Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

Started Jan 8, 2018 | Discussions
thxbb12 Senior Member • Posts: 2,031
Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
2

In my quest of finding a Lightroom replacement, I just gave Darktable a shot without really considering it as a viable alternative.

I have to say I'm very impressed by its demosaicing of Fuji X-Trans files!

After having tried Capture One, Luminar, Iridient X-Transformer and RawTherapee, I find Darktable to give the best details and overall quality.

Here is a comparison with Lightroom of an image shot with a Fuji X-T1. I tried to somewhat mimic the Lightroom processing of the file, but since I've never used Darktable before, the output is a bit off, especially regarding the colors. I doesn't affect the quality of the details though.

The first image was developed with Lightroom 6.6.1 and the second one with Darktable 2.4.0.

What do you guys think?

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Batdude
Batdude Senior Member • Posts: 4,615
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
5

Personally, I like the first one much better. I like that blueish tone contrast. Very nice.

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sensorless Regular Member • Posts: 178
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

The detail level remind me of PhotoNinja Converter I used to own. Really impressive in detail production though it's not very intuitive in layout. Features and slides are hidden miles away. Also speed is ok but nothing to write home about.

OP thxbb12 Senior Member • Posts: 2,031
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
4

Batdude wrote:

Personally, I like the first one much better. I like that blueish tone contrast. Very nice.

Absolutely the first one is much nicer it terms of colors. Keep in mind I've been using LR for years so I'm very familiar with it whereas this is my first attempt at using Darktable after maybe 30min of use.

However, this comparison is about the rendering of Fuji X-Trans files' details. The second one is much better in this regard IMO.

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JonPB Regular Member • Posts: 113
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
5

Best details? I don't see any higher resolution, just higher local contrast, which is essentially "clarity" acting on at levels somewhere between Capture One's "clarity" and "structure." It is a useful form of sharpening but nothing to do with demosaicking.

Best overall quality? Not if it doesn't give you the colors you like. Of course, any program can give you pretty much any color taste you like if you're willing to prepare the right profiles, but that's often prohibitively difficult.

It is great to see open source projects gaining ground in this area, though.

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 14,958
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

thxbb12 wrote:

Batdude wrote:

Personally, I like the first one much better. I like that blueish tone contrast. Very nice.

Absolutely the first one is much nicer it terms of colors. Keep in mind I've been using LR for years so I'm very familiar with it whereas this is my first attempt at using Darktable after maybe 30min of use.

However, this comparison is about the rendering of Fuji X-Trans files' details. The second one is much better in this regard IMO.

Did you run the Fuji 14mm lens profile correction in either application? The Lightroom has more light falloff in the corners, and did not recover the entire 4935x2776 pixels.

Is the RAF available for download? I'm wondering if Denoise (Profiled) would help, and if the color balance of the Lightroom conversion can be approximated.

Thanks for posting the comparison - very interesting!

elfroggio
elfroggio Veteran Member • Posts: 3,067
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

JonPB wrote:

Best overall quality? Not if it doesn't give you the colors you like.

  1. You can get any color that you like, you decide
  2. Darktable works very well with styles (a combinations of presets). There's a guy named "arangasts" that posted some excellent fuji film simulations: https://discuss.pixls.us/t/dt-styles-for-arangasts-new-fujifilm-xtrans-film-simulations/6343 they are very close to the fuji jpegs and are an excellent starting point
  3. As far as speed is concerned, Darktable was about 10 times faster than LR 6.x. Now that Adobe has improved with LR7/CC, I would say that DT is still between 3 to 5 times faster than LR. That's on my computer with an old nvidia 650ti card.

Of course, any program can give you pretty much any color taste you like if you're willing to prepare the right profiles, but that's often prohibitively difficult.

It is great to see open source projects gaining ground in this area, though.

