#1. "RE: active D lighting" In response to Reply # 0
I use it most of the time. My default is to leave it set on "Low". This preserves post processing flexibility in Nikon software whe shooting raw (NEF) images. It also usually results in a image that is closest to what I want.
I generally turn it off for studio adn flash photography in controlled conditions.
If you are not using Nikon software (Capture NX2 or View NX2 and are shooting raw files, you can turn it off as no other software reads the ADL settings and applies them.
IF you are shooting JPGs, the ADL setting results are baked into the image and will show up in any software. Reversing or changing the effect becomes a manual process.
In real world use, I find that ADL has no effect on the buffer or shooting speed. In raw it is just another setting saved in the file, and processed into the small preview JPG.
The best thing to do is experiment with it for a week or so of regular shooting, then PP the images. See whether you like it better on or off. Some people don't like it because they think they are giving up "control" of the image to the camera and prefer to do adjustments in post processing. But from the perspective of "get it right" in the camera, it is just another tool to reduce PP time and effort.
If you do a search, you'll fidn many threads here discussing the pros and cons of ADL. But it boils down to what works for you given your capture format, pp software, and other preferences.
#2. "RE: active D lighting" In response to Reply # 0
I spent considerable time shooting several test images of scenes of varying contrast conditions at each ADL setting (Off, Low, Normal, High, Auto). You can repeat this combination at each exposure metering mode (Matrix, CW and Spot). You can have a high contrast scene with ADL set at Normal, for example, and the resulting image will look different for Matrix vs. Spot.
Yes, there are lots of images for you to analyze, but it is well worth the effort as ADL can yield excellent results. The intent of this exercise is for you to gain a better feel for the best combiation of settings according to the scene in front of you. I can't say which combinations are "best" since it's an artistic decision subject to your own tastes.
#4. "RE: active D lighting" In response to Reply # 0
The word on the street is that if you set ADL to "LOW" it does not affect metering. In any other setting, ADL may reduce exposure to preserve highlights, allowing the software in- (JPG) or out-of-camera (RAW) to pull up shadows. So if you leave ADL on with a setting other than low, you may systemically underexpose images. You may not find this arrangement satisfactory.
I leave ADL off unless I need it. I have ADL mapped to the Pv button and HDR mapped to the Fn button for quick callup when needed.