Curious as to which settings you guys use most of the time for ADL. Since ADL does impact the camera's exposure during shooting, it's not necessarily something you can 'recover' or add in post-processing. Any thoughts as to impacts in overall image quality, dynamic range, noise levels (overall and in shadows), etc? I've found I always shoot with it off, thinking I can recover shadow and/or highlight details while manipulating RAW files later. But maybe I'm missing out...
OK, I don't have my D800e yet, but I expect to use ADL-Low, at least initially.
On my other Nikons, I find this setting does a great job of minimizing blown highlights and blocked shadows, while having minimum impact on the base image. It's effect are easily changed (turned-off or to another level) in Capture NX2, if desired. Of course, if ADL is not turned on to some level in the camera, it is not possible to use it in CNX. And, if you aren't using CNX, ADL is mostly a moot point.
Of course, the expanded dynamic range of the D800e may make it unnecessary to use ADL anymore. I'll wait to experiment.
On my D7000 on High it seemed to add a magenta cast to the image particularly on interiors, Dynamic range of the D7000 is close to the D800 and it did open the shadows up quite a bit even with the high dynamic range. I ended up keeping it off most of the time.
Sun 13-May-12 10:11 AM | edited Sun 13-May-12 10:14 AM by klrbee25
Some reviews have shown that one can 'preserve' more detail from shadows than highlights with the D800. Since ADL underexposes a photo up to about 1EV depending on the level selected, the ADL setting seems to be exploiting this ability. If you look on Nikon's site, they recommend higher ADL settings for lower ISOs and vice-versa. That would make sense with the associated shadow noise you introduce when trying to lift shadows at higher ISOs.
And just an FYI to anyone not clear on the two settings: ADL (Active Dynamic Lighting) vs DL (Dynamic Lighting) are different beasts. ADL adjusts exposure settings prior to the shot being taken while DL is added to any image in post-processing. There is no way to recreate the entire effect of ADL without having set it up first in camera.
Sun 13-May-12 01:13 PM | edited Sun 13-May-12 01:15 PM by ericbowles
I use ADL Low almost all the time. It does not make any adjustments to exposure but yet makes a small adjustment to the light and dark areas in high contrast situations. More important, it allows me to choose alternate ADL settings in post processing as well as turning the feature off.
The amount of exposure adjustment varies: Low = no adjustment, Medium = -0.3, High = -0.7, and Extra High = -1.0.
I have done a good bit of testing of this setting using the D7000. I found the complexity of the curve to be VERY difficult to achieve in post processing. I tried to match the ADL adjustment using Capture and all my tricks - it just did not work as well. So now using the ADL setting on Low has become my default.
Good point Charlie - If you are using Lightroom the curve would not be applied, so all it would do is adjust your exposure. I think I would only recommend ADL if someone uses Capture or is planning to use JPEG's from the camera.
Sun 13-May-12 05:30 PM | edited Sun 13-May-12 05:31 PM by David D Busch
The D800's ADL and in-camera HDR are fun tools to play with, and useful for impromptu experimentation. I've enjoyed both, particularly yesterday for some tripod shots in a cathedral. But I don't use either one for "serious" work when I know I'll have time to do correction and/or HDR properly in an image editor.
So, determining the "best" ADL setting is part of that experimentation, and it seems to depend quite a bit on the subject matter. After I've accumulated enough test shots, my experience will tell me which setting to use when I want to fiddle with ADL. It does seem to be a great tool for snapshooters; my daughter has gotten some better shots using ADL.