A Guide the the FX6’s CineEI Mode.

Mode-CineEI1_1.1.1-1024x576 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The FX6 CineEI mode can be enabled via status page 4 or via the main menu and project settings.


Updated 12/12/2022 to include version 3 firmware changes.

See Also this article: Cine EI is not the same as conventional shooting.


The FX6’s CineEI mode is designed to make shooting using S-Log3 or raw easy and straightforward. It optimises the camera so that settings such as the recording ISO, noise reduction and sharpening are all optimised for recording the highest possible quality S-Log3 or raw material with the largest possible dynamic range.

Mode-CineEI2_1.1.1-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

It makes sure that the S-Log3 or raw recordings are optimised for grading. In addition you can use a LUT (Look Up Table) in the viewfinder or on the HDMI/SDI output to provide a close approximation of how your footage will look after it’s been graded and this LUT will also to assist you in getting the exposure exactly right.

HINT: What is a LUT? A LUT is a simple Look Up Table of input values that represent different levels in the recording format (in this case S-Log3) and then converts those input values to new output values that are appropriate for the monitor or display range you are using. This conversion can included stylised adjustments to give the output image a specific look. A LUT can be applied to S-Log3 material to convert it so that it looks correct on a normal viewfinder or monitor.

To use the Cine EI mode correctly you must monitor what you are shooting via a LUT. Once you have a LUT enabled and you are viewing the LUT, either in the viewfinder or on a monitor an exposure offset can be applied to the LUT to make it darker or brighter than normal. This LUT brightness offset is used to allow you to deliberately offset how bright the recordings are, this is the “EI” or Exposure Index part of CineEI. More on that later.


The FX6 has 3 built in LUTs, s709, 709(800) and S-Log3. In addition to the built in LUTs you can load your own “user MLUTs” into the camera as what the FX6 calls “Base Looks”. This makes this a very flexible and capable system. Sony refer to LUTs in the FX6 as MLUT’s or Monitor Look Up Tables. MLUTs = LUT’s they are not different.

Loading Your Own LUTs.

If you want to load you own LUTs into the camera these must be 3D Cube LUT’s and should be placed in the

— Private : SONY : PRO : LUT —

folder of an SD card or CFExpress card that has been formatted in card slot 2 of the FX6 (the lower slot).  The LUT should be 17x or preferably 33x cube LUT designed for use with S-Log3 and SGamut3.cine. They are loaded via the main menu PAINT – BASE LOOK page.

lut-selection_1.1.1-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The FX6 has 3 included LUT’s, these are s709, 709(800) and S-Log3. The AC-BCST LUT seen here is a user LUT that has been saved to the camera.



As your material will require grading in post production, if you are shooting UHD or 4K you should NOT use XAVC-L because in UHD/4K XAVC-L is 8 bit 4:2:0. A much better choice is XAVC-I which is always 10 bit 4:2:2 and/or raw.


Once the camera is set to use the CineEI mode the recording sensitivity is fixed to either 800 ISO when in Lo Base sensitivity or 12,800 ISO when the camera is set to Hi Base sensitivity. These values cannot be changed and your recordings will always take place at one of these sensitivity levels.

Note: ISO and EI are not the same thing, even though they use similar numbers. ISO is very specifically the sensitivity of the camera, it is a measure of the sensors response to light. EI (Exposure Index) is a camera setting that alters the cameras EXPOSURE settings, EI does not change the sensitivity of the camera in any way.


To take full advantage of the Cine EI mode the next step is to enable a MLUT for the viewfinder and also optionally for the HDMI and SDI outputs. YOU MUST ENABLE A MLUT FOR CINE EI TO WORK.

My recommendation is as a minimum to enable a MLUT for the viewfinder. If you wish to record S-Log3 to an external recorder then you should not add a MLUT to the SDI/HDMI output. But if you are using an external monitor purely for monitoring it may be desirable to enable an MLUT for the SDI/HDMI output.

