Even though we ARE Nikon lovers,we are NOT affiliated with Nikon Corp. in any way.

English German French

Sign up Login
Home Forums Articles Galleries Recent Photos Contest Help Search News Workshops Shop Upgrade Membership Recommended
members
All members Wiki Contests Vouchers Apps Newsletter THE NIKONIAN™ Magazines Podcasts Fundraising
ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10631 posts

Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author
ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Thu 02-Feb-12 10:10 PM | edited Fri 03-Feb-12 01:20 AM by ericbowles

We've had some discussion about the pros and cons of Active D-Lighting in this and other forums. I've done some testing and would like to share some observations - then open it up for discussion.

I Photographed two different high contrast scenes with a D300, Nikon 24-70 lens, and a tripod. I took 36 test images using ISO 200 and 3200, and all settings for ADL - Off, Low, Normal, and High. Picture Control was set on Neutral to apply no enhancements to contrast or sharpening.

Active D-Lighting does two things - it adjusts exposure and then applies an alternative curve to the exposure. For my test images, with ADL turned off, using matrix metering I was getting an exposure of 1/400 sec at f/8 and ISO 200.

With ADL on Low the exposure was the same, but the change in the curve caused slightly brighter shadows.

With ADL on Normal, exposure was reduced by 1/3 stop to 1/500 sec. The change in the curve to the right side of the histogram was more pronounced.

With ADL on High exposure was reduced by 2/3 stop to 1/640 sec. There was a significant brightening of the shadows with a little more noise. The shift of the curve to the right was pronounced.

In each case the shift of the curve to the right includes a small amount of shift in the blacks, and a much larger shift in the white end to nearly completely make up for the slower exposure.

One other factor to keep in mind is the ability to reverse ADL in post processing. If ADL is turned On at any level, Capture NX2 shows an edit step which can be used to turn off ADL or change it to any of the other settings. When you turn off ADL in post processing, any exposure adjustment remains, but the curve is eliminated. That means your image looks 2/3 stop underexposed if you were using ADL High, but with ADL Low only the curve is removed and exposure is still the same as with ADL off.

But even with ADL on Low, the difference in the curve can be significant. In my test images the high and low value were unchanged, but the shape of the histogram changed. The result was that if ADL was turned off in post, the light ares of the image became even brighter but not to the point of blowing any highlights.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

Subject
ID
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting
1
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting
2
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting
3
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - sample files
4
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting
5
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting
7
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting
6
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
8
Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
10
     Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
11
          Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
12
               Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
13
               Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
14
                    Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
15
                         Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
16
                         Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
17
                              Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
18
                              Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
19
                              Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
21
                                   Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
22
                                        Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
23
                                             Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
24
                                             Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
25
                                             Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - next steps
26
                              Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
27
                                   Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
28
                                        Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
29
                                             Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
30
                                             Reply message RE: Active D- Lighting - recreating ADL in post
31

G