Nikon Active D-Lighting (ADL) really is just "underexposure + tonemapping"?

Started Jan 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Alex Notpro
Alex Notpro Contributing Member • Posts: 989
Nikon Active D-Lighting (ADL) really is just "underexposure + tonemapping"?

I know there are a ton of threads on this here and even more blog posts all over the Internet, and I've read many of them.

After my own experimentation, I am concluding ADL is simply underexposure (i.e. aiming to keep the highlights in check as opposed to normal exposure which would aim for an even balance of shadows and highlights) followed by run-of-the-mill low-intensity Tone Mapping (of the same kind which Luminance HDR, Photomatix, etc, will do if carefully tuned away from the extreme default settings).

A more surprising conclusion is really just how clueless many of the bloggers out there are. Many scratch their heads over why an ADL image is noisier or why it's less contrasty or why some people have reported halos (often while pixel-peeping), and how ADL operates at the sensor (it doesn't) and blah blah blah. Thousands of words have been written which can be replaced by two words and a symbol: underexposure + tonemapping.

I just wanted to share this "epiphany" which was several months in the making.

Agree? Disagree?

Thanks

 Alex Notpro's gear list:Alex Notpro's gear list
Sony FE 35mm F1.4 Sony Alpha 7 Sony a5100 Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS +4 more
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