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xeriwthe Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
4

I really like the rendering of detail by Darktable vs other converters I've tested, specifically with regards to its ability to yield fine detail without a sort of 'crunch' or 'grittiness' that I get from rawtherapee and iridient especially in high contrast scenes.

yea iridient or rawtherapee may be yielding more detail when it comes down the pixel by pixel but there's a sort of delicate finesse that I am get from darktable that makes me want to explore more.

example:

iridient xtransformer with 'smoother' raw processing and small amount of sharpening in lightroom

darktable with some sharpening

there are some things with darktable that turn me off, particularly with regards to masking in highlight recovery showing up as large halos around objects instead of the perfect cutouts that i get in rawtherapee and lightroom, i dunno maybe i'm doing something wrong.

but the detail rendering is a really nice alternative to others, somehow it has its own character

Astrophotographer 10 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,728
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

thxbb12 wrote:

In my quest of finding a Lightroom replacement, I just gave Darktable a shot without really considering it as a viable alternative.

I have to say I'm very impressed by its demosaicing of Fuji X-Trans files!

After having tried Capture One, Luminar, Iridient X-Transformer and RawTherapee, I find Darktable to give the best details and overall quality.

Here is a comparison with Lightroom of an image shot with a Fuji X-T1. I tried to somewhat mimic the Lightroom processing of the file, but since I've never used Darktable before, the output is a bit off, especially regarding the colors. I doesn't affect the quality of the details though.

The first image was developed with Lightroom 6.6.1 and the second one with Darktable 2.4.0.

What do you guys think?

Its good to have alternatives. Your example to me though with Darktable looks quite unnatural almost HDR like.

It seems like an ongoing process to get the best Fuji RAW converter. I have been happy with PhotoNinja. ON1 isn't bad either.

Greg.

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scst48 Contributing Member • Posts: 875
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

Batdude wrote:

Personally, I like the first one much better. I like that blueish tone contrast. Very nice.

The comparison is on sharpness and rendering details. Color appearence is secondary but should be qualified later

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Stefan

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scst48 Contributing Member • Posts: 875
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

elfroggio wrote:

JonPB wrote:

Best overall quality? Not if it doesn't give you the colors you like.

  1. You can get any color that you like, you decide
  2. Darktable works very well with styles (a combinations of presets). There's a guy named "arangasts" that posted some excellent fuji film simulations: https://discuss.pixls.us/t/dt-styles-for-arangasts-new-fujifilm-xtrans-film-simulations/6343 they are very close to the fuji jpegs and are an excellent starting point
  3. As far as speed is concerned, Darktable was about 10 times faster than LR 6.x. Now that Adobe has improved with LR7/CC, I would say that DT is still between 3 to 5 times faster than LR. That's on my computer with an old nvidia 650ti card.

Of course, any program can give you pretty much any color taste you like if you're willing to prepare the right profiles, but that's often prohibitively difficult.

It is great to see open source projects gaining ground in this area, though.

This can be confirmed

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Stefan

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CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 14,958
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
1

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

Its good to have alternatives. Your example to me though with Darktable looks quite unnatural almost HDR like.

The Lightroom one looks unnatural as well, with the purple clouds, although I really like its aqua rendition in the lake.

I edited the Darkroom version with a pixel editor and got it looking more like the Lightroom, except for the cliffs on upper right, which were not as blue-gray as I wanted.

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 14,958
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

xeriwthe posted an example comparison:

iridient xtransformer with 'smoother' raw processing and small amount of sharpening in lightroom

darktable with some sharpening

Why are these images 50% (or thereabouts) downsampled? That makes it difficult to compare detail.

I like the red lettering on the first image. Can that be reproduced with Darktable?

Phil BH Contributing Member • Posts: 744
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

JonPB wrote:

Best details? I don't see any higher resolution, just higher local contrast, which is essentially "clarity" acting on at levels somewhere between Capture One's "clarity" and "structure." It is a useful form of sharpening but nothing to do with demosaicking.

Best overall quality? Not if it doesn't give you the colors you like. Of course, any program can give you pretty much any color taste you like if you're willing to prepare the right profiles, but that's often prohibitively difficult.

It is great to see open source projects gaining ground in this area, though.

That's what I am seeing as well. I see no real difference in resolution or general sharpness.

In light of that, use whichever one you like.

xeriwthe Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
1

CAcreeks wrote:

Why are these images 50% (or thereabouts) downsampled? That makes it difficult to compare detail.

I like the red lettering on the first image. Can that be reproduced with Darktable?

the perception of chunkiness is most relevant to me when viewing at fit to screen sizes. I'm using an old 20 inch 1920x1200 display.

