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PMW F55 Exposure tips

In Cine Exposure Mode, using the 709 (800%) LUT (Look Up Table) is a very accurate way to get your exposure correct for shooting log.

Exposing for what looks correct by eye offsets your log exposure and puts you in a safe place. (This gets you around 1 stop over). Also, set one of your Assignable buttons to High/Low Key to give you the confidence to know what the sensor is accurately capturing. Button 4 is a good one as it’s out of the way.

By pushing the button once, it applies a negative gain to show you what your highlights are doing. (The word ‘High Key’ appears in the viewfinder). By pushing the button again, it applies a positive gain to show you what your shadows are doing. (The Word ‘Low Key’ appears in the Viewfinder)

To summarise, if you push high and it looks too bright, you are overexposing and if you push low and can’t see any detail or noise, you need more light on your subject matter.

If you are shooting a scene which requires both highlight handling and shadow detail, always shoot at the base ISO of 1250 (shooting Log)

If you are shooting a scene that doesn’t have any highlights or highlights that are not bright, shoot at ISO 640.

Your ‘Look Up’ table will go one stop darker and you respond by opening the iris by one stop to get a perfectly looking exposure, which means your recording is one stop over. You have now gained more detail in the shadows (Pulling information out by one stop).

If your scene has big highlights in the contrast and no shadow detail, you set the ISO to 2500. Your lookup table will go one stop brighter and you respond by closing the iris by one stop to get a perfectly looking exposure, which means your recording is now one stop lower. You have now gained more detail in the highlights (Pulling information by one stop in the highlights, capturing more information up there)

If you are shooting Slog 2, use False Colour and keep your focal subject matter showing pink (1 stop over)

If you’re shooting Slog 3, expose for what looks good on the ‘Look Up’ table or LUT (Rec 709 (800%)


Zebra is subjective and an operational preference and is a reference tool to be used by the operator at their discretion. Use as you would on any other camera by setting to colour bars when using Rec 709 as a guide if in doubt!

Making sure the viewfinder is showing the LUT. For example, in Slog 3, set your Zebra to 52% and when you get a healthy amount of zebra on your subject, you’re in a safe spot.

On Slog 2 you can set the zebra to 42% and the same rule applies. (False colour is available on this curve BUT not for Slog 3)

Another good thing to note is that 70% zebra with Log in the viewfinder is the equivalent to 90% on normal rec 709. So, if you start to see zebra in the viewfinder, it’s telling you you’re almost near clipping – you can go just a little bit more, but no more than that. If that exposure is stopped there, everything else underneath will fall into place and be fine. To be safe, set the Zebra at 65%

The camera can also show a waveform in the corner of the viewfinder or monitor, so if using S log 3 which has no false colour, make sure you’re viewing log and make sure your key subjects lay just over the halfway line on the scale, as that would make you one stop over (The golden rule)

To use False Colour, you must have the LUT turned off in the Viewfinder and to turn it on and off, you use the spare button on the OLED viewfinder.

Higher frame rate mode

Remember that you can only shoot up to 60FPS at 4k or 4k UHD (over 25psf) To get slow motion of up to 150FPS, you will need to drop from a normal sensor to a 2k sensor. When you do this, you will be shooting either 2k or HD, and then you can ramp up to 150FPS. Remember to turn back to the normal sensor and then change your resolution back to 4k to avoid shooting the rest of your material at 2k or HD.

Also, if you are shooting MPEG, you will not be able to access Slow-Mo. Only XAVC codec will allow it.

Centre crop mode in the F55 is great for two things…You can use 16mm PL glass with the camera and it also works as a built-in lens-doubler with no stop loss. In that, a 50mm lens now becomes 100mm (The depth of field will always be what the actual lens ratio is, so in this case, it will be 50mm)

In Conclusion 

If Shooting log in custom mode, there is a very helpful feature you can use in the assignable page.

Make sure you set one of the assignable options to VF High Contrast.

This is because it gives you a look that is Rec 709 in the viewfinder while it's activated.

When you shoot in custom mode and select log, you will not get any form of ‘Look Up Table’ so using this assignable button option will give you a guide in the viewfinder as to where you are regarding exposure.

Another advantage to shooting in custom mode is that you can level the colour space to JUST Rec 709 on the colour gamut (Colour range) in the paint menu. This means that if you’re editing at home, you will not have to worry about mapping a wider colour space back into Rec 709 during post, you are already there.

You must take advantage of the 14 stops you can pull and push in post. Remember, the Sony F55 has 14 stops latitude!

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