Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?

Started Jul 26, 2011 | Discussions
IEBA1
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Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
Jul 26, 2011

I rented an a55 & Sony 18-250 from Borrow Lenses and shot an Alaska trip with it.

At issue is when I'd photograph my kids, or scenery, or an iceberg or something at 3fps ... multiple frames in the sequence (every 3rd or so) would be distinctly bluer than the rest. I deleted a lot of these "mistakes" in the field & reshot. But even so, I'm now reviewing them on my 24" monitor at home and some 400 images in, I have 9 image sequences with distinct warm/cool color shifts.

I can maybe understand a shift over time as the camera adjusts to something, but, at 3fps, for one image to be blue and the preceding and following images to match perfectly means something went wrong.

Is this typical? Bad firmware? JPEG compression? Bad camera / lens communication? Bad camera?

(I did not shoot raw as I didn't want to have to post process 3000 images from my family trip)

I'm getting really bothered by this as I cull my images and don't really know what to do.

IEBA1
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 26, 2011

Forgot to mention, I was using the Vivid color profile.

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TrojMacReady
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 26, 2011

This thread might be of interest to you:
forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=38356154

Don't think there is a solution yet and still not fully sure if it's a firmware related bug or not.

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DaddyBit
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Once I had similar case with A700
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 26, 2011

But this was my fault: I set the camera to White Balance bracket instead of Exposure breacket.
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garykohs
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I just tested mine ...
In reply to TrojMacReady, Jul 26, 2011

... and the white balance is perfectly consistent in 3 fps mode.
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ChuckB
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 26, 2011

I happened to me too, and I started a thread on this a week or so ago. It seem to be at least a widespread problem and not just your camera. There are two things you can do about it:

(1) don't use AWB. In the daytime, use Daylight, etc etc. This isn't much of a solution for you since your don't own the camera.

(2) adjust the color balance in post. Lightroom makes this easy, as long as you shoot RAW. Just make note of the color temp in the good shots, and change all the others to agree.

(3) Oops, you shot jpgs. Well, you can still adjust the color, but it's more difficult. (BTW, shooting RAW does not mean you have to do post processing, it just allows you more latitude when you do. Most of my RAW shots turn out well enough that they don't need any more attention than a jpg. I tend to fiddle a bit with everything in post.)

I'm afraid you're in for some post-processing. I won't apologize on behalf of Sony, who have obviously screwed up here, but you have my sympathy for sure.

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sybersitizen
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Re: I just tested mine ...
In reply to garykohs, Jul 26, 2011

garykohs wrote:

... and the white balance is perfectly consistent in 3 fps mode.

Same here.

For those of you experiencing the AWB issue, can you explain more about your other camera settings? I rarely use the 3fps drive mode in practice, so have never encountered this.

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Glenn
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 26, 2011

can you post some of the adjacent ones with the exif intact?
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sonnydee
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to ChuckB, Jul 26, 2011

You can still load and adjust WB in LR even if you shoot JPG.

ChuckB wrote:

I happened to me too, and I started a thread on this a week or so ago. It seem to be at least a widespread problem and not just your camera. There are two things you can do about it:

(1) don't use AWB. In the daytime, use Daylight, etc etc. This isn't much of a solution for you since your don't own the camera.

(2) adjust the color balance in post. Lightroom makes this easy, as long as you shoot RAW. Just make note of the color temp in the good shots, and change all the others to agree.

(3) Oops, you shot jpgs. Well, you can still adjust the color, but it's more difficult. (BTW, shooting RAW does not mean you have to do post processing, it just allows you more latitude when you do. Most of my RAW shots turn out well enough that they don't need any more attention than a jpg. I tend to fiddle a bit with everything in post.)

I'm afraid you're in for some post-processing. I won't apologize on behalf of Sony, who have obviously screwed up here, but you have my sympathy for sure.

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IEBA1
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Album uploaded
In reply to ChuckB, Jul 26, 2011

I tried to use manual white balance, but what I was shooting was just too diverse for AWB to be workable– in car, out of car, in a boat, outside, in the boat shooting out the window, in a cabin snapping kids, then a shot out the window… sunny, cloudy, partly cloudy, bright sunshine, then shade light behind a building or under a tree. If I had to fiddle with manual white balance for every shot, I'd have less than 1/4 the shots I took.

If I was shooting raw, I think I could more easily fix things, but with this level of camera, I didn't expect to have to "fix" so many camera mistakes. I've just never encountered anything as screwed up like this before.

And I am confident that it changes on single shots as well.

I have two Sweep Panos shot right after one another and now I see they are two very different white balances. Both of Mount McKinley in bright sunshine. Okay, yea, sure, I could have went manual WB there, but this demonstrates that taking the camera out of 3fps and into a completely different mode is still affected by bad AWB computations. It's like the luck of the draw.

I have pushed a bunch of photos to an album I created for this.

55

Looking through them, I'm more inclined to believe the bluer shots are actually more accurate, and the "warm" shots are wrong, because other indoor shots I have consistently look a little too warm.

Again, I was using the "Vibrant" setting. Could that be an instigator in the intensity of the differences and it may actually be present all the time, jut nowhere near as noticeable? I found the Standard (or flat, or whatever it's called- I no longer have the camera) to be way too flat for my tastes.

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Gene Tenold
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 27, 2011

I am no expert by no means but what metering mode were you using? If you use use Multi sometimes it may lock onto something else and change the WB. Try using center or spot depending on what your main subject is, and see if that might help.

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IEBA1
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to Gene Tenold, Jul 27, 2011

Again, the camera was a rental. I do not still have it. Another thread had informaiton that said that may assist the issue, but it does not solve it.

