Goodbye Lightroom, Hello Darktable

Not to sound over dramatic but the time has come… to replace my old dying MacBook that is.

I’ve been using that machine since 2009 and for the past 3 years it’s been gradually slowing down making it frustrating to work on. I’d still use it for blogging and reading or typing but photo management has increasingly become exasperating. The only good thing was that I was using the old Lightroom 4 (complete free version and no monthly fees) to which I got used to and I had my workflow that ran smoothly unless the machine bugged, which lately it did.

So finally, a few weeks ago I found a reconditioned MacBook Pro with Retina screen for a reasonable price and what a difference it makes. If you’re an Apple user, I don’t have to tell you about the effortlessness and simplicity which it brings you (sorry PC users, I tried and failed… or PC failed me most of the times).

Back to photo management: I did want to install the latest Lightroom and did the 7 days trial but after some thinking I opted out. I thought Adobe was quite harsh with their monthly prices for subscribers. It comes down to this. 12 euros a month on top of all other expenses…? Sorry, not for me Adobe. I’d rather try editing before shooting more often or get a free alternative software.

Hello DarktableAvailable for IOS, PC and bunch of other systems. No it’s not better than Lightroom, in fact it seems more complicated at first but I think I just need some more time to get used to it. If it does basic tune ups and you there are plenty of presets available also then it works for me! It’s completely free so I’m giving it a go.

Below you will find the images exported from Darktable. As I already had my Fuji X70 set up with Velvia in camera preset which gave me bold colours and more contrast, all I had to do is check and modify exposure on some photos and maybe crop a little if was necessary.












Thank you for visiting and let me know if you are also a Darktable user. How do you find it? What is Your workflow?


17 comments on “Goodbye Lightroom, Hello Darktable

  1. Interesting. I’ll have to check Darkroom out. I’ve mostly been using the editing tools on my phone since I decided against renewing my adobe subscription this year. I just hadn’t used it enough. I know there are a couple of other quite good editing tools like raw power which are free/freemium but I still rarely use them.
    The main feature I find is missing from these lightroom alternatives is the ability to quickly scan through photos and pick the keepers and the rest. Lightroom really helps make that easy.

    Anyway, I’m off to download darkroom.

    • Good to hear from you Chris! Yes, Lightroom is a lot easier and quicker in general but it’s time to try other free alternatives and anyway I don’t spend as much time on PP as I used to a few years back.
      it’s DarkTable by the way… 🙂

  2. I’m with Adobe monthly subscription, using only PS, and I hear you about the price… Have never used Darktable, but your photos look gorgeous, color and light 🙂 and I think it’s also because you’ve done a lot of the work in-camera… Wonderful shot, Yuri!!

  3. That frame second from the top is pretty neat! Good luck with DarkTable. I went with your link and took a look. Hope you give it a report later on after you’ve used it for longer. The subscription model does feel like a racket sometimes so I feel you on the decision making process.

    • Thanks for your comment Jason. At the end it really comes down if you can afford it and if you’re so used to the paying program and don’t want to try alternatives.
      I will be updating my experience with Darktable in future posts. Have a good week!

  4. i use the legal Lightroom 5.7 that i bought on ebay for the half price a few years ago. Dont mind to move to the never version or to subscription but also dont want to leave the simple interface and great quality of the edited results. I just returned back to edit my images on the 24″ Dell monitor and now defenitely can’t get how some ppl do edit and see their images with only smartphone. If to not to print so at least to see in a appropriate size with all the small details.
    the last image is my fav !

    • Thanks Victor. Lightroom is top quality for sure but I don’t agree with their prices… for now anyway. I’m trying Darktable so I’ll see how it goes and as for editing on the phone – I had a hard time with that at the beginning, like you said, it’s hard to edit details on such a small screen and I agree but as I shoot with my phone more often than before I’m getting used to it. Still I’d say it’s only about 20% of my photos that I edit on iPhone.

  5. I am pleased to find your thread, I have been through a similar loop to you Yuri. My Mac is a 2009 pro model and I too do not like Cloud-based subscriptions. What would you do if you were in a war zone and couldn’t access the internet to upload your Front Page pic that needed a tweak beforehand, I wonder. It’s one thing accessing a hot spot to upload an edited print to sitting in that spot for the necessary 5mins – 1hr required to make the grab shot suitable for publication. Or, in my case I am not going to go online for hours from the security of my Covid escape/campsite on Hayling Island to edit the wildlife pictures I have taken to sit on my website. I exchanged the very slow HD in my computer for an SSD – I bought the 1TB one and coupled it with a much larger 10 TB Hard Drive for my data. This is a much cheaper way of doing it than buying a 10TB SSD and you only need the extra power for driving the applications. I know this is too late for you in some respects, but you may want to dust down your trusty Mac and get it working again. It would help with your Lightroom problem as long as you find somewhere that can CLONE YOUR OLD HD onto the SSD – it would clone that too. It actually cost very little to do. Just a case of finding someone who can do it (my daughter in law did her own but I didn’t want to do that because the shop I find also checked it and eliminated bad sectors which would otherwise have been cloned over too).

    • Thank you Sally for your interest and advice on reanimating my Macbook which is officially in Coma… yea, it’s got too many issues, aside from a dying battery, there’s also screen problems etc so it’s really not worth the energy in my case. I’m quite happy with the refurbished Macbook pro 2013 that i found a few months ago. Plus i have 2 external HD drives for all my media so it’s all good!
      Appreciate your feedback, have a great week!

    • I have downloaded Darktable and given it the once-over, I like the way it is going, particularly as it accommodates the old OSX. I look forward to when they are out of the developmental version, offering more stability and confidence for the end-user.

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