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Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?

Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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Bravozulu Registered since 04th Jun 2012
Fri 19-Oct-12 11:47 PM

It sure seems great. But I've turned it off after reading how it slows down the buffer and recording of data to the SD chip.

So, is AD Lighting anirreplaceable setting for rescuing shadow detail, or can work in Lightroom or PS achieve the same results after the fact?

You might wonder why I ask this. I am using a 1999 Mac G4 computer so I don't have current software. Like many others, I'm waiting for a new model iMac to be released so I can get modern and learn PP.

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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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#1. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 0

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Sat 20-Oct-12 05:32 AM

In high dynamic range scenes it can prevent or reduce clipped high tones and preserve shadows. So for many it is quite useful. Are you shooting burst mode where speed of the buffer clearing is important? How fast the buffer clears is not really a concern for the computer.
You can get some of the function of the ADL in post but not the clip reduction, when it is clipped, there is data loss that can't be recovered. ADL impacts exposure so it does change the exposure even in RAW mode but the shadow recovery is possible in post processing.
Are you having a problem with high DR range scenes now? Some subjects like studio portraiture, I turn it off but in outdoors wide DR scenes i leave it on.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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mklass

Tacoma, US
7421 posts

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#2. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 0

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Sat 20-Oct-12 12:22 PM

I wouldn't believe everything you read.

If using ADL slows down writing the file, it is by a minuscule amount and the buffer would cover tha. Unless you are shooting really long bursts, you'd never notice. This is one of those theoretical things that makes no difference in actual use.

As Stan says, there are other benefits to using ADL that do make a difference in your results. Some people like ADL, and others don't. But that decision is based on workflow and desired results, not any camera speed concerns.

Mick
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Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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#3. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 2

Bravozulu Registered since 04th Jun 2012
Sat 20-Oct-12 02:59 PM

Nope, I'm not shooting burst or continuous shutter release. I read about the possible buffer slowdown in Thom Hogan's ebook on the D7000.

In my 6th month of DSLR ownership, I have thus far learned a fair amount about the camera. But almost nothing about PP. Because I have a clunky computer lacking an Intel chip. Won't even take a class in Lightroom or Photoshop until I own the software.

So the sequence will be New iMac (intel) > new software > study digital image software. I haven't gotten to the first step.

I'll turn the AD-lighting option back on.

gary
santa monica

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dm1dave

Lowden, US
13629 posts

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#4. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 0

dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Sat 20-Oct-12 07:52 PM

You mention Lightroom and Photoshop in your original post.

Like most camera setting (except white balance) you need to use Nikon Capture NX or View NX to take full advantage of ADL. Lightroom does not read picture control settings or Active D-Lighting.

The only advantage to using ADL if you are not processing in Capture NX is that ADL will slightly reduce the exposure and may save some highlights. Of course you could use exposure compensation to do the same thing without using ADL.

I would probably keep ADL turned off if I were using any non-Nikon RAW converter.

Dave Summers
Nikonians Photo Contest Director
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Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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#5. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 4

Bravozulu Registered since 04th Jun 2012
Sat 20-Oct-12 10:24 PM

See. I don't know any of that stuff. LR and PS are two familiar brands. I used them as examples.

In fact, I upload images from my SD cards using ViewNX2 right now. And plan on using Capture NX when I've got a computer that will run it. I plan on saving files raw so the Nikon products will play a part. The only program on which I've seen a real demonstration is Photo Mechanic, and I definitely will use that because of its organization abilities.

Beyond that, I haven't yet chosen a religion. Digitally speaking. Amen!

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mdallie

Novi, US
238 posts

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#6. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 0

mdallie Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Sun 21-Oct-12 12:01 AM

My D7000 was my first Nikon (after many years of Canon). I thought ADL was interesting and did some tests. I also read some information in books and on these forums.

I was extremely pleased with the results and believe it enhances my photos in a way that I could not achieve in PP.

Mike

RLDubbya

US
553 posts

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#7. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 6

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Sun 21-Oct-12 09:21 AM

Mike, what does your PP workflow look like (general idea, products, etc.)?


>My D7000 was my first Nikon (after many years of Canon). I
>thought ADL was interesting and did some tests. I also read
>some information in books and on these forums.
>
>I was extremely pleased with the results and believe it
>enhances my photos in a way that I could not achieve in PP.

mdallie

Novi, US
238 posts

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#8. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 7

mdallie Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011
Sun 21-Oct-12 09:27 AM

RL Dubbya,

My PP can vary based on the situation. I have Aperture, Lightrooom, and CS6. I use Aperture for asset management and for most of light work (about 80% of what I do), use Lightroom when I need more significant RAW adjustment capability, and Photoshop when I really care about a picture a lot.

