Originally Posted by zombie10k
The Darbee adds small luminance tweaks in areas that become more noticeable (in a good way) such as facial features, hair texture, etc. This is when used in moderation (~30-40% combined with the e-shift at 2).
Yes, that’s the “local contrast enhancement” I mentioned in my post. Photographers have had access to this kind of image processing for years, and Adobe even have their own implementation called “Clarity” now.
Many newer displays have a similar option, and I’m pretty sure HTPC users have had access to that kind of processing for a long time now.
Content is mastered to have a specific look to it. Any kind of image processing you do to that, is not accurate to the source. For example, many films intentionally reduce the contrast of a scene to create a specific look. This type of processing completely eliminates the director’s intent with that for example, as it brings back the “original” contrast of the scene.
If your source already has similar kinds of processing encoded in it, the results can be disastrous.
I have no doubt that many people will like this increase in sharpness and clarity “without side-effects” because they do not perceive the side-effects of this sort of processing to be detrimental to the image, unlike the intrusive ringing of older ”edge enhancement” type sharpening algorithms.
To me, this is no better than modern “vibrance” style image processing that pumps up the colours in the image without affecting skintones, because it lets people have a more colourful image without it looking “unnatural” to their eyes. At higher levels, Sony’s version of this not only pumps up the vibrance in the scene without making people look sunburnt, it actually changes skintones to make them more “natural” or “pleasing”.
And if you actually just look at two images side-by-side without context, the processed image can indeed be more “pleasing” to look at. I guarantee that most people would pick the sharpened, contrast enhanced, vibrant image, over the untouched one. I would rather watch a film as intended, so that it’s vibrant when it is supposed to be, and isn’t when it’s not etc.