Hi. With my D300 I kept Active D-Lighting at Low and turned it OFF when shooting multiple exposures for HDR. It usually ended up being OFF most of the time because I would forget to turn it back ON. How would you set Active D-Lighting for Landscapes for the D800e. Some of what I have read says set it to HIGH. Still off for HDR exposures? Thank you ..
As already mentioned, don't use ADL and stick with lower contrast Picture Control settings so that your histogram is more accurate (ADL will mess up the histogram as well as exposure on higher settings).
If your using LR and shooting RAW, leave it off. As Rick said, and at levels other than Low, ADL makes changes to the exposure that will be reflected in your image, but not necessarily in a way that you can predict or might like.
Only use ADL if you are processing your NEFs with View NX or Capture NX.
ADL can adjust the exposure - and reduces exposure by 0.7 with ADL High. For JPEGs and with Nikon software, ADL applies a curve to compensate for the exposure adjustment, recovers shadows, and protects highlights. In Capture NX2, the ADL curve adjustment can be changed during post processing, but not in Lightroom since Lightroom ignores the curve and other in-camera settings. In Lightroom, all you get is an exposure adjustment.
ADL Low makes no exposure adjustment but on ADL Normal, High and Extra High you have adjustments of -0.3, -0.7, and -1.0 respectively. So if you are using Lightroom to process a RAW file, the Low setting does nothing and the other settings underexpose your image.
As others have mentioned, the camera settings are applied to the in-camera embedded JPEG used for the LCD, histogram, etc. As Rick suggests, using a lower contrast setting will present a better idea of what can be done with the RAW file in post processing.
No Russ, ACR does not read the embedded data for camera settings so the adjusted curves are not recognized. The image can look less exposed however because ADL does adjust exposure downward to prevent blowing hight tones if needed. Being part of the actual raw image data, that IS displayed by ACR, showing lower exposure level than if a high DR scene was shot without ADL on. One of the benefits of Capture NX2 is being able to get full use of the ADL and being able to alter the settings after capture. Stan St Petersburg Russia
>Eric, Lightroom doesn't do raw conversions, ACR does. Are you >sure that ACR 7.1.0 doesn't pay attention to the ADL curve?
Both Lightroom and ACR share the same raw conversion engine under the covers. It would be quite difficult to say that Lightroom doesn't do raw conversion, as that's what its Develop module is all about. Neither LR 4.1 nor ACR 7.1 do anything with the ADL curve, but you can use the highlight and shadow sliders, coupled with other features in the new 2012 processing engine, to do similar things (and sometimes better).
Right, Rick. But to say that Lightroom does raw conversion is as correct as to say that Photoshop does raw conversion. As you point out, both use the same machinery. If you have both Lightroom and Photoshop on your system, updating ACR updates both.
Sorry to hear that ACR doesn't handle the ADL curve. Adobe makes great software and doesn't try to make cameras. I wish Nikon, which makes great cameras, would learn the reverse of that trick from Adobe.
Gotta disagree with you there, Russ. Capture NX is great software that does many things that Adobe products do not. Aside for actually using your camera settings, you have built-in U-Point technology, just t name 2.
Adobe makes market-dominating software not necessarily great software. It requires many plug-ins to be more user friendly.
I view them as the Microsoft of imaging applications. Gobbling up other innovative companies, burying those products, and loosing their innovative edge. Upgrades are issued mostly to maintain cash-flow and add further complexity.
So you'd say that Photoshop, which is the software of choice for most people who do professional imaging isn't great software? How about Dreamweaver, which is the software of choice for most pro web developers? Nobody else even comes close.
My main beefs with Nikon's software are that (1) it tends to be buggy and slow, and (2) its interfaces tend to be clutzy. Many years ago, when I bought my first Nikon, a D100, the software that came with it was what, after 30 years of software engineering, I'd call a kludge. I gave up on Nikon software after a repeat of that experience with the D2x, but after the raves I see here, maybe I'd better give the current stuff one more try.
We're probably straying from the original thread into a discussion of software.
You name the software and there is someone who loves it and someone who hates it. Much of the criticism is from people who do not use the current versions or are not expert in the programs. All these programs have pros and cons - and that probably should be in a separate thread.
>Right, Rick. But to say that Lightroom does raw conversion is >as correct as to say that Photoshop does raw conversion. As >you point out, both use the same machinery. If you have both >Lightroom and Photoshop on your system, updating ACR updates >both. >
So, if I have LR2 on my system as well as Photoshop CS6 and update from ACR 7.0 to 7.1, I'll get the 7.1 raw processing engine in LR2? Interesting.
