#33. "RE: D800 Configuration Settings - Excel & Numbers *NEW*" In response to In response to 28
Just one thought on Active D-Lighting. ADL may adjust exposure and applies a complex curve to enhance shadows while retaining bright areas. If you are using a Nikon program or other program that reads the camera settings, the software uses the ADL setting. If not, it is ignored except the exposure adjustment if any will be maintained.
If ADL is active on any setting, it can be adjusted in post processing to any other ADL setting or it can be turned off. Of course, the exposure adjustment cannot be changed in post processing. If ADL is Off in the original shot, you cannot activate ADL in post.
Using ADL Low, there is no exposure adjustment. ADL Normal reduces exposure by 0.3 stops, ADL High by 0.7 stops, and ADL Extra High by 1.0 stops. Each applies an increasingly aggressive curve to create the proper image.
In my testing, the ADL curve could not be easily replicated with simple adjustments in post processing. I found the curve applied in the camera did a pretty good job and for high contrast images was better than what I could do without significant effort in post processing.
I use ADL Low as my default setting since it does not adjust exposure and simply applies a curve to recover shadows and control highlights. This allows me to use the alternate ADL settings in post processing. It also helps to avoid blinkies or blown highlights which might otherwise be controlled with exposure compensation.
If you have an Adobe centric workflow, there is no disadvantage to ADL Low. The exposure would be unchanged and the curve would be ignored. But you would retain the data in the RAW file and could use it later if software permits.
If you have a Nikon based workflow, or use Photo Mechanic or other programs that use the Nikon settings, ADL Low makes a pretty good adjustment and gives you some additional options in post processing.