I have recently purchased a D700, moving from a D200. The D700 is my first encounter with Active D-Lighting, this feature not being present on the D200.
I have purchased and read 'Mastering the Nikon D700' and have also purchased and consulted large sections of 'Thom Hogan's Complete Guide to the Nikon D700'.
I shoot almost entirely in RAW, 14 bit lossless compressed in the case of the D700 and process all of my images with DxO Optics Pro v7.
I have 'Active D-Lighting' set to 'Auto' and have found that many of my D700 images are underexposed and require adjustment in DxO. On reading around the use of Active D-Lighting I note that Thom Hogan's guide carries a warning about underexposure for RAW shooters using software other than Capture NX2 and recommends switching this feature off. He doesn't seem keen on this feature even when using Capture NX2.
I'd like to hear the views of experienced D700 users on this subject so that I can better understand how this obviously powerful feature works.
I'll second what Mick says: if you plan on using CNX or NX for your raw processing then you can take advantage of ASL, if you use another product (or plan on switching down the road) ADL won't do you any good. I use Lightroom and CS6 so I don't use ADL at all.
Thanks to everyone who replied. I've now adjusted my Custom Settings so that ADL is switched off when I shoot NEF. I'll be practice shooting some JPEGs soon in various light conditions to learn more, ready for the rare occasions when I shoot JPEGs in camera.
Quite honestly, this topic is frequently misunderstood. If you pay attention to your exposure (and the histogram in particular), you can leave it off independent of whether you're using NX2, LR, DxO or any other software package. If you're working very quickly or just don't want to check the histogram for blown highlights, leaving ADL on will give you a more conservative exposure and you can then use your raw converter to adjust the image to your preference. Virtually everything out there today has good tools for reining in highlights, lightening the shadows, etc. and that's all that ADL does in NX2. In short, having ADL on or off has more to do with how much attention you want to devote to exposure while shooting and less to do with the software packge you use to process your images.
My personal preference is to get the exposure "correct" and adjust the image to my personal preferences in my raw converter rather than relying on an automated guess at what I want, but it's really up to the individual photographer.
A caveat: if you are in the habit of shooting raw plus jpeg and only use the raw files if you have a big problem, leaving ADL on might be a good idea since jpegs don't have the latitude for post-processing changes that raw files do. Since I don't normally shoot that way, I leave ADL off.