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Do you use Active D Lighting normally?

underdog01

Helena, US
11 posts

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underdog01 Registered since 08th Aug 2012
Tue 18-Sep-12 02:33 AM

I ask this because this weekend I was taking shots of my Granddaughter and had Active D Lighting off. Darrell Young in his book, "Mastering the Nikon D7000", speaks of 'D' lighting in an almost derogatory sense. To be fair, upon rereading pages 96-97 ,Mr. Young does instruct to experiment.
So in experimenting with 'D' off I found I have pictures blow out from time to time. I was using Aperture Priority and figured the camera would increase shutter speed if necessary. Obviously, it didn't. I have always used 'D' lighting with my 5100 and have never had this problem. Just wondering if this was a normal occurrence? I chalk this up to user error, however, what should I be watching for? In manual I would watch the meter, but I figure the camera would meter correctly in aperture and adjust accordingly.
Sorry for my inexperience, but without chimping and checking the histogram after every shot, how does one know if the image is over or underexposed while in aperture or shutter priority? Am I wrong to assume that aperture and shutter priority are point and shoot modes once DOF and shutter speeds are determined by user?

Oh yeah, one last thing, the camera was set to matrix metering. Thanks for your replies. Once again, I apologize for my inexperience.

Vlad_IT

US
1354 posts

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#1. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 0

Vlad_IT Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Sep 2011
Tue 18-Sep-12 02:33 AM | edited Tue 18-Sep-12 03:13 AM by Vlad_IT

Jonathan,

As nobody answered yet I will try to answer based on knowledge about D7000 in general, as I shoot only in RAW and D-lighting does not have any effect for me. As far as I know, D7000 exposure algorithm is design with color recognition "in mind" to properly expose the skin tone. Without seeing your image I can only speculate that your granddaughter possibly was against a brighter background, but camera metered exposure around focus point which was probably the face (skin tone). This is true for Center weighted metering as well as for matrix metering. The metering at focus point that you used has the highest priority in total exposure calculation.
If this is not the case please take a look into your color settings. Normal and neutral works best on D7000 for difficult/challenging lighting conditions. The vivid color setting sometimes tends to overblow the images with people as a main subject. But best answer you can get if you post a sample image with EXIF info intact.

Also something simple like +0.7 or +1 exposure compensation can ruin that image. I use exposure compensation quite often and sometimes I forget to reset it to 0. So I’m checking histograms quite often - every time I change a location - I check the histogram after each image taken. And from time to time during the session even if I do not change my location.
The latest generations of dSLR are just electronic marvels, but they do not user error proofed. As per feedback of many experienced photographers here, the D7000 camera tends to have more learning curve those previous lower megapixel cameras.
I’m a little bit confused about your Shutter priority and user selectable DOF statement. If you would like to keep a certain DOF you chose Aperture priority mode and set desire aperture. Camera will adjust the shutter speed, but there are more possibilities to this scenario. Is a flash used? In Flash setting you set the lowest shutter speed which will affect the final image – but this scenario cannot overexpose the whole image. Another thing to keep in mind if you used Auto ISO, which also has the setting for the slowest shutter speed allowed.

As you can see I can only speculate. But if you post the image in question we all together will find the reason for your image to be overblown.


Best regards,
Vlad

underdog01

Helena, US
11 posts

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#2. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 1

underdog01 Registered since 08th Aug 2012
Tue 18-Sep-12 03:21 AM

Thanks for your reply,
I was shooting in vivid which probably as you said had some to do with the over exposure while in aperture.

