Light Meter with ENG camera


Active member
I know how to set my exposure without a light meter (experience, zebras, waveform), but I'm trying to learn how to use a light meter for the transition to cine style cameras with MLUTs and Log.

Can anyone tell me what the base ISO is on a typical 2/3" B4 mount ENG style camera is? The specific model is a Sony PDW-F800. I've read that 0db is 320, 400, 500, and 800.


Well-known member
I don't want to dissuade you from learning how to use a light meter, but it's really not necessary for shooting with a "cine style" camera. But if you are shooting LOG, I do suggest turning on a monitoring LUT, but make sure you're not burning it into the recorded file and are in-fact, recording LOG.

The hardest thing about shooting with a "cine style" large sensor camera is the difference in glass.


Well-known member
I don't want to discourage you from learning to use a light meter, either, because it is a valuable skill to have. I own a Sekonic 780c myself. But a light meter is really not a necessary tool with modern cameras that have zebras. I used to own an F800 and currently I own an F55, FS5, FS7, Z150, etc. and all I need to set exposure is zebras. I can set exposure with zebras 10x faster and with more accuracy than I could ever do with a light meter.

BTW, the F800 does not shoot LOG and it does not have LUTs, so it's not even the right camera to be concerned with anyway. :)

My F800 book:

Also, the sensitivity of the F800 (I refuse to call it ISO because it's not) varies depending on the gamma mode and other paint menu choices you have made. So, in other words,you could never say the F800 is a certain IS0. It's variable and you'd have to rate the camera yourself after you've chosen your combination of settings.

But my advice to ignore the "ISO" and just focus on using zebras, that's all you need.


Active member
I'm currently using Sony S-Log3 to LC-709. That was recommended by Able Cine.

I'm using the FS7 and trying to get my head around Slog. Yes, I can set exposure with zebras. But I want to understand what is going on inside the camera, and how to properly adjust the footage in post.

I actually bought your F800 book a few years ago. I never got into the paint menu. I just used your Warm Cards for getting a decent look. The book was an awesome reference to navigate though the menus.

I've been trying to get my boss to approve your FS 7 video series. I would just pay for it myself, but a few of us have been yelled at a few times for spending our own money, like I did on the book and warm cards.

I also almost came to Maine last summer for the workshop, but management changed their minds.

They did approve us to get and use Cinemeter II on our iPhones, so that's what I was trying to figure out, without saying that I was using an iPhone for light metering, because I know that would draw a lot of scorn from some members here.


Well-known member
I don't think you would get flack for using an iPhone as a secondary reference. 2 examples.

1) an LD at the LA auto show was using an iPhone app to take reading on the booth the day before the press event. I watched him for an hour making adjustments after new readings. When done the booth was amazing.

2) I have a free light meter app that gives very similar readings when next to an Arri Alexa Plus. Same white card, ISO and shutter settings led to an apature of T3.0 - right where the Alexa was set. It also measures color temp and it's pretty darn accurate.

The right app can be a very powerful tool but it should not be your only one.


Well-known member
tschelle, thanks for being such a great customer over the years. It'd be great to meet you in person at one of my workshops in Maine sometime.

One of the best things about shooting Sony RAW or S-LOG is how simple it is. There are almost no decisions to be made on-board the camera except for exposure and choosing one of the three WB presets. That's it.

Whether you choose to shoot S-LOG2 or S-LOG3 all you have to do is set Zebra2 for 75% and then just allow a hint of zebra stripes on the brightest reflected whites. That's it. Setting exposure is just that simple in all but the most unusual shooting situations.

The real magic (and challenge) of shooting RAW or S-LOG is what happens in post. The advice I would give you is the same advice I have given hundreds of other people -- stay away from RAW and S-LOG unless you are willing to use DaVinci Resolve (or Baselight) as part of your workflow in post. S-LOG is not for the casual user. If someone doesn't have the commitment to learn to grade S-LOG properly, they would be better served by not dabbling with it at all and just sticking with a nice Scene File in the Custom mode.


Thank you Doug!
You answered several questions I've had for months...and no time to dig for solid answers.
Your generous sharing of knowledge is truly appreciated.