In Camera HDR
I’m not a fan of the Df’s in camera HDR option. First, you must shoot in JPEG before you can enable HDR so be sure to switch out of RAW before doing so. You can access the HDR menu by doing this:
Menu – Shooting Menu – HDR – On (you can choose for one time or for series which would mean it will stay on until you turn it off) – After selecting how many shots you’ll want to back out one menu and select Exposure Differential and choose the choose either 1, 2, or 3 EV.
Mirror Lock Up
Fun fact you may already know: Shooting in Live View mode does the same thing that mirror lock up does, gets the mirror up so you can reduce possible camera shake in longer exposure shots. Furthermore, the Df is superb in that the mirror lock up is incredibly easy to access. How to access mirror lock up:
Rotate the little dial, below your shutter speed dial located on top of your camera, all the way to the right till it’s on the little icon named Mup (mirror up).
Active D Lighting
If you shoot primarily in RAW format you can stop reading this now as ADL (Active D Lighting) does not get applied to your RAW photographs. For the rest of you ADL Nikon explains ADL like this:
Active D-Lighting optimizes high contrast images to restore the shadow and highlight details that are often lost when strong lighting increases the contrast between bright and dark areas of an image. It can be set to operate automatically or manually, and it’s also possible to bracket pictures to get one with Active D-Lighting and one without.
As for my opinion, I think it is great if you only shoot in JPEG and don’t bracket shots. However, you still have more latitude in post processing if you shoot in RAW as opposed to hoping ADL will save your highlights… You’ll have even more security if you bracket shots when shooting in terribly difficult lighting. In summary, shoot in RAW otherwise use ADL if you only shoot in JPEG format.
Using the guide above you should be able to manage just about any situation. As you adjust some of the things I talked about you’ll come across other settings that fall under “preference” and I encourage you to explore them and take time to try different combinations to see what suites you. Remember that if you are shooting in RAW a lot of the settings that would be considered post processing (saturation, sharpness, etc.) won’t matter as a RAW file is just that.. raw data without the cameras post processing magic.
If there is something about the Df that you would like to know just leave me a note in the comments below and I will let you know, if I don’t know I will find out for you. Enjoy!