Panasonic has the worst auto white balance. - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 56 Old 03-19-2012, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfws View Post

It's not a brand-specific issue. Using auto white balance on any camera will not look right.

Just carry a white piece of paper with you and zoom in on it, manually set it.
Do it again when the lighting conditions change. Not that difficult.

You can also use a grey card made for WB, but the paper will suffice.

For my use of the camera, this is not something I want to do, especially for vacations. I can live with minor white balance problems. When I use the camera on vacations, I am starting/stopping recording many times during the day under different lighting conditions. I don't want to hassle with doing manual white balance each time.
The best compromise, for me, is probably just to use the manual/auto button if the camera gets stuck on the wrong white balance setting.
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post #32 of 56 Old 03-19-2012, 12:06 PM
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I have shot many "vacation" vidoes with the TM900 and without ever departing from auto WB and I have never used a white or grey card. There is no time for that - vacations are for fun, not for setting cameras.

You just have to be aware of any *change* in the quality of the light. It is simply not true that auto WB gives you yellow or blue videos generally. This will happen only if the light changes and the WB has not yet adjusted. The on-off is a good trick, but even that I did not use because I tried to avoid scenes with changing light color - as all good videographers do. That's the lesson here.

Here are four vacation videos, auto WB all the way:

http://vimeo.com/20969928

http://vimeo.com/34347925

http://vimeo.com/33374935

http://vimeo.com/21552224

Are they too blue? too yellow? Of course not, and they were all shot on the run.

Did I ever have a too blue or yellow shot - yes, every once in a while I shot too fast when the light changed, or I wasn't paying attention. But it is not the rule.
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post #33 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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To prove my point, I still have a 24 years old Hitachi-made RCA VHS Camcorder with a single 1/2" MOS sensor (yes, not a CCD), and it continually and automatically balances colors in any scene under 1 second, and absolutely perfectly each time. And it doesn't keep on changing it even when the lighting and the scene does not!

I would have expected a 2010 HD Camcorder from Panasonic with 3 MOS sensors to be able to, at least, perform automatic color balancing as well as 24 years old technology ! But apparently not, unfortunately.

What good is it to have 3 separate primary color image sensors if the camcorder can't balance their output levels correctly automatically ?

I'm not even convinced that the newer model, the TM900, corrected these issues. Especially in low light situations, when it's worst.

Having bought my TM700 in August 2010, it's obviously not under warranty anymore. But hey, at least I don't have the jittery I.O.S. problem that plagued early production units. And, once I perform a correct "manual" white balance, the picture quality is far superior to my friend's Sony model from the same year... Mainly because of the 1080p@60fps 28mbps data rate feature. That's why it's not in the dumpster...yet.
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post #34 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markr041 View Post

http://vimeo.com/34347925

Are they too blue? too yellow? Of course not, and they were all shot on the run.

In that video, from 2:35 to 2:41 the auto white balance is going crazy just because the sun is temporarily blocked by clouds. Just watch the first flag post on the left, and watch its color balance and saturation shift needlessly.

I also saw some evidence of the "bondie blue" overcast on some shots.

So as I suspected, Panasonic might have corrected a few "bugs" of the TM700, but they still have a long ways to go to get things as good as even 25 years old video cameras as far as automatic color balance is concerned.

Maybe, as someone mentioned earlier, there's a copyright on the proper auto white balance algorithm from another company ?
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post #35 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 06:47 PM
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"In that video, from 2:35 to 2:41 the auto white balance is going crazy just because the sun is temporarily blocked by clouds."

Thanks for looking. But in the, what, 40 total *minutes* of all four videos you found 6 *seconds* where the WB was out of kilter - because, of course, the color of the light changed mid-shot not because of spontaneous combustion in the camera. And that's your case?

