Active D-Lighting on D810

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Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Active D-Lighting on D810

Having some exposure problems lately and trying to figure out precisely what is going on with all aspects of exposure.

On my camera for ADL options I have Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low and off. I currently have it set to normal.

My question is how it relates to what can be done in post in NX-D, if I have it turned off in camera can I get any affect I could have achieved by having it on in camera by using the slider in NX-D? And vice versa so if I had it turned on can I reverse it as if it was never turned on in the first place? And if those things are possible how would I go about doing it?

BTW, when I load photos into NX-D the D-lighting slider is always to the left (0) by default.

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Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,654
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810
1

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

Having some exposure problems lately and trying to figure out precisely what is going on with all aspects of exposure.

On my camera for ADL options I have Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low and off. I currently have it set to normal.

My question is how it relates to what can be done in post in NX-D, if I have it turned off in camera can I get any affect I could have achieved by having it on in camera by using the slider in NX-D? And vice versa so if I had it turned on can I reverse it as if it was never turned on in the first place? And if those things are possible how would I go about doing it?

BTW, when I load photos into NX-D the D-lighting slider is always to the left (0) by default.

My understanding is that Active D-Lighting adjustment happens before the exposure is made. "D-Lighting" is made after and may not yield the same latitude as "Active D-Lighting."

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OP Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Wahrsager wrote:

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

Having some exposure problems lately and trying to figure out precisely what is going on with all aspects of exposure.

On my camera for ADL options I have Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low and off. I currently have it set to normal.

My question is how it relates to what can be done in post in NX-D, if I have it turned off in camera can I get any affect I could have achieved by having it on in camera by using the slider in NX-D? And vice versa so if I had it turned on can I reverse it as if it was never turned on in the first place? And if those things are possible how would I go about doing it?

BTW, when I load photos into NX-D the D-lighting slider is always to the left (0) by default.

My understanding is that Active D-Lighting adjustment happens before the exposure is made. "D-Lighting" is made after and may not yield the same latitude as "Active D-Lighting."

Yeah, Ive been a bit confused as of late. I'm wondering if the reason my lens is occasionally under exposing relative to what it should be doing may be due to ADL.

I'm thinking I should just switch it off if I want consistency, however I'm still concerned about missing out on something I can't easily replicate later in post.

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Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,654
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810
1

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

Having some exposure problems lately and trying to figure out precisely what is going on with all aspects of exposure.

On my camera for ADL options I have Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low and off. I currently have it set to normal.

My question is how it relates to what can be done in post in NX-D, if I have it turned off in camera can I get any affect I could have achieved by having it on in camera by using the slider in NX-D? And vice versa so if I had it turned on can I reverse it as if it was never turned on in the first place? And if those things are possible how would I go about doing it?

BTW, when I load photos into NX-D the D-lighting slider is always to the left (0) by default.

My understanding is that Active D-Lighting adjustment happens before the exposure is made. "D-Lighting" is made after and may not yield the same latitude as "Active D-Lighting."

Yeah, Ive been a bit confused as of late. I'm wondering if the reason my lens is occasionally under exposing relative to what it should be doing may be due to ADL.

I doubt it as the effect is very subtle. Are you in highlight weighted metering? Do you have negative exposure compensation dialed in? Are you in Auto ISO? Many factors could make an image too dark.

I'm thinking I should just switch it off if I want consistency, however I'm still concerned about missing out on something I can't easily replicate later in post.

You might find this brief article useful:

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/a/ideas-and-inspiration/balancing-photo-exposures-with-nikons-active-d-lighting.html

I think Active D-Lighting is primarily geared toward JPEG shooters who are in tune to the cameras tendencies and know how to get a JPEG that's to their requirement without post-processing.

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OP Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Wahrsager wrote:

I doubt it as the effect is very subtle. Are you in highlight weighted metering? Do you have negative exposure compensation dialed in? Are you in Auto ISO? Many factors could make an image too dark.

I'm in manual mode no auto ISO. Could what metering mode I'm in have that large of an effect?

I'm in matrix metering mode.