After playing with the camera a little more I realize my biggest problem is stupidity. I just recently purchased the d7000, I'm used to the d5100. The meter on my 5100 is reversed from the d7000. I always thought the meter on the 5100 seemed backwards, now I realize that it is. Dashes to the right of zero represented underexposure. I just thought this was a Nikon thing similar to screwing the lenses on when compared to canon. No wonder I have a few underexposed images from my shoot with the d7000. When ever I would switch to manual I would meter backwards lol. Its kind of funny, I remember looking at the meter and thinking, "two clicks to the left."

underdog01

Helena, US
11 posts

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#3. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 2

underdog01 Registered since 08th Aug 2012
Tue 18-Sep-12 03:48 AM

Whoops, I forgot to reply to the rest of your post Vlad,

My statement concerning aperture and shutter priority is just as you stated. Once the user selects DOF desired, via aperture priority, the camera than increases or decreases shutter speed for proper exposure. And of course shutter priority is related to aperture the same way. I was attempting to claim this basic understanding, which lead to my dilemma. Shouldn't the camera have been metering and increasing or decreasing shutter speed as necessary for proper exposure? I didn't understand why I would have blown out images. Thanks to your explanation I have a greater understanding of how and why the camera produced the overexposed images.

I was not using auto ISO, I had the ISO at 200. I wasn't using flash either. I will have to join Nikonians so I can post a pic.
Once again thanks for your reply, because of Nikonians like you the membership fee is considered money well spent.

Vlad_IT

US
1354 posts

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#4. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 3

Vlad_IT Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Sep 2011
Tue 18-Sep-12 04:22 AM

Just to experiment try using Manual and auto is. YOU MIGHT LIKE IT. The biggest concern is not to let max is to go over 1600 (for start) and you will need to use exposure compensation from time to time (it works in manual mode only when auto ISO is on)

And remember to turn auto ISO off when using flash, but you still can stay in manual mode with flash on. built in flash has not much power though - cheap used SB-600 ($160-$190) is quite a good companion for D7000, but D7000 is better when repeated flash is used or forced high shutter speeds with flash.

Good night.
Best regards,
Vlad

underdog01

Helena, US
11 posts

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#5. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 4

underdog01 Registered since 08th Aug 2012
Tue 18-Sep-12 05:40 AM



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mklass

Tacoma, US
7438 posts

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#6. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | 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
Tue 18-Sep-12 09:42 AM | edited Tue 18-Sep-12 09:44 AM by mklass

Except when using controlled lighting, I shoot with Active D-Lighting in the camera set to low 95% of the time. This has been my default camera setting for a long time when using matrix metering. When shooting RAW and editing with Capture NX2, this gives you the maximum flexibility in post processing, with minimal impact on the base image (In other words, if you turn ADL off in CNX, the image will look like what you would have gotten with ADL off in-camera).

ADL set in camera doesn't do you much good if you are shooting RAW and processing with something other than CNX.

If you shoot JPG, then the ADL setting is baked into the image, so you would need to make other adjustments in post processing to reverse it.

I never use ADL on anything other than low, unless I am shooting some JPG snapshots when I think it will make the picture better. That's not something I do very often.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3577 posts

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#7. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 6

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Tue 18-Sep-12 10:28 AM | edited Tue 18-Sep-12 10:29 AM by km6xz

ADL can be very effective in very high dynamic range scenes. A few things to consider with back lit scenes like the image you posted. The selected focal point has metering bias so even in Matrix metering, there will be an effort for middle exposure for the focal point. Most of the time that is a good thing but with strong backlight, the high tones of the sky can exceed the very good DR of the D7000 or any other camera.
Another cause of blown highlights is setting a Picture Control that boosts portions of the histogram. In this case, Vivid, with the increased saturation dialed in, plus contrast and sharpening boost, you have less headroom in remaining dynamic range.
ADL can help in scenes just like this, it will lower high tones but preserve shadow detail. ADL does change the exposure so it does impact RAW when it tries to prevent blown highlights. The shadow protection is not baked into the RAW image only the JPG. If processing RAW with ViewNX or Capture NX2, you have full control of changing the degree of ADL compensation. So if you are using that software, you have more options and less blown highlights when using ADL.

