matrix metering: think of this

Started Jan 3, 2008 | Discussions
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Julia Borg Veteran Member • Posts: 7,280
matrix metering: think of this

what matrix metering mode is trying to achieve?

why Nikon keep saying "Matrix metering will not produce desired results with autoexposure lock or exposure compensation" ?

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Julia

Jim Fenton Veteran Member • Posts: 4,432
Hello Julia

Having come from a D2 series when I always used matrix with EV compensation for my wildlife shooting (it worked quite well and predictably), I've found that this isn't exactly the case with the D300, whereas the other metering modes accomplish this better.

Is it perhaps that the metering algorithms take in the entire "scene" yet weigh heavily on the selected focus reticule?

I haven't figured it out....I just have found that it doesn't work like it used to got me anyway.

It's almost as though they are trying to make matrix what I'd consider an "idiot mode". Do they have it tied into this "scene recognition" system?

(Don't take it personally if you use it
--
Jim Fenton
My Wildlife Images at:
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Kerry Pierce
Kerry Pierce MOD Forum Pro • Posts: 19,756
Re: matrix metering: think of this

Julia Borg wrote:

what matrix metering mode is trying to achieve?

My SWAG is that it is trying to achieve the best exposure that it can, based upon color and brightness information that it reads and compares to an internal database.

why Nikon keep saying "Matrix metering will not produce desired
results with autoexposure lock or exposure compensation" ?

I don't know, Julia. I haven't seen where nikon has said that. For example, page 116 of the d300 manual states this about Exposure Compensation; "It is most effective when used with center-weighted or spot metering."

I would agree with that statement, but have also used EV comp with matrix quite frequently.

Glad to see your return to posting here, Julia. Your posts are always interesting and thought provoking.

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JimPearce
JimPearce Veteran Member • Posts: 9,108
What Nikon says about exposure compensation is:

"It is most effective when used with center-weighted or spot metering (see page 102)." on page 116 of the D300 manual. I agree, in that I often use spot metering to establish compensation. But once you get the compensation right, matrix works perfectly with it - and using a spot meter with compensation is just plain weird.
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Jim

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Nicholas Newell Contributing Member • Posts: 736
Yes, its like a scene mode now

AFAIK the camera compares the scene with a large database of similar scenes, and makes its own decision about exposure. So apparently, matrix no longer means "meter the entire scene for an average luminance of 17% grey", but instead it is complex and unpredictable. This may be OK for consumer cams, but we need the 17% mode back, so we can get predictable results using matrix mode and EV for tough situations.

I'm actually getting better exposure results with the D300 than some other recent Nikon DLSRs, and I am pretty happy with it, but I don't know why Nikon (and perhaps other manufacturers) decided that something was broken with matrix and needed fixing. If they wanted to add a "smart exposure mode", they should have added it as an option.

Nicholas

JimPearce
JimPearce Veteran Member • Posts: 9,108
This is nothing new.

Matrix was always designed to be an idiot meter. Claims about reference to a database of images predated the F5.
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Jim

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larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 13,460
Re: Yes, its like a scene mode now

Nicholas Newell wrote:

AFAIK the camera compares the scene with a large database of similar
scenes, and makes its own decision about exposure. So apparently,
matrix no longer means "meter the entire scene for an average
luminance of 17% grey", but instead it is complex and unpredictable.
This may be OK for consumer cams, but we need the 17% mode back, so
we can get predictable results using matrix mode and EV for tough
situations.

AFAIK Matrix Metering has been using the database of scenes for several models now. When did MM seek to only come up with an average luminance? What you're describing sounds like simple variant of center weighted metering.

larsbc

Julia Borg OP Veteran Member • Posts: 7,280
Re: matrix metering: think of this

Kerry Pierce wrote:

Julia Borg wrote:

what matrix metering mode is trying to achieve?

My SWAG is that it is trying to achieve the best exposure that it
can,

but taking the whole scene into the account with some accent on the focus area. are we always interested in the best fit of the whole scene in what Nikon thinks is the dynamic range of the camera? how do they determine that DR, based on JPGs, NEFs, do they take contrast curves into account? does matrix metering take into account the reduction of dynamic range when you go to higher ISO?

matrix metering is attempting to set the exposure so that as much of the scene as possible will be recorded, deciding what should be clipped if the scene does not fit - highlights, shadows, or both.

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Julia

johnrg Contributing Member • Posts: 941
Re: Hello Julia

Jim,

An example using "Full Idiot Mode" and it works really well. P mode, Matrix and Auto Focus. No EV adjustment needed. Basically point and shoot mode for those who really wanted a simpler camera. This is just a sample of exposure, focus, etc... and not meant to be critiqued as far as content otherwise

Sb800 used bounced, diffused and no or -1/3 adjustment.

