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  1. #1
    Craig's Avatar
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    Canon vs Nikon metering

    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. #2
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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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. #3

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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. #4
    Pragmatist's Avatar
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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...
    Patrick

    something witty and profound needs to be inserted here...

  5. #5
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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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. #6
    Pragmatist's Avatar
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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.
    Patrick

    something witty and profound needs to be inserted here...

  7. #7

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    You are causing yourself problems by having too many cameras.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pragmatist
    "... Three cameras, three meters, three realities..."
    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. #9
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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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. #10

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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.

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