Sony CineEI Mode

The advantages of Sony´s CineEl mode.

With the F5/55 as well as the F65 , Sony has introduced two operating modes within its cameras. With the PXW-FS7 these are also available in another model. In addition to the "Custom" mode, the so-called "Cine EI" mode is also available. If you select Shooting Mode under Base Setting in the system settings, you have the choice between Custom and CineEI. As expected, "EI" stands for "Exposure Index".
In short, the custom mode is well suited to create "finished" images in the camera. All internal, Sony typical tools like knee, matrix, gamma, etc. are available. But the image is recorded as shown in the viewfinder. LUT functions are not available.
In CineEI mode, on the other hand, all the internal tools are not available. The images are always recorded with full 14 f-stops dynamics and in Slog. This is advantageous for the visual quality of the stored data, but always requires post-production with color correction.
The differences are described in detail as follows. While in the custom mode there is no further option available apart from the matrix as colour space predefined by Sony, you can choose some possibilities in the CineEI mode. These are in detail:
- S-Gamut
- S-Gamut3
- S-Gamut.cine
These can then be combined with the log curves Slog2 or Slog3. The color fidelity in the S-Gamut color spaces, especially in the green and blue tones, has been improved compared to the typical Sony matrix.
Note: Color space, here from "Colorspace", actually means matrices that manage how different colors hitting the sensor are translated into the generated video signal. It does not mean color space like in a broadcast standard (Rec.709 ).
In CineEI mode, the dynamic range is always recorded with the full 14 f-stops regardless of the ISO/gain settings. However, if you set a different ISO value than the ISO2000 standard in Custom mode, the dynamic range is reduced.
The Costum mode thus has the peculiarity of giving the camera a classic video camera behavior. You can use the slog curves in this mode, but it is not advisable to use them, because changing the native sensitivity of ISO2000 changes the dynamic range of the camera and the color reproduction suffers.
In contrast, in CineEI mode the camera records a slack image together with the slog curves, but this ensures that the full dynamic range and the maximum amount of information have been stored and are available for post-production. This mode restricts some functions that are active in custom mode. There are only two white balance presets left and the Paint menu is disabled. On the other hand, you can now use the S-Gamut color spaces and adjust the ISO setting to the scene conditions without risking any loss of dynamics. Without LUT, the exposure through the viewfinder can no longer easily be determined. It has to be measured. The camera has a waveform, which is to be chosen as a tool here. If an LUT is displayed in the viewfinder, the WFM will measure it as well. It is important to pay attention to this.Thus you will falsify your measurement because you measure and see something else than what you save (if you record internally without LUT). In addition to the WFM, the viewfinder provides further assistance for determining the exposure. Behind the selected ISO value an exposure value is given (e.g.: ISO.../5.3E). This value indicates how many f-stops are still available above the ideal exposure, or center. The difference to 14 f-stops Total Dynamic Range indicates how much exposure scope there is into the shadow. This way the interaction between the ISO value and the f-stop provides the possibility to optimally distribute the dynamic range across the existing subject, minimize noise in dark image areas or much better protect highlights.