What Is Nikon Active D Lighting

By | 12/09/2022

  1. Hi all,
    Lesson learnt yesterday…………don’t always heed to advice from others, especially on the Net (non photo.net though).
    I was shooting indoor Show Jumping yesterday with a D7000 and Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 without flash.
    I shoot in AP at 2.8 and and so ready the ISO to 400, but apply the Auto-ISO gear up at a maximum of 3200 and shutter at minimum 1/400. To give the camera a bit more assistance, I set the compensation to -1 to effort to go along the ISO down a little so add +1 in Lightroom after. This usually works really well for me as it gaurantees wide open ap and fast shutter speed. Usually the highest ISO is around 2000 which is acceptable.
    Now the caveat. I read a tip to utilize the Agile D-Lighting which effectively is like calculation Fill Light to the shots.
    Did a few test shots, picture looked adept on the camera (but we all know not to take too much from this) only more importantly, the Histogram was acceptable, ok a footling shifted to the left as expected, only adequate for post edit.
    Subsequently about 8 hours of shooting and a bill of fare full of photos, I import them into Lightroom so the cold sweat and panic sets in………………..
    ……….the photos look like they’ve been taken in a cavern lit by candlelight……………… WHAT THE………????
    Slide in +1 exposure and they are still very nighttime, add some fill up light, woahhhhh multi-colourd speckled horses with picayune to no detail.
    Why? Turns out Lightroom tin’t read the Active D-Lighting info from NEF. Open them up in NX2 and………phew…….condom! But now I’m left with a big postal service edit job of a lot of photos.
    Active D-Lighting is a great little feature, but if y’all’re shooting RAW and using Lightroom…….turn information technology off, you’ll be in a cold sweat like I was last night!

  2. I judge it should be well known that LR doesn’t read picture controls etc, then I don’t retrieve your shock is justified. AFAIK you can save PP work in LR by cerating a suitable profile and opening the shots with that profile instead of the standard one.

    The -1 EC is finer almost the aforementioned as bumping ISO ane finish (as long as you don’t blow highlights past information technology).

    You should likewise be aware that ADL does non go well with high ISO in general considering y’all need a lot of DR for lifting shadows successfully and ADL tends to waste material a bit of it, then the lifted shadows tend to become noisy and lose colour. The D7000 is remarkable at base ISO (D90 sometimes produce these effects with ADL at base ISO), only full-frames are still better in low light. The main problem with ADL is that it may further induce up to one more than cease of raw data underexposure which is covered up in epitome preview and histogram.

  3. I don’t mean to hijack the thread, just I am a little dislocated about this whole active D-lighting (information technology seems like Craig is every bit well), since I don’t have a camera with this feature. Does information technology really change the raw file? If yes, shouldn’t that exist visible in whatsoever raw processing software? If non, having it on or off should not make any difference in Lightroom, right?

  4. ADL may non be the exact reason why your pictures await the way they do, but could be a office of it along with the other settings you used.

  5. Elaborating on my previous response, ADL lightens the images, particularly the shadow areas. But you tin but see the effect using Nikon software. When you open the images in not-software, you practice not encounter the adjustments – you see what the sensor recorded. But you can of class recreate the lightening event, especially in the shadow areas with LR. I accept found that I can get better results using the software such as DXO and Photoshop than by using ADL.
    Since you underexposed by a stop, you lot would expect the images to wait nighttime when opened with any non-Nikon software.

  6. Yous’re missing my point here.
    The point I was trying to make is that when you have ADL turned on, the histograms on the photographic camera expect bang-up (and so do the pictures), all the same, when imported into Lightroom, this camera control is non known to Lightroom so it put’s information technology equally Elliot mentions, equally the sensor sees it.
    If I didn’t accept ADL turned on, I would of noticed that the histograms were not correct, therefore done something about it. Withal, the histograms, that took into consideration the ADL issue, fabricated the pictures expect great, which they are…….when viewed in NX2.
    Oliver, this is what I got confussed with. I incorrectly assumed it would change the raw data, nevertheless, it seems that it writes a trivial extra raw data that Lightroom discards. Only Nikon software tin process this data.

  7. ….forgot to add (and if I’ve known this before, I wouldn’t of used it) that information technology seems that ADL really does the same “pull a fast one on” as -1EV purchase reducing the exposure so that it tin bring out the shadows. Although the ADL data isn’t read, it seems that the exposure is still dark, hence why the photos are showing as and so dark in LR but ok in NX2.
    If I become a chance I’ll bear witness some examples, but I need to become through all the images starting time…….
    I remember it’ll exist a tardily night (or two!)
    Oh, and thanks for all the replies besides!

