Ultimate Exposure Guide For Sony PXW-FS5

Ultimate Exposure Guide For Sony FS5

Picking up where my previous Ultimate Exposure Guides for the F5, F55, and FS7 left off – I wanted to let all my visitors and subscribers know that I’ve released a new version of my exposure guide specifically for the latest Sony super35mm camera – the PXW-FS5!


Since the advent of log based gamma curves on more mainstream cameras by Canon and Sony (C100 to C500 and FS5/F5/F55/FS7 respectively) the internet has grown rampant with tips and information on how to best expose and work with these log based gammas. For some it has been difficult to understand how to get the best results exposing for S-Log while for some it has taken a considerable amount of time to perfect. Others new to S-Log are still learning the ins and outs of it.

As of late proper exposure has become a hot topic in the newer generation of Sony cameras (FS5 right up to the F55) due to the extremely rich feature set and capabilities offered by the cameras. For example these cameras offer S-Log 3 and S-Log 2 gamma curves, Standard and Cine Gamma modes, and more and more shooters and cinematographers are looking at how to lower noise by using overexposure techniques as well as utilize 3D LUT’s on external monitors for monitoring and learn how to set exposure this way.

With just under 10,000 words, this 31 page guide is completely dedicated to breaking everything down into its simplest and most practical form in ways that make sense. It combines real-world situations and scenarios and avoids focusing on only the technical – although it’s also there for those who want it.

I am certain that many will find this to be the most practical and easy to follow guide written to date on the subject, and now conveniently all in one place. I look forward to sharing this book with fellow DP’s, cameramen, and filmmakers working with these remarkable and impressive cameras by Sony.

Section Topics:

  • Exposure:
    • Fundamentals
    • Dynamic Range
    • The Crux of S-Log
    • S-Log vs RAW
  • Standard and Cine Gammas:
    • Dynamic Ranges
    • Key Differences
  • Five Exposure Methods:
    • Grey Card
    • White Card
    • Light Meter
    • Zebras
    • Monitor
  • Exposing with LUTs (via external monitors)
  • Light Meters:
    • Introduction
    • Meter Basics
    • Metering Modes
  • Rating your camera ISO

Digital copies are now available through my new website www.ultimateexposureguides.com


About the author

Dennis Hingsberg is an award winning cinematographer and award winning producer based out of Toronto Canada, and founder of StarCentral Inc. – a video and film production company specializing in 35mm film production and film related post production services. Dennis also works as a paid consultant and resource on managing post production workflows for TV and film related projects.

  1. GregGreg01-11-2017

    Hi there,
    Just got the guide and I’m enjoying it! Very concise and well written.

    I have the A7S, not the FS5, but I believe most of the concepts and ideas still apply.

    I get from reading the material that using a light meter is a good way to ensure a proper exposure, and I like using a light meter myself just to confirm that my camera’s settings are in the ball park.

    I am confused about one thing.

    If I am shooting with the A7S using the Cine 1 gamma curve, my understanding is that it places middle grey around 33%.

    If I use a light meter, and I’m inputting the camera’s ISO, frame rate, and aperture, where would it put middle gray? At 50%? How does the light meter give you a proper exposure without knowing the gamma curve you’re using or am I missing something?

    Usually, between using the camera’s exposure meter, the histogram, and zebras, I am usually very close to a proper exposure, and usually the light meter gives me an F stop very close to what the camera is saying is a proper exposure. For instance, I just tested this filming someone sitting in a kitchen. The camera was set to Cine 1 gamma, F2.8, ISO 640, and frame rate 24, shutter speed 50. At those settings, the camera’s Exposure Meter was reading 0 and the histogram showed a nice spread across the range. The Zebra’s were set at 70% and I was keeping the camera one stop beneath where they took over the subject.

    When I checked with the light meter, using those same numbers, it gave me an F stop of exactly 2.8.

    Any insights appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Dennis HingsbergDennis Hingsberg01-13-2017

      Hi Greg, the concepts definitely apply across all camera’s where middle grey is placed at different points along the curve. ie. Sony, Canon, ARRI, etc..

      About your question, the light meter does not know what gamma curve you’re using. The idea is before you use your light meter you go through the process of calibrating the light meter to the camera by using a KNOWN middle grey value for the curve selected, a waveform monitor, and a grey card. Once you go through this process, only then can you set your light meter ISO and shutter speed and then take a light meter reading and set your lens aperture to what the meter tells you. The process is described in full detail the last chapter of the Ultimate Exposure Guide and this article I wrote might also give you a better idea of the process and how to use it in a practical scenario: http://www.hingsberg.com/index.php/2012/01/lightmeter-use-with-the-f3/

      Good luck!

  2. GregGreg07-24-2017

    Thank you very much. I did get the book and found it helpful. I did have just one question on rating your camera ISO. The book recommends using the light meter in incident mode, not spot or reflective. I was just curious what the reasoning on that was. I was always under the impression that spot metering was more precise and that incident gave more of an approximation.

    Thanks again!

    • Dennis HingsbergDennis Hingsberg08-20-2017

      Thank you for checking out my blog and picking up a copy of the Ultimate Exposure Guide for the FS5. For rating camera ISO you could definitely use either mode but you might want to chose the mode that you would end up using in the real world – which for me is incident and I find it more practical for working. As lights are setup I want to know the light strength falling on a scene. Foreground, background, backlight, accent lights, practical lights, etc.. If I were to use reflective, it would imply that I have to have all the objects or subjects in the scene first in order for me to take a reading. For me, that defeats the primary reason to use a light meter in the first place. I might as well use a camera then and turn on a waveform monitor to see “reflected” values but in some practical sense this is not always possible. You are always going to use a waveform monitor as a final check of what is being recorded, but hours before you are ready to record a light meter is just easier to use for setting up and adjusting lights. Cheers, hope that’s the explanation you were looking for.

  3. GregGreg08-27-2017

    Yes, that makes sense. I was also thinking incident mode doesn’t require a gray card, which might not always be handy. I realize this sounds funny, but I was actually thinking they should have a gray ball instead of a card because it would do a better job of accounting for more of the light hitting the subject. I have been using the Cine Meter II with the Luxi attachment as my incident meter. It also has a false color feature that’s pretty helpful too. Thanks again and I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Leave a Reply