Matrix metering evaluates multiple segments of a scene to determine the best exposure by essentially splitting the scene into sections, evaluating either 420-segments or 1,005 segments, depending on the Nikon D-SLR in use.

The 3D Color Matrix Meter II takes into account the scene's contrast and brightness, the subject's distance (via a D- or G-type NIKKOR lens), the color of the subject within the scene and RGB color values in every section of the scene. 3D Color Matrix Metering II also uses special exposure-evaluation algorithms, optimized for digital imaging, that detect highlight areas. The meter then accesses a database of over 30,000 actual images to determine the best exposure for the scene. Once the camera receives the scene data, its powerful microcomputer and the database work together to provide the finest automatic exposure control available.