anyone using darktable on Windows 10

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Hi

I use Lightroom 6.14 (I think) I bought it as a standalone products before they started the subscription model. As I have no real use for Photoshop, as have standalone PSE 18, and am against subscription models I look for alternatives from time to time.

I have heard quite a bit about darktable, and it sounds as though it would do anything I ever need, but just a bit concerned as to how well it performs in windows, seeing as it is Open Source.

Curious to know if anyone using it on windows 10, and hints/suggestions welcome.

Thanks
Rose
 

Dinobe

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Performance is good on windows 10 since version 3.4
Haven't experienced crashes or hangups in windows 10.
That said, performance is better on Linux.

But why not give it a try, it's free after all...
 

Brownie

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I do on two machines, one with 16G RAM and one with 8G. No real performance issues to speak of, although more RAM would be better on the 8. I started using it 3 or 4 years ago, no idea which version but it was in the low 3's I think. I have updated fairly regularly as time went along. There used to be a member here named @junkyardsparkle that was very well-versed in the program, seemed to know a little about the development and code. Maybe he's still here but I haven't seen him in a while.

Their module improvements are always top-drawer. Because it's constantly under development they will improve modules, or if they are no longer relevant they'll delete. I sometimes find their layout and workflow changes to be irritating, though. I guess 'better' is subjective in some cases. Having said that, I've had no problem adjusting so maybe I'm just a luddite.

As @Dinobe said, it's free. Give it a good go before you decide whether you like it, there is a bit of a learning curve. The tutorials discussed in other threads will speed you along, especially those by Bruce Williams Photography.
 

BDR-529

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I agree with previous writers about performance issues. There are none if you have reasonably recent and powerfull Windows 10 machine.

The only way to get even some load is to select AMaZE-demosaic and apply parametric masks on several modules. Availability of parametric masks for practically every module is actually something that only Darktable does offer to my knowledge.

Darktable can be confusing to use because it has several different modules which all can do essentially the same thing.

Old modules are always maintained for backwards compatibility when new ones are introduces but this is also a huge benefit once you realize that no matter what you want to do, there's always one module which does just that thing with a couple of clicks (after you wasted a couple of dozen clicks in another module which didn't quite cut it)

Unless you want to photoshop unicorns in your images or replace sky with artificial starry a** scene, I can't imagine anything that Darktable can't do as far as post-processing MFT RAW images is concerned. It has even one of the best non-AI denoise modules available but IMHO an AI Denoise SW is a mandatory purchase for MFT images in any case. Topaz (or equivalent) + Darktable should be all you need.
 
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RAH

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I use RawTherapee (Open Source) for RAW images and have recently switched from Corel PaintShop Pro (PSP - which I have used for over 20 years, from back before Corel owned it) to Affinity Photo for regular image editing.

I don't know about Darktable, but Affinity Photo is far better than PSE for regular editing, and it is still on sale for $25 (50% off regular price). It is a steal even at $50, IMHO, and keeps getting better as they work to improve it.

Serif (parent company of Affinity) for years has had Serif PagePlus (excellent publishing program), DrawPlus (very good vector graphic program) and PhotoPlus, which was a mediocre image editor, not as good as PSP or even PSE.

But over the past few years, with the Affinity brand, they have migrated over to a more modern framework to work under both Windows and Mac. These are NOT subscription products, have had numerous free upgrades, etc, and right now I'd say that Affinity Photo is at least as good as PaintShop Pro.

I guess it's nice to have one program that does it all - edit your RAW there, then go directly into regular edit mode for more editing. I never did that with PSP because its RAW editing mode was kind of poor. Affinity Photo has a RAW editor that I tried recently, and it is much better than PSP's, so you could actually start with that RAW editor and then go directly into Affinity Photo edit mode.

I will probably continue to just start with RawTherapee, export to 16-bit TIF, and then edit with Affinity Photo, but that is mostly because RawTherapee is amazing.

Anyway, I'd recommend that you at least try the trial version of Affinity Photo, or even just spring for the $25 and get the actual product now (no telling when that Covid-driven sale will end).
 

Alex2

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Hi Rose,

I had the same considerations in the past and moved on to Darktable after 11 years of Lightroom usage. At first I used it on Windows 10, for six months next to Lightroom, with the exact same photo sets (I have around 40,000 photos in my database).

