D5100 LCD unusable for manual shooting...should I care?

Started Nov 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
zenit_b Regular Member • Posts: 232
I think its because the metering sensor is blocked ...

river251 wrote:

... Now I read that in Live View there is no exposure meter indicator, no histogram, and no change in picture brightness, when in manual mode.

River - I think there may be valid technical reasons for this limitation.   Both the D5100 and the D7000 have specially made CCD chips (2,016-pixel for the D7000 only 420-pixel for the D5100) - mini sensors if you like - specially to meter light.   The Nikon buzzword is "TTL 3D Color Matrix Metering". This mini ccd sensor lives in the pentaprism on a Nikon DSLR and having them there means that when the main sensor is covered up by the mirror the camera can still meter the scene.


However in live view the mirror is up so the "TTL 3D Color Matrix Metering" sensor is physically blocked from metering the scene and just blacks out.

Of course Nikon could still display the exposure by reading light values from the sensor itself ...  my theory is that this could yield different results to the specialist "3d colour" CCD sensor though - so nikon have played safe on these models and just disabled it - rather than have one type of metering through the optical display and a different type (and result) of metering with the sensor ?  This is just a theory though ... others may know better ????

On my (mirrorless) Panasonic G2 there is no mirror and there is a live histogram available both in the electronic viewfinder and the back LCD screen.  But this camera has no separate CCD sensor to measure exposure and was designed from the ground up to use the main sensor for metering.   Personally I havnt yet found the histogram that useful - blinking highlights would be better for me but this is only supported in playback on the G2

My ancient Nikon D100 has no liveview at all  - but this is still an interesting thread for me since I have been considering a D90, D5100 or D7000 upgrade...

Bottom Line:  The D5100/D7000 are primarily designed for people  who prefer to use the viewfinder to frame scenes and the camera carries alot of extra stuff (prism/mirrors/vf/3d colour metering sensor etc") to make this happen.  Liveview is a bit of an "add on".  If you primarily frame scences with the rear screen then there is a whole raft of mirrorless manufacturers (including nikon) competing for your custom !!! 

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