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Metering - Head-2-Head Review: Canon EOS Rebel T1i vs. Nikon D5000
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H2H ROUND-6: Metering

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On the metering front, it’s pretty easy to get boggled by the claims and names. Nikon boasts a matrix system called “420 pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II.” Canon describes their matrix system as “35-zone TTL full-aperture metering.” The bottom line? The two metering systems work quite well, and neither is either noticeably or even arguably, better, in the final result.

Take a look at the sample shots. <sample shots here> We ran the two cameras through subjects that try to fool the metering - typical, and difficult metering scenarios. These are the very scenarios that the metering systems are designed to handle, and, predictably, they handle them well. This isn’t a surprise, considering matrix metering has been developed over the course of three decades, albeit the period of time that the manufacturers were trying to figure out how to read metering off a chip, rather than film, was a pretty huge bump in the road.

The Canon allows you to link the metering to any AF point in the evaluative metering mode, which is a nice feature, and the Nikon and Canon both have a meter lock coupled to the shutter - a standard feature. They both have spot and center-weighted modes, and the Canon has a “partial” mode, which uses about 9% of the viewfinder in the center. Here is the rundown.

 

 

 

One complaint on the Nikon side: in the metering menu on the D5000, you get pictures, but no labels, for the three modes, forcing you to go back to the manual if you want to be sure what your settings are going to do. It seems petty, but it also seems easy enough to just add some labels to the menu.
 


Nikon D5000 - Metering Menu
 

 

All in all, we’re leaning towards the Canon T1i’s feature set and usability over the Nikon D5000, but just barely. That said, the metering performs well on both of these, and well within the feature range that we’d expect from this price. What we’re really seeing in differences between the two is not in performance but in features.

 


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