Initial Camera Settings for PL4, Nikon Df

Yes and no… Apparently it changes the exposure, which means it does have an effect on the metering, and therefore the recorded raw image:

" 7) Active D-Lighting

If you have a Nikon camera, you may have come across the Active D-Lighting setting. At its face, this seems like a JPEG-only setting. And, for the most part, that’s exactly what it is.

Assuming that you don’t change any other settings, your Active D-Lighting has no effect on the RAW data itself. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Depending upon your Active D-Lighting settings, you will change your camera’s metering significantly. I don’t know why Nikon chose to have a JPEG setting affect the metering for RAW photos, but that’s what it does.

At the highest possible Active D-Lighting setting on my camera (Extra High), my metered exposure was a full stop darker than normal! Without Active D-Lighting, I had an exposure of 1/5 second. When I turned it on, the exposure was 1/10 second.

Again, Active D-Lighting does nothing to the RAW data itself. It only affects your camera’s meter. However, the effect is so significant that you need to be very careful to avoid ever setting Active D-Lighting if you shoot in RAW."

From reading the above, I wonder if I should just turn the function OFF unless I’m deliberately shooting JPG images. Maybe I should just configure two camera settings, one for JPG and the other for RAW, so I don’t need to remember all the things to consider changing when/if I switch between jpg and raw…

It sounds like you are right - which goes against the concept of ‘raw’ images as I understood things.

There ought to be a warning about this in the camera.

I need to watch the more advanced version of the Nikon Df videos, and see if it elaborates on this issue. Hopefully today.

Geesh, you turning it backwards.
1 it takes a “normal” meatering and if DR is high active D-lighting tries to fit all in by compensate in EV/time aka shuttertime.
2 it does everything to a rawfile! prefent you from overexposure.
3 it’s in auto modes great for rawfiles. it helps you to have a ETTR as much as possible in high dynamic scenes.
read the DPR article.

I feel compelled to comment on “raw file” not being an image… The same is true for a “jpeg/tiff… file”. Why? They are just files. Some kind of box containing information about an image.

In order to create something that we (humans) comprehend to be an image of someone or something, we need an intermediary that interprets said “information about an image” and rearranges in such ways for us to understand. DPL is such an intermediary, which can also put more info into the box, info conveying our intentions or feelings that e.g. turn the original interpretation (e.g. done by DPL) into art.

One can’t print a raw file? Yes we can, but we’ll not usually get an image that we’ll like because printer drivers are just not smart enough to read our thoughts.

Just for fun:

Crop of a raw image as delivered by intermediary: RawDigger

Crop of a jpg image as delivered by intermediary: iHex

How does this help? Not immediately, but eventually.

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As used on computers an image file is a rgb raster image. A raw file is a r,g,b raster image. Notice the comma’s!
Jpg,tiff,dng are diskfiles containing that raster image in a certain way.

What I want to say is when one looks at a raw file one must not forget that he is looking at the result of a raw conversion. What you see and what you print is that rgb raster image. And that image consists out of pixels with r,g,b values that correspondent with the color gamut of your monitor. Under normal circumstances.

About your picture. The pictures should be colored.


I am not an expert on this issue, but consider the post from @wolf regarding how DxO imports a RAW file into PhotoLab:

So, this setting does not impact the data in the RAW file.



Joseph, that is both fascinating and illuminating.

Thank you for bringing this our attention.

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I would like to ask one simple question. As a photographer whose images are mostly viewed “on screen” but there is the possibility that myself, or someone else, would want to print them, is it better to leave the camera set to sRGB or AdobeRGB ? If I understand correctly, it makes no difference unless/until someone wants to print an image, which for me is very rare.

What I was taught, was that a raw file was a copy of all the electronic data received by every pixel in the sensor. This was a file that could be used by a camera or computer to recreate an image of what someone standing there might have seen. In other words, the raw file is not an image, but it contains all the data that can be used to create an image. To me, an “image” is a file that other cameras, or computers, or devices can read and display the original image to the viewer, or do something else with it.

Is this not correct?

I feel like I just experienced an earthquake. I truly did believe that there was no way for my “jpg” image configuration would have an effect on the “raw” image - unless the setting being changed applied to both the raw image and the jpg image, such as exposure.

Not that I’m in any position to judge, buy I think Nikon made a mistake in Active D-Lighting ----- or, it should have been right up there with selecting exposure. Changing the exposure by one stop is expected to change both the raw image and the jpg image.

Bottom line, it’s all my fault, for thinking that Active D-Lighting was only applicable to ‘jpg’ images.

Having accepted that, I found this explanation as well as the others:

All of which brings me back to what I should do about the setting on the camera. It is still set to Normal. I’m tempted to turn it off, and leave it off while I’m shooting raw.

