D-lighting when shooting RAW?

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Gil
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I'm finding in Africa particularly with the bright conditions - when I take portraits without flash - the subject is far darker than the background and when shooting Matrix Metering I end up with photos of people with descernable features lost in shadow. I'm shooting RAW so normally I would just lift the shadows and exposure to get the desired result in PP. My question is should I be using D-lighting or is that more a feature for jpg shooters who want the desired result upon shooting with no PP? I'm wondering if applying D-lighting reduces the ability to make selective changes later by 'flattening' the dynamics of the image? I would imagine for landscapes you would have D-lighting always off when shooting RAW for that reason.
 
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D-lighting will affect how the meter responds but its affect will mainly be seen on jpeg (e.g. rear lcd) ... can you not use fill flash?
 
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gilbouk
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Gil
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Would you be better off spot metering for the face if it's a portrait and the backgrounds not important?
Using spot metering would completely blow out the background, matrix metering would be my choice with some + exposure compensation to get something in-between with the rest performed in PP controlling the shadows and highlights.

My question is more towards the correct use of the D-lighting feature as using it gives much nicer results when reviewing the photo taken. Is it correct to use it when shooting RAW or is it a feature intended for shooting in jpg?
 
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gilbouk
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Gil
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Fill flash, or either spot metering, exposure compensation or manually expose?
No flash with me and the built in flash at full power is only effective at close range. D-lighting gives the desired effect, just wondering if it's the same as lifting the shadows in PP?
 
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Rick
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No flash with me and the built in flash at full power is only effective at close range. D-lighting gives the desired effect, just wondering if it's the same as lifting the shadows in PP?
Sorry, I don't use Nikon so have no idea. I'd say the only way to balance the bright B/G and underexposed faces is to use FIF, anything else is going to be a compromise or something done in PP. I can't see how the D light can improve this, unless it artificially lightens dark areas. Anyway, I'm sure someone much more knowledgeable than me will be able to help you out.
 
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Steve
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Gramps is correct in saying that active d-lighting alters the camera's metering. It doesn't change the raw data but does alter the jpg image produced in camera to protect highlights, boost shadows and even out mid-tones. All of the Nikon training videos I have seen on this feature says to avoid it if you are shooting in raw.

Personally, I would try it and see what the results are like. Pixels are free after all :)
 

simon ess

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Take photo as normal in raw, In tricky situations I might use spot metering and balance tones.

Open image in camera. Open edit menu. Apply D-Lighting. You'll see the effects.
 
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gilbouk
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Gil
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Take photo as normal in raw, In tricky situations I might use spot metering and balance tones.

Open image in camera. Open edit menu. Apply D-Lighting. You'll see the effects.
That seems like a good idea, to shoot in raw and apply it after if a jpeg is required when I don't have access to a computer. Hopefully next year I'll have solar equipment able to sustain my laptop
 
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D-lighting doesn’t affect the raw photo BUT the photo you see on the LCD is the embedded jpeg so if you shoot raw only with d-lighting on your final image will look different to what it does on the camera.

Also if you use the Nikon software to pp your images it will add the d-lighting to raw (you can turn this off though), but if you use any other software it won’t add the d-lighting.
 
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Dave
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Fill flash will never look right unless the modifier is BIG and you also balance the WB - so forget it

Just add +1 (maybe even as high as +2, test) to the exposure and shoot your subjects backlit, assuming you can't put them in shade, and it'll be fine, the DR of any modern camera will easily cope

Dave
 
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paul
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In that situation I would find something white to reflect as much light as possible on to the subject and expose to the point that there is a little highlight clipping.
Raw files do have one stop or more headroom to pull back the highlights and as much data in the shadows as possible to pull up
 
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mike
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Using spot metering would completely blow out the background, matrix metering would be my choice with some + exposure compensation to get something in-between with the rest performed in PP controlling the shadows and highlights.

My question is more towards the correct use of the D-lighting feature as using it gives much nicer results when reviewing the photo taken. Is it correct to use it when shooting RAW or is it a feature intended for shooting in jpg?

D-Lighting is for in camera JPEG conversions and has nothing to do with the RAW image - remember the image on the rear screen has your JPEG settings applied and D-Lighting is designed to make the image look better, use it all the time

Mike
 
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Steven
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There are a lot of responses here that are basically wrong...
Active D-lighting alters the metered exposure, which affects the exposure settings used; and that affects the raw file as well as the jpeg. At the maximum setting it will cause a raw file to be underexposed by as much as 1 stop in order to save highlights, just like in the jpeg; but the raw data is not processed to recover the underexposure in the shadows, unlike the jpeg.

Using ADL should be avoided with raw files.
 
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