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D7000 Matrix Metering

Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Nov 10, 2010; 10:09 a.m.

Hi All. I have now read two D7000 reviews from UK based sources (ephotozine and Amateur Photographer) which have both observed that in contrasty scenes the metering tends to 'expose for the shadows' leading to washed out skies and potentially blown highlights. Real user experiences would be welcome, particularly in comparison with the D300 which I find to have excellent matrix metering. I'd just hate to have another D80 experience!

Responses


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Jerry Litynski , Nov 10, 2010; 10:13 a.m.

The matrix meter is good at measuring everything in the scene in front of the lens: if you want to control more of the exposure, you have to put the camera in large or small spot meter mode. It's the same on almost every Nikon body (the D3, the D700, the D300,) so just be prepared to think for the camera now and then.

Matt Laur , Nov 10, 2010; 10:30 a.m.

Yup, what Jerry said. Nikon's DMR-2000 Photographer Mind Reading Upgrade Module is still on backorder after all these years. In contrasty scenes, you need to give the camera some guidance so that it knows what you find to be important. A lot of bright sky scenes involve back-lit people, and I can see how they might err on the side of preserving those details instead of darkly silhouetting them against a perfectly exposed sky.

Pierre Lachaine , Nov 10, 2010; 10:42 a.m.

If it's anything like the recent Nikon model I have (not a D7000), in higher contrast scenes that exceed normal photographic dynamic range, matrix metering seems to bias in favour of properly exposing whatever is under the actual focus point, wherever that was at the time of taking the picture. So, if that part of the picture is darker, you end up with an overall lighter exposure, and vice versa. You can experiment with this yourself just by using Nikon's ViewNX 2 or Capture NX2 so you can see where the focus point was.

Once you know that, it makes using matrix a little more predictable, although personally, I find that it ends up not a heck of a lot different than using centerweighted metering and single point focusing on the subject itself with AE-Lock on when the shutter is half-pressed.

John Tran , Nov 10, 2010; 11:33 a.m.

the metering tends to 'expose for the shadows' leading to washed out skies and potentially blown highlights

Many times, we heard comments similar (or opposite) to that. Maybe you should suggest Nikon to make "Hi Matrix", and "SDow Matrix" metering modes selectable for those who favor the Hilite, or Shadow

Shun Cheung , Nov 10, 2010; 11:56 a.m.

I just tested this situation between my D300 and D7000. They happened to give me identical metering: @ ISO 200, 1/125 sec, and f8. Please keep in mind that this is merely one data point. My experience with the D7000 is very limited so far.

In high-contrast environments, I still by far perfer spot metering, but with histograms and blinking highlights from digital, there are now alternatives.


High Contrast

Wouter Willemse , Nov 10, 2010; 02:57 p.m.

Maybe it's me, but I never quite got why people got so worked up over the D80 (owned one too); it may have been unexpectedly metering for shadows, but in a quite predictive fashion, at least in my experience. So it was nearly always kind of clear when to switch to spot metering or when to apply some exposure compensation.
No matter what, it's still a matter of recognising the potential problem of a scene, and knowing how to deal with it given the camera. Once you know how your matrix metering reacts, it's not that hard to deal with it.

Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Nov 10, 2010; 03:26 p.m.

The D80's matrix metering seemed to give undue prominence to what lay under the focusing point (be it shadow, highlight, mid tone or whatever) as I demonstrated in a thread about three years ago. The D300 does not do this and it's matrix metering is extraordinarily reliable. In over two years I've never felt the need to use spot or centre weighted metering and seldom need to use exposure compensation.

I'm very familiar with various exposure and metering techniques and in my pre Nikon slide film days typically relied on centre weighted metering with exposure locking in aperture priority mode. I got spoilt with the Nikon F70's matrix metering which was very reliable too (and only six segments!).

Interestingly, a friend borrowed my D80 for a short photography break last year and commented on how unpredictable the metering was. This year he borrowed my old D50 and found its matrix metering much more reliable and predictable (and he typically shoots slide film on a Canon A1 with prime lenses).

Elliot Bernstein , Nov 10, 2010; 04:32 p.m.

Wouter, the problem I had with my D80 was that it was consistently inconsistent. The issue the OP states is easy to work around if the meter gives consistent results.

Wouter Willemse , Nov 10, 2010; 05:34 p.m.

As said, my experience with my D80 is different, but maybe I was lucky in ways. And I use spot metering quite frequently anyway, so maybe I avoided the nastier situations accidentally... can't tell anymore since I do not have the camera anymore.


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