Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F5 Series SLR models - Various Metering Systems - Part II

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2) A user set, "scalable" type Centre-Weighted Metering

Other than the much talked about 3D Matrix Meter, Nikon has actually developed another very innovative solution for the metering system for the camera. In this case where I have to admit this came in as a pleasant surprise because most people have concluded the classic Center-weighted metering system has relegated to "useless" status after the few stages of improvement done with the Matrix metering system. In those days where many users have debated over the metering distribution pattern of the 80:20 used in the Nikon F3 and then with the reversion of 75:25 in the subsequent Nikon F4 because a spot meter has been added to the camera. With a skip of a generation of the single-digit Nikon F, finally Nikon has developed a scalable Center-Weighted system for all and there are a few variable settings (via built-in Custom Settings) where you can select any of those based on individual preferences. In fact, other than the 8mm, 12mm, 15mm, 20mm (referring to sensor area), the F5 also permits you to set a simple average meter (base on entire viewfinder) or create a customary-size diameter () via Computer Link.

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<<<--- Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Curtis Forrrester® from Denver, Colorado, USA. Curtis has alsoan on-line portfolio at where you can access some of his other creative works. Image copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

The basic Nikon F5's Classic Center-Weighted Metering (factory default) concentrates 75% of its sensitivity within a 12mm circle, and 25% in the peripheral area. It's the classic meter for those who shoot portraits, or simply want to take personal control. But if the subject is too small, too near or too far, the 12mm reference circle nay not be the size you need. Actually, the innovative scalable metering distribution patterns designed by Nikon is also the world's first Flexible Centre-Weighted Meter employs in a SLR camera and everything becomes very personal. A warm reminder to some of you here: Center-weighted metering system (apply to the Matrix system as well) will not work on both 6X Magnification Finder (DW-31) and Waist Level Finder (DW-30), where in this case, Spot metering should be used instead (because the metering cell is housed inside the multi-metered prism - not the camera body). Next, When a Non-CPU AF Nikkor lense is used even if the meter selector has set to Matrix, it will automatically shifts to center-weighted metering system.

Using the F5 s built-in Custom Setting #14, you can change the size of the sensor area to 8mm, 15mm or 20mm or simply create a simple average meter, depending on the subject's size and distance. In auto exposure mode, to measure the brightness of the picture's off center portion, use the camera's AE-L/AF-L button. Note when CW is selected, the metering set icon at the bottom LCD panel also changes accordingly. The effective Metering range (at ISO 100 with f/1.4 lens) for Center-Weighted Metering is similar to 3D Colour Matrix, which works equally well from EV 0 to 20.

metergragh-8mm.gif metergragh-12mm.gif

Icon shown at the LCD data display inside the finderwhen Center-Weighted meter is chosen. However, there are NO icon to remind you at the top or rear LCD display.

metergragh-15mm.gif metergragh-20mm.gif
Note: 8mm, 15mm, 20mm, simple average meter (on entire viewfinder) or create a custom-size (by Computer Link) diameter, select .

3) Spot Metering.

For really precise metering, the Nikon F5's Spot Metering reads a 4mm diameter of the image area (approx.1.5%). (6mm-dia. area or approx. 3.3% of entire frame with focusing screens other than EC-B type.) The technical aspect of the Nikon F5 for spot metering is, the meter actually is a standalone for this application (but it is the AF sensor that locates at the base of the mirror box that doubles as Spot meter); next is even more important to its metering accuracy, as the spot meter's sensing area(s) also changes correspond with the manually selected focus area (applied with EC-B focusing screen only).- making it an ideal way when individual control is critical. When each of the optional DW-30 and DW-31 viewfinders is used, where neither of which has a metering sensor inside, the F5's autofocus sensor functions as a spot metering sensor. Since the sensor is residing inside the camera, the Spot meter will works with ALL available finders designed for the Nikon F5.

Shooting ants with a macro lense is not a very enjoyable experience as often it requires plenty of patience and anticipation. A spot meter is used in this scene where the background may affect other metering system.

<<<--- Copyright-free images collection © 2004 .

