Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Jochem Wijnands ®. Jochem is a professional photographer and has an excellent online portfolio on his own and you may also contact via his e-mail. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Whether would you like to admit it or not - we often have to depend on camera's meter to provide metering guide for exposures. It is convenient, accurate and most of the time, providing satisfying results than handheld meters as light levels for any given scenes will be measured via the actual picture taking lense. With half a century of time proven in applied photographic application, for those may still have held reservations about metering system built into cameras, that is fine - you can still carrying on with your way but the world will still rotate and technologies move us on, right ?
So, we have seen how a simple switch in Nikon F3's 80:20 metering pattern from a Nikon traditional 60:40 center-weighted metering pattern which generally will yield a consistent results - it was good enough to convince Nikon photographers to quote the comparing F3's metering was simply "dead accurate"... while making it the longest serving Nikon professional F-single-digit SLR ever, the kind of trust and dependability seldom enjoys by other rivaling brands. The Nikon FA of 1983, with its revolutionary 'Automatic Multi Pattern Metering System" ("AMP"), we have a new generation of metering system emerged. It took half a decade for Nikon to perfect the AMP and evolved itself as a new term "Matrix Metering" for professional applications and at the same time, shrouded off the early amateuristic image as quoted by Mr. TATENO, Yokoyuki in Nikkor Club Quarterly magazine as " .... the early Matrix metering basically works in such manner in the finder image divides into five distinct metering areas. The ratio of light to dark is measured for each area individually and a microcomputer(CPU) analyzes data to calculate the optimal exposure. Of course, limitations in film latitude precluded this design from being the perfect solution, but in most cases the FA was praised for its ability to "handle almost any situation very well". Even professionals trusted it because metered exposures were "close to those based on years of experience".... Whatever it is, with the debut of a pre-F4's AF-Nikon F801 camera, more of less we can preview how the upcoming next generation Nikon F4 will look like in areas of metering system. the question is simply how to ensure it to be dependable and responsive enough and gaining the trust of demanding professional users.
Remember the days of the Nikon F3 ? One of the biggest hidden disappointment for F3 users is Nikon's inability to provide a good solution for a workable multi-metering system as compared to professional Canon NEW F-1's tri-metering patterns (Center-weighted, Partial (12%) and Spot (3%). Canon's approach was a little unusual (tedious in operation as well) in altering its variable metering system which requires changing of focusing screen (at the deadly expense of giving out TTL flash exposure control). The F3's way of adopting the 80:20 was something like a mix of partial and traditional center-weighted metering (although it is very usable and practical). The Nikon FA's AMP was actually a killer to rivaling brands in this area because it has leapfrogged the metering technology one generation ahead than competitions as proven by its acceptance as the mainstream metering system virtually in all modern AF SLRs now. The whole scenario emerged from such evolution has boiled down to one fact during those interim period - how trusty and dependable is multi-segments metering other than its elevated responsiveness it offers to photographers.
Well, needless to say, manufacturers were/are convinced this system is good for businesses and photographers are also accepting it as it frees them from one of the most troubling section in any picture taking situation - metering. Come to think of it, who doesn't want every frames come out perfectly exposed and in this case with the aid of auto-focusing, pictures will be sharply focus as well ? Further, the Matrix metering does not only handles ambient light reading but al so forms the basis when the camera is working with a capable Nikon AF-TTL speedlight to provide another interesting flash exposure control, system - so-called Matrix Balanced Fill Flash photography !
Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Steven G. MAKA ® <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Steven is a professional photographer and has an excellent online image gallery on his own at http://www.MAKAphotography.com. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
For those Nikon users who may have been upgraded their system for the first time from any previous Nikon (other than the Nikon FA and early AF models), there is also a well proven, reliable conventional Center-Weighted Metering system for user-creative control. To add another layer of absolute control, Nikon also incorporates a Spot Metering in the Nikon F4 - the first time in a Nikon professional model - it features an approx. 5mm-dia. circle metering area in the view field inside the finder for precise measurement of a special portion.
Under the mirror box, we have two cells, one for TTL flash and another is the AM-200 autofocus module. The spot meter is handle here as well - to get an idea see illustration of the optical path at far left.
However, the Nikon differs from earlier Nikon F3 in the way how metering is incorporated in the camera. While F3 has its single SPD cell which locates under the mirror box to handle BOTH ambient and TTL flash which departs itself from the Nikon F and F2's method of using metered prisms - the Nikon F4 is a both. The issue in affecting its design is due to incorporation of the AM-200 autofocus module at the base of the mirror box as well as thinking of a logical location to house the Matrix sensors.
In a more perfect scenario, the camera should have both incorporated inside together along with (possible same sensor) to handle TTL flash as well as spot meter and center-weighted metering as well. In such case, we will have another possible scenario where ANY prisms will work in all FOUR different kind of metering system - MATRIX, SPOT, CENTER-WEIGHTED and TTL FLASH as well as AUTOFOCUS huh ? Not quite, at least the Nikon designers/engineers thought it can be very stressful both to the camera's circuitry (as well as to their creative minds). Instead, eventual decision is also a mix of ideas - Matrix and center-weighted metering should stay separate and handle by the finder (as Nikon FA), TTL-flash should be at the base (as the Nikon F3, FA and FE2), AF-sensor is following the F-801 while the "new feature" of spot meter was decided by adding an additional module just beside the AM-200 AF-CCD module.
Great huh ? Probably because there is a compromise where other than the Multi-metered finder DP-20, other prisms such as Waist Level, 6X Magnification Finders and the Action finder will provide varying degree of performance and functions. In such case, BOTH the waist level and 6X Mag. Finder will not enjoy Matrix and not even Center-Weighted, it only works in SPOT metering; while the DA-20 Action Finder only provides Center-Weighted and Spot Metering. This has made the Multi-Metered DP-20 Finder a indispensable accessory as ALL available functions in metering will work with DP-20 and it has thus became a standard Finder for all Nikon F4.
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
PLEASE NOTE: Complimentary links are appreciative but it is not necessary, I have limited bandwidth here in this server... So, PLEASE don't distribute this URL to any bulk mailing list or unrelated user-groups, just be a little considerate, thank you. (The more you distribute, the slower this server will response to your requests...). I am NOT a Nikon nor Nikkor expert, so don't send me any mails, use the Message Board Instead. While the content prepared herein should be adequate for anyone to understand and evaluate whether you should invest into a used Nikon F4 pro-camera system for your kind of photography. Well, IF you like what you have seen so far, please help to perfect this site by reporting any broken links or any errors made.
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Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site; Paul Armstrong (email@example.com) for his explantion of the FF2 Slidemagic and Nikon F2 Pin Camera Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; hawkeye.photographic.com for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; Genesis-Camera for granting permission to use an image of the SS-F2 camera; Mr Sover Wong, Australia for those great images of his rare F2 Gold;CYLeow ®, photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works; Hong-sien Kwee of Singapore for all the Nikon F2 Pin camera images appeared in this site; Luigi Crescenzi for many of his images on the Nikon F2 Titan; John for two of his images of the Nikon F2/T used in this site; Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell Corner.com.), Mr "Arsenall", Yang Zi Xiong and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work to publish in this site based on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. A site made with an Apple IMac.