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XA20 Stuck in MF mode


I have had an XA20 for about a year.  Yesterday I was filming a wedding, and the camera got stuck in manual focus mode.  The AF/MF button did nothing.  I went to the FUNC menu and selected focus.  The MF button in the lower left was frozen.  I powered down and powered back up.  No change.  It was very sunny and the viewfinder was difficult to see clearly.  So I didn't really want to try to trust visuals for manual focus accuracy.  Fortunately, the camera was close enough that we just went wide and finished the ceremony.   Of course, this morning, AF/MF is working perfectly fine... :-(.   It is possible that my camera operator hit some button and caused this.  But I'm very nervous about this happening again.  I know it's very possible this was just pilot error due to lack of knowledge.  But I definitely need some educating.. First question.... did we cause this by hitting some button I'm not aware of?  Assuming it just locked up, is there some way to get a hard reboot of the camera (more than what happens when you power off/on) that might reset this condition?


I survived potential disaster yesterday.  But I've got to get a handle on this before I use the camera again.  Probably won't be so lucky next time this happens.


Thanks for any info/suggestions.





Hi 2ndGenFilms!


Thanks for posting.


I am fairly certain you did not press a button to cause this.  While it is possible to switch to MF from AF, it should not get stuck in MF, not allowing you to switch back.  You can reset the camcorder by doing the following:


  1. Press MENU.
  2. Select the [System Setup] menu.
  3. Select [Reset All].
  4. Select [Yes].

Now, power down the camcorder and remove the battery for a few minutes before powering it back on again.

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Thanks for the response, MIke.  Not encouraging.  This leaves me with an intermittent problem that is not currently failing (so it's useless for me to send the camera in for service) and instructions to ask the bride to "please hold those vows for a few minutes while I remove the battery and reboot my camera".  Unless there's a third option I'm missing, I think I've just bought myself a paperweight for a couple of thounsand dollars.

Dear 2ndGenFilms,

Despite the camcorder not currently displaying the symptoms of the issue, I would continue to recommend that you send it for evaluation.  If this system is failing, even without external signs, our factory staff should be able to root out the issue. 

If you wish to continue with this option, you're able to set up a repair online at your earliest convenience. 

Click here for the XA20 repair web site.

Did this answer your question? Please click the Accept as Solution button so that others may find the answer as well.

As it turns out, mailing the camera in would have a been a huge, total waste of time, expense, and doing without my camera for a few weeks.  I can now guarantee that you would NOT have found the problem.  


After checking the camera a bunch of times over the past few days with MF/AF working perfectly, I went to a shoot today.  I got everything set up with the camera on the tripod and ready to film.  And the MF/AF button was FROZEN again.  This time, fortunately, it was frozen in AF mode, so the shoot wasn't going to be another total catastrophe as long as it stayed in AF.  I had a few minutes before the shoot was to begin.  So I started playing.  I tried everything.  Nothing would unfreeze it.  Finally I realized that the one difference was that I have a LANC remote control on my tripod and it was plugged in.  I unplugged the LANC, and, surprise... the MF/AF button started working again.


I'm happy that I've figured it out.  But IMHO, this is not right.  There is a focus +/- on the LANC.  But I've never had any of my many cameras over many years, Canon or Sony, that honors the LANC focus controls.  The XA20 is no exception.  The focus buttons on the LANC do nothing on the XA20.  Therefore, none of my camera operators (me included) associate focus control with the LANC leading to total panic last week with no way to get auto-focus on the bride's face.  


My question to Canon is why would simply wanting to use a LANC with this camera make the camera assume I no longer wanted to be able to change from manual focus to auto-focus? It makes zero sense.



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