Hello to all Forum members,
This is my first post here...
I recently got myself a J1 with the 10-30 and 30-110 lenses and am trying to determine the best settings for the camera. Is there any consensus on whether Actice D-Lighting should be left on, or kept off? My photography is mostly landscapes and cityscapes. Any other suggestions you might have for the camera settings would be much appreciated.
Meanwhile this may be of interest to other forum members:
As an experiment, I have currently set all the settings for Picture Control i.e. Contrast, Saturation, Sharpening etc to Auto rather than the default settings. I've done this for all modes i.e. Standard, Neutral, Vivid etc. And I've set the camera on Auto Scene select. With these settings, I shot a couple of hundred photos in Paris recently and have been very pleased with the way the camera handled the exposures. Is anyone else here using the camera with these settings?
Meanwhile, I would appreciate any suggestions for the Active D-Lighting.
Regards to all
#1. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 0
Covey22 Charter MemberTue 10-Jul-12 01:52 PM
I turn ADL off. There are times I might use it, but they are rare because I work around high-contrast situations (find another angle, add filtration, add illumination). I will use Digital DEE in post-processing using CNX2, so I'm not loathing the technology.
As for Picture Controls, the old-school lesson still applies. If you are shooting for convenience (and who isn't?) but total IQ is not your primary purpose, then auto-setting Pic Cons is fine. For myself, I lower it all, sharpening, saturation, vibrance, and especially contrast. It's all easy to add it later to taste in post-process, but it's incredibly hard and sometimes impossible to remove if you did it in-camera.
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#2. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 1
Tue 10-Jul-12 02:00 PM
^ Thank you for your post! My own gut feeling was to leave it switched off, so it's good to know you confirm that. However, when time permits, I'll experiment with it on and off see which setting suits me best.
Thanks for the recommendations on the camera settings... I'll experiment with those too, but from past experience I know you are right in saying that it's very difficult to reduce contrast etc post process.
#3. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 1
wblink Registered since 09th Feb 2009Tue 10-Jul-12 03:20 PM | edited Tue 10-Jul-12 03:21 PM by wblink
>For myself, I lower it all, sharpening, saturation,
>vibrance, and especially contrast. It's all easy to add it
>later to taste in post-process, but it's incredibly hard and
>sometimes impossible to remove if you did it in-camera.
A well expressed reason to do it that way.
Nice writing and good help for many: thanks.
#4. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 0
I've done a good bit of ADL testing with other Nikon cameras. The best choice depends a bit on how you handle your images during post processing.
ADL combines an exposure adjustment to protect highlights with a complex curve to recover shadows and balance the resulting exposure. ADL Low has no exposure adjustment. There are adjustments of -0.3, -0.7 and -1.0 for ADL Normal, High, and Extra High.
I found the curve that is being applied is very difficult to reproduce with post processing. It's not a single slider adjustment - it is more complicated and I was unable to reproduce the effect in 15 minutes of testing. It is beyond D-Lighting since it does more to protect lighter areas.
If you were to shoot JPEG images, ADL is probably a better choice when you want to maintain shadow detail - such as with macro, landscape, and middle of the day outside photos. But if you want the strong shadows - as with some portrait images, you would not want ADL.
The concern with ADL is actually are underexposing the image, and the Nikon 1 cameras do not do well with strong shadow recovery. So I would probably avoid the highest levels of ADL with the Nikon 1 even though I might use them with images from other cameras.
If you use Nikon View, Capture, or Photo Mechanic, the camera settings are honored and displayed in the RAW image. During post processing in Capture, you can adjust the curve applied in ADL by changing the setting to Off, Low, Normal, High, or Extra High. There is no exposure adjustment during post processing - just the curve. And you cannot activate ADL in post processing if it was turned Off in the camera.
If you post process your images in Lightroom, Photoshop, or another program that does not use the camera settings, the ADL curve is ignored and all you have is the exposure adjustment. So unless you have it set on ADL Low, the image would simply be underexposed.
My typical setting is ADL Low. That applies the curve but does not adjust exposure, so there is no harm to the image. It preserves the opportunity to adjust the ADL setting in post processing. On a bright day with harsh light, I have used ADL High and it was successful, but that is a choice for a specific situation. ADL Auto is a bit of a black box - the camera makes the choice based on the scene and that might be okay, but I prefer more control.
I would not use ADL if I processed in Lightroom, but you could use ADL Low for the same exposure and to maintain the opportunity for future post processing in Capture.
If you shoot JPEG's, I would set ADL as appropriate to the scene.
One thing to be aware of is that the image you see on the LCD is a basic in-camera JPEG, so regardless of the product you use for post processing, this image is the thumbnail and is used for the histogram, blinkies, etc. It would reflect your ADL setting.
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#5. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 4
Wed 11-Jul-12 01:00 PM
^ Hello Eric, thanks for the comprehensive information. However the J1 does not have any option to adjust Active D-Lighting, at least I can't find any, and the reference manual only talks about switching it on or off, not about any adjustments. I think maybe only the D-SLR'S have settings to adjust ADL... Nonetheless, your post was most informative and I'll experiment with ADL when possible.. Thanks!
#6. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 5
wblink Registered since 09th Feb 2009Wed 11-Jul-12 03:01 PM
There is an even better option in (al least the V1, don't know about J1, but expect it to be there too):
You can adjust your RAW file on you camera afterwards with that option.
I really don't know if this function does the same trick as ACTIVE......, but it could be worth a try.
I didn't test it yet.
#7. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 6
Wed 11-Jul-12 06:38 PM | edited Wed 11-Jul-12 06:39 PM by Firoze
^ Yes, D-Lighting is there in the J1 as well. Thanks for referring to it... I read somewhere, can't remember where, that it's not as effective as ADL. On the other hand, the advantage of DL is that it applies the processing to a copy of the original image, so u have the original as well as a processed copy.
#8. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 6
ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Wed 11-Jul-12 06:42 PM
D- Lighting and Active D-Lighting are different. D-Lighting is an in camera editing tool which is also available in both View NX2 and Capture NX2. I find D-Lighting in the camera is similar to the global setting available in View NX2. The global setting is a bit aggressive in the way it recovers shadows and tends to create noise, so I never use it. I do use D-Lighting selectively in Capture NX2. I apply it just to the areas I need, and just the amount that is needed.
I would discourage anyone from using D-Lighting in the camera or in View NX2 unless it is very lightly applied. D-Lighting in Capture NX2 is very powerful, and applied selectively can even be used in addition to shadow recovery if you are careful.
My testing of Active D-Lighting used both shadow recovery and D-Lighting in Capture NX2. Even with both tools and a lot experience with Capture NX2, I could not easily match the effect of Active D-Lighting.
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#9. "RE: Active D-Lighting" | In response to Reply # 8
Wed 11-Jul-12 06:59 PM
^ Eric, you obviously have done some comprehensive experimenting with ADL & DL and it's good to benefit from your knowledge. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and taking the trouble to post it here...