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10-17-2018, 09:45 AM - 8 Likes   #1
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The Darktable Users Coterie

I got jealous of the RawTherapee users having all the fun... so I thought we needed a thread where we can share knowledge and - why not? - pictures.

I'll start by mentioning the basic startup article: Getting started with the Darktable photography workflow application | Opensource.com

Then there's also the parametric masks, a great feature that I haven't used much yet but is one of the main reasons I moved to Darktable:

The other main reason being the ability to do spot removals, something a lot of other programs don't do, and Darktable does extremely well IMHO:

But what keeps me is the quality of the raw conversion. Not having used Lightroom before, I believe the image quality is likely on par with that program which most people use.

Finally, I have to mention the styles page that is also very helpful. Find it here: dtstyle.net - a darktable styles repository
I have used and highly recommend the following styles:
- 01_NWAL_Basics_settings - wanicophotos
This is the perfect starting point to any picture. In fact, if all you do is do a batch conversion of RAWs to JPEGs using just this preset, most if not all of your pictures will look better than what the Pentax JPEG engine can do (I have K-S1, K50 and K10D - newer Pentax cameras will have improved JPEG engines so this statement might not apply to them).
- ALL the styles marked "t3mujinpack". These are film emulations but are not just that. They emulate the strengths of these films but none of the weaknesses IMHO, so no grain, no reduced dynamic range like you would see in more "accurate" emulations.
- For black and white, there's one called "B&W with a twist (less sharpen)" that I think is fantastic, but I'm no B&W connoisseur. The t3mujinpack Acros emulation is very nice as well. For a warm B&W style, the "Mirco Kassisch" is my favorite. This one (and the B&W with a twist, mentioned earlier) make good use of the split toning module, which is such a powerful tool within Darktable and one I have also been using to make my color pictures look a bit more "vintage".

For people used to the Xtrans emulations in RawTherapee (I used them a lot after I found them), they are available for Darktable here: dt styles for arangast's "New Fujifilm XTrans film simulations" - darktable - discuss.pixls.us
Don't use the ones in the dtstyle.net page! The ones in the pixls.us page work much better. Also, only apply them on RAW files, as they don't look right when applied to JPEGs. Use t3mujinpack styles if you want to have the film look applied to JPEGs.

I have recently uploaded a few styles to the dtstyle.net page, as well. They can be found closer to the top and are the ones with my name on them (Christian).

In summary, what I like about Darktable is that it can be as deep or as simple as you'd like. There's some quirks but nothing that keeps me from making this my program of choice.

Here's an image that had basically nothing but my "Landscape Sunny Day Pop" style applied, and then it was cropped to 16:9.


Share your Darktable experiences and pictures!

10-17-2018, 12:17 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Ah, now this is a thread I'm going to enjoy... both for what I can contribute and learn. Great idea in posting this!!
10-17-2018, 01:09 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
what keeps me is the quality of the raw conversion. Not having used Lightroom before, I believe the image quality is likely on par with that program which most people use.
I thought it worth picking up on this. Those who've seen any of my posts about Darktable will likely groan at reading this again, but... as a previously happy and (if I may blow my own trumpet) relatively-skilled user of Lightroom 6 stand-alone, I find Darktable to be equal to Lightroom in most image processing respects, not quite as good in a few areas, yet better still in others. There's a learning curve to climb, of course... but it's no worse than Lightroom. Just slightly different.

The only thing I truly miss from Lightroom is the ability to manually correct for simple barrel and pincushion distortion without relying on lens profiles. It's a real pain in the behind when shooting with some modern lenses, especially zooms. On the other hand, Hugin's Calibrate Lens tool makes it fairly straightforward to create new lens profiles, which is really useful. But I'd love the Darktable developers to produce a simple distortion correction tool. Right now, I have to rely on GIMP for that, and often it's the only reason I include GIMP in my workflow...
10-17-2018, 01:17 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I have used primarily darktable for all my processing for almost two years. I'm far from a power user, but I'll try to share some results using parametric masks. Sometimes I wish it had smart object removal, but plain cloning goes a long way.

10-17-2018, 01:26 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I have been using dt since its first release. It may pain you , Mike, to learn that there was a separate distortion and chromatic aberration tool in the early code but it was swapped out for the current tools. I suspect the main reason is that the current code results in less ongoing developer maintenance.

I welcome this thread. We can learn a lot from each other.

Jack
10-17-2018, 01:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
It may pain you , Mike, to learn that there was a separate distortion and chromatic aberration tool in the early code but it was swapped out for the current tools. I suspect the main reason is that the current code results in less ongoing developer maintenance.
Rats. That is a little disappointing Still, on balance, I couldn't be much happier than I am already with Darktable.

