Originally Posted by dlinsley
But isn't a brighter gamma going to make the "shadow recovery" look like magic, when it could just be due to gamma?
It shouldn't if the display or 3DLUT calibration matches the expectation of either Lumagen or MadVR.
I understand on MadVR you have two options:
1) Tell it the display is already calibrated (and what gamma it is calibrated to) or
2) Provide a 3D LUT which has been output targeting gamma 2.2 (a bit of an arbitrary choice it seems but I'm sure there was some logic).
The Lumagen similarly expects either:
1) a display calibrated to 2.4 or PQ gamma or
2) A 3D LUT which has been output targeting gamma 2.4 or PQ gamma.
In either case, what you're providing is a known calibrated baseline which the math generating the tonemap can target, knowing what levels will be output for a given output value when it comes to make the conversion from linear light. The map itself should be wholly dependent on the mapping algorithm in the respective products at that point.
Of course, if you mistakenly have the display or the 3DLUT misconfigured vs what is expected, or don't know what the configuration is of your display, then you may have unexpected results, and one or other box may look better than the other misconfigured unit.
And I guess therein lies a bit of the rub of "plug and play" - while you can plug pretty much anything in and get a video image (usually), for it to actually have a chance of being what is intended you need to know at least what the display gamma is in the target mode on the display (assuming your display is already calibrated to track that gamma correctly), and to get the most out of it you really want to be using a 3DLUT. I think any good reseller of Lumagens could also give you a plug and play experience on that basis of the display having a known calibration.
I honestly believe anyone picking up one of these kinds of product without either the skill or will to learn calibration, or planning on using the services of a calibrator, is really missing out on a large part of what they can bring to a system.
Please note I'm certainly not saying anyone who's been doing their own comparisons here hasn't calibrated correctly. I read all such posts about quality comparisons with some interest, but it is currently of limited interest as the PC based madVR isn't useful to me in my system. I'm only really interested at the point there is a whole product as a package that can be compared with all the features I need to use.