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Sony XAVC PMW-F5 / F55 CineAlta
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Old February 20th, 2013, 03:10 PM   #1
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Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

I recently had a pre-production F5 to play with and found quite a few things missing from the menu's. I was told the pre-production camera I had was essentially the same as a production unit. Anyway, I got to try out a production camera today and guess what? All the same stuff is missing. My biggest concern is the complete lack of any decent exposure measurement tools. It does have zebras, but these only go down to 50%. So, if you want to use S-log2 or similar your going to need to use a light meter or external monitor with waveform display. There is no spot meter, no histogram, no waveform monitor on the F5 with the first release firmware. The menu system is also slow and sluggish. I expect these issues will be addressed with later firmware updates.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 04:04 PM   #2
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Not that I disagree, but using the zebras to put "big whites" at 75 or 80 might be an interim solution.

Not good I know, but probably what I will do in the meantime.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 05:16 PM   #3
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Apparently the zebras don't go over 50.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Usually the case is they go from 108% to some lower point (but not 0).

If they go from 108 to 50, I'd set whites using them.

If the go from 0 to 50, then I'd set middle grey at 30.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 06:13 PM   #5
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Maybe the poster meant it doesn't go under 50, that's quite normal. I think my F3 only goes so low but can't recall.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 03:15 AM   #6
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Yes Nate, for the moment I will also use the Zebras to check my whites. I believe for S-Log2 the recommended level is 68. You can alter the zebra window so you can make it narrower for more accurate readings.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 04:02 PM   #7
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Keeping a LUT on is another way to expose correctly. There's plenty of latitude to miss exposure by a stop (even two) and still be ok, especially if you use a LUT.

On some SLog2 XAVC clips I have, the beginning of one shot has an ND on it and is 3 stops under for a few seconds. Was able to bring up gain in post those 3 stops and you can't even tell the difference unless you put your nose to the monitor and see a tiny bit more noise in the shade.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 03:25 AM   #8
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Bringing S-log2 up is not a problem, other than the inevitable noise increase. But as with every other log curve bringing down skin tones by large amounts is not so desirable as you loose the subtle textures that make a face look real. At least if you shoot raw on the R5 that issue goes away.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 05:53 AM   #9
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Bringing S-log2 up is not a problem, other than the inevitable noise increase. But as with every other log curve bringing down skin tones by large amounts is not so desirable as you loose the subtle textures that make a face look real.
I know what you mean, I've experienced it before, but...

I've been experimenting at length with proper LUTs lately (with Slog2 clips), finding if things are de-logged correctly you don't have this problem (or at least not to the same degree).

Also finding some of the 1D LUTs Sony has been putting out leave a bit to be desired. Not just the saturation problem.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 02:29 AM   #10
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

Nate, have you encountered any 'proper' 3D LUTs that you think work well for SLOG from the F3?
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Old February 28th, 2013, 09:09 AM   #11
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

One member of Sony US's F65 team has given me an alpha/beta version of a Slog2 3D LUT to try out.

It would be incredible if it could be used in-camera, but alas, it cannot.

I aim to get an HDLink to live with my 17" monitor and at least see that LUT on the big monitor while shooting.
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Old February 28th, 2013, 09:46 PM   #12
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

For those that haven't got the R5 recorder on their F5/55's, there's also no in camera LUT's available at all.... so all you've got for 10bit XAVC is zebra's on peak white!
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Old March 1st, 2013, 07:20 AM   #13
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

And the base ISO is different between Cine EI (R5 enabled raw/log mode) and Custom S-log2.

In Cine EI the cameras are 1250(F55)/2000(F5) ISO and in Custom they are 1600(F55)/2500(F5).

This might be to force your exposure a little lower (assuming you using a light meter) in the non-raw mode as S-Log2 doesn't quite have the dynamic range of raw.

There is already a firmware update for the camera (which I'm trying to track down) and there will be lots of updates coming over the next few months, so hopefully the exposure tools and basic luts will get sorted quite quickly.
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Old March 6th, 2013, 12:46 AM   #14
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

I can't afford to buy an F5 or 55 so I'm just an observer to all these posts but I must say I am astonished that Sony engineering is listening so little to its own user base. How in the world could they come out with such expensive cameras and leave off exposure tools and white balance buttons, let alone decent user LUT's when they are competing with RED and Alexa which make it so much easier.
What is wrong with these guys? I'm willing to wager that the Sony American side has told them this stuff over and over.
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Old March 6th, 2013, 03:16 AM   #15
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Re: Production F5/F55. No exposure metering.

I think its a double edged sword for Sony. They either release the camera early to try to gain a share of the market, facing justified criticism for unfinished firmware or wait another year until it's all finished and perhaps other cameras have secured a significant market share and release the camera to a market that has already chosen a different camera system.

Metering, LUT's etc will come, Sony are listening. Incomplete feature sets are common on many new release cameras. Arri, Red, Panasonic, JVC have all released cameras that have had stuff missing in recent years.

I'm pleased with my F5, yes, its frustrating that some of the features are not there yet, but the pictures I'm getting are beautiful, so for now I'm happy to live with using a light meter or external monitor with waveform.
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