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Matrix Metering Exposure control

expat

Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
532 posts

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expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010
Sun 17-Jun-12 08:58 AM

Hello all, I am not raising a thread on Overexposure which has been well argued about in these pages but I would appreciate it if someone would amplify a statement from my Nikon D700 manual?


The "Nikon D700 Users Manual page 128 Exposure Compensation" says
"It is most effective when used with centre-weighted or spot metering"

Would like to know exactly what that means?

(My D700 overexposes thats an absolute fact, I am using matrix Metering and only shoot RAW processed in NX2.
I have exposure compenstaion set at -.5 and more if ADL is on, so as stated I am not asking about overexposure itself just that staement.)


Thank you

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briantilley

Paignton, UK
30235 posts

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#1. "RE: Matrix Metering Exposure control" | In response to Reply # 0

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Sun 17-Jun-12 07:26 AM

The theory behind that statement in the manual is that Matrix Metering uses a set of pre-defined algorithms to assess the distribution of brightness across the frame and allocate exposure accordingly. As such, the metering system is already "compensating" for what it sees as unusual lighting (for example, a subject in shadow in front of a bright background), and applying compensation manually for all shots without thinking about it can sometimes result in inappropriate exposure.

Centre-Weighted and Spot Metering don't employ the same "intelligent" assessment of the scene, so the risk of "double compensation" is reduced or eliminated.

Having said all that, I regularly use Exposure Compensation with Matrix, but only on some shots - when experience with the camera suggests the scene is such that Matrix may not expose it to my liking.

If your D700 consistently overexposes EVERY scene when using Matrix Metering (rather than simply not matching your preferences), there is probably something else wrong that could be adjusted by a service agent.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

expat

Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
532 posts

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#2. "RE: Matrix Metering Exposure control" | In response to Reply # 1

expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010
Mon 18-Jun-12 08:23 AM

Thanks Brian, not every scene but at this time off year its likely to be every scene because it seems the sensor doesnt cope well with constant bright sunshine and for several months that is what Ive got.
OK many highlights are there because of shiny spots, white boats etc but I am talking more severe exposure from an ordainary if very bright high contrast scene which my D200 takes in its stride but not so the 700.
(Some of us dont have the luxury of a service agent or even an interested Nikon dealer).

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ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3375 posts

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#3. "RE: Matrix Metering Exposure control" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Sun 24-Jun-12 09:15 AM

David -

Two things: I don't think exposure compensation works as well with spot metering because that metering, by definition, is isolated to a very small area. If you are metering what you want to be exposed correctly (example -- a spot-lighted face on a stage with a dark background) then the overall scene may appear to be under exposed on your LCD and in the histogram. But the face will be correctly exposed for detail if you enlarge it and examine it.) Matrix and center-weighted metering on the other hand, are alread trying to compensate for a variety of scene brightnesses.

And that goes to your interesting comment that you have more difficulty in brightly lit summer scenes. I have not been to Malta, but I have worked close to the equator in Africa and the mideast, and for sure -- it is bright there; maybe brighter and contrastier than Nikon envisioned in developin the algorithms that manage center and matrix metering. You sure don't have much of a so-called softly lit "golden hour" at those latitudes.

I'm not an engineer -- I'm an old photographer who has shot from dark room days 50 years ago to my D700 bodies today. I think you are just dealing with lighting that a large percentage of us never see -- and if you have to tell your camera to lower exposure to get what YOU want, I'd be comfortable doing so. Good shooting with you Nikons!

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10631 posts

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#4. "RE: Matrix Metering Exposure control" | In response to Reply # 2

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Sun 24-Jun-12 12:10 PM

The problems can go beyond the sensor to your camera settings and other factors.

Picture controls or post processing routines often call for contrast enhancements - ad these enhancements in high contrast situation can blow highlights or give the appearance of blown highlights on your LCD. Saturation can do the same thing to an extent with color

In high contrast you might consider Active D Lighting if you use Nikon software for post processing. The Low setting of ADL does no adjust exposure and simply applies a complex curve to preserve highlights and recover shadows while maintaining midtones. I had a very difficult time replicating the curve in post processing. If ADL is on Low, you can remove or change the adjustment in post using Nikon software. If ADL is Off, that option is not available. ADL Normal and High apply a curve, but also reduce exposure by 1/3 stop and 2/3 stop respectively.

I usually use Matrix metering and dial in exposure Comp as needed. Matrix tends to try to avoid blowing background details. Matrix more heavily weighs the focus sensor in use, so you do need to be aware of what AF sensors are active. If your AF sensor is on a dark area, you'll get a slightly different exposure vs. a light area.

A circular polarizer can affect exposure. Center weighted is suggested with a CP, but it is not that important. Reducing bright reflections will by its nature create a darker exposure that the camera compensates for with a slower shutter speed (in Aperture priority) leading to slightly over exposing other areas.

The dynamic range of the D700 is much better than the D200. If your D200 is performing better, it's not the camera sensor but rather settings or post processing.

Eric Bowles
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expat

Qawra St Pauls Bay, MT
532 posts

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#5. "RE: Matrix Metering Exposure control" | In response to Reply # 3

expat Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2010
Sun 24-Jun-12 03:31 PM

Thank you all, I am at last happy, I somewhat reluctantly set b6 to 3/6 and exposures are now fine (matrix metering) and easily controlled in NX2.The histogram is not up against the right edge most of the time as it was.
I have ADL set to Auto (dont know what Eric thinks of ADL Auto) and with b6 set I can now see ADL working clearly when viewing identical shots with ADL on and off.With a suitable subject I can now see the blinkies reduce and the shodows lighten.
Previously I had an impression that ADL was pushing an already overexposed image.
The DL menu is now something very effective.

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10631 posts

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#6. "RE: Matrix Metering Exposure control" | In response to Reply # 5

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Sun 24-Jun-12 05:14 PM

My only concern with ADL Auto is that exposure becomes a bit of a black box. With ADL Low you remain in control of the exposure and can adjust in post the extent of the curve. With ADL Auto you may get an unexpected exposure adjustment, which is probably okay with ADL left on in post, but if you turn it off or decrease the effect you are left with an underexposed image. So in effect ADL at Normal and High levels is using an greater amount of the D-Lighting shadow recovery in combination with the exposure adjustment - and I'd prefer more control.

My recommendation would be to use Low only since it maintains your control over exposure even if you turn ADL off in post. In severe contrast situations, I would not hesitate to use a more aggressive setting - even Auto. I just would not use that as a default.

Eric Bowles
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ZoneV

US
3564 posts

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#7. "RE: Matrix Metering Exposure control" | In response to Reply # 0

ZoneV Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jan 2005
Sun 24-Jun-12 06:53 PM

Moose Peterson has written a lot on this topic. Basically, the matrix meter is complex, and every camera model pretty much has a slightly different version because Nikon is constantly tweaking it. Once you understand how the matrix meter reacts, you can in theory apply exposure comp on top of it and get the results you want. Another situation where you can use comp with matrix is when a solid color fills your viewfinder. in that case, the matrix meter effectively becomes a regular single zone averaging meter.

Nikon user since 2000

G