Flash Metering patterns
Until the release of the Dynax/Maxxum 9 all Minolta AF cameras had a center-weighted TTL-OTF flash meter. There was a single metering cell, and it metered the entire frame while giving higher emphasis to the center than the periphery. The problem of such a metering pattern is that small foreground objects are often “overlooked”, and flash exposure is dominated by the larger background. This way these foreground objects often end up overexposed.
4 Segments, Spot
With the Dynax/Maxxum 9 Minolta introduced a TTL-OTF flash meter with 4 segments. The camera can now meter smaller sections of the frame separately. It can then put varying emphasis on the four segments depending on AF and other factors. The Dynax/Maxxum 9 can also be forced to use only a single segment of the four.
Using a multi-segment flash meter is a big step forward. With these cameras the overexposed foreground objects are much less of a problem.
When the camera uses pre-flash metering, it uses its ambient light meter. In all later Minolta and Konica Minolta AF cameras this meter is divided into 14 segments. Sony DSLRs are equipped with a 40 segment metering system.
© 2008 Michael Hohner; This page was last changed on 2008-01-05