SDI-MLUT-ON_1.1.10-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
MLUT’s are enabled and disabled via status page 5 or in the main menu under Shooting – LUT NO/OFF


The default MLUT is Sony’s s709 LUT. This is the same LUT as used by the Venice digital cinema camera. s709 is designed to be a starting point for a film style look. To achieve this film style look it uses brightness levels more commonly found in feature films rather than the levels normally used in the majority of regular TV shows.

selected-lut-status-pages_1.1.1-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The default LUT is s709. The LUT can be changed from Status Page 5 or in the main menu under PAINT – BASE LOOK – SELECT


There are some important things to understand about different MLUTs and Base Looks. Each MLUT/Look will have it’s own optimum brightness levels. They will not all be the same. Some will be brighter or darker than others when exposed correctly, so it’s vital that you understand what levels any MLUT that you chose to use needs to be exposed at.

Another MLUT that the FX6 includes is Sony’s 709(800) LUT. This MLUT is more closely aligned with the levels used in normal TV productions, so it looks quite different to s709 and has very different brightness levels when exposed correctly.

The chart below gives the “correct” exposure values for S-Log3 as well as some guide values based on my own measurements for the s709 and 709(800) MLUTs found in the FX6.

  Middle Grey Average Skin Tones 90% Reflectivity white card (add 2-3% for white paper).
S-Log3 41% 48-52% 61%
s709 44-45% 57-62% 77-78%
709(800) 45-46% 65-70% 89%


There are many ways to measure your exposure when shooting using S-Log3 and MLUT’s. You could choose to use a light meter, in which case the light meter would be set to match the EI (Exposure Index) value set in the camera.

You can just look at the image in the viewfinder and judge when it looks right. Most of the time this is going to be OK, but it isn’t particularly accurate and if shooting outside in bright sunshine it may be difficult to see an unshaded LCD screen correctly.

My preferred method is to use a white card or grey card and then use the cameras built in video signal monitor and the waveform display to actually measure the brightness of the grey card or white card.

Note: When referring to a “white” exposure this means the exposure level of a white card that reflects 90% of the light that falls on it. It is not how bright your highlights are, or how bright clouds are. It is the brightness of a diffuse white card. A piece of white paper or a white shirt  can be used if you don’t have a proper white card, but be aware that white printer paper or white fabrics are treated with brightening agents to make them look “bright” so white paper and white fabrics will be a little brighter, perhaps 94% reflectivity compared to 90% of a proper white card and this should be allowed for.

The Waveform Display.

Video-Signal-Monitor-ON_1.1.5-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The waveform display is enabled in the menu under MONITORING – DISPLAY ON/OFF – VIDEO SIGNAL MONITOR

If you are not familiar with a waveform display it is actually really easy to understand. The bottom of the waveform is black and the very top is 109%, the brightest that the camera can ever record to.

The left hand side is the left of the video image and the right is the right side of the video image. The thin grey reference lines across the waveform display are at 0% (the darkest a video image should ever normally be), 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%.

waveform-2 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The levels shown by the FX6’s waveform display

In addition the FX6’s waveform display includes 2 yellow lines. The position of these yellow lines is determined by the levels that the cameras zebras are set to. By default the lower yellow line will be at 70% to match Zebra 1 and the upper line at 100% to match zebra 2.

waveform-1 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.


The waveform display measures the signal that is on the HDMI and the SDI output. So when you turn on the MLUT for the HDMI/SDI it is the levels of the MLUT that are being measured. If you don’t have an MLUT enabled for the SDI/HDMI then you will be measuring the recorded S-Log3 level. What the waveform is measuring is indicated just above the waveform display, in the example above we can see it is indicating LUT s709, so we are measuring the s709 LUT. 


To make it easier to understand how CineEI works I find it easier to start  by turning OFF the LUT for the SDI and HDMI and measuring the exposure of the S-Log3. If you do this when the the Exposure Index (EI) is set so that it is equal to the Recording or Base ISO then you can use a white card or piece of white paper to establish the correct exposure for the S-Log3. Once you have done that you can then enable the MLUT and  check the exposure of the LUT. So, lets see how we do that:


With the cameras base ISO set to low / 800 ISO I recommend that you set the EI levels in the main menu SHOOTING – ISO/Gain/EI as follows: 

EI-Levels_1.1.13-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
My recommended exposure index levels of 800/400/200 EI



When using the CineEI mode you can change the EI value several ways. The most commonly used ways will likely be via the L/M/H  ISO/Gain switch or by pressing the ISO/Gain button and then using the multi-function dial (MFD) to change the EI.  Do note that when you use the multi-function dial or Direct Menu to change the EI this new EI setting changes the preset value associated with the current position of the L/M/H switch.