The effective metering range (at ISO 100 with f/1.4 lens) for Spot Metering is a less responsive EV 2 to 20. Spot meter is often being over emphasized of its importance in handling critically difficult lighting condition where a big portion of the picture frame is dominated by either high contrast scenes or only a portion of the entire scene is given metered preference. However, good handling of the spot meter often requires good experience in able to analyze where to meter and basic knowledge of able to distinguish whether the metered area requires other exposure compensation.

As the area of meter is correspond to one of the focusing bracket(s) the tiny area requires absolute attention when focus in order the metered area is not being moved. Frankly, as using spot meter to shoot a moving target is quite difficult, so, other modes should be given preference instead. In a inevitably situation such as, for an instance, when a waist level finder is used on a copy stand to meter a document, care should be taken to compensate for excessive white or dark background.

Lastly, spot meter is actually quite tricky to use correctly, as it requires certain level of experience so as to be able to identify WHAT SHOULD be meter in order to avoid erroneous exposure - so, unless you know what you are doing, for critically important shots, you may consider to change meter reading to either CW or bracket some variable exposures to buy some insurance. #$@%#^?? ..

Icon changes at the LCD data display inside the finder according when Spot is selected.

The three metering systems employed in the Nikon F5 was by the far the most comprehensive you can get from the market today. Together with the TTL Flash system which is at its second generation of multi-segment matrix flash, the camera has provided a few solution to comfort anyone that may require automation to assist in resolving a tricky metering situations. Modern photographers are lucky and in fact, it will be a joke to get a erroreous expsoure with this level of technologies behind you. Nevertheless, as human weakness still persists, so the current Nikon F6 (2005) has even gone one level up to refine the various systems for improved accuracy in scene reading. But the true bonus (for a pity guy like me, the F6 can also be modified by Nikon to accept pre-AI lenses BUT a BIG difference is, unlike the F5, the F6 can matrix meter with manual focus (non-CPU) lenses - that perhaps summarizes the little drawback which I can pick on from the various high performance metering systems offered in Nikon F5.

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Macro Photography - Related info on Micro-Nikkor lenses

Specification for Nikon F5
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F5 50th Anniversary Model | Nikon/Kodak DCS-620 | DCS-720 Digital Still SLR camera

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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: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst


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W A R N I N G: The new G-SERIES Nikkor lenses have removed the conventional aperture ring on the lense barrel, they CANNOT adjust aperture(s) when operating in manual exposure control even with certain earlier MF/AF Nikon SLR camera models. But they are FULLY COMPATIBLE with the Nikon F5 featured here in all usable metering systems and/or exposure modes. Please refer to your local distributor for compatibility issue(s).

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A resource dedicated to my kids, Alvin Foo & Esther Foo- one day, BOTH might need to use all these information for his/her Nikon F5A camera.

Volunteered Maintainer(s) for the Nikon F5 Message Board: Tony Davies-Patrick, UK; Rick Oleson, US; Koh Kho King, Malaysia.

Credit: Mr. Chuck Hester, US for his text re-editing skill for this site; Our staff, HowKiat® who created the 3D-Nikon F5 logo. Mr. Lew Chee Wai of YL camera for lending his F5 for me to take some shots appeared in this site. All those nice folks who have contributed their images, in particular Mr. Mike Long, Edwin leong, Palmi Einarsson, Sergio Pessolano, Fred Kamphues, Harry Eggens, Curtis Forrester, Nick (Natures Moments), Sandra Bartocha; fellow countrymen, Vincent Thian, Koh Kho King, Philip Chong, CY Leow etc. and contributions from a few nice folks from Photo Malaysia Forum. Disclaimers & acknowledgments: 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 for public publishing in this website, where majority of the extracted information are used basing on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from any possible dispute except rectifying them after verification from respective source. Neither Nikon or its associates has granted any permission(s) in using their public information nor has any interest in the creation of this site. "Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" "Silent Wave", "Focus Tracking Lock-on", "Nikkor" & other applicable technical/business terms are registered trade name(s) of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.