Active D-Lighting doesn't work on my new D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by benjaminm, May 24, 2009.

  1. Hello!
    Some days ago I've received my new D700. I'm very satisfied with it. But I can not use (active) D-Lighting. The photos are just the same with D-Lighting on or off. I've never used this feature on my D300 and I doubt I will use it on D700, but I would like to see it working.
    Here are two samples. The first one is with D-Lighting on, the second with off.
    Can somebody help me?
  2. The second one
  3. Did you shoot in RAW format, or use jpeg setting in-camera? What computer software did you use?
    To see it work, you need to either: a) shoot .NEF images and convert your RAW image in Nikon Capture NX, or: b) shoot in-camera jpegs with D-lighting active.
    I have to add, though, that it is a VERY backlit subject. Maybe the D-lighting is more subtle? It's not meant really as an HDR option.
  4. I've shot in-camera jpegs.
  5. Actually, it looks very much like it's working. Notice that in the "off" image, the background highlights are closer to being clipped. You've already got in-shadow details showing in the "off" shot, so it makes sense that there wouldn't be much visible change, shadow-detail-wise, in the "on" shot. Remember: ADL is just trying to prevent shadow blocking and blown out highlights. I think, in the examples you've provided, it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do.
  6. I second Matt - ADL is designed to lift shadows a touch (I would guesstimate by a stop at the most), it is NOT supposed to be a substitute for fill flash!!!
  7. Yes Matt is right, if you notice the second shot the hightlight are almost blown out, where as the first photo they are proper exposed. Paul brings up a good point that it is not designed to replace fill flash, that would be nice though. If you shoot in raw you could probably pull a lot of detail out of the dark areas without loosing the background. You could always spot meter for the person too, with ADL on it might keep the background from being blown out as much.
  8. Your subject is 4-5 stops underexposed. Active D lighting works well on some images, but more in the range of 1.5-2 stops under. Fill flash is your friend :)
    Not sure if the d700 is the same, but with my d80, in play back mode you can apply active d lighting after the fact, I didnt think you could auto apply it while shooting.
  9. You need a flash for that photo, Active D-Lighting won't work in that situation.
  10. Thanks for your advice. But if I use passive D-lighting, the photo looks much better. Do the active and the passive method differe so much?
  11. Passive = D-Lighting in Retouch menu.
  12. I agree with what everyone is saying but there is a couple of things you might check: What level of Active D-lighting are you using? If you're using Auto then you're stuck with what the camera gives you. However, be careful with High setting since it can produce unwanted noise and poor WB sometimes. Also, Matrix metering usually works best with Active D-lighting, Center or Spot metering can throw things off in my experience.
  13. SOme say to set it at high..for underexposed ..high contrast pics such as the ones you have will lower the highlights and lighten your shadows..most of the tem just leave it on normal or in case of D90 auto.
  14. I agree with Dave above. To me, this has little to do with Active D-Lighting and more to do with recognizing that its a challenging lighting situation and that you need to balance it out with flash or concede that the background will blow out. Exposure metering and technology are great things, but I think as a photographer you have to be ready to override them when there is a situation that has a high likelihood of confusing the camera, like this. Active D-Lighting can do a lot of things; it's not designed to work miracles.
  15. bms


    D-lightening may be neat, but it cannot do magic. I second the above comments. If the background is important and you do not want to blow it out, the first thing you should experiment with is fill flash, and I would shoot RAW. If you want to use natural light, you can braket the exposure and try and HDR image from several exposures. Or you can also make a "pseudo" HDR from one RAW file (pulling/pushing the exposure in a few shots by software , saving them as differemt files and then merging them). PS does a decent job. Unfortunately it does not work that well with JPGs (see below)
  16. Active D lighting can give you 2/3 of a stop in shadow detail. if you want more than that get a Fuji S5.
  17. just a note, but that photo does not require fill flash. fill flash means to supplement the existing light to lessen any shadows correct? that subject needs its own primary source of lighting. as it is, with any film or camera, the range of EV in that photo cannot be captured on any media that i know of. blow the background or lose the subject. choice is yours without artificial lighting. for some reason you chose the background.
  18. Get a Fuji S5 as a better alternative to a D700? Ah hah hah ha hah ha, whee hee hee, ho ho! Stoppit, my ribs are hurting now. ROFL.
  19. Why not meter for the boy? He would have then been exposed correctly. Sure the background would be blown out, but is really so important?
  20. Yes Dan, the above shot does need fill flash!
  21. Thank you for your answers.
    I know that such kind of situation requires fill flash (I like the built-in flash on D700 very much - the SB800 is much heavier). I would normaly use it or I would meter the boy's face with spot metering. I just wanted to test the limits of D-Lighting on D700. This was my first test. Now I know that D-Lighting on my camera works fine, but is not the right tool for that kind of situations. So I will leave it in position OFF as I did on my prevous camera.
  22. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    In the EXIF the only difference I can see is 1/125th for the first and 1/60th for the second.
  23. my point about fill flash is fill flash, i thought, is a supplemental light source. the picture obviously needs a primary light source. he doesn't need a puff of light to pull up some shadows, he needs a primary light source. to me that is not fill flash but strobist photography. i guess the seriousness of the underexposure makes me reject the connotations of 'fill'.
    are the exposures different on these two pictures? a twist to the plot.
  24. You are correct Dan but in this instance, the stronger / primary light source is the sun.
  25. Benjamin,
    I'd leave Active D-lighting to auto, and just let it do it's job. It can't really hurt your images, but it may just help in subtle ways that make them look better. It's a technology that's supposed to work in the background, not really as a primary metering method. If you leave it "off," you're wasting some of the money you spent upgrading to the D700 for. That's kinda like buying a D700 and always shooting in manual metering, manual white balance, and manual get the idea. Cameras like the D700, I think, are machines which allow you to concentrate on your subject, not on your camera operation (another reason NOT to chimp after each image capture, but that's a topic for another thread :)
    Enjoy, and let us know how you like your new toy.
  26. Ben,
    In your example there is at least 3-4 stops difference between correct exposure for BG and the subject, Nikon 3D matrix metering tends to prevent blowups so your subject has ended up very dark, this is too much for ADL to correct, usually ADL is good for "fine tuning" within one stop and it works fine, but it cannot compensate for extreme under/over exposures.

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