Personally I do not usually set an Exposure Index value that is higher than the base recording ISO value. The reason for this is that as you will see later, if you record using a high EI value your images will be noisy and grainy and could be very difficult to grade. Because you don’t ever see your final results until you get into post production, if you accidentally record noisy log you won’t really know how bad the footage will be until it is perhaps too late to do anything about it. So I set the EI for the Low Base 800 ISO as H>800EI,  M>400EI, L>200EI. The difference between each of these EI’s is one stop and sticking to exact 1 stop increments makes it easier when you are checking any exposure changes. 

For the 12,800 High base ISO I set the EI to H>12800EI, M>6400EI, L>3200EI.


By using the same EI as the base recording ISO there will be no offset or difference between the aperture, ND or shutter speed settings used for the correct exposure of the LUT and the correct, or “base exposure” for the S-Log3. Expose the LUT correctly and the S-Log3 will be also be normally exposed. Expose the S-Log3 normally and the LUT will look correct.


For this example I am going to start with the LUT OFF for the SDI and HDMI, this way the waveform display will be measuring the S-Log3. Just above the waveform it should say SG3C/Slog3, telling you the waveform is measuring the S-Log3. 

MLUT-VF-Only_1.1.8-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
When the LUT (MLUT) is off for the SDI/HDM the waveform will be measuring the S-Log3 exposure level.


Referring to the table of exposure levels earlier in this article we can see that the correct exposure for S-Log3 using a white card (90% reflectivity white) is 61% – if using a normal piece of printer paper I suggest using a value a little higher (around 63%) as white paper tends to be a little brighter than a proper white test card. So, when measuring the S-Log3 we want to expose a white card at 61%. We can use the cameras zebras to help us find 61%.


To make finding where 61% is on the waveform I recommend setting Zebra 1 to 61% so that the lower of the two yellow zebra lines on the waveform display is at 61%.

zebra1-61-1_1.1.8-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
Set Zebra 1 to 61% via the main menu and MONITORING – ZEBRA.

So now when checking the exposure of a white card when the waveform is measuring the S-Log3, it is simply a case of adjusting the exposure until the white card is at the same level as the 61% line. Alternately you could use an 18% grey card, in which case you would set Zebra 1 to 41%, however there are often times when I forget my grey card but I almost always have a piece of paper somewhere.

white-card-at-61 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
White target exposed at 61% when measuring the S-Log3


So now we know that the S-Log3 is correctly exposed lets turn ON the LUT for the SDI and HDMI outputs and check the exposure level of the s709 LUT (or any other LUT that you wish to use – by setting the S-Log3 exposure first, you can then determine the correct exposure level of any LUT that you might wish to use).


SDI-MLUT-ON_1.1.10-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
MLUT’s are enabled and disabled via status page 5 or in the main menu under Shooting – LUT NO/OFF


And if we refer to the exposure chart given towards the top of the page we will see that white for the s709 LUT is 77%. So now let’s set Zebra 2 to 77% to make 77% easier to find on the waveform. Do remember however that other LUTs may need different levels, 77% is just for s709, 709(800) would require Zebra 2 to be set to 89%.

SET ZEBRA 2 TO 77% FOR s709

zebra2-77-2_1.1.12-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
Set Zebra 2 to the correct white level for the LUT you are using via the main menu and MONITORING – ZEBRA.


Now with the LUT ON for the SDI/HDMI we should see the brightness of the white card line up with the upper yellow line that represents Zebra 2 and 77%.

s709-LUT-correct-version-2 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.


s709-77pc-zebra_1.1.13-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

As you can see from the above example when the Base ISO and Exposure Index are matched, in this case the base ISO is 800 and the EI is 800, when the LUT for the SDI/HDMI is OFF and the white card is at 61% on the waveform the S-Log3 is correctly exposed. Then when the s709 LUT is ON for the SDI/HDMI the white card will be at 77%.  We are correctly exposed. By having Zebra 1 set at 61% (for S-Log3) and Zebra 2 set for the white level for for your chosen LUT we can check either simply by turning the HDMI/SDI LUT ON or OFF.


