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Thread: Active D-Lighting

  1. #1
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    Active D-Lighting

    Hi all.
    I did a quick check and couldn't find any definitive answers to the following question:

    Does enabling Active D-Lighting on the newer Nikon cameras (eg D700) alter the raw data in the NEF file? I'm wondering if I am only shooting RAW files and using Lightroom, not NX2, if it is better to just disable this feature instead of leaving it on the default NORMAL setting. I'd hate to think the RAW data is being altered and, therefore, not RAW afterall!

    sorry if I'm retreading old ground.

  2. #2
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    Re: Active D-Lighting

    Just for reference:

    I've read two threads on other forums:

    http://nikonglass.blogspot.com/2008/...-lighting.html
    http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00OYaw

    Neither really help but suggest that leaving it on will effect the metering of the camera in order to help preserve highlights and apply a metadata tonal curve to be read by NX2 (that is ignored by other programs like Lightroom and C1.)

    I find this interesting because the area I find the most problematic with digital capture is highlight retention and natural looking roll off.

  3. #3
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Active D-Lighting

    ADL is a typical crutch for casual jpeg shooting, or if you're in specific backlit, high contrast situations (portarit, mainly) and need fast batch processing.

    It's also sometimes useful in PP using NX2, where indeed you can apply/adjust/revert the DL parameters.

    (for instance i used it on less than 10 shots out of a the last couple of thousands -but some might have more use of it, depending for example on the amount of care they're able to put into metering)
    Last edited by Corlan F.; 27th January 2010 at 10:38.

  4. #4
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    Re: Active D-Lighting

    I've done a little bit of testing and I must say I like the results far better when shooting with ADL OFF and processing in Lightroom. Much punchier shadows and tonal distribution akin to what I'm used to when using trannies and shooting for the highlights. It's obvious when looking at my exposures the tonal distribution is more consistent when using same settings under same light. With it on, I couldn't understand why I'd be underexposing dramatically when metering on mid tones I wouldn't have had problems with using trannie. Now I know. I suspect it wouldn't be such a problem if I used NX2, but certainly shadow noise has improved as well with ADL off.

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