Yeah. DXO considers their lens sharpness to be better way to sharpen images for the RAW files supported by their optics module and its true. Lens sharpness is more tailored to particular lens, and it does no apply same sharpening level to whole of image, but based on measurements from the DXO for a particular lens.
Unsharp mask is there I think to help when there is no lens sharpening option available, like it is in some situations, and when it comes to JPEGs that have not been processed by other sharpening effects .
For more control they offer four sliders including one that can simulate in a crude way what lens sharpening does. Edge offset lets user apply the sharpness between the center and the edges of an image.
Adding unsharp mask on top of lens sharpening and doing it to the extreme will only exaturate any imperfections and artifacts in the image and generally is not a good practice unless someone is trying something creative with it.
As I’ve said before Unsharp Mask basically detects the edges and adds contract to the edges, creating an illusion of sharpening, with often nasty halo effect and or sharpening artifacts. Its a tool that has been around forever and its very blunt tool in most cases.
Adobe has a good article on how Unsharp Mask works.
Sharpen photos with the Unsharp Mask.
“The Unsharp Mask is designed to enhance the details in an image,” says Photoshop expert Jesús Ramirez. “Photoshop is not creating the details, it’s just creating the illusion that there is more detail. And it is doing so by creating contrast on the image.”
The Unsharp Mask increases the image contrast along the edges of objects in a photo. The effect doesn’t actually detect edges, but it can identify pixel values that differ from their neighboring pixels by a certain amount. From there, the mask will increase the contrast of the neighboring pixels, making the light pixels lighter and dark pixels darker. This increased contrast makes objects more identifiable and creates an illusion of more detail.
Keep in mind, if you overshoot the sharpening, it creates a halo effect around the edges of objects. The amount you sharpen a photo is up to your personal preference and artistic vision, but you can mitigate over-sharpening halos by adjusting sliders and experimenting with the Unsharp Mask settings.
Over the years there have been many new tools added to avoid the pitfalls of unsharp mask like halos at the edges which are distracting , unfaltering and noticeable. Some tools like Photoshop Smart Sharpen allows to adjust where sharpening is applied, light or dark edges and by what amount.
But its still very limiting overall. There are some AI solutions like Topaz sharpen AI and clever algorithms for Photoshop that help to apply different look to the image. One I like is: NBP Ultrasharp for Adobe Photoshop but I don’t know if its still available. It creates a look that I’ve not seen any other program do. Its quite unique.
Overall when working with RAW files, I find Lens sharpness DXO offers to be great tool for sharp looking images that are supported. Usually its all I use. But one can go overboard with that one just as one can do too much with each of these tools.