If you want a more contrasty looking image in the viewfinder and similar brightness levels to other video cameras – for example skin tones around 70% you might prefer to use the 709(800) LUT.  When using the 709(800) LUT to measure a white card you should set Zebra 2 to 89%. It’s also worth noting that with the 709(800) LUT, if you wish, you could just leave the zebras at their default settings with Zebra 1 at 70% where just like a conventional Rec-709 video camera they will appear over brighter skin tones when viewing via the LUT. 

709800-correct A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.


Sometimes it can be desirable to expose the S-Log3 a little brighter. For example when shooting scenes with a low average brightness level or scenes with large areas of shadows. The FX6 has very low noise levels at 800 ISO base. So, for most scenes with high average brightness levels there is not normally any need to expose the log any brighter than the normal Sony recommended levels.  There is however a bit more noise at 12,800 ISO base. As a result it can be beneficial to expose the S-Log3 a bit brighter than the base level when using 12,800 ISO base to help keep the noise in the final image low.

CineEI Allows Accurate Control Over Exposure.

The CineEI mode makes this very easy to do in a very controlled manner. Keeping the amount of over exposure constant helps speed up the grading process as all your material can be graded in exactly the same way.

Over exposing or underexposing Log does not change the captured dynamic range, it will always be the same. However exposing log brighter will reduce the highlight range while at the same time increasing the shadow range. A brighter exposure will result in less noise after grading.

CineEI-diagram-1-scaled A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

Exposing log darker will increase the highlight range but decrease the shadow range. A darker exposure will result in more noise after grading. Because under exposed log can become very noisy, very quickly I do not recommend under exposing log,  because of this I strongly advise against ever using an EI that is higher than the base ISO as this will result in under exposed log.


When you change the Exposure Index the only thing that actually changes is the brightness of the LUT. So for EI to work you must be monitoring via a LUT.

Below is what happens to the image in the viewfinder when you have a LUT enabled (s709 in this case) and you lower the EI from 800 EI down to 200 EI in 1 stop steps and make no changes to the exposure.

s709-CORRECT2_1.1.24-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
s709 at 800 EI and correctly exposed – note aperture is f8.
s709-400EI-2_1.1.23-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
s709 with the EI set one stop lower at 400 EI but no change to the exposure made, aperture is still f8.
s709-200EI-2_1.1.24-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
s709 now 2 stops darker at 200EI – no change to exposure, aperture is still f8


Changing the EI does not change the exposure in any way, the only thing changing is the brightness of the LUT. The recording levels have not yet changed in any way.


At a lower than than base EI the image in the viewfinder is dark and the white card no longer reaches the correct exposure for the LUT, because we see this dark image and the level of the white card too low we now adjust the exposure to compensate.

In this example I simply opened the aperture by 2 stops from f8 to f4 to match the 2 stop change in the LUT brightness. Now the image in the viewfinder looks correct again and the white card is meeting the upper yellow line again (77% as set by Zebra 2 level).

s709-200EI-Corrected_1.1.25-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The EI is at 200 but now the aperture has been opened by 2 stops to f4 so now the LUT is exposed correctly again.



Because I have opened the aperture by 2 stops to make the 200 EI LUT exposure look right the S-Log3 recordings will now be 2 stops brighter. If I turn off the LUT for the SDI/HDMI we can see that the S-Log3 that will be recorded is now 2 stops brighter, the S-log3 white card level becomes 79%, so it appears slightly above the 77% Zebra 1 line.

s-log3-200ei-corrected_1.1.26-600x338 A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
After increasing the exposure by 2 stops to compensate for the 2 stop darker LUT (200EI) the S-Log3 recordings become 2 stops brighter and the S-Log3 white card level becomes approx 79%


By making the LUT darker by 2 stops, then adjusting the exposure upwards 2 stops to return the LUT to the original brightness we have made our recordings 2 stops brighter. This is how you use CineEI to alter the brightness of your recordings. A lower EI leads to a darker LUT and because the LUT looks dark we increase the exposure making the recording brighter. A brighter recording will have less noise than a darker recording.

CineEI-diagram-low-EI-scaled A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

At Low base ISO (800 ISO) the FX6 is a low noise camera, so there is no need to routinely over expose the log as there is with more noisy cameras like the FS5 or FS7. So I normally shoot at 800 EI. When using the high base ISO or 12,800 ISO there is a bit more noise and when using high base I will typically set the EI to 6400 EI as the 1 stop brighter recordings that this will result in helps compensate for the increased recording noise.