I think you are going a little over the top. I certainly agree the WB does not change quickly when the light changes color. It is true. No professional video photographer, however, would use shots in which there was a *source* light color change in a clip. It is something you have to watch for. And no camera changes WB instantaneously when the light changes color, not even your VHS whatever. Changing light colors in a shot is just ugly, whether there is fast or slow adjustment; just like changing exposure. In a run and gun, sometimes you have to use a shot that is mis-colored because the subject matter is too important to lose. Pro's then color-correct in post.
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post #36 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 06:47 PM
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[quote=markr041;21798824]

http://vimeo.com/34347925

QUOTE]

I have not watched all of the videos. To me there is a noticeable blue tint near the beginning of the video, in the scene with the brick wall and the Ranger directing people into the building. I suppose I might be more sensitive to color shifts than others. Since camera choice is about tradeoffs, another camera might have been more accurate in color, but not as clear or sharp.
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post #37 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 06:57 PM
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This is what I said in supplying the videos above: "Did I ever have a too blue or yellow shot - yes, every once in a while I shot too fast when the light changed, or I wasn't paying attention. But it is not the rule."

You have a good eye. But, again, the ranger is in the shadow of the building. The shot before (not necessarily in the edited video) was in sun, so the WB did not adjust fully to the shadow area and I did not notice. This is NOT blue bias or a general inaccuracy in color. This is the slowness in adjusting WB when the color of light changes. The TM900 color accuracy is excellent, given the WB is set right, by the camera or manually.

To summarize: Mr. Hubert has a point - the TM900 WB is very slow to adjust to changing light color (sun to shadow or shadow to sun). So, a scene can have tint from improper WB adjustment if there was a change in light color. But there is no general inaccuracy of color or tint or spontaneous WB shifts when nothing in the shot has changed.
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post #38 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 07:35 PM
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[quote=markr041;21805470]

You have a good eye. But, again, the ranger is in the shadow of the building. The shot before (not necessarily in the edited video) was in sun, so the WB did not adjust fully to the shadow area and I did not notice. This is NOT blue bias or a general inaccuracy in color. This is the slowness in adjusting WB when the color of light changes. /QUOTE]

Not to argue too much (), the ranger scene was long enough for the camera to make any adjustments it was going to make automatically. The red brick wall, taking up such a large part of the scene, may have thrown it off. Later tonight I will upload and post links to samples I made of my SD600 adjusting from indoors to outdoors, and my Canon 300HS doing the same thing. They are not meant to prove anything, just to demonstrate how the cameras work on full auto under those cirumstances.
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post #39 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 08:24 PM
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Here are examples of a transition from inside (my very messy storage room) to outdoors. The cameras are my Panasonic SD600 and my Canon point/shoot. Eventually the Panasonic gets the exposure and white balance correct outdoors, but for how I use the camera the Canon does a better job. Please don't comment that I need to "learn how to use the Panasonic." I am just a point/shoot, fully auto user.
http://vimeo.com/38762940
http://vimeo.com/38762775
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post #40 of 56 Old 03-20-2012, 10:40 PM
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I thought the newer 800 and 900 series camcorders deals with auto white balancing a little better than the 600 and 700 series camcorders. You also hear less reports of the color not being fully accurate.

For sure it'll be great to have real world tests between the brand new X900 to the TM900 and see if Panasonic made the auto white balancing much better or is it still similar.
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post #41 of 56 Old 03-21-2012, 03:42 AM
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It is a very useful comparison. But one would never do that in a good video - both are really ugly, with the transitions of both exposure and coloring not to mention sickening panning.

The speed of WB adjustment is still relevant, as one would like to be able right away to shoot in correct WB after changing light. However, if your style of shooting is as in the videos, that's ok too!
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post #42 of 56 Old 03-21-2012, 01:37 PM
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Glad I could post something helpful, to give back to the forum.
I would normally not pan that quickly, or so close to a wall.
I agree the transition from inside to outside looks really bad, but at least it looks a little better on the Canon than the Panasonic.
I am not sure with the types of videos I take there is any practical way to avoid lighting transitions. If the kids are running from sun to shade, or from inside to outside, and I want to video the entire event without breaks, I think there is no alternative but just to live with the white balance/exposure transitions?
As I wrote above, a problem I have with the Panasonic is not really how it transitions, but that some times it either does not transition at all, or when I first turn it on it does not properly adjust.
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post #43 of 56 Old 03-27-2012, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Lori Grunin, senior editor at CNET, had this to say about the TM900 in her review on 11/9/2011:

"The color and exposure rendered by the three-chip system are quite good, though the automatic white balance can get a bit wonky--usually switching to another setting and then back did the trick. Aside from the white-balance issue, all the automatic settings worked very well, including exposures with backlight."

