Hey guys; I"ve shot Nikon for about 300 years. I only shoot B&W, process and print my own. After about 18 months with the F100--which I love---I've concluded that the matrix metering must be designed for transparency film which favors a thinner exposure. With good ole B&W (make mine HP5+ or Agfa 100) matrix metering is usually fooled into underexposing shadows if there's the faintest bit of backlight or even a touch of bright sky. Matrix is fine for flat lighting--but so is every other sort of metering. So my advice to B&W street shooters like myself is to foget matrix. We need a fuller negative. I think guys that shoot the XP2 type film are ok with matrix. But real B&W film doesn't like it. It prefers center or spot metering. I guess this is no surprise; but it's not what Nikon advertises or admits. I think this touches on the infamous so-called F100 Underexposure Problem.
#1. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 0
Salt Lake City, US
If you're not using filters, which I'm sure will throw off RGB Matrix metering, I don't see why you couldn't get the exposure results you want by adding a compensation factor. Matrix metering is a "panchromatic" metering system and is capable of providing exposures for pan type black and white film.
#2. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 1
Thanx BJ. Actually Nikon does not recommend using plus or minus compensation with matrix since the matrix data bank may be making its own adjustments. They recommend using center or spot with compensation. Also the F100 does not have RBG (color)metering as the F5--if that's you are referring to. I think the vast majority of Nikon shooter use slide and color neg--so it's natural they would bias their matrix metering for those films. I used the N70 for about 5 years and had one of the early models from '95. It's matrix was more balanced for b&w negs. I had a later mode. IT's matrix was more like the F100. cheers. Thanx for your interest.
#3. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 2
Salt Lake City, US
Matrix metering obviously works fine when pushing film, I do it all the time with Fuji MS 100/1000 slide film. I've seen the same recommendation regarding the use of compensation with Matrix metering. Perhaps what Nikon's getting at is that you shouldn't set compensation on a frame by frame basis since the camera may already be compensating. However, I'll bet if you set a compensation value for the whole roll, the results would be exactly like adjusting your ISO.
At any rate, I know you could do a manual ISO adjustment and enjoy using Matrix metering.
#4. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 3
Right. Nikon is talking about frame by frame compensation--such as you might do for a snow scene. Traditionally, with B&W, you would want to move the snow reading from zone V to VII or VIII by opening up one or two stops. However, Matrix witth its "memory" of such scenes may choose some compensation; you have no way of knowing in advance--except by past experience with the camera and similar scenes. My point is that the matrix memory data bank is biased or programed to avoid overexposing bright areas at the expense of shadow areas. For the B&W shooter, the matrix programs are overly sensitive to the bright spots which leads to underexposure. Of course it's all a matter of opinion and personal preference as to the kind of negative you like to work with. But lots of shooters have commented on this and routinely avoid matrix. On the other hand, for me, matrix works just great with SB28, (as does center-weighted); Matrix will not overexpose the highlights while the SB28 pumps enough light into the shadows!
#8. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 7
The mantra "expose for the shadows," develop for the highlights is probably the best old-timers advice around. My theory is that Nikon's Matrix ---data bank of 30,000 images---exposes for the highlights! I guess that's because burned out highlights looks so awful on vacation slides. I wish Nikon had a custom feature for B&W film using Matrix meterin. Matrix B&W! You could just plug in a module with 30,000 B&W images. The earlier versions of the N70 were contrast balanced more for the shadows. Nikon, are your listening? Just ignore those bright spots!
#9. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 8
You learn something new every day. It makes total sense, exposing for darkness in B&W. When in extreme contrasty scenes like snow and sun with shadows, I spot meter on the darkest part of what I want as my main subject...
I spot metered on a dark branch while the sun blasted me in the face Brian
#10. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 9
Wow Brian, that's a beautiful shot. I do the same sort of metering--usually with a handheld spot meter. Exposing for those shadows also puts enough density on the film so the snow prints as white. What B&W film are you using?
#12. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 11
Virginia Beach, US
LAST EDITED ON Mar-26-01 AT 04:33 PM (GMT)
Hey Brian- I was curious about that. I use T400CN all the time, but for contrast I usually go with my circ. polarizer thinking that since the CN film is done in color developing/printing, I would get off-color prints. Thanx for puting that question to rest in my mind! BTW - Great shot!
"Shoot pictures and enjoy life in between!" Chris (Lefty) Taylor
(Lefty)color="white"] Taylor You're only as good as your last shot!
#13. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 4
LAST EDITED ON Mar-27-01 AT 09:37 AM (GMT)
>My point is that the matrix memory data bank is biased >or programed to avoid overexposing bright areas at the expense >of shadow areas. For the B&W shooter, the matrix programs >are overly sensitive to the bright spots which leads to >underexposure.
Gmatrix, my N70 has no databank for matrix metering, but I sometimes note the same thing: it too carefully "takes into consideration" bright blots.
>Of course it's all a matter of opinion >and personal preference as to the kind of negative you >like to work with.
But I wouldn't say that the matrix is not for B/W. If the film exposure latitude is narrow (or if the scene brightness range is wide), use more controllable metering mode. In most normal situations matrix mode is ok for B/W also, IMHO.
#14. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 13
It occured to me that there are two kinds of B&W popular these days the traditional silver and the new Chromogenic--Xp2, and the Kodak version. Thye traditional films (tri x, etc.) are a lot more sensitive to underexposure than the Xp2 films--which apparently do not require very exact exposure. I have used very little of the XP2 types, but they seem flat to me--which is whey the can be exposed all over the place. So Matrix--which tends to sacrifice shadows is not so good for traditional, but OK for the XP2 type. Most people who use the XP2 do not process their own film.
#15. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 14
Hmm, that makes sense (color negative type films can be exposed all over the place and might be ok with matrix metering).
Just as an aside for those who would like to try these films, gmatrix is talking about the chromogenic films. They are processed C-41 (regular one hour processing). Some chromogenic films include:
Ilford XP2 Kodak T400CN Kodak Black and White+ Kodak PORTA 400BW
XP2 and T400CN can be printed via one hour processing or conventional darkroom enlarger. The T400CN might come out with a sepia cast when the one hour lab does it. Your one hour place should be able to adjust the filtering to make the sepia cast go away (if you would like). Kodak doesn't recommend printing Black and White+ nor PORTA 400BW via the darkroom enlarger. These are made with regular one hour printing in mind (without the lab having to dork around with filters to get a proper tone).
In my opinion, these are great alternatives to 'breaking into B&W' without having to learn the entire process yourself (or spend mega-$$$ for someone else to do them for you).
--- "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." -Confucius
#16. "RE: Matrix IS Not for B&W Film!" In response to Reply # 0
This is a great issue. I am used to the spot meter for B&W so I never realized that matrix could be not that accurate. I believe that one problem of using matrix metering is that the decision of how your picture will look like is made by your Nikon computer, and it might have its own idea about the picture not necessarily yours."Exposing for the shadows" is not an isolated statement for it is related with your idea of the final picture and how do you imagine that shadow will look like in it (among other considerations).
I am not a pro, but I would use matrix metering for situations where you have no time for figuring out in which zone will you place the football before it hits the goal. For that situations you must know in advance the amount of compensation you should give to your camera. That is really a testing I should run on my N90s ... thanks