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Metering System Selection When a Multi-Meter Finder DP-20, the Nikon F4's supplied standard finder, is used, you can select either of three metering systems by setting the finder's selector that locates at the left hand side of the the finder to matrixicon.gif for Matrix, CWicon.gif for Center-Weighted andspoticon.gif for Spot; the mark for the system selected appears in the viewfinder LCD. Relative: Various Interchangeable Finders for Nikon F4 Series.

<<< ---- Image from my copyright-free image collection. eofooTM.gif Malaysian Internet Resources
The metering range (with 50mm f/1.4, ISO 100) starts from EV0~EV21 (up to EV16+ 1/3 stop) with TTL Matrix metering; EV-2 ~ EV21 (with AE Action Finder DA-20) in Center-Weighted Metering; while spot metering is effectively operative at EV-2 ~ EV21 in TTL Spot Metering.

Three metering systems are provided for maximum capability over the widest range of lighting conditions. The Metering algorithm is similar to previous F801(s). Also see a brief section of proper way how to mount and remove a Nikko lense.

* Includes Nikon Series E lenses; ** Simplified Matrix (AMP) mode.

Matrix Metering provides the most efficient operation for automatic exposure control, and is ideal for quick changing and complex light conditions, remote-control photography and for fill-flash operation. Matrix Meter operation is not dependent upon the subject's location in the finder.

Center-Weighted Metering allows more user control and should be selected when you decide to emphasize the exposure for a subject centered in the finder. It also operates with fill-flash operation. Although most people, in particular the stepped-up Nikon F3 users would like to see a more concentrate 80:20 ratio is chosen, but instead, a more conventional Nikon's 60/40 weighted balance ratio was chosen (it also differs from the 75:25 weighted balance ratio used in earlier AF-Nikon F-801(N8808 in US) because Nikon thought the camera also has an alternative Spot Metering for more precise, selective metering selection.

Spot Metering is the most demanding for user control, and requires informed and careful operation. It has the most selective sensor and can detect subject brightness in small areas, about 2.5% of the finder area.

The Stop Down Exposure Metering is also available for Non-Ai (auto Aperture Nikkor lense types). TTL full aperture metering is NOT available in this mode. However, "Auto exposure shooting is still possible by releasing shutter while holding the Depth of Field Preview button. Further, it is still possible by releasing shutter after reset the DOF preview button after measuring exposure meter by depressing the DOF preview button and using AE-Lock (AUTO EXPOSURE-LOCK) mode that locates at the front of the camera. More info is available at the bottom of this page

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For an instance, when AUTO diaphragm ring does not couple with the metering coupling level in situations such as using a PC-Nikkor lense and/or using any old Nikon Bellow lense type, you can also release the shutter to take the picture in AUTO mode. NOTE: When using Bellow attachment, say a PB-6, it is possible to use AUTO exposure and use the Preview Lever on the PB-6 instead of the DOF button on the camera. When using a PC-Nikkor, determine the exposure in Manual exposure before attempting in shifting the lense perspective.
WARNING: The meter coupler lever has to be always set at rest position (A); when a non-Ai or non-meter couple meter attachment is used, flip it upwards for stopped down metering. IF you turn the tab upwards when using any Ai-Nikkor (including AF-Nikkor lenses, all meter reading with the Nikon F4 will NOT be accurate and exposure error may occurred.

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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Jochem Wijnands who also has an online portoflio. Image copyright© 2003. All rights reserved.

MATRIX Metering System

The Nikon F4's Matrix Metering system is the result of many years of laboratory research and field tests, conducted after the pioneering Automatic Multi-Pattern Metering (AMP) system of the Nikon FA which was introduced in 1983. In Matrix Metering, the meter automatically provides correct exposure for the main subject in any lighting situation, without having to use manual exposure compensation.

The Nikon F4 has two SPD sensors which are located on the sides of the eyepiece lense. The sensors, corresponding to the five segments, individually senses the light coming through the lense divides the picture-taking scene into five segments. In five-segment reading, the three elements SPD cells on the left sensor read scene areas 2 and 4. The cells on the right sensor read 1, 3 and 5. The central area I is read by both cells. In Center-Weighted Metering, the central area is also read by both cells.

