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  1. #11

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    I have an F5 and matrix metering works well for transparency. It worked very well although sometimes to my surprise. For color negative film which I use often it does a very poor job because it pays too much attention to the highlight at the expense of the shadow which is critical for color negative film.

  2. #12
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    Nikon matrix metering is like Canon's Evaluative metering...it is an attempt to second guess the shot exposure, in a manner in which is never explained to the end user, thereby causing it to be unpredictable in results, so that one also cannot well predict what Exposure Compensation factor to dial in! At least Nikon tries to make it somewhat understandable, in mentioning a 'database of shots' in the programming; Canon doesn't even try to tie theirs to reality!

    It is the Point-and-Shoot metering for the user of the SLR/dSLR...not much thinking expected from the user. And the users who want to second guess it are prevented from doing so with consistency.

  3. #13
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    I think Matrix metering is great for slides and digital. It also works well for normal contrast scenes with negative film. If the scene is high contrast it tends to underexpose negative film (which keeps the highlights from blowing out on positive film). When I shot slides (and on my digital) I used matrix metering almost exclusively. For negatives I still use it 90% of the time, but I look at the scene and if I think the metering will mess up I use the spot meter to check, or just bracket by adding a stop.

  4. #14

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    I agree that the Nikon matrix is more suited to transparencies. I tend to use spot or c/w for negatives. I'm pretty sure the Nikon instructions advise against trying to use exposure compensation with matrix metering.


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  5. #15

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    Weston with invercone...

  6. #16

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    I too avoid using matrix metering. It's not unpredictable if one understands how the meter works, however; consider investing in Thom Hogan's guides if you'd like to learn how the matrix meters in various Nikons are programmed and how they "see".

    Personally, for my type of photography (which mainly features static objects) I find it less trouble to use center-weighted metering and manual exposure. If one wants to be ready to shoot at a moment's notice (for street photography, for instance), matrix metering begins to make sense, but so does the old-school method of constantly "pre-metering".

    Some of the earlier matrix-capable Nikons don't have mercury switches that inform the meter if and when the camera is being held sideways. I used to know which models had this feature, but I've forgotten. Check MIR.

  7. #17

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    The F4 has a mercury switch and was the first?
    The query is the FA which I think did not have a switch but then actually had AMP (Automatic Multi Pattern) metering not matrix. That is splitting hairs as AMP was matrix before they thought up the name
    I suspect all matrix models had the switch as it would be too inconsistent without.
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  8. #18

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    I'll be one to put my hand up and say I used it, like it and trusted it. I used 2 F4s and my partner used 2 F4s, with both AF and MF Nikkors for about 5 of the busiest years of wedding photography in the late 90's to mid-00's. We put hundreds of rolls thru them monthly, and after a few months of trials on weddings we used Matrix pretty much exclusively, mostly manual but a good chunk was on Aperture preferred Auto. Fast changing light for outdoor ceremonies I preferred it. Matrix Metering made very consistent and very CONSISTENTLY good negatives both color and Black and White. Very seldom it would blow an exposure; even the bad exposures were savable with a bit to darkroom work (what a concept! LOL).

    During my days as a news shooter I saw a staffer at a new service show me what an F4 could do at a football game. He shot a play of a running back going from full sun full background illumination to full sun on the running back with the background shifting from full sun to full shade to the running back ending the play in full shadow; one long sequence of perhaps 13-15 frames. I saw the actual color neg film and each frame was *perfect* exposure, he shot with a Nikkor 500mm f/4P in of course Manual Focus, the F4s was in Program High! with Matrix Metering. He was a very good sports shooter and said that was what the Matrix Metering is for; changing light and backgrounds in moving fluid situations, exactly the type of situations where the shooter either didn't have time to handle a complex metering calculation OR learned to Trust it. I learned to trust it, even if 40-50% I was in Manual exposure. When my shooting got very fast the quick shifting of the mode lever on the F4 was a huge help; one flick of the lever from M went right to A, not like the F5 (which I use as well).

    So that's my thoughts: I started with Olympus OM-2 Spot, OM-3 and OM-4t with their version of averaging multi-spot so when I switched to Nikon I wasn't thrilled to move to what I thought was inferior and simpler Center Spot of the F3 and the 60/40 of the FM-2, so had a solid set of exposure skills before I got to using the F4. I like Matrix and have used it enough over a long period of time to trust where its most useful. I still use my F4's although not as much, 2 have the aperture lever issues but the other 2 run like champs. I'm not saying Its For You but it works well for me.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Livsey View Post
    I suspect all matrix models had the switch as it would be too inconsistent without.
    Ability to sense Portrait vs. Landscape is typical. But not necessarily the ability to sense Portrait (right up) vs. Portrait (left up), or Landscape (prism up) vs. Landscape (bottom up)

  10. #20

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    My N90S and F90X cameras have matrix metering but I think I can only use it with AF lenses. The Nikon FA has a rudimentary matrix metering system. When people shot more slide film, making slight underexposure more desirable than slight overexposure, matrix metering made more sense. I prefer narrow angle or spot metering and I can usually find a mid tone to meter off of. For someone who doesn't want to bother looking for mid tones, matrix metering can provide a high success rate in getting good exposures.

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