So, it seems that Panasonic is still struggling to produce a properly working automatic white balance, even in a high-end consumer camcorder.
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post #44 of 56 Old 03-27-2012, 08:57 PM
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I do agree that Panasonic's 3MOS camcorders have one of the worst, if not the worst Auto White Balance.

I love the picture quality of my Panasonic HDC-SD600, but as alainhubert and David HT guy have stated, it's Auto White Balance is way to unreliable.
I'm using my camcorder mostly on vacation's and want to capture interesting places, people, actions etc.
Last thing i want to do is fiddle with setting White Balance and missing something interesting.

If I find the time, I will post video links showing how SD600 is completely out of whack and screen goes blue, when light is changing.
One extreme exemple I recall right now, is making video inside a museum while walking slowly, when the camcorder faced a row of windows, the color shifted to blue! Then after 5-10 seconds it readjusted itself.

I would like to mention that I have "graduated" to Panasonic's HD camcorder (HDC-SD600) from a SD Panasonic's MiniDV camcorder (PV-DV203). In over 7 years of use of my MiniDV camcorder, I don't recall ever seeing anything close to what Panasonic's latest Auto White Balance is doing! That MiniDV camcorder was used in any possible situations, like videotaping from inside the car/bus, boats/ships, museums, beaches, etc and never have I seen a such drastic color shift or Auto White Balance issue.


P.S.
David (HT guy), interestingly I also own a Canon PowerShot Elph 300HS P&S, as well as Panasonic HDC-SD600.
In my opinion 300 HS shoots very sharp and detailed video in it's 1080p/24 mode, tough you need to be very carefull when panning.
Also auto focus i a bit slow in a video mode.
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post #45 of 56 Old 03-27-2012, 09:33 PM
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The tape Panasonic I have is the DV852. When it came out it was one of the "the" consumer camcorders to have. It had the blue white balance problem also, but I lived with it (for a while).
I try to pan slower. I usually don't use the Canon 300HS for video, and when I do it is only for very short shots. It is too hard for me to hold steady, and it is too easy to pan too quickly. But, it is very handy to carry almost all of the time because it is so small.
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post #46 of 56 Old 04-04-2012, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip_L View Post

You need a proper photographic grey card, white copy paper or other white objects are unlikely to be truly white and can skew things, once you know you have a true source for grey it is helpful to understand the manual white balance process on the Panasonic cameras.

I do not understand what you are saying. A photographic grey card is grey and white copy paper is white. Which color is the correct one to use? Also, should the grey card or white paper be in the shade or sun when setting the white balance manually?
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post #47 of 56 Old 04-05-2012, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD90 View Post

I do not understand what you are saying. A photographic grey card is grey and white copy paper is white. Which color is the correct one to use? Also, should the grey card or white paper be in the shade or sun when setting the white balance manually?


Well keep in mind that white copy paper if it looks very white is actually blue. They add a blue tint to make it look whiter.

You'll need to Google using a greyscale card. They work well as does actual white paper. I use both and each has it's benefits at least with my Canon cameras.

You need to set the white balance for whatever you will be shooting in.
If you are shooting in the shade set it there or if in the sun use that.
I have to change my WB more than a few times if the lighting changes.