  8. ADL is designed to be used for high dynamic range situations, where the difference between highlight and shadow is greater than the dynamic range of the camera. The camera modifies the RAW paradigm a bit to compress the dynamic range to fit the capabilities of the camera, but in the process it reduces the exposure a bit. There are limits to the ability of ADL to compress the dynamic range. It isn’t magic, merely signal processing. The signal has to be there to process, not zero in the shadow or saturated in the highlights.
    There’s a (long) informative thread on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikondigital/discuss/72157623298578772 about ADL. Thom Hogan has some information near it in his ebook serial for various photographic camera bodies. In effect, he says you should only employ it when you absolutely need it for dynamic range problems that tin can’t be addressed by bracketing (e.g. dynamic scenes).

  9. Cracking stuff Dwight.
    One matter I forgot to mention, the camera was set to Motorcar-ADL…… As I said, lesson well learnt and it will remain off in the future!

  10. Active D-Lighting underexposes, merely not by a full stop; I think at max it’s about half a stop, maybe two/3rds. Even so, yeah, it does affect the RAW file since the exposure itself is afflicted. And indeed, only Nikon software takes the effect into business relationship, and so all other RAW editors will just see a slightly underexposed file.
    Underexposure causes noise, so I’ve stopped using ADL alltogether (fifty-fifty though I am using CaptureNX2); it works well at ISO200 but at high ISOs the racket in shadows does become much more apparent. And either way the effect is fairly easy “redone” with shadow and highlight recovery.
    The “flim-flam” to underexpose by a stop to go on ISO down to elevator it afterwards in software is substantially the same as shooting one stop ISO faster. Underexposure causes noise, and especially when the camera is already near the limit of its acceptable noise. If you lot need ISO3200 to get shots, just put it to ISO3200. If you’re working in these calorie-free conditions, nobody tin can really expect you to come out with noise gratis photos anyway.
    I find with my D300 that at ISO1600, exposure has to exist really spot on, a tad overexposed even, to become expert results.

  11. Thanks Wouter.
    Just out of interest, if I have manually ready exposure to -1 and and then ADL is applied, will the camera then effectively reduce past the -1 I’ve set AND then terminate it downwards farther with ADL. Therefore, resulting in an underexposed shot being further slightly underexposed.
    That would and then make sense in the results between NX2 and LR. In NX2, they are underexposed, but acceptable in LR they are just waaaaaaaay underexposed.

  12. ADL should be considered a useful too merely if you stay within a Nikon software environment. Nikon software provides a feature called D-Lighting, which is substantially an automated bend tool, which brings up shadows and midtones without pushing up the highlights too much. The Agile D-Lighting on the camera merely does that automatically so you don’t have to utilize D-Lighting off the camera afterwards, with the added benefit that it evaluates the scene in conjunction with the matrix metering and in and then doing, decides if it should underexpose it a little to save the highlights. This is essentially the same thing I used to do myself when shooting black and white film in the 1970’s, ie. underexpose the film a little, say a stop, and then deal with the shadows in evolution and/or press (pushing by a finish, more or less).
    Of grade, there is no ADL actually practical to a raw image, other than the underexposure it did on purpose and the information passed to the Nikon raw converter. Then, if you process the prototype in a 3rd party raw editing plan instead of Nikon’south own (VNX2 or CNX2), you become the underexposure part of information technology simply without the automatic raising of the shadows. Y’all tin can hands do this yourself with sliders or a curve tool, but if you’re starting out with a picture purposely underexposed past a cease every bit you lot did, and they are low or interior light pictures, you lot are going to increase noise probably like or worse than if you had shot information technology 2 or 3 ISO ratings higher in the first place. You besides won’t benefit from some of Nikon’due south D-Lighting tricks that help avoid colour shifts as the curve changes are applied.
    Even with everything working for you using ADL inside the camera and then Nikon software, information technology’s important to realize that ADL is not really meant for college ISO shots. It works best in the lower ISO ranges. Yet, information technology can piece of work well for higher ISO pictures if they are in black and white.
    I sometimes use ADL when I know I’one thousand going to catechumen the raw file in Ufraw or Picture Window Pro 5, because different matrix metering by itself, ADL virtually guarantees that naught will be overexposed. This works great for blackness and white.

  13. ADL drops the base of operations exposure (depending on the ADL setting and the lighting) by: nothing, -1/3 or -two/three stops. Very good for JPGs, considering the D7000 very often clips highlights. Harmless when RAW conversions are done with Nikon software. Not so nifty with other RAW software, considering it volition result in college noise levels when the exposure is adjusted.
    If you lot dialed in -1 stop exposure compensation, then yous could have wound up -i ii/three cease under. I really has to check the histogram and flashing highlights as a sanity bank check to make sure exposures are in the ball park.

  14. One other point – ADL has no effect on your image file if you are shooting raw. This setting is but visible on jpeg images.

  15. Are yous certain about that Wayne? If then, then why in LR is the Histogram shifted right off the left side of the calibration when in NX2 is more than toward the eye? This simply happens when ADL is active.
    Bruce, that was the consequence, on the camera (and in NX2) the histogram is acceptable, information technology’s only when imported into LR it’s off the left side.

