Getting to know Darktable

Hi guys. I would just like to share my first thoughts on using Darktable. I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was finished with Lightroom and I was trying out this new open source software Darktable.

It has been a couple of weeks and I am still learning. In some ways the interface is familiar to the Lightroom but is a little bit more complicated and requires a few hours and maybe weeks to get used to.

In the beginning I struggled with organising images and simply flicking through them, selecting for editing etc, The shortcut keys which were so useful in LR are different here however there is an option to change them to your liking which I might do eventually. The presets are called modules and I have to get used to the new way of playing around with them if need be.

Once you absorb all these differences and new functions and take your time to know the editing software, it is pretty good and does the necessary work. I don’t work with RAW images or clients at the moment so I need the basics from it. I don’t want to spend hours editing (something that my fellow blogger Dan James talks about in his post on shooting JPEGS)

I try to minimise my editing workflow and as it stands now it is:

Import – Select keepers – Crop (optional) – Exposure check – Convert to B&W (optional) – Export

I also must mention Bruce Williams and his helpful videos and tutorials on Darktable use. In this video Bruce shares His end to end workflow.

The images below are fresh out of Darktable. These were taken a couple of weeks ago in Montpellier, France with Fujifilm X70 and Velvia preset.


post covid-03


post covid-05


post covid-04

Thank you for checking this out and if you’re a Darktable user, would love to hear your experience with it. Till next time!


7 comments on “Getting to know Darktable

  1. Hi Yuri, I’ve read that one thing many people love about the Fuji X cameras is their on board film emulations, so you can use the results straight out of camera? I’m surprised you then do further processing in Darktable. It looks like mostly you’re only checking/adjusting exposure. Can’t you just perhaps bracket exposure -/+ a third stop when you shoot then keep the best exposure, if the camera isn’t get it right first time? (I take multiple re-shots because the exposure isn’t right first time with my K-30 DSLR!

    Also re the b/w, aren’t there any on board emulations for b/w film?

    Thanks very much for the mention!

    • Thanks for your comment Dan! Yes, you’re absolutely right about Fuji cameras and their presets and they’re very handy but as I shoot mostly on streets and adjust my settings according to the light as it happens, sometimes I need to tweak exposure in PP. I also tend to crop the unnecessary (although I gotta stop being lazy and get it first thing)
      There is of course a b&w preset in camera and I use it when I’m intentionally about to shoot only in b&w that day but otherwise I shoot in colour and in PP I see if a certain image is better in b&w…

  2. i remember dabbling into this program for the same reasons as you, and also that it is available on linux too. but the learning curve was quite steep for me. nowadays i deal with scans mostly and the minimal editing that i do i perform in ACDSee =)

    • Thanks Ivan, I understand about the learning curve. I did find it quite complicated at first but I will be patient and see how it is after a few months of use.

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