This paper presents a detailed optical and thermodynamic analysis of effects which influences the soot formation and oxidation process during Diesel combustion. To measure the actual soot concentration over crank angle an optical sensor was installed on the engine. In combination with a thermodynamic engine process calculation, based on the measured cylinder pressure, several important effects are analyzed and described in detail. The main focus of the paper is to produce knowledge on how soot dynamics is influenced by changed engine control unit (ECU) calibration parameters. A modern 4 cylinder production car Diesel engine was used for the studies, which offers a lot of opportunities to influence combustion by varying injection timing and air path ECU parameters. As a consequence discussion is done on how the analyzed effects are treated by published 0-dimensional simulation models with focus on later control and optimization application.