I would like to hear from members concerning Active D-Lighting (D7100). I normally shoot raw HDR 3 exposures for high contrast scenes and for lower contrast I shoot single exposures and use one of the HDR programs to process the single shot. Has any one compared Active D-Lighting to HDR?
#1. "RE: Active D-Lighting D7100" In response to Reply # 0
I have active d-lighting set to the auto setting on my D7000, and shoot both raw and jpegs usually, so I get to compare them. I also do a lot of HDR shots using raw shots, bracketing and post processing. The ADL to my eye is a very low level of HDR - it does some of the same things, but in a very subtle way. I don't consider it to be anything the same as the full blown HDR shots I do, but it's kind of nice for most basic shots.
#2. "RE: Active D-Lighting D7100" In response to Reply # 0
There have been lots of threads discussing this, some in favor, some not.
Active D lighting will not completely replace HDR, but does somewhat reduce the need for it.
Are you shooting RAW (NEF) or JPG?
Are you using Nikon software to process NEF files or something else.
The value of ADL depends on how you answer those questions.
If you shoot JPG with ADL, the results are baked into the image and only reversible with a lot of manual post-processing, so you better like the results.
If you shoot RAW and use a non-nikon raw convertor, the ADL settings are ignored by the software, so you might as well turn ADL off.
If you shoot RAW and use Capture NX2 or View NX2 to process your files, the full benefits of ADL are available to you, and are adjustable in post processing, even to the point of turning it off, PROVIDED you have at least some level of ADL turned on in the camera. It appears that ADL-Low has the least imapact on the basic image and is completely reversible. Higher levels of ADL do affect the base image and are not entirely reversible.
So, based on the above, I shoot RAW and, have ADL set to low in the camera and process with CNX2. Sometime I use CNX to process the images into JPGs or TIFs before sending them to the HDR software, but more frequently, I just have the HDR software read the unedited NEFs.
For the most part, the D7100's dynamic range has reduced my need to use 1 shot HDR processing, and reduced the need to do bracket HDR shots. But the are still high contrast scenes when I shoot 5 shot brackets or even more. Three shots just don't seem like they are enough in those situations. I'd rather have too many frames and not use them than too few and miss the image.
#3. "RE: Active D-Lighting D7100" In response to Reply # 0
I think you're referencing two different and non-comparable paths to the production of a final image.
HDR is designed to achieve something that the camera cannot really do on its own. By comparison, ADL is designed to automatically compensate for the limitation imposed by a given sensor when trying to capture a scene which exceeds the sensor's dynamic range.
So HDR is a creative approach to photography that can be used to construct a photo that the camera could never have captured. By capturing mutliple exposures and later combining them, as you know, it's possible to present in a single, final image a photo that the camera could not have captured on its own. The reason is that the native dynamic range of the sensor cannot cover the dynamic range of the final HDR image.
ADL is simply a programmed method, in the camera, of controlling highlights and lifting deep shadows in a way that places the range of brightness and luminosity within the dynamic range of the camera's sensor. ADL does not extend the native dynamic range of the sensor - that's impossible - and that's the main difference between ADL and HDR.
In some shots, ADL can process an image into something containing the illusion of HDR, but it's just not the same thing at all most of the time.