Which Type of Centerweighting Do You Prefer and Why?

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FilmOnly

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Now that I have both Canon and Nikon gear (and have also used Pentax and Minolta), I have had a fair amount of experience with the various centerweighting systems. Do you prefer a 60/40, 75/25, or an 80/20 system? State your reasons for your particular preference.
 

eddym

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For me, the smaller the metering spot the better, because I can more accurately read the area that is nearest to Zone V.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I also prefer in-camera spot metering. I only shoot on full manual and want to be able to make a decision about where the tones are placed, based on the contrast of the lighting, the subject, and the film I'm using.
 

L Gebhardt

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I don't really like any center weighted system. None of them give accurate exposures for slides. The Matrix metering on the newer Nikons is very good for slides, but tends to sacrifice shadow detail on negative film in contrasty situations. I use a handheld spot meter when ever I can. I have never liked the internal spot meters in the Nikons when I have tried to use them. Way too much fiddling and calculations required.
 

Lee L

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I started on SLRs with a Canon FTb with a 12% center rectangle metering area. I liked that because you could place tones or find a good area to average toned reasonably well. My subsequent cameras (rangefinders and SLRs) have had spot metering modes, or spot metering only. I prefer spotmetering to any center weighted averaging system, which the SLRs also had. I've also shot with Minolta's CLC system (compares and biases between the top and bottom of a horizontally oriented frame) and Nikon matrix metering in N8008s and N90s bodies. The Minolta CLC did reasonably well. When I first got the matrix metering Nikons, I found them to underexpose shadows in print film in contrasty light in matrix mode. I do like the spot metering mode in the N90s and N8008s, and that's what I use nearly all the time with those bodies.

I'm with the previous posters on metering. I prefer to have the camera meter give me the facts, not an interpretation like center weighted averaging or matrix metering that's sometimes difficult to reinterpret. I like a measurement that I can use to make my own settings, not an interpretation that I have to outguess. If a camera won't give me an unbiased reading of a known area, I usually carry a small incident meter.

Lee
 

jphendren

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I have never had good luck using a center-weighted meter. My Nikon F3 had one. I prefer the in camera spot meter in my F5 or EOS-1v. Matrix or evaluative meters seem to work pretty well, but you must know in what situations that the meter will work well and in which it will not. I've found that the RGB meter in the F5 will expose for highlights in contrasty scenes, which is what I want. If you are standing in the shade with the sun setting behind a large Red Rock escarpment with a huge pink cloud above, the Nikon knows to expose the pink cloud correctly, but the Canon will try to expose for the large shadow area that you are standing in. If the scene is of only moderate contrast, the Canon evaluative meter works great.

Jared
 

Stevopedia

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Center-weighted always worked fine for me. Sure, you have to use your head a bit to compensate for various lighting conditions, but for the most part that's true for most if not all of the metering techniques, except maybe for the newest multi-point systems. And it seems a lot less work than the zone system, and you can't use a spot meter to take averages around a scene for action.

That being said, when I have the option I tend to use matrix metering.
 

Pumal

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I prefer a Hand Held Gossen with 3 different angles and a Hand Held Spot Meter.
 

Kiron Kid

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I always got great looking, well exposed slides with Nikon's 60/40 metering system.

Kiron Kid
 
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FilmOnly

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I appreciate the input...

I, too, always use a hand-held meter (a Sekonic L-308S). I like having an in-camera meter for situations where I will need a "second opinion" (i.e. mixed lighting, odd lighting, etc.). With regard to the Gossen, how does it offer multiple angles?
 

nolanr66

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I have a 12mm circle center weighted meter that I use on my Nikon 35mm. I pretty much like to use that most of the time. I think any type of meter is fine to use as long as you pay attention to it and become familiar with what is going to happen. If you want to just point and shoot type photography then the matrix probably will be the kindest type of meter to use.
 

agw

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I found that the 80/20 of the F3, if used correctly, yields about as good results as spot or matrix on the F5, only that the latter is more foolproof. Even for slide film (shot the original Velvia for years in the F3).

I.e., with the F3 you have to use manual exposure, and think about what you meter at. The F5 w/matrix I most of the time get away with putting on "A".

Now, for b&w negativess I actually prefer spot metering, if available, but 80/20 is good enough here, too.
 

2F/2F

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There is only one kind of in-camera meter that I really do not mind: Canon FDs with the center rectangle that does all the metering. Best in-camera metering setup ever, IMHO (except for the in-camera incident meter on early Nikon F Photomics). Not too big. Not too small. Usually gets a printable neg in a quick pinch...when there is not time and you just need to point, set the aperture, and shoot.
 

Sirius Glass

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What ever system is on the camera I am using:
I have two Nikon SLRs with slightly different matrix patterns and different number on matrix points. The F-100 has a spot meter that I will use for 35mm and for some 120 photographs.

The Hasselblad has a region that the metering is done in and I am happy with the results from the PME.

With any system, I meter with little or no sky in the photograph.

Steve
 
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