Why I say ADL will do what I cannot achieve in PP is because when I did my first tests, I found that ADL did a phenomenal job of bringing up the light levels in the shadows. I was thrilled, but I might have been able to do this in PP by bringing up the shadows. But then I did some research and found there were some sophisticated ADL algorithms that actually adjusted the exposure along the way. I don't think you can duplicate that.

I don't remember where I did my reading, but it was pretty neat stuff.

Mike

RLDubbya

US
553 posts

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#9. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 8

RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Sun 21-Oct-12 09:48 AM


Mike, thanks.

Maybe I should play with ADL after all. I use LR 4 and whatever the latest version of PhotoShop is (well, I have the PS, but honestly don't really use it that much as LR does 99% of what I need).

Bob




>My PP can vary based on the situation. I have Aperture,
>Lightrooom, and CS6. I use Aperture for asset management and
>for most of light work (about 80% of what I do), use Lightroom
>when I need more significant RAW adjustment capability, and
>Photoshop when I really care about a picture a lot.
>
>Why I say ADL will do what I cannot achieve in PP is because
>when I did my first tests, I found that ADL did a phenomenal
>job of bringing up the light levels in the shadows. I was
>thrilled, but I might have been able to do this in PP by
>bringing up the shadows. But then I did some research and
>found there were some sophisticated ADL algorithms that
>actually adjusted the exposure along the way. I don't think
>you can duplicate that.
>
>I don't remember where I did my reading, but it was pretty
>neat stuff.

Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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#10. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 9

Bravozulu Registered since 04th Jun 2012
Sun 21-Oct-12 01:17 PM

A few of these shots made me think about ADL. Shot at the Farmer's Market, in Hollywood Sat - Sept 20,. Overcast day, and due to the 12-24 lens, big portions of the bright sky creep into the frame. So the shaded areas exhibit dark contrast.

Note the 29 Ford Pickup under the cover of the fuel pump island. The food stand has a nice mix of tones, and its Histogram is spread nicely near the center. The scenes with sky showing through, though are another story. The market as a whole is a cluster of individual stands, covered with canvas and open to the sky along the passageways.

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gkaiseril

Chicago, US
6739 posts

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#11. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 0

gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005
Sun 21-Oct-12 03:17 PM

The in camera ADL will be baked or processed into the output Jpeg, the settings adjustment for the camera's ADL and the use of incamera ADL will be recorded in the MakerNote of the EXIF data for both the Jpeg and NEF. A NEF that has the ADL use tag cannot be adjusted by Nikon View NX2, Nikon Capture NX2 can edit and adjust the ADL and other camera settings. Any 3rd party software will not use the in camera settings for the ADL and one will need to workout the necessary settings to get the same look as the Nikon software.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

MotoMannequin

Livermore, CA, US
8582 posts

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#12. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 0

MotoMannequin Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Registered since 11th Jan 2006
Mon 22-Oct-12 04:38 PM

There are two parts to Nikon's ADL:

The first part is the "active" which in some cases may reduce exposure to protect against blown highlights. Because exposure is reduced, this "setting" is obviously present in the raw data and therefore will be part of the output file regardless of what raw converter you use. It seems, however, that this only comes into play with ADL set to high. Medium and low settings do not seem to modify exposure.

The second part is the "d-lighting" which is Nikon's name for their proprietary shadow recovery. This is a feature of raw conversion and therefore only applied if you use a Nikon raw converter. However, you can apply whatever shadow recovery tools exist in your raw converter of choice to get the result you want.

Is this feature necessary?

For serious shooting, I'm always checking the histogram, being sure to expose to the right without clipping highlights. In this case, I'll be able to do the "active" part more accurately than ADL, so in this case, I find it unnecessary and even detrimental, so I keep it turned off. I'll deal with shadows either with a custom curve or HDR during raw conversion.

For casual/snapshooting, or things like street shooting, where the moment might not present itself long enough for you to adjust exposure and pay close attention to highlights, this can be a useful feature. I keep it turned to medium in my snapshooting bank.

Despite what some others have said, this does significantly slow down the cameras I've tried it on (D300, D300s, D7000). Possibly today's cameras are faster at processing it. Because of this I don't use it to shoot birds, and it probably creates a similar problem for sports shooters.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
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Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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#13. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 12

Bravozulu Registered since 04th Jun 2012
Mon 22-Oct-12 08:10 PM

How disappointing. I was hoping for the ultimate 'optical free lunch'. Ha.

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mklass

Tacoma, US
7421 posts

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#14. "RE: Is AD-lighting a Needed Feature?" | In response to Reply # 13

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Mon 22-Oct-12 08:17 PM

I suggest that you try it yourself, as my experience does not match Larry's. It might not be a free lunch, but it isn't costly.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
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G