Today’s Question: I’ve tried to use the new Enhance Details option in Lightroom Classic, and it doesn’t seem to do anything to the photos I’ve tested it with. Has this been your experience?
Tim’s Quick Answer: My experience has been similar, in that the testing I’ve conducted shows the effects of the new Enhance Details option in Lightroom Classic CC does not have a significant impact on overall detail levels in the photo.
More Detail: When I read the description of the new Enhance Details feature in Lightroom Classic CC, I was certainly intrigued. I set about performing a quick test, which revealed virtually no visible change in the image after using Enhance Details.
I then started searching for images that I thought might benefit from Enhance Details, testing each in turn. When you process a raw capture with Enhance Details, a new Adobe DNG file is created, with the effect applied to that DNG. This leaves the original raw capture unaltered. For the numerous photos I tested, I then loaded the “before” and “after” images into Photoshop as layers, so I could more easily test the results.
I zoomed in on various areas of the photos I was using for testing, and switched between the original raw capture and the DNG that had Enhance Details applied. While I could see some minor variation in pixel values in some areas of some of the test images, the result wasn’t what I would refer to as having had the details enhanced.
In a couple of cases the results were actually a little bit worse with Enhance Details applied, with some very minor color artifacts appearing (and some detail being reduced) in the version of the image with Enhance Details applied.
I think the concept of the Enhance Details adjustment is very interesting, and I’m sure the feature will be improved over time. In the meantime, I’m taking a “wait and see” approach to see if at some point in the future the Enhance Details feature might become an important part of my workflow.
In the meantime, however, my experience suggests it is not worthwhile to create an additional version of your source capture just to take advantage of the new Enhance Details feature. Hopefully that will change with a future update.