Matrix Metering Algorithm Pattern: An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure for evaluating and completing a job. And a computer's ability to handle detailed intensive exposure control calculations makes it perfect for evaluating complicated and fast changing lighting patterns. The Nikon F4's high-capacity computer uses Nikon-designed software which employs a comprehensive Matrix (series of algorithm) to evaluate brightness and contrast.

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The Nikon F4's computer divides the scene into 25 Matrix boxes, each of which has one or more algorithms. Upon analyzing scene light patterns, it determines the appropriate computation method - Low-Brightness Weighted, High-Brightness Weighted Average or Center Segment - to obtain the best possible exposure, even for an off-centered subject. The system is also programmed to factor out extremes of brightness and darkness, just as you would if you were personally evaluating the scene.

As Matrix Metering demands a great deal of raw computing power to process complicating data analysis and at the time of its introduction, Nikon F4 can easily claim to have installed one of the most powerful on board computer processing circuitry in applied camera design. As a powerful system is required to instantly process various data pertaining to exposure metering, focus detection and mechanical parts control with stepless lens-body interface via super-fast computation - all aim to achieve one single photographic objective - outstandingly accurate exposure results.



Refined from previous Nikon's original design for multi-segment metering, the difference in the F4's Matrix Metering System was aiming towards more demanding professional usage - the camera's five-segment computer-controlled matrix has more power than any previous Nikon where it can define more lighting/contrast conditions, especially for fill-flash photography reliably.

Unlike the system found on any Nikon prior to the camera such as F801, F4's Matrix system can even sense the difference between horizontal and vertical composition, and adjusts metering algorithms accordingly. While virtually every other camera's metering systems that may require the subject to be positioned at the center, the F4's Matrix Meter can work with any scene in which the subject is off-center !



Matrix Vertical Sensor The Matrix vertical sensor(s) is/are incorporated on both sides of the eyepiece lens of the Multi-Meter Finder. When the camera is turned from the horizontal to the vertical position, the built-in mercury switch enclosed in each of the two sensors is automatically activated, thus detecting the vertical position.
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When the sensor detects the vertical position of the camera, the metering output assignment of the five segments changes as shown. That is real Cool ...
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Further, the Matrix system also extends its reach when you use a dedicated flash with the F4 to provide Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash to enable balanced, correct exposure for both foreground subject and background, even in demanding, quick changing situations - regardless you are using an AF or even when a manual focus Ai-S & Ai Nikkor lense is used in brought daylight, twilight or at night while at the same time, the camera can still retaining a full manual overridden capability.

Relative: Nikon's Manual Focus Ai-S & Ai Nikkor lenses & various AF/MF-TTL Speedlights for Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash

Whatever the ambient brightness configuration, the F4 intelligently determines the appropriate exposure value and the TTL flash exposure level. With effective usage, eventual flash result can be of a pleasing, natural-looking effect without losing the correct background exposure - regardless what focal length and capable lens types and/or action or or still pictorial scenes, a feat attributed by the F4's built-in computer which will automatically adjust the camera's shutter speed and lense aperture to correspond to exposure requirements while the auto focusing system will also ensure pictures will deliver crisps sharp images.


You can choose Center-Weighted Metering when you want to base exposure on either Auto or Manual exposure control for a centrally located subject. Selecting Center-Weighted Metering overrides Matrix Metering and concentrates 60% of the meter's sensitivity into the center of the viewfinder which is outlined by a 12mm circle, while the remaining 40% will be spread across the entire picture frame with emphasize given to the bottom section of the screen.




Sensitivity of Center-Weighted: Metering Choose when need base exposure on either Auto or Manual Exposure control. It overrides Matrix and concentrates 60% at the center 12mm circle. Available with standard DP-20 and the optional AE Action Finder DA-20.

With the exception of a few early Nikon/Nikkormat models, this popular method has been used as a "Nikon standard" in metering for all their MF bodies which can trace back to the early sixties It may not be the absolute solution provider for all applicable scenes but no doubt it offers a middle-of -the-road kind of exposure reading - not entirely perfect but safe. Frankly, although I don't find Nikon's explanation very relevant in their claims that - since the F4 also offers an alternative spot metering, the CW should revert back to 60:40 balanced ratio as for the entire generation of Nikon F3, no one is complaining the 80:20 ratio adopted in the F3 thus far and it may even allows F3 users to be more familiar in handling similar exposure measurement.