There is clearly more detail on the iridient image at 100% but it's the "over expression" of detail that bugs me when viewing at normal sizes

red lettering option is only in deluxe versions of darktable

CAcreeks
CAcreeks Forum Pro • Posts: 14,958
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

xeriwthe wrote:

Why are these images 50% (or thereabouts) downsampled? That makes it difficult to compare detail.

the perception of chunkiness is most relevant to me when viewing at fit to screen sizes. I'm using an old 20 inch 1920x1200 display.

True dat.

There is clearly more detail on the iridient image at 100% but it's the "over expression" of detail that bugs me when viewing at normal sizes.

This is an extremely interesting item for discussion. Have you ever seen any mention of the issue, e.g. on the Open forum, or Photographic Science on Technology?

On the Olympus Compact Camera forum, someone claimed that the "watercolor" effect from the TG-4 was the best rendition for downsampling. I don't think so.

But I know what you mean by the crunchy effect. It's particularly annoying in the DPreview thumbnails.

red lettering option is only in deluxe versions of darktable

Ha ha! good one.

Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris Veteran Member • Posts: 5,465
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

thxbb12 wrote:

In my quest of finding a Lightroom replacement, I just gave Darktable a shot without really considering it as a viable alternative.

I have to say I'm very impressed by its demosaicing of Fuji X-Trans files!

After having tried Capture One, Luminar, Iridient X-Transformer and RawTherapee, I find Darktable to give the best details and overall quality.

Here is a comparison with Lightroom of an image shot with a Fuji X-T1. I tried to somewhat mimic the Lightroom processing of the file, but since I've never used Darktable before, the output is a bit off, especially regarding the colors. I doesn't affect the quality of the details though.

The first image was developed with Lightroom 6.6.1 and the second one with Darktable 2.4.0.

What do you guys think?

It's a gorgeous scene and must've been fun to photograph. Looking at the two images, it appears sharpening was globally applied to both. (The sky and water look sharpened.) In Lightroom, if you apply a mask to limit sharpening only to the land, the detail rendering will be improved. Also, noise in the sky and water won't be as obvious. Plus, you'll mitigate other sharpening artifacts.

I've not worked with Darktable so, don't know how you'd mask/manage sharpening in that app.

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His Dudeness
His Dudeness Regular Member • Posts: 394
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

CAcreeks wrote:

Astrophotographer 10 wrote:

Its good to have alternatives. Your example to me though with Darktable looks quite unnatural almost HDR like.

The Lightroom one looks unnatural as well, with the purple clouds, although I really like its aqua rendition in the lake.

The OP already stated that he is not an experienced darktable user (,yet) . I don think it is valid to concluding on darktables capabilities from these examples. This comparison was about details .

I edited the Darkroom version with a pixel editor and got it looking more like the Lightroom, except for the cliffs on upper right, which were not as blue-gray as I wanted.

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tokumeino Veteran Member • Posts: 3,057
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]

xeriwthe wrote:

there are some things with darktable that turn me off, particularly with regards to masking in highlight recovery showing up as large halos around objects instead of the perfect cutouts that i get in rawtherapee and lightroom, i dunno maybe i'm doing something wrong.

but the detail rendering is a really nice alternative to others, somehow it has its own character

I'm myself currently training and evaluating DT. So far, I have drawn one lesson : generalized blending is awesome and should be used, especially in NR and sharpening. The point is to understand blending methods but then, all you need is to adjust the blending percentage. Often, it is enough to remove unwanted artifacts. So globally, the "strengths" sliders of the modules are different from a blending percentage. You need to balance both. nd once you have find a balance up to your taste, store a preset.

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tokumeino Veteran Member • Posts: 3,057
Re: Darktable vs Lightroom details comparison [full size images]
3

Best overall quality? Not if it doesn't give you the colors you like.

  1. You can get any color that you like, you decide

As a very new DT user, I have to say that what impressed me most is how it is easy to reach the result you want. You have sliders and curves but there are many other modules which are incredibly intuitive and visual to alter tonality and colors.

You have tone curves, but you can also - for instance - map tonality by using a module based on Ansel Adam's zone system. Ultra intuitive once you get the point.

For colors, there are many modules but I would pick up the color zones module which I find even more easy to use than C1P's wheels, or the color correction one which makes so easy to control color shifts.

Cherry on the cake, the equalizer module !

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