06-02-2017 10:10 PM - edited 06-13-2017 11:01 AM
I recently upgraded my Canon HF-G10 camcorder to an HF-G30. I was considering the HF-G40 but a very good deal came up on a new HF-G30 that seemed too good to pass-up.
Automatic White Balance (AWB) on the HF-G10 was, in my opinion, very good - adapting quickly to changed lighting conditions and in mixed lighting usually arriving at a good compromise. I rarely had to manually white balance off a card to get acceptable result, which is what you want for run-and-gun and events work.
Unfortunately this has not been my experience with AWB on the HF-G30. For one thing it seems to take longer (typically around 10 secs or so) to fully adapt to changed lighting conditions, and sometimes it doesn't quite get there or requires powering the camcorder off and on and again to get it to do. So there is a tendency for blue casts to linger on white subjects when moving from sunlight to shade outdoors and likewise when shooting window lit interiors, especially on overcast days. Even in daylight conditions that should be optimal for accurate AWB (in the 5200 - 5500 K range) you'll find that different aspects of the same white object may take on blue casts - a white car, for example, the roof will be white but some aspects of the bonnet exhibit a blue tint. I can't recall having that issue with the HF-G10. I get the sense that AWB on the HF-G30, in general, arrives at a slightly lower color temperature than the HF-G10 did under similar conditions, and that is borne out by the adjustments required in post to correct for these these casts, as far as that is possible.
Yes, the Color Temperature (K) setting option is a great feature if you have the time to fiddle with it, but that was really designed for fine adjustments in a controlled studio lighting environment, not 'winging-it' out in the field, and trying to make judgements based on what can be made out on the OLED screen or EVF can often make matters worse.
What's frustrating is that in all other respects the HF-G30 is perfect for my needs, but this AWB issue is causing me such angst that I'm at the point of throwing the towel in.
So my question to any HF-G40 users out there (or XA30/35 users for that matter) is whether Canon addressed this issue and improved AWB on the HF-G40 or if it's still the same thing ?
06-15-2017 08:14 AM - edited 06-15-2017 08:58 AM
Well I've taken an opportunity to check out AWB on the HF-G40 myself, alongside the HF-G30. I had both camcorders set in Program AE exposure mode with +12db AGC (automatic gain control limit), iAF, 'Image Effects' at default, and auto BLC and face tracking both OFF. Recording format/rate 1080/30p, 24Mbps mp4. My normal 'general purpose' set-up on the HF-G30.
Examining the matched clips on the PC a couple of things struck me. Firstly, dynamic range is definitely expanded on the HF-G40. I didn't test low light sensitivity as such but you can clearly see evidence of it in shadow details. Secondly, I wouldn't say the colour tone on the HF-G40 'warmer' per se but there's a tad more magenta in the mix.
As for AWB - well what can I say other than being very disappointed to find that it is not improved on the HF-G40; the behaviour is pretty much the same as on the HF-G30 - really the only difference was that in shots that exhibited blue casts there was a slight magenta tinge to them on the HF-G40.
Yes the expanded dynamic range is enticing, but considering what I could likely get for the HF-G30 there's no way I can justify the sizeable markup for upgrading to the HF-G40 to get the same flaky AWB performance. Frankly were it not for the x20 zoom, 60p, mp4 format option and cold accessory shoe, I'd be tempted to go back to an HF-G10 or HF-G20. I wish I'd hung on to the HF-G10 now. What a poor state of affairs that a model from 6 years back had better AWB performance than the current 'flagship' prosumer model. That's regression, not progress. I can't imagine it's any different on the XA30/35. Camera WB/AWB is a mature technology and surely these shortcomings could be addressed and resolved with a firmware update.
As much as I have been a Canon devotee since the HV20 days, sorry to say that I'm seriously considering jumping ship.
08-10-2017 01:35 PM
I use a G40 and have it set on Wide Dynamic Range all the time. I find I can pull more detail out of highlights when grading. As to AWB, I never use it. I always use a fixed setting. One of the problems with AWB is if you have a large area of of a single colour move into shot it can alter the look of a scene very quickly.