Photography – Tried DarkTable Raw Editor

In the past couple years I have not felt like doing any photo or video editing and trying to rid of all my Adobe apps. I have been a Lightroom user since it was in beta so I am very fluent with it and its pretty good except for its random slowdowns on Windows and on my Mac. I have really enjoyed making custom exports that I called “Spec-1” and so on, like a bit of programming in a way. So I was thinking of adjusting some RAW images and wanted to try some options out.

My interest was focused on batch adjusting, basically done by adjusting a single photo and applying the settings to all similar photos. Lightroom was pretty good at this functionality and probably why I used it for so many years. So I had heard about Darktable a raw editor and even tried it a few years ago, it gave me some random issues way back then and I immediately gave up on it. Gave it another shot yesterday and it was working.

Lot more minimal than LR but has a ton of options, one of my first tests was to batch adjust multiple raws then export them with custom formulas for my particular situation. It does not have a right click menu with options so I found myself selecting things from a dropdown menu in the “lighttable” section. Workflow was go to darktable editing section adjust a photo then go back to lighttable section and use the history stack tab to copy the adjustments, then select my photos with similar exposures and paste adjustments with a tab option again.

It worked perfectly and I exported 12 images all resized, adjusted, srgb setting, watermarked, and quality for a jpg set at 70% for better web size. Pretty standard stuff and it took about 15 seconds or so on my Macbook. Now my usual batch exports are around 500-2000 photos at once and that will give it a real test, the shoot I tested on has 1800 images and I may test on it later. It does not have a data size limit like LR does so you just need to use the quality percentage slider. Do some tests and find the “best settings” is something I need to work on, I usually have my 2048 pixels on the long edge to have no more than 250kb of file size, this helps web sites load them faster.

Good things, free, decently fast, most of the main adjustments, custom presets, custom exports, batch photo editing. Annoying things so far no right click menu, more clicking of options around the screen needed, I may just be missing some understanding of features now. It did not seem to put an aggressive default raw conversion like Lightroom does, if you do not know all these programs add a bit of settings depending on your camera model, this could just be because I have not done the full setup of this program yet. My images looked very flat, this is a great thing so I can add what I want.

Anyway my second experience with Darktable which is totally free software BTW was really good and I expect to experiment a bit more. I may learn some things like shortcuts and better program settings to get to things quicker. Overall its a bit more point and click around the screen than I prefer, I love my right click menu with major options which I do not see. BTW my watermark plugin seems to have removed my color settings for the screenshot posted here, its much more colorful.

The photo seen is model Abbs from shoot 8, I may be posting this awesome huge shoot on my other shadow site.

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