It appears, "Easy exposure compensation" was on by default deep in settings. I'm not sure if that can affect manual mode but I turned it off anyways.

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Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,654
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810
1

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

I doubt it as the effect is very subtle. Are you in highlight weighted metering? Do you have negative exposure compensation dialed in? Are you in Auto ISO? Many factors could make an image too dark.

I'm in manual mode no auto ISO. Could what metering mode I'm in have that large of an effect?

Since you have auto ISO turned off and you're choosing your shutter speed and aperture yourself, I think you're under exposing the image.

See this:

http://www.nikon-asia.com/en_Asia/nikon_school/nikon_school_article?ID=templatedata/en_Asia/taggable_content/data/learn_and_explore/NikonUnveiled_Understanding_Metering_Modes&Category=learn-and-explore-new&Section=nikon-school-online/nikon-unveiled

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OP Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Wahrsager wrote:

Since you have auto ISO turned off and you're choosing your shutter speed and aperture yourself, I think you're under exposing the image.

See this:

http://www.nikon-asia.com/en_Asia/nikon_school/nikon_school_article?ID=templatedata/en_Asia/taggable_content/data/learn_and_explore/NikonUnveiled_Understanding_Metering_Modes&Category=learn-and-explore-new&Section=nikon-school-online/nikon-unveiled

This is bright daylight sunny f16 rule sorta stuff. And I had two lenses exposing one scene differently (on different cameras so that's why I thought something was going on in camera).

Metering shouldn't affect manual exposure from what I understand so that easy compensation thing may have been the culprit.

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Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,654
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Since you have auto ISO turned off and you're choosing your shutter speed and aperture yourself, I think you're under exposing the image.

See this:

http://www.nikon-asia.com/en_Asia/nikon_school/nikon_school_article?ID=templatedata/en_Asia/taggable_content/data/learn_and_explore/NikonUnveiled_Understanding_Metering_Modes&Category=learn-and-explore-new&Section=nikon-school-online/nikon-unveiled

This is bright daylight sunny f16 rule sorta stuff. And I had two lenses exposing one scene differently (on different cameras so that's why I thought something was going on in camera).

Personally, I've learned to trust my (DSLR) camera meters and dial in + or - based on the overall tones of whats in the viewfinder (keeping in mind each body's tendency with certain scenes) and use Auto ISO.

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OP Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Wahrsager wrote:

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

This is bright daylight sunny f16 rule sorta stuff. And I had two lenses exposing one scene differently (on different cameras so that's why I thought something was going on in camera).

Personally, I've learned to trust my (DSLR) camera meters and dial in + or - based on the overall tones of whats in the viewfinder and use Auto ISO.

So, in another thread I was told the camera should account for the roughly 3 or 4 tenths of lost light in my 70-200 compared to it's in theory aperture/light being let in, I wonder if he was assuming I was using metering to set my exposure.

What I took from what he said is that I will set the manual exposure and the camera will automatically compensate for lost light since nikon has profiles for their lenses. I'm thinking that isn't true.

The only problem with that theory is it still exposes perfectly at sunny f16 rule sometimes.

The funny thing about correcting is d-lighting in post sometimes applies seemingly +1/3rd of a stop of compensation. It's almost like the post process d-lighting might be doing what he said.

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Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,654
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

This is bright daylight sunny f16 rule sorta stuff. And I had two lenses exposing one scene differently (on different cameras so that's why I thought something was going on in camera).

Personally, I've learned to trust my (DSLR) camera meters and dial in + or - based on the overall tones of whats in the viewfinder and use Auto ISO.

So, in another thread I was told the camera should account for the roughly 3 or 4 tenths of lost light in my 70-200 compared to it's in theory aperture/light being let in, I wonder if he was assuming I was using metering to set my exposure.

I have no idea about this kind of stuff.  I just go by the meter combined with what metering mode I've chosen which is usually Matrix.

What I took from what he said is that I will set the manual exposure and the camera will automatically compensate for lost light since nikon has profiles for their lenses.

Sounds like an interesting theory.

The only problem with that theory is it still exposes perfectly at sunny f16 rule sometimes.

