darktable vs.

Started Jan 5, 2018 | Discussions thread
sankos Senior Member • Posts: 2,378
Re: darktable vs.

srock wrote:

How does it compare with LR, ACDsee, On1, Capture1 and DxO PL (and others you might want to compare)

See my previous posts:

Remember that these comparisons are subjective -- I test various converters on files from my cameras, according to my taste and requirements; other cameras/lenses might pose different problems and lead to different conclusions. My hardware (computer, monitor) is different than yours, so you are likely to experience the program in a different way from mine.

I don't mind the learning curve with dt and the fact that it's not as streamlined as Lr or C1 (the workflow can easily become more complicated than with Lr/C1 because darktable allows me to do things that I'd normally do in Ps -- so you lose some, but you gain some as well). Darktable slows me down only if I let it tempt me to use a variety of filters and filter stacks, but ultimately the end-result is better because of that. Mind you, darktable won't replace Ps or Affinity Photo for detailed retouching, but I usually don't need that level of precision for my normal output.

Lr5 remains my main workhorse for general DAM until I buy a camera which is not supported by it, but I'm confident dt can fill its shoes quite comfortably (for my usage) as it picks up the Lr-xmp settings that I use.

Generally, what I miss in dt when compared with other raw converters: more file-filtering options in the Lighttable mode, deconvolution sharpening (somebody is working on this), auto-masking brush and the Edit In... option (the latter can be added with a LUA script). The spot removal could also use some improvements (and apparently there's work being done on this). If I'm sloppy about my in-camera exposure, then it takes me more time than in Lr to take care of highlights, but the end results can sometimes be better with dt, so it's probably worth it. Probably my biggest gripe is that I don't see a way how to apply a preset shape of a mask to a group of images (I need this for an anti-magenta vignetting correction).

Other than that I find darktable gives me more power than Lr or C1 in certain important areas: I can design my own Clarity filter which is not as prone to halos as in those two, and which affects various levels of detail frequency (Equilizer), I can use blending modes with various filters (e.g. High Pass, Low Pass, etc.), I can select on the basis of saturation levels only (not just luminance or hue), or individual R/G/B channels, or combine them at will (excluding or intersecting various masks). AMaZe demosaicing gives me less moire and more detail than Lr (and it's competitive against C1 as well). I can easily use a linear base curve for tough highlights (in C1 the linear curve is not completely linear for my cameras; in Lr I'd have to modify the DCP profile to get a linear curve). Like in C1, dt lets me use a Luma curve (Lr doesn't give me that). Lensfun (which dt uses for lens corrections) supports more of my lenses than C1, but they are not as good as DxO lens corrections.

I haven't used Silkypix, ACDSee, ON1, AlienSkin, AfterShot or Luminar much, but they miss some of the features that I'd like to have in my raw converter. Having said that, I keep watching how they develop because I think they have a huge potential.

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