Darktable Photo Manager 1.4.2 for Linux, Mac OS & Solaris

Darktable is an Open Source Photo Image Manager for Linux and Mac OS. It’s similar to Adobe Lightroom for the PC or Apple Aperature for OSX. Otherwise known as a photography workflow application and raw developer, it performs post-production non-destructive editing, organizing, optimizing and format conversions. It can handle large numbers of images including raw formats from most cameras and can export to many different formats as well.

Wikipedia has a good general write-up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darktable

And of course the official website: http://www.darktable.org

It breaks from the mold of many open source image managers that offer limited options and interface. It’s not a raster graphics editor, so if you’re looking for something that can draw, do text, layers and image masks take a look at Gimp as the latest version 2.8 has come a long way.

If you’ve used other similar apps, it won’t take long to get productive with Darktable. It’s become my personal favorite, although sometimes I still use the Shotwell Photo Manager when I need to quickly process studio shots. It’s developed by Yorba

Generally, one starts with the lighttable part of Darktable to import from disk or camera. It has a flexible rating and sorting system to select the best photos of the bunch. You can group edit metadata and re-size/export/convert images to most common formats.

The lighttable interface.

The lighttable interface.

If adjustments are required, switch to the darkroom. There’s many modules to choose from and I’ll be covering the ones I find most useful in a later post.

The darkroom interface.

The darkroom interface.

Tethering allows you to capture images directly into darktable from your connected camera. This is great for studio shooting and creating time-lapses. You’ll need a camera that supports tethering and as far as I know most DSLR’s and some advanced point & shoots do. I have yet to explore this part in much detail. Map lets you geotag you images, I haven’t explored this part either.

In summary, I’ve found Darktable to be the best open source photography workflow application, RAW developer, virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers using Linux, OSX or Solaris.

More on this to come!

–Kenn Ranous

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