Posts Tagged ‘D-Lighting’

Other Work on Nikon D-Lighting

August 9, 2009

I found this blog entry where a photographer looked at Active and vanilla D-Lighting more scientifically than I. See here. He used a Nikon SLR and concluded that there is value in D-Lighting: something you cannot do in Photoshop.

Unfortunately Val & Easa have not updated their blog since June 2008. I will try leaving a comment thanking them anyway.

I wonder how many ‘orphan’ blogs are on the Internet – those that haven’t been updated for over a year yet remain available.

Nikon’s ACTIVE D-Lighting

August 9, 2009
Nikon Coolpix P6000 Active D-Lighting Comparison

Nikon Coolpix P6000 Active D-Lighting Comparison

Now I’ve sorted out the difference between Active D-Lighting on the Nikon Coolpix P6000 camera (and other Nikon cameras) and the plain D-Lighting, I thought I would try a comparison of the former.

I took a picture using each setting: Low, Normal, High and Off. I thought the scene covered a wide range of tones from highlights to shadows.

Like yesterday’s comparison with post-processed D-Lighting (in camera) I made one file with the four pictures and their histograms from Lightroom.

I cannot see a major difference between the pictures: certainly not enough to warrant the extra processing time incurred on the slow camera. I think I could get comparable results with a Curves adjustment in Photoshop.

However, I am concerned about my experimental technique. I tried to ensure that neither Lightroom nor Photoshop processed the work the camera did. I wanted to show the pictures with only the camera’s processing. I am not sure if in the ‘printing’ process where I put each of the four images in a single JPEG file Lightroom tried to be helpful.

I have seen that when Lightroom imports files that I have exposure bracketed. It tries to adjust them to the same exposure, adding up to 4EV in the process. In this case ‘No! Please leave it alone!”

Nikon’s D-Lighting

August 8, 2009

Nikon Coolpix P6000 D-Lighting Comparison

The Nikon Coolpix P6000 allows you to apply “D-Lighting” to pictures you’ve taken using an editing tool in the camera’s firmware.

To quote Nikon:

D-Lighting can be used to create copies with enhanced brightness and contrast, brightening dark potions of the picture. Enhanced copies are stored as separate files.

(Nikon Coolpix P6000 User Manual (English) page 68).

The camera replaced the first letter D of the file name with a F, so DSCN1234.jpg becomes FSCN1234.jpg.

The camera only lets you make one copy so you can only try a single setting.

There are three levels of D-Lighting: High, Normal and Low. I thought I would try to compare the different levels in a fair way.

I selected a picture that seemed well-exposed. It is the “Office Depot” store on Sukhumvit Road at Phrom Phong.

I applied the three levels of D-Lighting to the picture and imported them to Lightroom without making any develop adjustments. I then printed the three copies and the original to a single JPG file. I added the Histogram as produced by Lightroom to the picture.

I am not enough of an expert in describing the colour characteristics of pictures to explain the differences between the D-Lighting settings. Suffice to say that I think the picture looks best as it was shot, with no D-Lighting applied.

What do you think?


In my extensive research for this post (Googling “D-Lighting”) I find that Nikon use the term in two ways:

  • Active D-Lighting is extra processing the camera applies while taking the picture, trying to extend its dynamic range.
  • Just plain D-Lighting is the effect applied in the camera’s firmware after taking the shot.

My Nikon Coolpix P6000 supports both, as do many Nikon DSLR cameras. I am talking about the post-shooting variety here. I should do some comparisons of Active D-Lighting too.

Here is another photographer’s comparison of Active and Normal D-Lighting.

One blog entry I read said that Active D-Lighting slows down image processing and does not make much difference in the real world. The P6000 is slow. Anything I can do to speed it up will be a blessing.