Digital Darkroom Software Review: Review

Before I get started, a disclaimer:

NO piece of software is going to make you a better photographer.

Practice might. But software will not.

Go out there and shoot. You can read this later.

ProgramLightZoneAfterShot Pro 2RawTherapeedarktableLightroom CC (and Mobile), Capture One Pro, RPP, DxO Optics Pro
Platforms Available Tested: (Linux), Mac, Windows
Prices: most free, some paid
Installation: variable

And… done.

After 4 months (or is it 5 now?) of not shooting much, processing the same 30 or so pictures over and over again, and cursing at computers more than I like, I found an answer. Not the answer, perhaps, but a good answer, and one that I didn’t really expect.

So what’s the answer? Well, let’s first have a look at Ripped, Drop the main comparison image, and compare/contrast the output from the various players.

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Actually, before we get too much into that, what’s the question, even?

Continue reading “Digital Darkroom Software Review: Review”

Digital Darkroom Software Review: Darktable

Programdarktable (1.6.3; updated to 1.6.7 late in the review process)
Platforms Available Tested: Linux, Mac, Windows
Installation: normal download dmg & drag app to Applications folder (or wherever you like). Easy.

darktable is probably the closest to Lightroom that you’ll find in the open source space. With the exception of user-definable albums (they’re called Film Rolls in darktable, and they’re a bit strange to use), you can do everything in darktable that you can do in Lightroom, and more, most of it in a few different ways.

Thankfully, I’m not trying for a comprehensive review here… I just want to see if darktable can replace Lightroom for me. Continue reading “Digital Darkroom Software Review: Darktable”

Photography workflow in Linux: darktable (part 4: the Zone System module)

darktable test|0034|©20140215-JamesECockroftThe Zone System module is not quite as modular as the color correction module, and the precision is equally imprecise, but it’s a great deal of fun, nonetheless.

I trust you have some idea about the Zone System. If not, go read up on it.

The scroll wheel defines the number of zones, and you drag different defining points around to expand or contract the different zones. It’s really fairly easy to use, and doesn’t really require a full walkthrough, but that’s what I had planned for today, so that’s what you get…

Black & Wednesday for 26 February, 2014 was shot with the D7000 and mamiya/sekor 50mm f/2 lens, reversed, in Aperture Priority mode, at ISO400 and f/2. Processing and editing took place in darktable, running under Ubuntu 13.10 on an Asus eee pc 1015px. I’m really wanting to get back to a bigger screen and more precise mouse, but I’m not really ready to start dual-booting the mac just yet, so these Ubuntu explorations might be on hold for a bit…

Photography workflow in Linux: darktable (part 2: b/w conversion)

There’s really not much to say here… after finding my way around with the first two images, it was relatively easy to convert this shot to black & white for this Black & Wednesday.

darktable has a monochrome module unlike any black/white conversion modules I’ve seen before.monochrome conversion 1

Essentially, you drag the circle around and change its size to adjust a virtual color filter (according to the helpful tool pop-up thingy). Like most of the other advanced functions, this is likely rather powerful, but it’s rather painful to use on the netbook (see the helpful ‘working..’ that I spend large amounts of time waiting on.monocrome conversion 2

There’s also a slider to determine how much of the highlights to retain. I didn’t do much playing with this. Again, the low power of the netbook is a big roadblock here.

Ok. I won’t keep you today… Here’s the completed shot. Enjoy:darktable test|0005|©20140215-JamesECockroft

D7000. mamiya/sekor 50mm f/2, reversed. ISO400, AP mode, f/2. B/W conversion in darktable 1.4, on an Asus eee pc 1015px running Ubuntu 10.13.