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DescriptorExtractor is just abstract interface for most descriptor extractors in OpenCV. If you want to investigate its behavior you need to choose concrete extractor, see its documentation and find corespondent class in sources. There are OrbDescriptorExtractor, FREAK, BriefDescriptorExtractor, etc. All of them are defined in features2d.hpp as super class of DescriptorExtractor. As well as some algorithms of feature processing is not free, they moved to nonfree module. You can find different SIFT and SURF related stuff there.