Well, tone equalizer does local tonemapping, and filmic does global tonemapping (unless you use it with masks). Speaking broadly, you'll just about always want to do at least some kind of global remapping of the linear RAW data... that's what the most basic in-camera processing does. Local tone mapping is what the more "magic" in-camera features do, the ones with names like "D-light" or whatever... they detect regions of shadow and highlight and process those regions differently (generally to pull them closer to the middle). One doesn't preclude the other, but on very dynamic images like sunsets, etc you might very well decide to just use the tone equalizer, since you probably want to keep the more linear, saturated midrange and uncompressed highlights. It just depends on what you're trying to do. The 3.0 release notes where those modules are introduced gives a summary of what they attempt to replace.According to the programmer, tone equalizer (along with filmic) was developed to replace exposure and base curve. I still haven't figured out if he intended for us to use either/or, or in conjunction with each other.
I think I linked to an earlier draft of this article before, but this is the more fully translated and readable version: https://pixls.us/articles/darktable-3-rgb-or-lab-which-modules-help/#modules-not-recommendedWhat's the issue with shadows and highlights?
It's got that nice fulcrum control (it gets a little jumpy pushed towards the far left, but Ctrl+Scroll works there). That module will be a comfortable interface for people coming from the cinema world, who want to use a "color grading" approach to their pictures. Usually I don't, but I have been allowing myself a little more "creative" coloration for things like artsy-fartsy flower pictures lately. It's a versatile module, for sure.Seems like color balance of all things seems to be the go to for contrast adjustments as an alternative to filmic.