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OP Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Wahrsager wrote:

Nikon_Enthusiast wrote:

So, in another thread I was told the camera should account for the roughly 3 or 4 tenths of lost light in my 70-200 compared to it's in theory aperture/light being let in, I wonder if he was assuming I was using metering to set my exposure.

I have no idea about this kind of stuff. I just go by the meter combined with what metering mode I've chosen which is usually Matrix.

Is this first meter an external meter? Your wording seems to indicate there are two, or are you just describing to different in camera uses of metering?

What I took from what he said is that I will set the manual exposure and the camera will automatically compensate for lost light since nikon has profiles for their lenses.

Sounds like an interesting theory.

He wasn't super specific or clear, that's sort of me reading between the lines. If nikon can correct distortion why can't they correct loss of light, it should be consistent and measurable right?

The only problem with that theory is it still exposes perfectly at sunny f16 rule sometimes.

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OP Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Here's some samples (corner crops), both are from same photo, not a cloud in sky, nearly noon, sunny f16 rule should work right?

no editing:

D lighting slider to 28 in post:

Bright as you would expect at nearly noon on a sunny day.

The interesting thing about the d-lighting slider is it doesn't always really touch exposure, sometimes it's just shadows (well at some point it decides the entire image is a shadow and washes it out, that happens far down the slider though). However, when it does touch exposure it generally helps a lot.

Edit: i forgot to do vignette control so left edge is a little extra dim on both. And completely OT, but on vignette control there is a marker at 80, so IDK if I need to drag it to 200 or 80 to correct perfectly.

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ericbowles
ericbowles Senior Member • Posts: 1,599
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810
2

Active D-Lighting has two components - an exposure adjustment and a tone curve adjustment that brightens shadows and protects highlights.  The exposure adjustment is as follows:

  • Low = 0.0
  • Normal = -0.3
  • High = -0.7
  • Very high = -1.0

This is a real change in exposure.  If you put your camera on a tripod with constant light and framing, you can see the exposure settings change.

The Tone Curve adjustment is more subtle.  It's baked into the JPEG, TIFF or video files.  With RAW, it depends on the software.  With Nikon software the tone curve is applied.  With Lightroom and most non-Nikon programs, the tone curve was ignored leaving you with an underexposed file.  More recently, in some Nikon cameras (mirrorless only as far as I know) if you apply Camera Settings in Lightroom or ACR, there is a tone curve adjustment applied.

In some Nikon programs - Capture NX2 and NX Studio - you can change the tone curve setting during post processing.  So if you had it set for ADL Low, you could change the tone curve to ADL Very High in post if you want.  The look is different because the exposure adjustment would also need to be made in post.  But if ADL was turned Off in the camera, you can't adjust it in post.

This actually has some advantage in the shadows.  If you select ADL Low, you are capturing a normal exposure and a small tone curve adjustment in post.  If you change ADL in NX Studio to ADL High, it increases the strength of the tone curve and brightens shadows.  If you also change the by -0.7 stops in post, the actual file data still contains the shadow data of the normal exposure, so you are not increasing noise the way you would by decreasing exposure in the camera.

So bottom line - you can use ADL Low with no adverse impact on your exposure and it retains some flexibility for editing in NX Studio.

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Sagittarius Veteran Member • Posts: 7,636
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

ericbowles wrote:

Active D-Lighting has two components - an exposure adjustment and a tone curve adjustment that brightens shadows and protects highlights. The exposure adjustment is as follows:

  • Low = 0.0
  • Normal = -0.3
  • High = -0.7
  • Very high = -1.0

This is a real change in exposure. If you put your camera on a tripod with constant light and framing, you can see the exposure settings change.

The Tone Curve adjustment is more subtle. It's baked into the JPEG, TIFF or video files. With RAW, it depends on the software. With Nikon software the tone curve is applied. With Lightroom and most non-Nikon programs, the tone curve was ignored leaving you with an underexposed file. More recently, in some Nikon cameras (mirrorless only as far as I know) if you apply Camera Settings in Lightroom or ACR, there is a tone curve adjustment applied.