The DR of the camera is very good but that scene has a wider range if dark to light than any camera can handle without data loss. The camera is trying to adjust the exposure to get the subject exposed well and if that is the case, something is going to overflow the available camera capture range, either blown highlights or lost information in black shadows. Tries to adjust the tone sensitivity range by changing gain based on tone values to get more of the scene captured without losing data.
For controlled scenes, where the DR is not excessive, leave it off or on auto. For the scene above with really strong backlight, use Auto or high. Otherwise, your choice is to allow the highs to blow out(sometimes it is a nice effect) to get the subject exposed well, or meter to the high tones and let the subject darken where you can bring up shadows in post processing. If using a low ISO, the D7000 offers a lot of shadow recovery options that most other cameras just don't.
Another option is to meter to the sky and use fill flash, it can look great outdoors for people shots that might look harsh with hard shadows without the fill flash. I use fill TTL BL flash very often in strong sunlight. It is very effective.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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Vlad_IT

US
1354 posts

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#8. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 7

Vlad_IT Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Sep 2011
Tue 18-Sep-12 05:41 PM

Stan,

very informative answer, thanks. i pick something new i did not know before about D-light setting can change exposure in RAW - make sense to me now
Best regards,
Vlad

liupublic

Tempe, US
19 posts

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#9. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 8

liupublic Registered since 16th May 2012
Wed 19-Sep-12 03:43 PM

I mainly use lightroom 3.6 to post process. From what I read, lightroom will not take Active D Lighting information properly or at all. So it's best to turn off if you are using non-NX software for post processing.

Vlad_IT

US
1354 posts

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#10. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 9

Vlad_IT Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Sep 2011
Thu 20-Sep-12 12:05 AM

any software but Nikon ones will not take this info. all you need to move three sliders to compress dynamik range on RAW file 0 it's wat i fo and it's not bothering me. Om on LR3.6 as weel

Best regards,
Vlad

underdog01

Helena, US
11 posts

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#11. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 10

underdog01 Registered since 08th Aug 2012
Thu 20-Sep-12 02:47 AM

Wow! Thats alot of info.
Makes sense though. one quick follow up question.

I have never used the Nikon software that much for post. I use PS6. Is the Nikon software fully capable for post production? Do many people on this forum use Nikon or something else? Not trying to get off topic of my original question, maybe it would be best to start another thread.

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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3577 posts

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#12. "RE: Do you use Active D Lighting normally?" | In response to Reply # 11

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Thu 20-Sep-12 03:59 AM

To have full flexibility of ADL, Nikon software is needed but it still protects blown highlights in RAW or JPG image files by adjusting exposure to reduce the high tones. To process a file in LR that has ADL embedded, which LR can't read, you only have to adjust the exposure curves to boost shadows to recover the darker subject.
ADL can be fully applied if you add one step in post. I use LR 4.6 and like its easy of catalog functions but it is no PS or Capture NX2 for more serious adjustment.
I import using LR and mark any photos that are wanted to prioritize and print large or get the best treatment. I make my adjustments to all but those and I am mostly done. The higher priority image files are then opened in NX2 (or you could use ViewNX latest versions) to render the file. It will look better since it has ADL protecting shadows as well as highlights and Picture Controls will have been applied, along with the Nikon CA, WB distortion or other compensation, etc.
One feature of Capture NX2 I love is the way many different versions can be created for different purposes, such as printing large, small crop, screen sharpened for web use etc, without bloating a number of different files to keep track of. All the virtual versions are collections of all the adjustments for each version and stored in the original file. Recall any one of them as needed but you still have only the original unmolested file without a separate sidecar file to get out of sync with the location or changes like with all other programs.
I make my exposure curves changes there, and try whatever else gets me closer to how the images will ultimately be. Then when the basics of WB, exposure, shadow recovery, ADL level, etc I save the file in 16 TIFF. That preserves all the goodness of what the camera intended plus NX2 adjustments and results in a big file that can be opened in anything for further processing. For example if pixel level editing is needed to remove power lines or change a background in PS CS6, it can be done without impacting the original NEF.
It sounds like a long process but if you do it often and set up some presets, for example for portrait, it really does not take long but the results are gratifying.
Latest versions of LR are pretty good with shadow recovery sliders but not quite as effective as working with an image that had the camera settings reflected in the starting image.
I hope that is not too confusing or too off topic.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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G