Anyway, those are history now. As explained earlier, the CW metering system is available with only both Nikon F4's supplied standard Multi-Meter Finder DP-20 and the optional AE Action Finder DA-20. Both CW and Matrix are inoperative with the remaining two prisms (Waist and 6X Mag.) where spot metering is usable.

SPOT Metering System

For selective metering of tiny subjects or for advanced manual metering techniques, use Spot Metering. The area metered is represented by the approx. 5mm-diameter circle in the center of the viewfinder. This metering system is effective when precise measurement of a special portion of the subject is required. The spot metering sensor is incorporated in the Nikon F4's body, so Spot Metering is available with any of the Nikon F4's interchangeable viewfinders and in fact, when you are using both the Waist level (DW-20) and 6X Magnification Finder (DW-21), the only exposure measurement available is spot metering (Both Matrix and Center-weighted metering are inoperative).

Well, spot metering is good for precise exposure measurement but its advantage may also not entirely friendly to use due to its rather restrictive and very narrow angle of measurement. When operating a waist level finder in photographing documentation or copying work, this is even more tricky (especially when mounted on a typical repro-copy stand where spot metering may not present any advantage (can even potentially create erroneous exposure) - in such case, a neutral value 18& Gray card has to be used).

Naturally, applications of Nikon F4 is not just confined to just shooting documents and/or copying works. In many cases, spot metering does provides photographers a level of precise control over certain tricky lighting situations in what he/she intends to shoot while comparing exposures with other metered readings.




Sensitivity of Spot Metering:
To selective metering on tiny subjects or advanced manual meter techniques. Indicates by 5mm-diameter circle at center. Effective when precise measurement of a special portion of the subject. Available with any of the F4's interchangeable viewfinders.

The beauty is the many variable options in exposure measurement the Nikon F4 can provide. If you intend to shoot fast actions or in situations where you anticipate there will no time to fine tune exposures, just set the camera to Matrix and let the computer dictates and free you from the technicalities. If based on experience, you are not convinced in any given metered reading provides by the Matrix system is accurate, just simply turn to center-weighted metering to get a fail safe exposure, the spot metering can be used when you have all the time in the world to fine-tune and compared other metered readings in a highly tricky situations. Here is a useful link relates to mastering the techniques, and find good applications of spot metering in your photography.

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Overall, regardless you are shooting variable Programmed Auto, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE and in full Manual control, the three active TTL metering systems form as the basis for all the essential exposure modes available in the Nikon F4. In comparison with the Nikon F3, you cannot ask for anything more from the camera. It provides everything in any photographer wish list in exposure control. They offers a level of flexibility and assured handling never equaled by any of the previous Nikon SLRs previously and even rivaling brands may also find it hard to catch up with waht the camera has to offer at the time of its introduction. The rest is just leaving to your creativity to capuitalise and fully explore what it has to offer in the superbly crafted Nikon camera.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Steven G. MAKA ® <info@makaphotography.com>. 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.

Stop-Down Exposure Metering: For lenses and other systems without automatic diaphragms When the automatic diaphragm ring does not couple with the meter coupling lever of the camera, such as when using a PC-Nikkor, reflex mirror or bellows attachment, focusing should be done with the lens wide open while exposure measurement and shooting must be done with the lens stopped down. In A Mode: Take the picture with the lens stopped down. With a PC-Nikkor, correct exposure must be determined before shifting the perspective. To do this, first use the AE Lock; the lense can then be shifted to take the shot. in M mode: Stop down the lens to determine the correct exposure, then take the picture.

For lenses with fixed apertures Because the aperture of a Reflex-Nikkor lens is fixed, in photo-micrography or telescopic photography, it is impossible to change the exposure by varying the aperture. In A mode: The F4's computer will automatically adjust the shutter speed. Take the picture by simply depressing the shutter release button. In M mode: Select the appropriate shutter speed (in 1 EV steps) for correct exposure. If a correct exposure cannot be obtained, use either an ND filter (if the scene is too bright) or supplementary illumination (if too dark).

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Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |

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Index Page
  Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm

MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

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 (pkared@ameritech.net) 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.