  16. Craig,
    Don’t know if this is any assistance but the included commodity may have info you would exist interested in. Have not nonetheless got to play with the theory.
    http://world wide web.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml

  17. Of class Active D Lighting tin can impact your RAW files besides, because it sometimes underexpose a flake on purpose. One time the exposure is inverse, it will affect JPEG likewise every bit RAW alike.

  18. Well, I have to admit, even though I probably won’t be using it again, the ADL is pretty clever. I’ve opened them up in NX2 and information technology’s incredible. I’ve +1 to the exposure (undoing the transmission stop down I put in the photographic camera) and the images are pretty much where I wanted them to exist.
    Therefore, right now, I’ve got NX2 batch converting all the images with +1 exposure out to Tiff where I’ll then make the final crop/straighten plus any little noise clear ups in Lightroom.
    Thanks to all for the well informed pedagogy!

  19. Pitiful well-nigh your results but that’s why I don’t like ADL. It’s just a poor implementation of Photoshop’s Shadows/Highlights feature, which I prefer to adjust when I’m editing my photos rather than taking them.

  20. Cheers Jon, as I said, it’s a lesson well learnt. Luckily, although time consuming, I’ve got some usable photos and certainly made certain that ADL is set to off

  21. Craig,
    ADL is affecting the NEF Files. Pictures taken with ADL on tin only be processed with NIKON software, ViewNX or CaptureNX. All other software volition produce underexposed, soft and washed out results, simply because they tin NOT read and justify the ADL parameters set by the camera at the time of the shooting.
    ADL in my D7000 works much meliorate than in my D300s and it gives very practiced results in most of the cases. Don’t use information technology in low light scenes, very fast moving action with CF or very shut portraits. Information technology’s perfect for nature/landscape though and withal subjects. All you lot demand is a trivial familiarization with information technology, otherwise just plow it off and forget nigh information technology
    Anyhow you lot can process everything afterward in LR, PS or any other RAW converter.

  22. confused bc mine is ready to RAW and does non allow me to even plough on active-d lighting bc of that reason. hmm

  23. I’ve had similar issues with lightroom. In the develop module, drag the ‘black’ slider dorsum to 0. That should fix your photo.

  24. @Rahul Jayaraman thanks so much for that tip! Works really well!
    (I find that if I bump Blacks to 0, Recovery to maybe +5 and Exposure to +two it is a good “basic” fix for most images underexposed in this way.)

  25. Later on reading this, I’ve washed some dwelling work with my D7000. I’chiliad sorry it is in Dutch, but I call up you sympathise it.

    Every bit tin can be seen, the picture taken with a D7000 isn’t influenced at all by D-lighting. In PS 5, all the pictures are the same. But a slightly higher overstaturation of the shadows when d-ligthing is out. Merely you can’t see information technology in the film, as being and then less.

  26. Hi Everyone.
    I took some pictures of my daughter recently for her baptism. I shot in RAW. The histogram was as close to ideal on my camera and the images and and so when I went home and loaded the pics, I was really disappointed to come across they were all underexposed despite what my camera was showing me. I googled underexposed, RAW, histogram and this thread came up, and I checked my camera, and I had unintentionally set up the active d-lighting to normal. And so, I’chiliad glad I establish this thread so at least I know now information technology’south because of the active d-lighting setting only are all of these pics I took, unsalvageable?
    Considering I don’t know if I tin become them washed again. Do I need to download another software so I can have the same results that my camera is showing me? If any of you can assistance or give me suggestions. I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

  27. You need a Nikon plan with a raw converter to correctly read files with ADL on. You tin can use the complimentary View NX or

    the not-free Capture NX. View NX has limited adjustment but tin can take the image equally shot and convert to a file type

    that other programs can read. I think it can output xvi bit per channel TIFF, which is a huge file only you tin can do edits

    then save to a more than reasonably sized file type.

  28. Rubbish! Nothing to exercise with not being able to read ADL in Lightroom. My slightly dull nether exposed images taken inside a Church yet look the same in NX2 as it does in Lightroom. Thought I had similar settings to yours except that I used minimum iso 100 and maximum 3200 on my D7100 no flash considering I preferred to capture the natural experience. Flash was only used on my zoom Lens in FP 125 sec on my other Photographic camera. I am yet to figure out why the 125 FP set speed kept changing to 80 sec e.t.c forth with the motorcar iso? Images appeared fine on the view screen on my Camera and at that place for trusted it to be ok and not check the histogram. I need to concentrate on my shots like we all practice. I re checked all my settings and they appeared to be fine. How e’er” I have set the ADL to off every bit I suspect it may have something to do with information technology. In particular because I had it happen on both cameras I used with ADL on. Accept to run some test shots to confirm this though.
    Every bit to anything conclusive as to why images have come out darker? Wedding Clothes does accept an impact every bit it is white in my example. How ever” It should not render photos noticeably darker for one to do some long hours on the PC with Lightroom balancing them dorsum to where they should accept been.
    I need to exercise some more reading upwardly on this. Promise you as well find the respond.

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