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  1. #1

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    Can a lens cause a metering issue? Nikon FE SLR inconsistencies

    Hi,

    I have two Nikon FE's with two Nikon lenses. I was curious how their metering worked so I did a test.

    Equipment:
    1. Nikon FE A - Set for ISO400, No EC, has fresh Energizer batteries measuring about 1.55-1.58 volts each.
    2. Nikon FE B - Set for ISO400, No EC, has mix of old/used generic batteries measuring about 1.50-1.52 volts each.
    3. Nikon 50mm f/1.8
    4. Nikon 35mm f/2.0
    5. Sekonic L308S meter - Set for ISO400 and 1/60th second
    6. Panasonic DMC-LX3 - set for ISO400, No EC, Shutter priority 1/60 second


    Setup:
    I am standing inside my bedroom and facing the other side of a narrow hall way to drywall frame to the left of the hallway bathroom. To the right is the bathroom which is dark inside, the door is open. It's 4PM in the afternoon and there's a window to the left high, and the sun is shining in.

    Results:
    • Nikon FE A
      • 50mm lens - 1/60 is between f/5.8 and f/8
      • 35mm lens - 1/60 is exactly f/2.0

    • Nikon FE B
      • 50mm lens - 1/60 is f/8
      • 35 mm lens - 1/60 cannot be achieved. f/22 gives 1/1000th reading.

    • ​Sekonic light meter
      • Facing wall incident: f/2.0
      • Facing wall reflective: f/5.6
      • Facing lens incident: f/2.8
      • Facing lens reflective: f/5.6

    • Panasonic LX3
      • At 1/60th, it reads f/5.6


    I assume f/5.6 at 1/60 is the correct metering. How come the 35mm lens gives such bad readings? I also noticed that when I put the 35mm on Nikon FE B, it is really tight. Once it's on, the aperture ring is really tough to turn. The 50mm on Nikon FE B is fine. Both lenses are fine on Nikon FE A. Is this a metering issue or something is wrong with the mechanical coupling of the lens to the body?

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by sygyzy; 05-11-2013 at 06:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    That's a head scratcher. But before anybody can answer of any worth, you need to do some careful observarton as to why the lens mounts so tightly. Was the lens dropped and the bayonet bent ever so slightly? Obviously it has the camera resistor out of contact, resulting in no reading. Establish trust with the camera that behaves best, then proceed to the other one. Too many irons in the fire means some calves will heal their too-cool brand so that a rustler can re-brand them.

  3. #3
    fstop's Avatar
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    Did you swap batteries so you are comparing apples to apples? Batteries can read voltage in the range that should work but can be weak enough to not deliver enough amperage.

    Check the metering coupling ring on the body to make sure it springs back and the tab is in the proper position
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  4. #4

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    Are you sure the 35mm is notched out for AI? If it isn't, perhaps the connection is getting jammed... of course, I am not an expert.

  5. #5

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    First off, it seems like you have some sort of mechanical problem between the 35 and FE B, seems likely it may not be engaging the meter coupling lever correctly. The aperture ring should not ever be tough to turn, and if it is, find out what's wrong before turning it more.

    Then to get a good test of the metering, first you should either use the same batteries in both cameras or else get a set of fresh batteries for both cameras.
    Next, meter some evenly lit featureless surface like a wall so that it fills the frame with both lenses, and meter the same area with the hand held meter (reading off the wall). Make sure there are no shadows in the area you're metering. Better yet, use a grey card.

    Incidentally, if by "a mix of old/used generic batteries" you mean that you have mixed battery types, brands or two batteries that have different states of charge (like one newer than the other), get them out of the camera asap, as you are inviting them to leak. (the stronger of the two tries to charge the weaker one causing it to leak).

  6. #6

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    This also doesn't really explain your results but, keep in mind that the 50mm and the 35mm (and likely the two meters) have different fields of view. They are integrating light from two related but, essentially, different scenes. When you have the other issues already brought up under control, you may still see differences because of this. A frame filling grey (any color really) card or wall lit with a common light source would be a better test source.
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  7. #7
    Ambar's Avatar
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    Added to the suggestions above.. I would also conduct a simpler test and start eliminating variables.
    Batteries are swappable and inexpensive for the most part so simply discard the older generic dubious set and use the same fresh set for both cameras.
    I would then start by taking both cameras and taking a meter reading with NO lens attached. Same batteries, same NO lens. My FM2n will give a reading.. I believe the FE will as well.
    Check the deviation on that and then add the lens variable with the same battery set.
    I once did a similar test to check the meter on a couple of camera bodies I had and see how much they deviated from each other. I found it easier to do this at night on a white , (somewhat) evenly illuminated wall.

  8. #8

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    I think that the type of metering is the answer, not the battery voltage. As good as those meters were - generally - they were inconsistent when it came to differing focal lengths. An inbuilt spot meter in these circumstances would be more accurate so long as the meter was pointed at the same place.
    Even my F100 and F80 show different exposures for different focal lengths especially with my 17/35 where the scene contains a large amount of different tone, even using the matrix meter, but are almost parallel when it come to using the spot meter.The simple answer is to meter off a piece of grey card.

  9. #9

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    Although I wouldn't use the same testing method as you did but I have to say that the problem is in your 35mm f/2.0 lens. Is the lens an AI lens?

  10. #10

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    I don't think that if it was an Ai or AiS lens would make any difference. It is the difference between the acceptance angles of the different lenses where a wide lens may/will take in more high or low light areas than a shorter focal length lens which will produce the different results. This is one of the main drawbacks of an averaging metering system
    Last edited by BMbikerider; 05-12-2013 at 12:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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