FWIW, the programming ought to be that in a continuous mode- after the settings are made for the first shot, they don't change (and other settings like aperture, shutter speed, etc, don't!) so why would AWB jump so drastically back and forth every 0.3 seconds?

The two pans I have with different white balances are taken within a minute of each other- and after the camera sets the exposure/AWB for the Pano, it doesn't change through the pano. So such drastic changes in a continuous mode seem like an error in programming, solvable with a firmware update.

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sybersitizen
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 27, 2011

IEBA1 wrote:

FWIW, the programming ought to be that in a continuous mode - after the settings are made for the first shot, they don't change (and other settings like aperture, shutter speed, etc, don't!)...

They certainly do, in autoexposure modes. But if you want to force the exposure to lock you can do so by using the AEL button.

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Duck44
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 27, 2011

IEBA1 wrote:

Again, the camera was a rental. I do not still have it. Another thread had informaiton that said that may assist the issue, but it does not solve it.

FWIW, the programming ought to be that in a continuous mode- after the settings are made for the first shot, they don't change (and other settings like aperture, shutter speed, etc, don't!) so why would AWB jump so drastically back and forth every 0.3 seconds?

I'm confused. All the feedback you will get here is about the camera. Since you don't own it and are looking for a retroactive fix, try the retouching forum.

I think the metering comment is correct. And I don't think you answered. What metering mode were you in? If you were in spot mode, it certainly may adjust with every shot. And to be honest, you want it to. That is it's job. As another user commented AEL lock would solve the issue, but the camera does not thinking, even at 0.3 seconds apart.

I have seen the same thing with my A55, and it usually comes down to metering.

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rtrski
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 27, 2011

Not sure I agree that AWB shouldn't be left flexible in continuous shooting mode. Aperture and shutter certainly can, in response to metering. What if you are panning to follow a subject and end up rotating from away from the sun to toward the sun? Zooming in (or out) in continuous shooting mode to follow a subject? I'd want all of them to change dynamically.

That said....it's clear none of the above techniques were the case in the examples you showed. Even spot metering doesn't seem to be a reason for the drastic AWB change in adjacent portrait shots like that.

All I can say is...guess that's why I shoot RAW, just in case. Easy enough to 'batch' postprocess if no tweaking is required, but nice to have the option.

That does seem like some sort of buggy behavior to watch out for. There was an earlier post by someone else with some behavior like this that responders ended up blaming on fluorescent lighting 'changing color' during the 60 Hz cycle. I remember thinking to myself that explanation didn't make much sense...but just stayed out of it. Your examples, in outdoor light, definitely show something's up.
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IEBA1
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to rtrski, Jul 27, 2011

rtrski wrote:

What if you are panning to follow a subject and end up rotating from away from the sun to toward the sun? I'd want all of them to change dynamically.

I'd agree for video, but not for stills. It takes just a moment to release the shutter and start again, forcing the camera to re-assess the shot, refocus, meter, etc. For continuous action, I want it to meter, and then just fire. Even the review on this site noted the a55's continuous focus isn't up to advance focusing for sports or action, so I didn't even bother to turn that on.

That said....it's clear none of the above techniques were the case in the examples you showed. Even spot metering doesn't seem to be a reason for the drastic AWB change in adjacent portrait shots like that.

Exactly- long zoom shots through a windshield of the foggy mist in Valdez, Alaska do not have anything in the shot that could possibly force the metering to jump around so wildly. Any possible detail would all be sunlit, and pixel level detail is blurred by the windshield & the atmosphere. It's not like there's one light on a ship that tricked the camera into metering differently for a shot and, even then, the multi-metering should put more heavily weigh the overall of what's going on the shot and that didn't change.

That does seem like some sort of buggy behavior to watch out for... Your examples, in outdoor light, definitely show something's up.

Thanks for that.

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IEBA1
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In reply to Duck44, Jul 27, 2011

Duck44 wrote:

I'm confused. All the feedback you will get here is about the camera. Since you don't own it and are looking for a retroactive fix, try the retouching forum.

Yes, I was renting it, but with a keen eye to getting one, or the next level up. But I was disappointed by several factors, and was looking for feedback on the camera that A) NOBODY else has this problem and this was just a bad camera, or B) it's actually more widespread and doesn't look to be resolved soon. i.e. Been around for months and no firmware fix has come from Sony. This also speaks to their responsiveness to fix or update cameras over time.

Compare that to Canon & their 5D, 7D line which has received several updates & new features (particularly in the video capability realm) not to mention what can be done with 3rd party firmware adjustments & tethering.

Other things that bugged me was the difficulty I had getting usable Sweep Panos. Either it had ghastly errors at the seams, the panos ended too early, or stopped with issues, or cropped out part of what I wanted, or the various (too fast, too slow, etc errors.) I ended up just using the 3fps mode and a fast shutter to snap several sequential stills- but then THAT was hampered by the white balance mistakes.

So I am looking for help / advice with the camera. But if the a77 (or whatever) doesn't address these issues in spades, and offer a compelling features (aside from in-body image stabilization) I'll go a different direction. Sony does have cool features, but I need them to actually work.

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IEBA1
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Jul 27, 2011

What I'd like to find out is, of someone who has the camera can find a scene which seems to easily produce these errors at 3fps, and then try it at 6fps and 10 fps. I should have tried it when I had the camera, but I wasn't thinking about clinical debugging and assessment when I was trying to wrangle two kids in bush Alaska.

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IEBA1
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to Glenn, Aug 8, 2011

My gallery is up. WHat do you see that could be the problem?

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Glenn
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Re: Wonky AWB on a55 continuous shutter?
In reply to IEBA1, Aug 8, 2011

Actually I saw them thanks. I though myabe the BV or something might be radically diferent between shots the only thing I can think of now is WB bracketing but I don;t even know if the camera can do it.
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