Auto WB is marginal at best regardless of what camera/camcorder you are using.
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post #48 of 56 Old 04-07-2012, 02:11 PM
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Hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by David HT guy View Post

Here are examples of a transition from inside (my very messy storage room) to outdoors. The cameras are my Panasonic SD600 and my Canon point/shoot. Eventually the Panasonic gets the exposure and white balance correct outdoors, but for how I use the camera the Canon does a better job. Please don't comment that I need to "learn how to use the Panasonic." I am just a point/shoot, fully auto user.
http://vimeo.com/38762940
http://vimeo.com/38762775

I can't see much difference really, both cameras take a time to adjust. The Canon starts of inside the room being on the warm side so has less to adjust when it sees the out door light, the Panasonic is a bit better colour balanced to start with inside but leans towards being cold than warm like the Canon. Both take a time to sort themselves out when shown the outside, and on my colour calibrated monitor the outdoor scene with the Panasonic appears more neutral and accurate, the Canon looks too warm/red.

Canons being warm and Panasonic's being more cold/neutral are know traits of these makes, and I've heard similar complaints about Canon's white balance but that it's too warm. There is simply nothing surprising or unexpected with your clips.

I really can't see the problem here. If you prefer the warmer colours of the Canon, just buy a Canon, or adjust the colour balance of the Panasonic to be warmer than it's default setting.

Regards

Phil
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post #49 of 56 Old 04-08-2012, 09:42 PM
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The problem is not really the time it takes the camera to adjust. Sometimes it does not adjust at all, and stays mainly blue. This can happen when the light source changes, or when the camera is first turned on. If the Panasonic errs on the side of too cool, it is more noticeable than the Canon erring on the side of being too warm.
I am not sure changing the default color balance will work. Sometimes the white balance on the Panasonic is very good, and sometimes it is too blue, so adjusting the color balance won't work for every scene.
I know that no camera has a perfect auto white balance. I just notice that when I used a Canon and a Sony, I did not have the same problems as with the Panasonic.
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post #50 of 56 Old 04-10-2012, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David HT guy View Post

Sometimes it does not adjust at all, and stays mainly blue.

Very true and here's proof:

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post #51 of 56 Old 04-11-2012, 08:49 AM
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HI All, I have had my tm 700 for a while and was using it at work yesterday.
I was recording a few podcasts and was in a bright lit room with sun facing on subject. The lcd screen on camcorder showed it like you would see it. It looked great and all. So I did some test recording and went back to mac to check the footage and OMFG, it was dark and grey looking. The whole video clip looked like it was shot in some basement.
The lcd screen never showed me this. So here i was scrambling with settings and nothing worked.

So I got my canon s100 and recorded my subjects with them and that was it.!

Now, im trying to figure out what the hell is going on the awb. I had used my camcorder few days taking videos etc and it all looked fine!

mmmm..

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post #52 of 56 Old 04-11-2012, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosswire View Post

Now, im trying to figure out what the hell is going on the awb. I had used my camcorder few days taking videos etc and it all looked fine!

mmmm..

Play the recording directly from the camera to a TV and see if you have the same problem.
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post #53 of 56 Old 04-14-2012, 11:22 AM
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Never noticed this problem too much on the TM700. On the X900M bigger brother, ouch. Shoot indoor at night and 30% of the time, all yellow!
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post #54 of 56 Old 04-14-2012, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crosswire View Post

HI All, I have had my tm 700 for a while and was using it at work yesterday. I was recording a few podcasts and was in a bright lit room with sun facing on subject. The lcd screen on camcorder showed it like you would see it. It looked great and all. So I did some test recording and went back to mac to check the footage and OMFG, it was dark and grey looking. The whole video clip looked like it was shot in some basement. The lcd screen never showed me this. So here i was scrambling with settings and nothing worked.

Use zebras. Do not trust what you see on the screen. Make sure you do not play video with "video levels" with a player that uses "computer levels".
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post #55 of 56 Old 04-15-2012, 12:28 AM
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AWB is always hit and miss imo,i get best results outdoors by far from my cameras not TM line by using the presets,no color changing and as acurate as manualy setting wb,indoor artificial with different shades of light awb i use awb though.
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post #56 of 56 Old 04-16-2012, 11:56 AM
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I agree to a point here. It depends on the Panny camera. Never was satisfied with the GH2's auto-WB, but on my wife's GF-2 it seems to be better (so do the stills). But I had an AF-100 for a while and thought the WB was spot on.

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