Canon vs Nikon metering

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Craig, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    Last week I picked up an original Canon F1 and after getting a battery I decided to check the lightmeter. I set the speed to 100 and metered off a blank wall that was lit by indirect sun. Lens was a Canon 50/1.4 that came with the camera and I got 1/15 at F8.

    For reference, I also have a New F1, and swapped the lens over and got the same reading. Next I mounted a 50/1.8 on my Nikon F4 and metered the same wall and got 1/15 F5.6. Curious, I put the lens on my Nikon F6 and got 1/15 F5.0.

    Has anyone else noticed the one to 1.5 stop difference between Nikon and Canon metering? I have not run film through the new camera to see how it responds, but I know the Nikons give good slides.
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Sounds about the norm for different cameras and different metering systems, how did you set the meters on the various cameras, or did you just leave them on their normal settings, again, I don't find it that unusual to see differences in the systems, of course out of all of them, I would believe the F6 the most as it has the most current technology in it.

    R.
     
  3. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    The F5 and F6 have a difference in RGB metering that would explain the result being slightly off the F4. With the Canon, I don't recall how the metering bias affects the weighting, so tougher to explain that. One thing to consider is that an f number is not always an indication of transmittance; except in some Cine lenses that actually have T numbers. There might be enough difference in the two lenses to account for some of the variation.

    I think the only real way to tell would be to bracket a few rolls of transparency film under controlled lighting conditions. I have done this with each new 35mm or medium format camera when I got them, since it is a good way to see if the shutter speeds, aperture settings, or the metering are somewhat close to what is indicated by the numbers. Some cameras consistently overexpose, while others consistently underexpose, though more than a few are close enough to trust the settings as true.

    You should also remember that where the meters are placed in the camera body can have a slight effect on the results. A good example is the FE, FE2, FM2, and FM3A, all of which can share focus screens; there is a slight difference in newer screens that affects the meter results. In a similar manner, and accumulation of dust, or even a slightly coated (dirty) optical path would alter the readings. Parts do accumulate debris over years, and electronic components do sometimes where out or fail. It would be tougher to state that the brand of camera has more influence than these factors.

    Ciao!

    Gordon
     
  4. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Someone here has a signature line that goes:

    Three cameras, three meters, three realities. Three cameras, one meter, one reality.

    This could be just about anything. Between makes there is a difference in the light transmission characteristics. 1.8 dont mean the same thing across brands. The position of the metering cell, the characteristics of the prism, all crazy. As an example, both my A-1's meter the same thing, the AE-1 is generally a stop off, and the Gossen DigiFlash still something else, but close. My experience has been to go with the Gossen...
     
  5. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Patrick has got it exactly right! Although I have both a F1 and a F1n and they both agree.

    I find that a lot of new cameras including my F100 underexpose a little. Might be set up for trannie film. There is a full stop difference between the F100 and my FM2, the FM2 being much better for negative film. You can of course overide the F100 meter.

    Regards, Tony
     
  6. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Tony, I don't know whose sig line that is, but it really stuck in my head when I saw it. The AE-1 has now been consigned to copy stand and macro-bellows work so the meter is not even a consideration. The A-1's seem more balanced toward color film, and when shooting in a semi-auto mode I add a little compensation (about a 1/3 stop) to the comp dial for BW. I remember that my first Canon back in the 70s (an FT/QL) tended to slightly overexpose, but that was great for the Pan-X that was always in it.

    Another factor that we did not mention is the width of the field that the cell sees. 5%, 10%, multi zone? About the only time I let the camera have its way anymore is when flash shooting, or in rapidly changing street scene (festivals, etcetera) situations. Ultimately, the trick is to correlate the reading to a specific film and processing routine, and then run with the result. At least that is the way I see is the easiest.
     
  7. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    You are causing yourself problems by having too many cameras.
     
  8. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    I guess I must be... lucky? I have three Minolta SRTs and all three meters are within 1/3 of a stop. None of them match my ol' Pentax spotmeter, but that's a different story.
     
  9. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Put the F5 and F6 on centre-weighted metering and see how they compare to each other and to the F1n. It could be that matrix metering is biasing the exposure slightly. If it is a plain surface of constant tone, matrix metering will give you the same reading as centre-weighted, but if there are any light or dark areas, the exposure suggestion can be different.
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    My F5, since it was new, gave me identical readings in matrix, spot or center weighted when I aimed it at a gray card, evenly lighted and the card filling the whole frame. With the gray card filling the whole frame I eliminated the differences in metering patterns as well as the fact that matrix metering does take color into consideration. Well, that's the good news. The bad new is it read consistently 2/3 stop to 1 stop too high (thus underexpose my film) when compared to the Nikon FM, Nikon F3HP, Minolta spotmeter M, Minolta flashmeter III and Minolta flashmeter VI all of which are within 1/3 stop agreement.
    I had to send the camera back to Nikon twice before the problem was corrected. The first time around it came back even worse. When I had it fixed, it was only days before the 3 year warranty run out.
     
  11. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Craig,

    Some of what you may be seeing is the metering emphasis/pattern of the cameras. As I recall when I had and shot the F1N the camera had a 12% metering pattern that was somewhat centered but toward the lower portion of the frame. My New F1 metered differently relying on averaging or spot (center of the focusing screen). I am not sure how the Nikon cameras meter.
     
  12. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    If you have got some battery other than the 625 mercury or Wein, such as an alkaline in the F1 it will underexpose a bright midtone by one stop - exactly what you have
    Mark
     
  13. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I have the 625 in it, and I had heard about the underexposure and was expecting that, whch is why I was surprised at the metering agreeing with the F1N.

    I was aiming the camera at a uniformly lit, blank wall so the metering patterns wouldn't affect the readings. I changed the Nikons metering patterns and that made no difference to the readings. I have the spot metering screen in the F1N, its the only screen I have.
     
  14. haris

    haris Guest

    Not if you use one handheld meter for all your cameras and not in camera meters :smile:
     
  15. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Heratic Alert!!!

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    In an effort to re-educate you in the model consumer pogram and offer you the opportunity to again become a contributing member of society, we have subscribed you to roughly 19 photo gear catalogs, 453 email "big sale" news alerts, and notified the Department for Homeland Security that Ms. Anne Thrope is a possible frugal insurgent and should be monitored closely.

    We hope that you see the light, and return to the fold immediately. Too many camera's indeed. This madam, is America. There is never too much of anything. We will have you super-sized in no time at all.

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    LOTSA GAS
     
  16. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Never have I seen the word "pogram" used in such sweet tones.

    Love
    Rocky.
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Is it "principal" or "principle"

    Love,
    Natasha, darling