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DarkTable (Free Open Source) Fully non-destructive editing

Reviews Views Date of last review
2 4,771 Mon November 2, 2015
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers None indicated 9.00
DarkTable (Free Open Source) Fully non-destructive editing

Darktable is a Free Open Source photography workflow application and RAW developer. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers. It manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable and enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.
Darktable a Free Open Source Software runs on GNU/Linux / GNOME, Mac OS X / macports and Solaris 11 / GNOME.
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Registered: September, 2011
Location: Vaasa
Posts: 810
Review Date: November 2, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very powerful, Opensource, Free, Extensive modules.
Cons: Steep learning curve

I love darktable. The interface is nice to use.
There are alot of modules to use for the same thing so you can choose which you prefer.

The learning curve is pretty steep and there are few tutorials as compared to Lightroom and photoshop.

But you can still find support on google+ community and even here on the groups.
Senior Member

Registered: June, 2012
Posts: 139

4 users found this helpful
Review Date: November 7, 2013 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Free software, powerful, renders Pentax tones, fast
Cons: File management interface

Since there is no reviews yet, I'll volunteer to be first.

I've been using free operating systems (right now, FreeBSD) since before getting into photography, and had my share of hardships in the old days using the venerable ufraw+gimp for a long time, switching very quickly to rawstudio before discovering Darktable.

One of the things that made me going out of the prehistoric ages was the default color profiles applied to raws which matches very closely Pentax's ones. Importing images with default settings outputs images roughly equivalents to the default JPEG settings which is to my opinion a perfect start.

Then come the other modules: at first, the number can be a bit overwhelming, especially when quite a number can results in exactly the same output, and other roughly the same result using different methods. The manual can help to pick its set of modules, but it will take some time.

Yet, once you sorted out what you need, it is a very efficient tool that allows you to produce photos greatly enhanced from the in-body JPEG. Be sure to check modules such as "Shadow and highlights", "Local contrast", "Denoise (profiled)". Image processing modules are very good, those guys knows a lot in image processing and it shows.

Pentax's specific support do not end with color curves, the cameras supported for profiled denoising (ie adapted to the bodies) include a bunch of Pentaxes, and there is more and more support for Pentax lenses in the lensfun library that provides the lens correction tools.

While on this aspect, things are lagging behind LR support, the gap is closing, and the opensource nature of the project allows people to complete the databases (I've submitted a K110D noise profile and a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 DG OS HSM Macro II abberation correction profile, by example).

Speed-wise, the software takes advantages of many things : openmp and opencl for the interfaces, and multicore systems for export, which is very much appreciated. Resources-wise, you will need a lot of memory. But still, I have processed 16 and 20mpx raws on my core2 with minor pain, and things are blazingly fast on my new quad-corei7 computer.

Now, not everything is perfect : I find the picture management very clunky. One thing darktable does *right* is that it does not try to be an album management system, but once you import a directory to work with it, it behave itself very like the annoying ones.

Especially, it refuses to acknowledge that you deleted a file outside of Darktable, leaving a "Missing" entry in the overview. That is often enraging.

Another thing that I was not able to do is define my own presets to apply by default on imported pictures. There's a preset tab in configuration, but I did not figure how to edit it yet.

All in all, I'm very pleased with Darktable. It need time to fully understand everything it offers, but that is a natural thing for every powerful tool. Even with the annoyance of the picture management system, I give it a 9/10 because of the results it allowed me to obtain from my raws, all with keeping my preferred operating system and graphic environment.
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