John

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JimPearce
JimPearce Veteran Member • Posts: 9,108
Since the D2X...

I've found it is better to leave contrast set to "A" with matrix metering.
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VadimOm Senior Member • Posts: 1,903
Re: matrix metering: think of this

matrix metering is attempting to set the exposure so that as much of
the scene as possible will be recorded, deciding what should be
clipped if the scene does not fit - highlights, shadows, or both.

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Julia

And when it clips something you wanted to keep, no need to get upset at matrix, b-cs if you cared about that part of the composition so much, shouldn't have left it on the edge of the DR (up for matrix to decide whether to keep it or to clip) to begin with

OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,088
Nikon Scene Recognition System

Reading various Nikon articles about exposure metering and the scene recognition system it's clear that Nikon has worked strong on improving this system for giving us the best possible exposure proposals, and since the F5 it's not only an averaging of the whole scene to 17% grey.

Here are some good links to Nikon articles:
Scene Recognition System:
http://nikonimaging.com/global/technology/scene/19/index.htm

Exposure Metering:
http://nikonimaging.com/global/technology/scene/14/index.htm

Regards
Ole Thorsen
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thou knowest not
is in a sense
omniscience.
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Nicholas Newell Contributing Member • Posts: 736
Perhaps not for Nikon (NT)

No text.

Julia Borg OP Veteran Member • Posts: 7,280
Re: Nikon Scene Recognition System

OleThorsen wrote:

since the F5 it's not only an averaging of the whole
scene to 17% grey.

it was not that way since AMP in FA.

it does not matter ho long are descriptions if the method does not do what one wants for the particular situation.

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Julia

Nicholas Newell Contributing Member • Posts: 736
Yes, several Nikon models, but that doesn't make it a good thing

It's time Nikon gave us back at least the choice of a predictable full scene metering mode.

Kerry Pierce
Kerry Pierce MOD Forum Pro • Posts: 19,756
Re: matrix metering: think of this

Julia Borg wrote:

but taking the whole scene into the account with some accent on the
focus area. are we always interested in the best fit of the whole
scene in what Nikon thinks is the dynamic range of the camera?

I wouldn't bet a penny on matrix metering being the right metering system for all scenes, for all people. I doubt that is what you wanted me to say, but it's my responsibility to get the proper exposure. After all, it is me that is at the scene, not a nikon engineer, and I know what my subject is supposed to be.

how do
they determine that DR, based on JPGs, NEFs, do they take contrast
curves into account? does matrix metering take into account the
reduction of dynamic range when you go to higher ISO?

I would hope so, but I don't know. Nikon does other things that I don't understand or that don't seem logical to me. For example, if I am using a spot meter with flash, I see no reason for that to be a problem with iTTL. I'm telling the camera that I want a specific area under the AF point to be the most important area for exposure. But, it doesn't seem to work that way or I don't understand what a spot meter is supposed to do....

matrix metering is attempting to set the exposure so that as much of
the scene as possible will be recorded, deciding what should be
clipped if the scene does not fit - highlights, shadows, or both.

Yes, that sounds logical.

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Kerry Pierce
Kerry Pierce MOD Forum Pro • Posts: 19,756
It certainly doesn't make it a bad thing. You have choices....

Nicholas Newell wrote:

It's time Nikon gave us back at least the choice of a predictable
full scene metering mode.

Doesn't your center-weighted metering system work? If not, you should get it repaired.

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Julia Borg OP Veteran Member • Posts: 7,280
Re: matrix metering: think of this

how do
they determine that DR, based on JPGs, NEFs, do they take contrast
curves into account? does matrix metering take into account the
reduction of dynamic range when you go to higher ISO?

I would hope so, but I don't know.

set the camera on a tripiod and try changing ISO. do you see the exposure settings in MM mode following the ISO? same with curves.

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Julia

Nicholas Newell Contributing Member • Posts: 736
Center weighted is not full scene...(NT)

No text.

Ed Scruggs Regular Member • Posts: 296
Matrix is pretty darn good...

I mostly shoot with Picture Control set to Neutral and Contrast set to -1. I always shoot RAW so my goal is to be within 1 stop if I blow the exposure. NX can recover 1 stop overexposure with no problems and up to 1 1/3 most of the time. Since I purchased the D300 I think I have only blown it out 1 or 2 times. I'm not as practiced as a lot of folks on the forum. When I'm in the field shooting birds I just do not have enough time or brainpower to fiddle with exposure. Composition and focus pretty much take everything I have with fast moving little birds. Matrix in the new cameras is pretty reliable IMHO.

For static stuff I usually switch to Spot and meter the whole pictue to find an average I like. Works great since I'm not in hurry.

I think Nikon has given us some great choices for metering. Nothing is perfect, but Matrix has a place in the photographer's arsenal.

Regards, Ed

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