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XA-60 Focus Issue


Hello all!  

Long time user of the Canon XA-10 here... wonderful camera.  Still using it for weddings and events after a decade of use.  If it could only film in 4k, it would be the perfect little camera.  

Recently got a couple XA-60's.  Great cameras for the most part with one huge flaw... focusing in artificial lighting.  Especially in churches or at wedding receptions in ballrooms.  Lighting is lower, but adequate in both situations.  The XA-10's do a fine job under the same circumstances.  But the 60's want to go in-and-out of focus.  At a wedding... not good.  

I've tried different programs (P, Av, TV) and different focus settings (full auto, instant, normal, slow).  Primarily settle on P with I.Af.  Doesn't matter if face detection is on or off.   I can't seem to shake this focus issue... only recourse is to go full manual, which isn't ideal when you're running-and-gunning.  Again, XA-10's perform admirably under the same conditions.  

Firmware is

Both XA-60's I have suffer from the same issue. 

Is there a setting I'm missing?  Could a firmware update resolve this issue?  I have a support ticket in with Canon but figured I'd get the communities thoughts.  I'm open to any ideas to try to resolve this.  Here's a video of what it's doing:


Product Expert
Product Expert

Hi editinglife,

We haven't released a firmware update for the XA60, so you should be okay on that front. Unfortunately I'm not able to view your YouTube video on a work computer. Is the issue only happening under artificial lighting, or is it happening every time you use the camera regardless of the lighting? Is it happening with all subjects? Also if you have some example shots showing the focus issue that would be helpful. If you do have example shots it would also be helpful to list the settings the camera was using at the time and where the auto focus point was set.

Couple of images attached.  One in focus, one out just moments later (screen grabs from the video).  Happens in similar lighting conditions as shown in the stills which, in my opinion, is more than enough lighting for the sensor in the XA-60.  The Canon XA-10 or XA-50 have no problem in the same exact church with the same lighting conditions.  Setting are 1900x1080, 35mbps, 29.97p, P, I.Af, Face Detection turned off (tried it turned on, same problem).  

Email support did get back to me and really had no explanation.  To say the XA-60 is a huge letdown is an understatement.  I regret selling my XA-50's, which were replaced by the XA-60's.  I like the smaller form factor of the 60's and just assumed they'd perform, at the very least, on the same level as the XA-10's.  

The XA-10's are a 12 year old camera now and, probably the best of the XA line for everything they can do in a small package.  At least in my real-world usage.  If it only filmed in 4k the XA-10 would be the perfect camera for run-and-gun filming.  I'd buy more of them if they were still available!

I do appreciate you replying, though.  Maybe you can get my comments up to the development team for future camera considerations.  I'm itching to get my hands on a great run-and-gun digital video camera that can film in 4k with a great image stabilizer, with flawless low light focusing.  Basically the XA-50 in an XA-10 form factor.  

The XA-60 comes close, but not quite there. 

Out of Focus.jpgIn Focus.jpg

Here's to hoping Canon can get something out with a 1" sensor with the XA-10 form factor that can also film in 4k.   


I have exactly the same problem with x2 XA50's. Low light zoom just knocks the image out of focus and quickly regains focus after the zoom which is no good. I can't rectify it no matter what the settings.

Change of camera settings, slow zoom, fast zoom, nothing works.

I cant remember my XA20's doing the same thing though.

Im looking into Sony options for video cameras and this is a problem that canon dont seem to want to fix as other people have had the happen too.

Product Expert
Product Expert

Hi editinglife,

Looking at those snapshots I see that the center area is bright and has limited contrast compared to other parts of the frame. If you had autofocus set to the center of the frame, then that area might be more difficult for the camera to autofocus.

When you're that far back, you may want to turn off face detect. That feature tends to work better when a subject is closer, at least on that camera.

Lastly, you could try shooting in AV or M and selecting a more closed-down aperture like f/8. The more depth of field you have, the more likely the camera will be able to sustain the focus. Since a more closed-down aperture lets in less light, you could compensate for that by increasing the gain. Just do some tests in advance to see if you like the potential higher digital noise that might result. 

I appreciate the reply, Nick.   But, by turning off face detect, the camera automatically focuses on the center of the frame.  There's no way to choose another part of the screen to focus on when face detect is turned off.  I also mentioned that the same issue happens with either face detect on, or off, in my original post.  Being a pro of more than 20 years, I'm also aware of the different camera setting tricks with aperture and gain.  

My issue is, the example here is just one example of when this issue happens.  In the example here, in the church, it is a more controlled environment and those modifications with playing around with the aperture, gain and other camera functions could remedy the situation there.  But we film different events in different locations where we 100% need the camera to be able to handle those functions automatically.  

We can't stop a wedding or other live event and have them start over so we can dial in our cameras.  

The cameras simply need to work.  Again... the XA-10, a twelve year old camera (and the first of the XA line of cameras), has no problem with this simple task of maintaining focus in different lighting conditions or depth of field.  I would only hope that each subsequent camera in the XA line would maintain that same level of performance, and outside of the XA-50 (which also does a good job with this task), that does not seem to be the case with at least the XA-60.  

In some cases, especially at social gatherings and wedding receptions, we have to deal with these conditions changing every few seconds.  When we need to be filming for minutes, even hours on end sometimes, we can't stop our cameras to readjust our f-stop, shooting mode or gain to maintain focus.

We need the cameras to do that automatically, like the XA-10 or XA-50 can.  

I'm hopeful Canon will eventually release a true, worthy successor to the XA-10.  Again, the XA-60 comes very close... but this focus issue is a huge let down.  If it weren't for that, the XA-60 would be nearly a perfect camera for live, run-and-gun events.  

I do also like the additional color modes to choose from on the XA-10.  For daylight, there's three different options to choose from... 'Daylight', 'Cloudy' and 'Shade'.  Each has different levels of warmth (from less to more) for the different lighting conditions, where the 50 and 60 only have one setting, 'Daylight'.  On the 50 that one setting is okay.  But on the 60, it's a warmer if not greenish look.   Would also be nice to have more daylight choices in a future camera.  

Again, hopefully my comments can help the development team with future camera models.  I would always be happy to share my real-life experiences with these cameras.  Our company has filmed thousands of live events, and will continue to do so in the coming decades. 

We still love the XA-10!  If it could also film in 4k and have mp4 recording options (XA-10 only films to AVCHD), it would literally be the perfect camera!  


Just wanted to update this thread... the focus issue was even a problem in full daylight and I noticed it was just one of my XA-60's with the problem.  I sent the camera into Canon for service and something wasn't aligned properly.  They fixed this issue and now the camera focuses properly in just about any lighting condition, even in low light. 

But now that I'm using the camera more often, I am using it in lower light situations.  I've found if zoomed all the way out, the picture looks nice.  Not many artifacts.  But if you zoom in about half way or more, a lot of artifacts appear (in low light).  My XA-10's don't show any artifacts in the same lighting conditions, zoomed in or not.  So others should take this into consideration.  If anyone will be operating in low light more often than not, I would opt for the XA-70.  I did have XA-50's and they were amazing in low light... wish I would have held onto them now.  

Another poster mentioned they lose focus when zooming sometimes and it's hard to get back quickly.  I have noticed that as well.  It usually happen in low light if you aim the camera at a neutral space (like the dark sky) for a moment.  When you put the camera back on lighted subject matter, it can take 10 seconds for it to refocus.  Doesn't happen all the time, but something to be aware of nonetheless.  

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