>You can also set the Active-DLighting to High, and gain 2 stops of detail in highlights, without any loss of >image quality. This is more right than wrong. Nikon's guidance at UK pro events is, when faced with a high dynamic range subject, set D lighting at the taking stage and shoot RAW. The Nikon logic is using D lighting at the taking stage exposes for the highlight detail (in effect slightly under exposing) and 2 stops shadow detail can easily be brought out because the detail is there. I prefer to say "brought out" rather than "recovered" because, in RAW, extra shadow detail is usually there. What you cannot do using DLighting in NX2 for post processing is recover burned out highlight detail in RAW - because once burned out the highlight detail does not exist. Relatively few subjects have more than 8-9 stops dynamic range. 12 stops DR is ranging from sunlight coming through a small window to areas of dark tones in deep shadow inside a building. Many DSLR's can record around 12 stops EV at lower ISO's. Photographic glossy paper cannot record more than 9 stops, matt paper more than 8 stops, and quite a few monitors cannot display 12 stops even when accurately calibrated. There has to be some contraction of tone detail to get 12 stops recorded into papers 9 stops. Using D lighting at the shooting stage increases the chance of recording 12 stops DR in a 12 stop DR subject without getting any burned out highlight detail. It is then up to the photographer to decide which tones to compress to fit the 12 stops recorded DR onto 9 stop gloss paper.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.