Use of active D lighting? (D7000)
D7K/D5100 ADL (Active D-Lighting) overrides your set brightness and contrast settings. In settings higher than "low", it also affects the actual exposure by adjusting aperture/shutter speed/ISO either alone or in combination depending on the exposure mode set. In manual exposure mode (no auto ISO) it only affects the meter and not the actual aperture/shutter speed/ISO....but will still affect the brightness, contrast, and tone curves. CaptureNX2 can reverse this in manual exposure mode with the raw file. Note though if shooting in other than full manual and ADL set to higher than "low"....the effects on actual exposure can not be un-done, even with the RAW file.
Thank you for your detailed reply. My understanding is brightness, contrast settings are not relevant, if you shoot in RAW, or? Probably ADL influences indirectly those because of adapting the gain for local illumination(?)
It's possible to "add" the effect with tone mapping and selective brightness/contrast control but it's not really the real thing as taken by the camera. If you shoot raw, only ViewNX2/CapturNX2 can apply the tone mapping accurately. For that reason, if you use third party RAW conversion it's suggested to turn ADL off.
I use Lightroom mostly..
I normally have ADL set to "normal" and shoot RAW only. The DR of the scene determines if I change that. Shooting multiple HDR exposures is also another place where ADL seems to have a very positive affect on the final product.
I think I would normally switch off ADL and use it in difficult light conditions. Have you observed any noise increase in certain situations depending on ADL?
BTW, here's a good ADL On/Off example.
Here is an example of how ADL set to "high" actually made skin tones more accurate.
Many thanks for the examples.
Selected photos: http://www.redbrook.smugmug.com