In some Nikon programs - Capture NX2 and NX Studio - you can change the tone curve setting during post processing. So if you had it set for ADL Low, you could change the tone curve to ADL Very High in post if you want. The look is different because the exposure adjustment would also need to be made in post. But if ADL was turned Off in the camera, you can't adjust it in post.

Yes, you can. I just tried in NX studio and you can turn on ADL to any value (Low, High and so on even though it was originally off.

This actually has some advantage in the shadows. If you select ADL Low, you are capturing a normal exposure and a small tone curve adjustment in post. If you change ADL in NX Studio to ADL High, it increases the strength of the tone curve and brightens shadows. If you also change the by -0.7 stops in post, the actual file data still contains the shadow data of the normal exposure, so you are not increasing noise the way you would by decreasing exposure in the camera.

So bottom line - you can use ADL Low with no adverse impact on your exposure and it retains some flexibility for editing in NX Studio.

Thom Hogan in his book on D810 suggests to have ADL off unless you have a high contrast scene.

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Best regards

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OP Nikon_Enthusiast Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810
1

ericbowles wrote:

Active D-Lighting has two components - an exposure adjustment and a tone curve adjustment that brightens shadows and protects highlights. The exposure adjustment is as follows:

  • Low = 0.0
  • Normal = -0.3

That is absolutely it then, -.3 was what I was seeing when I thought I was underexposing.

  • High = -0.7
  • Very high = -1.0

This is a real change in exposure. If you put your camera on a tripod with constant light and framing, you can see the exposure settings change.

The Tone Curve adjustment is more subtle. It's baked into the JPEG, TIFF or video files. With RAW, it depends on the software. With Nikon software the tone curve is applied. With Lightroom and most non-Nikon programs, the tone curve was ignored leaving you with an underexposed file. More recently, in some Nikon cameras (mirrorless only as far as I know) if you apply Camera Settings in Lightroom or ACR, there is a tone curve adjustment applied.

In some Nikon programs - Capture NX2 and NX Studio - you can change the tone curve setting during post processing. So if you had it set for ADL Low, you could change the tone curve to ADL Very High in post if you want. The look is different because the exposure adjustment would also need to be made in post. But if ADL was turned Off in the camera, you can't adjust it in post.

This actually has some advantage in the shadows. If you select ADL Low, you are capturing a normal exposure and a small tone curve adjustment in post. If you change ADL in NX Studio to ADL High, it increases the strength of the tone curve and brightens shadows. If you also change the by -0.7 stops in post, the actual file data still contains the shadow data of the normal exposure, so you are not increasing noise the way you would by decreasing exposure in the camera.

So bottom line - you can use ADL Low with no adverse impact on your exposure and it retains some flexibility for editing in NX Studio.

ADL low it is, thanks so much!

Edit: based off what Saggitarius said I will consider having it off but I'm often in scenes with deep shadows due to trees so I think low is still a good option.

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ericbowles
ericbowles Senior Member • Posts: 1,599
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810

Sagittarius wrote:

ericbowles wrote:

In some Nikon programs - Capture NX2 and NX Studio - you can change the tone curve setting during post processing. So if you had it set for ADL Low, you could change the tone curve to ADL Very High in post if you want. The look is different because the exposure adjustment would also need to be made in post. But if ADL was turned Off in the camera, you can't adjust it in post.

Yes, you can. I just tried in NX studio and you can turn on ADL to any value (Low, High and so on even though it was originally off.

Thanks for checking this.  In Capture NX2 you could not adjust it at all.

Thom Hogan in his book on D810 suggests to have ADL off unless you have a high contrast scene.

Even with a high contrast scene, I would only use ADL Normal or higher if my output was JPEG or TIFF.  For high contrast scenes a Neutral or Flat picture control is a starting point to reduce contrast.  The exposure change is a show stopper.

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 15,767
Re: Active D-Lighting on D810
2

I agree.  Unless one is shooting to get jpeg output I see little reason to use ADL.  It is best just left turned off.  Use a flat picture control if needed.  And yes, it will mean you have to do a bit of post processing with your favorite software.

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Mike Dawson

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