- sharpness and vividness have a lot to do with the subject matter, which is why they are adjustable. If you turn up vividness, but are shooting portraits, it'll be a lot like shooting a wedding with Fuji Velvia - not so good. Similarly, a lot of landscapes benefit from stronger colors, so NOT setting some vividness for them is like shooting those landscapes on Kodak Portra - not optimal either. (Clearly I would have shot these on the opposite film stocks, for those who don't know the films.)
- D-lighting: if you're shooting JPEG, it can be quite useful for avoiding overly contrasty images. But if you use it in the wrong situations, just like sharpness and vividness, you'll get less than optimal results. Nikon did put it in there for a reason, right? If you're shooting raw, D-lighting doesn't do much except underexpose unless you're processing with NX2.
- Dirty sensor: it's inevitable. Even if you don't change lenses much. Just learn to clean it (the rocket blower is easy and risk free if done correctly) and forget about it. It's like being careful about anything else.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!