When you shoot with a low EI the LUT will be dark and as a result f the dark viewfinder image you will expose brighter putting more light onto the cameras sensor. This brighter exposure will decrease the amount of noise in the final image and give you a greater shadow range. But at the same time it will decrease the highlight range that can be captured.

CineEI-base-exp-scope-scaled A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The S-Log3 levels that you will get when the EI value matches the cameras base ISO value, 800 ISO + 800 EI or 12,800 ISO + 12,800 EI. This is the base exposure and it gives 6 stops above middle grey and 8 stops below middle grey.


CineEI-low-ei-scope-scaled A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The S-Log3 levels that you will get when the EI value is 2 stops lower than the cameras base ISO value, in this case 800 ISO and 200 EI. Note how you now have 4 stops above middle grey and 10+ stops below. The final image will have less noise.


If you use a high EI value then the opposite happens. The brighter viewfinder image and higher LUT levels will make you want to expose darker to compensate. The resulting darker S-Log3 recording will have an increased highlight range but it will be considerably more noisy than recordings done at the base EI and will have a reduced shadow range. Generally I try to avoid ever using an EI value higher than the base ISO value. In a low light situation using a high EI value will make the image in the viewfinder brighter but on a small screen you won’t see the noise. I do not recommend using high EI values.

CineEI-high-ei-scope-scaled A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.
The S-Log3 levels that you will get when the EI value is 2 stops higher than the cameras base ISO value, in this case 800 ISO and 3200 EI. Note how you now have 8 stops above middle grey and 6+ stops below, the shadow range is reduced and the final image will also have significantly more noise.


In the examples given here I have used a white card to measure and set the exposure. This is accurate and highly repeatable. But there will be times where you may not have a white card. At these times CineEI can still be used either by setting the Zebras to the appropriate skin tone levels for the chosen LUT (see the table towards the beginning) or by carefully “eyeballing” the brightness of the LUT image on the viewfinder screen or a monitor screen – if it looks right, it probably is right. If you are eyeballing it I highly recommend a deep sunshade or other device to exclude as much light as possible from the viewfinder. With a properly shaded viewfinder or monitor it is perfectly possible to shoot just by eyeballing the LUT’d image on the screen. As an exposure that is a little too dark is often going to cause more problems than an exposure that is a little too bright, if “eyeballing” the image I suggest using an EI that is 1 stop lower than the base EI. So in the case of the FX6 I would use 400 EI for low base ISO and 6400 EI for high base ISO.

CLIP PLAYBACK QUIRKS (YOU MUST ENSURE YOU HAVE UPDATED YOUR CAMERAS FIRMWARE as there was a bug in the initial release firmware that caused the playback EI to be applied back to front).

One great FX6 feature is that when you play back clips in the CineEI mode the camera can apply a LUT to the clip. Simply enable the LUT you want to use as you would when shooting. The FX6 applies then the EI offset that you have assigned to the L/M/H gain/ISO switch.

HOWEVER YOU DO THIS BE AWARE THAT THE L/M/H Gain switch alters the brightness of the clips when played back via a LUT. The only time there is no playback offset is when the switch is set to 800EI. So make sure you understand what EI it is you are looking at when playing back clips in CineEI as if you use the wrong EI your clips may appear over or under exposed.

I hope you found this guide useful. Good luck with your FX6, it is a very capable camera.

Changing the way the camera looks and using LUTs in Custom Mode:

You can also use any user LUTs that you have loaded into the camera to alter the base look when you are shooting in custom mode. For more information on that please watch the video below.

460x150_xdcam_150dpi A Guide the the FX6's CineEI Mode.

50 thoughts on “A Guide the the FX6’s CineEI Mode.”

    1. For delivering HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby etc you would shoot exactly as described here and then in post production, instead of working in 709 Gamut you would work within the HDR gamut that you wish to deliver in such as HDR10(S2084) + 2020 colour. Basically plug in an HDR monitor set to the standard you want and grade so it looks good on the HDR monitor. With a good colour managed workflow such as found inDaVinci Resolve or ACES this is very simple.

