>The best flash Nikon ever made was the SB-24. Too bad my >SB-700 doesn't work nearly as well. I shoot a lot at night, >where TTL-BL isn't worth a hoot. I don't understand why this >flash unit cannot be operated in TTL with Matrix metering. >Grumble grumble grumble... Bad move, Nikon!
If you are shooting regular TTL in dark conditions, then it won't make any difference whether you are using spot or matrix. The flash will set its own power separately, and it does not depend on the camera metering mode. The only thing the camera metering mode does is set the aperture and shutter, which you should be setting manually when using regular TTL, so the metering mode won't make any difference.
The SB-700 uses reflected energy from a monitor preflash to set the flash power.
The SB-24 uses a different method for determining the flash power. It measures the reflected energy off the film emulsion and quenches the flash pulse when a certain threshold is reached. This method won't work with digital cameras, because there is no emulsion to measure the reflection. That's why the monitor preflash system was invented.
The bottom line is that the differences between the SB-24 TTL and the SB-700 TTL have nothing to do with the metering of the camera, so there would be no reason to be able to select regular TTL when in matrix metering. That's why it is not offered.