>>Right, Rick. But to say that Lightroom does raw >conversion is >>as correct as to say that Photoshop does raw conversion. >As >>you point out, both use the same machinery. If you have >both >>Lightroom and Photoshop on your system, updating ACR >updates >>both. >> > >So, if I have LR2 on my system as well as Photoshop CS6 and >update from ACR 7.0 to 7.1, I'll get the 7.1 raw processing >engine in LR2? Interesting.
I do not believe either the last sentence above nor that conclusion to be true. My understand is while a variant of ACR is inside of Lightroom, it can only be upgraded by upgrading Lightroom itself. Upgrading ACR affects Photoshop, not Lightroom.
I think the standalone DNG converter gives you a path to downgrade images, i.e. go from a newer camera into an older product (use it first to convert to DNG, then use DNG in the older lightroom). That DNG conversion does, I think, use ACR, or at least it is available with a newer ACR if it's not the same kit. I don't do DNG so I am less sure of this path.
Of course not. You'll have to update your Lightroom, but once you install Lightroom 4 and update it, as you pointed out, both programs will be using the same raw conversion engine, which is called "Adobe Camera Raw."
Brian, if you check what's in ACR and what's in the "develop" module in Lightroom you'll realize that Lightroom's develop module IS ACR.
Furthermore, if you have both Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 on your computer and you do an upgrade that includes ACR, Lightroom will be included on the update list and both programs will be updated at the same time in the same way. We just went through that with the latest version of ACR where both the names of the sliders and the functions of the sliders changed in both ACR and Lightroom.
>Furthermore, if you have both Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 on >your computer and you do an upgrade that includes ACR, >Lightroom will be included on the update list and both >programs will be updated at the same time in the same way. We >just went through that with the latest version of ACR where >both the names of the sliders and the functions of the sliders >changed in both ACR and Lightroom. > >It's the same software.
I bet you also updated lightroom, as I think what you are saying is just not correct about ACR automatically updating lightroom.
It may well be the same underlying software, and the tools are indeed similar, but they are packaged and installed separately. Installing an ACR update does not affect Lightroom's RAW converter, and vice versa. I do have ACR (for use with PS Elements) and Lightroom installed on my machine, and have been through the update process for both.
Sorry to go on about this, but it's important our members are not misled
Believe me fellers, if you have Photoshop and Lightroom on your machine and you click on "Updates" (Photoshop) or "Check for updates" (Lightroom) in the Help menu, if there's an update for ACR, there'll be an update for Lightroom in the same list. Yes, they're separate packages nowadays (didn't used to be), but they'll both be installed in the same overall operation.
I don't know about Elements. I've never used it, though I do know that ACR in Elements denies you access to some of ACR's functionality. Nonetheless, underneath it's the same softwsare.
>Believe me fellers, if you have Photoshop and Lightroom on >your machine and you click on "Updates" (Photoshop) >or "Check for updates" (Lightroom) in the Help menu, >if there's an update for ACR, there'll be an update for >Lightroom in the same list. Yes, they're separate packages >nowadays (didn't used to be), but they'll both be installed in >the same overall operation.
Perhaps we agree, in that you will often see both together. But it is important to recognize they are separate.
Here is a very recent blog posting illustrating the different combinations of versions, which ACR and which Lightroom supported which camera. This does also explain they try to keep them in synch, so I am not trying to dispute that they are often available at similar times.
The real issue here is that ACR and thus CSx may be updated later and longer for new cameras than Lightroom. AS an example, CS5 got a ACR update, whereas LR 3.6 did not. So if you had CS5 and LR3.x, you would see a new ACR for your D800, but will never see one for LR pop up, other than a new version you have to buy (I don't know if those appear in the "check for updates" or not).
Adobe has certainly confused a lot of people in this regard; below was an attempt to explain their versions. PErsonally I wish they would have figured out how to use ACR directly in LR as well, it would make for a lot more consistency. One problem you sometimes have is LR gets ahead of Photoshop (especially in beta), then you have difficulty doing an EDIT IN PHOTOSHOP as you must edit an exported TIFF to remain compatible.
>Right, Rick. But to say that Lightroom does raw conversion is >as correct as to say that Photoshop does raw conversion. As >you point out, both use the same machinery. If you have both >Lightroom and Photoshop on your system, updating ACR updates >both.
Just to draw a line under this (which is off-topic for our D800 Forum), that is incorrect. To update the RAW conversion logic in Lightroom requires you to update Lightroom itself. Installing an ACR update has no effect on Lightroom.
Neither ACR nor Lightroom recognise any ADL settings in NEF image files.
ADL Low will give you exactly the same exposure as you would get with ADL Off, but with ADL Low you have some added options. If you use Capture, ADL Low gives you a curve that recovers shadows and protects highlights. The strength of the curve can be changed from Low in Capture by selecting Off, Normal, High or Extra High but the exposure is unchanged.