      For HLG the camera has a dedicated HLG mode. This is activated in Custom Mode and then in the main menu under project- base settings settings you set the Target Display to HDR(HLG).

      1. Thanks Alister for your comprehensive answer.
        seems a straight forward upgrade from my current Z90 HLG setup 🙂

  1. This is incredibly helpful, thanks Alister.

    Question, is there anyway to have the histogram full screen?

    Also if you measure the exposure with a white card, is there ever a need to do it with a grey card or is the white card suitable in almost all cases?

    1. No the video signal monitor cannot be made full screen.

      Yes, you ca use a grey card if you prefer and the values you should use are given in the table.

    1. The only way is via the base settings and “no LUT”. It’s not clear whether you are getting the full colour space in custom mode but it is clear that NR etc is not as well optimised for log in custom mode.

      I never really understand why people wish to use custom mode to shoot log. CineEI is full optimised for log, custom mode is not and if you start changing the gain you do not get the full dynamic range which is what log is all about.

      1. I can try to explain why I am using log in custom mode. I am doing a lot documentary style filming in changing light conditions and I have very little or no control over lighting. I work in theater environment so sometimes I am shooting in really high contrast situations. And I have noticed that with log profiles I have opportunity to save highlights in post. So I ended up using FS5 with Slog2 a lot. And I don’t need the fully optimised image quality but I need a good quality image.

        CineEI makes a lot of sense when you a change to add or reduce light if you need to. But let say that I am in a situation that is too dark for base iso 800, but there is too mush light for iso 12800. There is some bright lights in a background so I want to save those highlights. I would like to keep aperture around f4. Now with my fx6 I can find two ways to accomplish it. Choosing custom mode with “no lut” and lifting iso to 1600 , 2000 or 3200 or going with CineEI and choosing base iso 12800 and fixing the exposure with ND.

        Which of those options would be better or am I missing something important.

        1. I understand what you are saying, but by the time you are at 3200 ISO instead of having 14 stops of DR, you now only have 12 and it will be hellishly noisy. So yes, you might save some highlights, but every other aspect of the image will be poor.
          If you shot in CineEI and take the footage into post and then add exactly the same amount of gain (12dB = 2 stops) as you added in the camera the images will be very similar, again they will be noisy, except now you still have 14 stops of dynamic range.

          You do have to accept that adding gain results in a much lower quality image no matter what you do, there is no magic fix. So if you are struggling for light you are almost always better off going up to high base ISO and using the ND to get the exposure you want.

  2. Hi Alister,
    what about white balance?
    Is it possible to change the WB in CineEI mode or is still limited to the 3 presets?
    All the best,

  3. Hello AC!

    This is a super helpful comprehensive guide, thank you.

    May I ask one question? I’m new to the Cine EI workflow, so apologies if I sound rather novice… I am!

    I prefer grey cards (due to the fact that there’s one built in to my x-rite passport and I never forget it!)

    If I’m reading your table correctly, I should fill my frame with the grey card in the lighting condition I’m exposing for and set my zebra’s to 41% for sLog3 and only 44-45% for the s709 MLUT?

    If the waveform is touching the aforementioned zebra 1 value in sLog3, I then toggle on the s709 MLUT and ensure it’s touching the aforementioned value for zebra 2 in s709? I then make exposure adjustments if needed to the LUT, being mindful of how much it potentially pushes the log waveform?

    My main concern is the relatively small gap in values of 41% for Z1 and 44-45% for Z2, it just seems so slim and I want to be sure I’m following correctly! Thank you.

    1. Your levels and numbers are correct, and yes the gap is very small which is why I chose to use 90% white for this camera. It will be just as accurate as the relationship between 18% (middle) grey and 90% white never changes, so you can use either and get equally accurate results. Using white is also useful as any skintones exceeding white must be exceptionally bright.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. I’ve gone ahead and got a much larger white / grey collapsible combo (similar to the one you recommended in the old FS7 Cine EI article) and will use the white side after hearing your skintones comment.

        My last question is – is there no way to set an assignable button to toggle LUT’s on and off? I read in your old FS7 post that there was a way to assing the Hi/Low key to darken the VF image etc… but are we left without such an option on the FX6?

        I don’t want to trash Sony just yet, but it seems like we can’t do this at a first glance. Although the direct menu is quick enough, I can imagine it not being quick enough in certain scenarios. A quick toggle button would be insanely effective.

