Matrix metering idiosyncracies

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Good morning, fellow Nikon shooters. Over the next 3 days (or as many as it takes) I will be posting a series of write-ups on Matrix metering as I am able to evaluate it with the Nikon D80 and D90. You can access part 1 at my blog (http://esfotoclix.com/blog1). I don't want to blow the suspense -- and I also want to remain open to new findings as I take more sample images -- but let's just that at the outset, some of my early-on notions regarding the D90's metering are being challenged to the core. You will see more on this in part 2 of the series.

I'm also putting out a call for anyone with other Nikon DSLRs (D40, D40x, D60, D200, D300, etc.) who can take some time to reproduce the 4 basic test cases I provide in part 1 to contact me via a comment under part 1 so we can arrange a way to incorporate their sample images into my blog.
 
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I look forward to this commentary eNo. Thom Hogan and others have done similar analysis and I'll be interested to see how yours compares.

I would suggest that you define matrix metering and how it's implemented in the D80 and D90 for those who might not understand what it is supposed to do.
 
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I read with great interest your description of the behaviour of matrix metering in your blog. I will be following with great interest also your present post and I want to thank you in advance for selecting such an interesting topic.
We all know that matrix metering is kind of computerized metering. The whole scene is evaluated and the meter has a database of 30k photographs to make comparisons before coming with an answer.
The biggest problem facing photographers that use matrix metering is that they do not know how much compensation the meter is introducing. Many times the results are great but many times also the file will be deleted.
I do not use matrix often except when the whole scene averages to a middle tonality. I have come to rely more on center weighted and spot metering because I add my own compensation when necessary.
The histogram is a very good guide for the exposure and something we did not even dream of when we were using film (I still do use film).
This is going to be a very interesting post and once again I want to thank you for your contribution.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.
 
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Installment #2 is up and running now. Leave comments there if you are able to provide samples with other cameras... particularly interested in how the D200 and D300 behave, but will also take D40/D40x/D60 samples that replicate my test methodology.
 
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You've got a good blog going there eNo.

You should try the same experiment with a scene that doesn't have such difficult lighting. The examples you used would throw almost anyone's metering for a loop. Try shooting a landscape or something outside in evening lighting and see if you get the same inconsistencies.
 
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Thank you for installment No.2, as interesting as No.1. As I said in my previous post, matrix metering compensates the exposure and it takes extra effort, like yours, to really understand its behaviour with different lighting conditions. As you can see, it acts differently depending on the camera.
This inconsistency of the metering pattern is what has really concerned me and I have not run any tests, I am making judgment based on my experience. With matrix, as I said, you could have the results you want but the opposite could also be true.
When I use matrix on a sunny day here in Florida I close 1/3 stop. I do prefer to use matrix if my subject has a middle tonality because with extremes of light I usually go to center weighted or spot, where I have more control.
I sincerely hope owners of cameras like the D200, D300, D40, D50, D60 and perhaps D3000 will chime in with contributions to this thread. It should be most interesting to see what matrix metering does with those cameras.
Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to show us the behaviour of matrix metering.

William.
 
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William - As we'll see in tomorrow's installment, which will deal with a bright, hi contrast daytime scene, negative compensation will not always work. Stay tuned.
 
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Part 3 of this series is now up.

Some folks have suggested I give ADL a try in my D90 to see how that "helps" Matrix metering out, so that will probably be next up in my agenda.
 
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