Incidentally, it would be remiss of me not to mention that you've been a very welcome help, both directly and indirectly, in my move to Darktable and subsequent learning. So, thank you for that, Jack

My new laptop arrives tomorrow, and I'm ready to install Linux Mint 19 for the first time. Darktable will be the first application I install after the OS, then I need to decide whether to stay with the supplied GIMP 2.8, or "upgrade" to 2.10.x... I should be well-equipped to run the latter, but I've not run out of capabilities in 2.8 for what I do. Decisions, decisions
10-17-2018, 03:08 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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I'd really like to learn darktable. I have a REALLY hard time trying to squeeze a decent image from ISO 3200 & beyond. Are there any presets that can be easily loaded & shared? Like PP3 files in RawTherapee that almost do everything for you once you apply it? This is exciting!
10-17-2018, 03:52 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Squirrel Mafia Quote
I'd really like to learn darktable. I have a REALLY hard time trying to squeeze a decent image from ISO 3200 & beyond. Are there any presets that can be easily loaded & shared? Like PP3 files in RawTherapee that almost do everything for you once you apply it? This is exciting!
I have no presets to offer, but I can say that my approach to high ISO images - a specific area of interest for me - is to use both the "equalizer" and "denoise (bilateral filter)" modules together for colour noise reduction. The "equalizer" module alone is enough for luminance noise reduction if you need it.

I might try to write up a demo of how I use these modules in my own photography. For some time, I was under the impression that Lightroom was superior to Darktable in noise reduction, but that's not the case at all. The methods are simply different, and in the case of Darktable, there are several options and approaches... some more effective than others. But I find I can get better results in Darktable than in Lightroom... it just takes a bit more understanding of the modules, and some fine-tuning.

10-17-2018, 04:46 PM   #9
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For the beginners (and more advanced users too) my advice is to check (and follow) the extraordinary work of two Darktable users are doing, posting small, simple but detailed information about the functionalities and tools of Darktable on youtube.

They are:
Bruce Williams
and
HPBirkeland
HPBirkeland Photography - YouTube

One of the best part about these two situations is the presentation in a systematic way of types of editing – noise reduction, sharpening, using masks, etc… -, showing many times in detail, all the possibilities available in Darktable for each type of editing - and everybody, who uses Darktable knows that there are, normally, several different tools available to do one type of editing.

Best regards,
10-17-2018, 07:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by The Squirrel Mafia Quote
I'd really like to learn darktable. I have a REALLY hard time trying to squeeze a decent image from ISO 3200 & beyond. Are there any presets that can be easily loaded & shared? Like PP3 files in RawTherapee that almost do everything for you once you apply it? This is exciting!
The styles do basically all the RawTherapee pp3 files can do. There are some noise reduction styles out there but honestly that is one thing I apply individually for each picture, so I haven't used them.
The trick with high ISO in Darktable is to run multiple instances of the noise reduction module.
Having said that, I got some really good results with RawTherapee on my K-S1 ISO 3200 files.
10-17-2018, 08:34 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Here's an example of a negative I just scanned as tiff and the processed in darktable. I darkened the wood of the boardwalk and handrails using a parametric mask so that they'd retain some wood texture as I was brightening the image as a whole. Could have been done with a drawn mask, but this way I adjusted all areas that needed it in one go.
10-18-2018, 12:30 AM   #12
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Coterie - now thats a fancy word (had to look it up) Gunna have to follow this thread!!. Been a Darktable user for 4 or 5 ? years now. Like to keep it simple - just get the tones right and a bit of denoising - and leave the rest to Gimp.
10-18-2018, 01:01 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Another newbie here with darktable ready to learn.

10-18-2018, 07:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
...

My new laptop arrives tomorrow, and I'm ready to install Linux Mint 19 for the first time. Darktable will be the first application I install after the OS, then I need to decide whether to stay with the supplied GIMP 2.8, or "upgrade" to 2.10.x... I should be well-equipped to run the latter, but I've not run out of capabilities in 2.8 for what I do. Decisions, decisions
Once you get Mint 19 up and a compatible Darktable installed, would you mind checking the following:
  • Can it read PEF files, not just the embedded JPGs included in the PEF files? (my earlier DT version won't)
  • Can it do this for cameras for which an explicit camera calibration is not in the data base? (I wonder if the 645Z is supported yet)
  • Otherwise, can it deal with TIF files? (I can make TIF files from PEF files using Raw Therapee)
Thanks
10-18-2018, 08:25 AM   #15
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High ISO raw files are also a bit of a headache for me. I really must read the manual.
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