        Either way, your guides were super helpful so I’m donating some $ right now!

        1. No, there is no assignable button to turn LUT’s on and off and no Hi/Low key mode. However as you can assign ISO/EI to one of the assignable dials (top handle by default) you can very quickly go up and down in EI to check the highlight and shadow range.

          1. Please elaborate on how going up and down in EI will enable one to check the highlight and shadow range. I’m not sure I fully understand how this works in the same way “hi/low key” button worked, or at least how to use EI toggling to judge highlight and shadow range of a given exposure. Thanks in advance.

          2. When you use a higher EI the LUT becomes brighter because you are adding more gain which allows you to sample and see more of the shadow range, the same as “low Key”. When you go to a lower EI the LUT becomes darker because you are now using less gain which means highlights are reduced allowing you to view the brighter part of the captured image, the same as “high key”. All High/Low key does is alter the LUT gain.

  4. This is great, thanks Alistair. One thing I don’t quite understand is that you mention that the ISO is fixed at either 800 ISO or 12,800 ISO, which I’d also noticed in the manual. Yet in my initial playing around with the camera, I’d assigned my top dial to ISO, and it appears that by selecting ISO with my direct menu it allows me to change the ISO at standard increments. What am I missing here?

    1. You are changing the EI, not the ISO. The recording ISO is fixed in Cine EI. The dial is changing the exposure index, the brightness of the LUT.

  5. Hi Alister! On the FX6 is there any way to keep to the waveform measurement to the SLOG3 Gamma even if a LUT is loaded to display on the VF or SDI/HDMI output? Being an FS7 user for many years I find it more useful to always read the same waveform for SLOG3 and not have it vary from LUT to LUT.

    1. Unfortunately not there is not. The waveform on the FX6 always measures the SDI/HDMI out, so if you have a LUT on the SDI/HDMI then that’s what is measured.

  6. Thank you so much this helps a lot! if i use as a Base the s709 everything looks so dark on my screen of the FX6. But in the edit it looks good. Is there a way to make the screen brighter or is there an other option for a lighter BASE LUT?

  7. Alister – I appreciate being able to use Auto White Balance, and thus my first attempts at shooting have been in Custom Mode. In that mode, it shows “No Lut” in my viewfinder. BUT when I choose my Base Look, it has INPUTof Slog3.cine and OUTPUT of 709. QUESTION: Is that baking in 709, or am I actually getting straight Slog3.cine for editing and grading? AND IF NOT – How can I shoot just plain Slog3.cine in Custom Mode?

    1. In Custom mode what you see on the LCD screen is what is being recorded. You can shoot with S-Log3 by selecting a base look with “no lut”. But be aware of all the issues related to using S-Log3 in custom mode.

  8. Thank you so much this helps a lot! if i use as a Base the s709 everything looks so dark on my screen of the FX6. But in the edit it looks good. Is there a way to make the screen brighter or is there an other option for a lighter BASE LUT?

  9. Thanks for that article, Alister! I shoot a lot of run&gun style where I quickly have to adjust exposure. With previous cameras I have judged exposure with waveform and used the zebra at 95% and above to make sure I don’t clip any highlights. With my new FX6 I feel a little bit lost now in CineEI mode. Based on your review and my testings, the LUTs and EI setting seem to affect both the waveform and zebras without being baked into the recorded s-log3 footage. So for example, with the LUT being turned on, the zebra shows clipping highlights even though nothing is clipping in the s-log3 footage. That being the case, how do I judge exposure and prevent highlights from clipping? It all just seems somewhat counterintuitive to me.
    I would highly appreciate your help with this.

    1. Exposing for highlights is never a good way to work. Your audience isn’t looking at the highlights, they are looking at the mid range, they won’t notice a few clipped highlights but they will sure as anything notice a poorly exposed face. The skin tones, leaves, grass etc. It’s the mid tones you should always prioritise for your exposure. Get the mid tones right and the rest of the image will fall into place around them. Expose for the highlights and you mid tones will go up and down depending on how bright the sky is whatever your highlights are. Most monitors simply cannot show the full range of S-Log, it’s far to large, so there is no way to show all the highlights etc without making the image unacceptably flat, so any LUT’s will only ever show part of the full range.