Makes me wonder what other settings I might need to be careful about…

This forum certainly has been very useful in learning about things I never paid much attention to!

Oh, and a new “plus” for my Leica, which doesn’t have a gazillion menu settings, mostly just the basics.

Mike, it is very easy to take parts of quotes out of context.

I have just spent time reading various articles on Active-D lighting (ADL). And there are some differing views but the majority seem to clarify the situation.

ADL is, primarily, for use when shooting jpeg in that it actually changes the processing of the file in-camera, where it attempts to reduce the dynamic range of a high contrast scene to be better suited to fitting in the more limited range of a jpeg file.

With RAW files, it doesn’t do any processing because, as we all know, RAW is RAW. What it does do for RAW shooting is that it uses matrix metering to assess the overall lighting and, for high contrast scenes, it attempts to avoid blowing highlights by lowering the exposure. To repeat, it does absolutely nothing to the RAW data from the sensor.

However, if you use Nikon’s own software, that will use the ADL data to attempt to recreate the in-camera processing that goes on for a jpeg file, but the result of any editing there will ultimately be a jpeg file because even Nikon can’t change the RAW data.

The purpose of ADL is to make it easier for inexperienced photographers to do ETTR of high contrast scenes without knowing what they are doing or how to do it. It uses matrix metering, which is not normally appropriate to high contrast scenes where, as we have discussed before, you can use spot metering of the brightest areas and placing that exposure at up to +2 stops over-exposed, giving you the optimum use of your camera’s available dynamic range.

If you didn’t want to bother with spot-metering, offsetting, etc, for high contrast scenes, you could just as well leave ADL off, use matrix metering and simply adjust the exposure compensation to -1.

What Nikon claim for ADL is that it will not only avoid blown highlights, it will also lift shadows at the same time. Well, unless you are actually editing the RAW data, that is simply not possible. Nikon’s own software “tweaks” stuff in just the same way as PhotoLab, it just uses the ADL data to do it instead of having to work it out ourselves. All you get out of ADL, with RAW images, if you are using any other software, is a slight under-exposed image.

Indeed, that is what most articles I have read seem to indicate.

In summary, ADL is only really useful when shooting high contrast scenes when using matrix metering to produce jpeg images.

But, be honest, if you have the least awareness of how to take a good photo, why would you not use the camera without any “magic”, which is primarily there for jpegs and point-and-shoot photographers, but with knowledge of how to create the best possible RAW files, which you can then perfect in something like PhotoLab - something that will allow you to get far more out of any image than any “one size fits all” in-camera magic?

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Yes. And to be seen and understood on all that devices and software it should be structured in a way. The raw data of the camera is used to create a file with that structure so the monitor can show you an image.


But, Joanna - that will apply only to the JPG file … Right ??


Internet doesn’t have a color space. It’s the monitor that has a color space.

It’s still very confusing mentioning AdobeRGB as RGB.
Standard gamut for a monitor is sRGB. A more specific gamut is AdobeRGB. And if an AdobeRGB image is shown with the “right” colors on a sRGB monitor depends on 1) the used software to show that image and 2) if that software knows the used gamut in that image/embedded color profile.

When you mention the internet you mean the internet browser. FF has been for long the only color aware browser, for windows. But even then not standard. One has to change some setting in the preferences.
So even when your friend on the other site of the world has a wide gamut monitor but not a color managed browser, he will see different colors.


What does “FF” refer to, George ?




Read the introduction. It’s the standard in the software/monitors. Everybody is supposed to have that.
And the transition of a picture that uses AdobeRGB to sRGB is depending on the used software. It’s not magic.


A nice article by the way. I’ll read it completely later.

As far as I can tell, it is noted as the “as shot” profile and then used as the basis for printing or as the original colour space in software that understands profiles.

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“* When you import the RAW file into PhotoLab
– PhotoLab will apply demosaicking and convert the RGB values from the “native color space of the camera” into AdobeRGB.
– PhotoLab will apply any color adjustments (saturation, HSL, but also FilmPack color rendering if you happen to use that, etc.) in that color space. I call this “working color space” because it is the color space PhotoLab does most of its work in.
– To display the image in PhotoLab, PhotoLab will, after all other processing, convert the image into the color space of your screen.
** If you select AdobeRGB for export, that last step will not take place, and everything will stay in AdobeRGB, as you say.*
** If you choose “as shot” for export, PhotoLab looks in the EXIF data of the RAW file whether you set AdobeRGB or sRGB in your camera settings and will either keep AdobeRGB or convert to sRGB.*”


As has been said before which one you select does affect the jpeg preview you see on the display on the back of the camera. It was for that reason that I chose AdobeRGB, to avoid getting a restricted colour rendition there.