If you do not use Capture, and use Lightroom or Photoshop, the ADL Low setting would not result in any curve being applied since those programs ignore the setting. But if you used Capture as a RAW converter, all the options would be available. So there is nothing lost with Low, but not a lot gained either.
I would only use ADL Normal, High or Extra High for extreme conditions since your exposure is adjusted. The exposure is baked in, so you are more limited in your ability to process with other settings. And if you use Photoshop or Lightroom, your image would be underexposed. So I stay away from those settings.
I have tried to replicate ADL's curve in post, and with 15 minutes of effort I could not do as well as using the default setting. Perhaps there is a secret technique, but I am quite proficient in Capture NX2 and could not match the automated function using shadows recovery, highlight protection, levels and D-Lighting globally or selectively.
The other advantage of ADL is it helps avoid unnecessary "blinkies". Not a big deal, but keeps you from applying quite as much exposure comp.
I've LR3.7 and will be upgrading to CS6 PP in a few days, but the camera learning curve started with CNX2 and I still use it primarily for 14 bit (yes even with the 75Mb + or - file size) and so, have only a shallow understanding of PS and rarely fire up LR unless it's to watermark.
I do use PS a bit more when editing now in NLE timelines, and realize the reach it has over layers and masks etc. but, between CNX2 and NIK CFX Pro, the results seem more native to my less is more sensibilities in imagery.
With a Nikon based workflow, I'm increasingly using Photo Mechanic in addition to View and Capture. PM honors the Nikon settings by using the embedded JPEG in a NEF file. It will very effectively handle Save As JPEG sized for the web, convert to sRGB, and watermark images in a single step. The advantage is PM will convert images that have been edited in Capture NX2 as opposed to View which will not. And it's very effective with keywords.
The expectation is Photo Mechanic will release a catalog version soon - but that has been planned for a long time.
Eric Bowles emailed me to ask if I would comment on the rationale for using ADL in landscapes but not using it for portraits.
Obviously, ADL is designed to bring out detail normally lost in the shadows. It is similar to "Protect Shadows" or "Shadows/Highlights" in various software tools. When shooting landscapes, it is often desirable to see details in the shadows so it makes sense to use ADL. In portraiture, we work hard to create shadows with our light modifiers (soft boxes, reflectors, umbrellas, etc.). After putting all this effort into sculpting the light, the last thing you want to do is allow ADL to brighten the shadows.
>ADL can adjust the exposure - and reduces exposure by 0.7 >with ADL High. For JPEGs and with Nikon software, ADL applies >a curve to compensate for the exposure adjustment, recovers >shadows, and protects highlights. In Capture NX2, the ADL >curve adjustment can be changed during post processing, but >not in Lightroom since Lightroom ignores the curve and other >in-camera settings. In Lightroom, all you get is an exposure >adjustment. > >ADL Low makes no exposure adjustment but on ADL Normal, High >and Extra High you have adjustments of -0.3, -0.7, and -1.0 >respectively. So if you are using Lightroom to process a RAW >file, the Low setting does nothing and the other settings >underexpose your image. > >As others have mentioned, the camera settings are applied to >the in-camera embedded JPEG used for the LCD, histogram, etc. >As Rick suggests, using a lower contrast setting will present >a better idea of what can be done with the RAW file in post >processing. > >Eric Bowles >Nikonians Team >My Gallery >Workshops > >Nikonians membership — my most important photographic >investment, after the camera
Very Useful information- thank you!
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
But to get back to the original question, here's what Thom as to say about it in his book:
"My advice is to use the Active D-Lighting function sparingly, if at all. While it can produce out-of-camera usable pictures in high contrast scenes that are better than with it turned off, it is not a leave-it-on-all-the-time type of feature. You need to be shooting in JPEG or TIFF format and know that you've got highlight and shadow detail that might not show up visibly without the function. NEF shooters facing high contrast situation have better options for post processing."
This is how I work as well. I just want control over what is happening to the image. ADL always felt like something that stripped a small amount of control from me ... But then I did not spend much time working with it to claim to be an expert. ___________________________________________________________
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein
I think you're right, Rick. It all depends on how you're using the camera. I never shoot anything but raw, so for my own work the fact that the capability is there is academic. If you need it, use it. But if you're going to use it you might want to read the other several pages on the subject in Thom's book. What I quoted was his final conclusion. There's a lot more detail on why or why not and how to set things up before he reaches that point.
Maybe, but Thom is writing a blog, not processing my images.
My advice is, if you are using a Nikon camera, and using CNX or VNX, try a test by taking a variety of images both with and without ADR on.See what works better for you. I find that for me it saves steps in post.
As always, develop a workflow that works for you and gets you the results that you want. If it doesn't fit someone else's convention, so be it.