    2. Thanks so much Alister! Great article. May I ask one dumb question in relation to measuring exposure. You say: “ The waveform display measures the signal that is on the HDMI and the SDI output. So once you have turned on the LUT for the HDMI/SDI it is the levels of the LUT that is being measured.”

      I’m using the viewfinder that comes with the fx6 and no external HDMI/SDI viewfinder. Therefore, I have the HDMI/SDI switched to no MLUT. However, I am using a LUT on the viewfinder, so I have the VF switched to MLUT.

      So is the waveform using the signal with the MLUT on or off in this situation? I’m hoping it’s off so that I can measure the exposure using my grey card with the zebras set to 41%.

      Any help would be awesome

      1. It tells you what the waveform is measuring just above the waveform and the waveform follows/measures the SDI/HDMI output independently of how the viewfinder is set.

  10. Hugely useful distilation here, Alistair. Thank you kindly. Filmed CineEI Slog3 Cine for a doc, with a rental FX6, earlier this summer, prompting me to acquire one and a Small HD 702 Touch. Will set camera up tomorrow when it arrives. My instinct is to have camera’s viewfinder set up to display Slog3 image (and waveform), to send same out of the SDI to the SmallHD and then to load and view my LUTs of choice – for ‘grade approximation’ viewing and ‘alternative exposure viewing’ – on the Small HD. My question: is it possible, should I wish to view Rec 709 (or any other LUT I load into the FX6) on the FX6 viewfinder while sending a clean Slog3 signal out of the SDI to my Small HD? Thank you. Kind regards, Tom

  11. thanks a lot… actually the cine Ei is just to overexpose the high native Iso to sumarize a bit abruptly. But what about extremely high Isos necessary to shoot in low light scenes, at night for instance…we can’t use them if the cine EI is selected. We should then switch to Standard or something like that and keep Cine EI for daylight shooting and late afternoon? or did I completely miss the point? thanks a lot again for the explanation, I was quite lost

    1. No, CineEI is not just to overexpose. Cine EI allows you to control the highlight and shadow range, determine whether you have more data in the shadows or more in the highlights. It is not always necessary or desirable to over expose.

      CineEI is designed to preserve the full dynamic range of the camera, the sole purpose of log is to record the largest possible dynamic range and this is only possible at the base ISO. As soon as you move from the cameras base ISO you no longer have the full dynamic range, so shooting with log with lots of added gain defeats the purpose of log and will typically result in an inferior image.

        1. In many cases, yes. But you should perform your own tests to determine what works for you with your workflow.

  12. Hi Alister, thanks for your detailed guide. After reading thorugh, I still have one question — how did you measure best/most approriate average skin tones for different LUTs? Thank you.

    1. If you shoot a carefully exposed shot with a well documented gamma such as normal Rec-709 and then change the gamma curve without changing any of your exposure settings such as ISO/Gain, shutter, aperture etc then the new levels will be the correct levels for the new gamma. When there is no change to the exposure then whatever differences in the image remain must be entirely due to the different gamma. If you think about how you would use an external light meter the only things that change the exposure are ISO, shutter and aperture. if these remain constant then you are correctly exposed no matter which gamma curve you have selected, so this allows you to determine the IRE/% levels for correct exposure.

  13. Hi Alister
    First of all, Thanks a lot for the explanation; they are really useful to understand how to get a correct exposure. As a FX9 owner, I hope Sony will integrate the zebra yellow lines in a future firmware update…
    As a correct exposure is linked to a usage of a white/gray card, I would like to know if there is a way to determine it without the card? Indeed, in some situations (i.e National Park in Africa), you cannot use a card as it is forbidden to exit from the car.
    Then, how can you get a correct exposure using the waveform?
    Thanks a lot

  14. hello,

    thank you for your much needed explanation. I have a question regarding Cine EI. I shot a timelapse at dawn for a rising sun above the forest. Some clouds in front of the sun. I shot 4k , 24p 1 frame every 2s interval, shutter speed 1s…I was in Slog3Cine3 at 800 or 12800. First shot at 12800 I think. My footage is extremely noisy in the dark parts. I am wondering if it could be caused by S-log3. I was thinking about shooting HDR? someone told me that in 4k the footage is only 8bits 4:2:0. Could it be the reason? Thank you very much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.