After rethinking what Nikon told me I agree with you that the exposure reduction cannot be reversed as that part does change the RAW file. This is especially clear to me now because Nikon said ADL was the only function that actually modified the RAW file. So that means the 2 step process is 1. Modify Exposure and bake it into the file, and 2. create nondistructive edit steps for the maker part of the file to guide use of the bin shifting algorithm. I also agree that any other tool that claims to adjust exposure is making other adjustments that appear to give you the same result as a true exposure adjustment e.g, shutter speed, aperture or ISO. Wouldn't it be cool if we could do that? I still say no other tool can give you the SAME results as ADL,unless by trial and error you got extremly lucky, although they might give you similar results. Other tools do recover highlights and shadows, but not in the same way as ADL.