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UPDATE on 11.16.12
The posting below has some misconstrued facts. The fact that the WB went out at the same time I got a new polarizing filter is coincidence. It turns out that there is an internal issue in the camera. Further testing w/o the filter proved that, along with some extensive discussions with Panasonic’s help desk.
Polarizing filter, that is. I don’t use filters much…don’t like much to come between me and the reality of the world. I have always had a clear or skylight filter on my lens for protection though. Less expensive to replace a scratched filter than an entire lens (or camera, since those little prosumer camcorders are permanently affixed to the lens).
But recently I got a polarizing filter…neat little piece of glass that will help cut down on unwanted reflections while increasing saturation of colors. And it does a great job at both.
Actually it is a circular polarizing filter. The circular means there are two elements in the filter…one to polarize light and the other to make corrections so that your camera’s automatic iris reads light properly. Here’s a link to a pretty good explanation of how they work: http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Polarizer
But the issue that caught me off guard (which I haven’t been able to find an online explanation for yet) is loss of the ability to manually white balance. Talk about frustrating. Set the camera to manual…blue. Hit the white balance button. Still blue. Switched from manual to auto – wow, good color. Switched back to manual. Blue. Turned camera off and on again. Blue.
Looks like I have my work cut out for me over the weekend. Or, as I used to tell my students, working with digital video is a lifelong exploration of fixing problems.