALL those shortcomings contribute to the White Balancing being perhaps one of the weakest point of this otherwise great camera.
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Last edited by Piotr Wozniacki; February 7th, 2009 at 02:05 PM.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #11
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I have never used ATW and would never rely on it. What drives me crazy is that there is no way to switch quickly between 3200 and 5600. every other Sony camera has this option built in. Why not the EX is beyond me.

I used to dial in the withebalance alot on my XL-H1, one of the very few things I miss about the camera
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Old February 7th, 2009, 01:27 PM   #12
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Sorta bi polar of sony on this. It takes away from the run and gun nature of the small form "high end" camera. Instead it makes it more of a small form version with much the same hassle of the larger camera. But we love it anyway. :)
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Old February 7th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #13
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If I were to ever need the ability to set the white balance on (several) moments' notice I would go into "Picture Profiles" and dial in the white balance. Auto adjust white balance has never worked or been advocated by any shooter I have spoken with.

Now that I am thinking about it... What I should do is have a duplicate Picture Profile of my common setting and use the duplicate one for tinkering with white balance.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #14
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Now that I am thinking about it... What I should do is have a duplicate Picture Profile of my common setting and use the duplicate one for tinkering with white balance.
Unfortunately, there are just 6 of them available.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #15
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Sorta bi polar of sony on this. It takes away from the run and gun nature of the small form "high end" camera. Instead it makes it more of a small form version with much the same hassle of the larger camera. But we love it anyway. :)
Not quite sure what you mean, I find it easier to run and gun with a larger camera than my EX-3. The layout of buttons and switches is so much better on Sony´s full size cameras.
Change whitebalance instantly with the flick of a switch

Even the Z7 have the "standard" ND filter switch all of the full size cameras have.
Why not on the EX series?
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