It worked fine and even recognized the nVidia GTX 1650 graphics card in my laptop, so it used that on top of the inbuilt Intel graphics adapter. My laptop has a 10th generation Intel i7 processor and 16GB RAM, and a fast SSD, and a 4k screen. It scales well to that screen, just like Lightroom.

It behaved somewhat slower than Lightroom in most aspects though, especially while culling photos, and when starting the application. It was doable though, and I decided to stop using Lightroom. I have to say it behaves more clunky and less intuitive than Lightroom, so try it before you make the move. For me it was, as stated, doable.

In the beginning of January I moved to Linux (Linux Mint 20), and installed Darktable again. It starts far faster on Linux, so that is nice. All other operations are as fast/slow as on Windows 10. And it recognizes the nVidia card on Linux as well, for additional computation power. Still, it has its quirks. I often experience that it does not immediately react to shortcut commands; quite often there is kind of a pause before the application reacts. Somewhat irritating, but not bad enough to stop using it. It is not a love story yet though, as you can read...

So my advise is to really try and deep dive, before you decide to move over. Maybe you have different experiences, or value the pros and cons of Darktable differently (note that I did not mention the many pros of Darktable, which have to do with the flexibility of the filters, the customization of shortcuts, and the 'layering' of the RAW development effect modules, and the way it sharpens (far far better than Lightroom IMO).
 

Brownie

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I have my Demosaic set to AMaZE 3 times and use combination drawn/parametric masks regularly with no issues. The module that can slow me down is the new(ish) retouch, it works in layers and can be a real monster. Fortunately it's not something I use regularly.
 

RAH

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After reading some of the other posts, it reminded me that Darktable is an image-management program too - database, etc, etc. So if that is what you are looking for, it would be much better than using Rawtherapee and any regular image editor, IMHO. Myself, I HATE using image management programs like Lightroom and Darktable, but different strokes... :)
 

BDR-529

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(note that I did not mention the many pros of Darktable, which have to do with the flexibility of the filters, the customization of shortcuts, and the 'layering' of the RAW development effect modules, and the way it sharpens (far far better than Lightroom IMO).
Sharpening is a good example about how confusing Darktable can be.

There are sevaral modules which will result in increased sharpness (or softness for that matter) but the best of them is called "Contrast equalizer" and at first glance it does not even look like this module has anything to do with sharpness.

Luckily youtube is full of tutorial videos and I can recommend ones by Bruce Williams assuming one can spend 25 minutes or more for a single module.
 
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Performance is good normally and some operations are GPU accelerated via OpenCL.

I've used on Linux and Win10.

The one thing that seems slow is importing folders with many photos (no matter which platform you're using it on), but some speedups are coming in the next update for that.
 
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thanks everyone for the information - very much appreciated :).

Currently I have a desktop and laptop. The desktop was set up especially for photo processing and has good specs, not sure what. However as I tend to go away for mini holidays I tend to use the laptop for photos. Its an HP Pavilion, i7 I think, 16Gb RAM, and an SSD. It runs the software I use with no problems, LR 6.14, PSE 18, sns-hdr mainly.

I ran Linux for several years (Pclinuxos), until I bought a DSLR, and a friend introduced me to Lightroom. I didn't do much with photography back then, and used digikam.

I'll download darkatble and check it out, as sometimes when I enter competitions I can't access the files of newer cameras.

I have been contemplating buying another laptop to run as standalone Linux .... see if I get a tax return ....
 
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So, I use Darktable on a Mac, not Windows. I'll reiterate that it is a little slower than Lightroom. At the same time I think it's more capable than Lightroom. As far as I know Lightroom doesn't have anything like Tone Equalizer.

I have a tip. By default, Darktable will produce images that don't look anything you are used to from Lightroom. Lightroom, because it's a mass-market product, has a set of reasonable defaults that will produce a decent image when you first load it. Darktable images, for me, looked low contrast and not saturated enough for me. I learned to create a presets for all my usual modules and have them automatically applied to all images. Now I just do a little tweaking and my photos are ready to go.
 

Brownie

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So, I use Darktable on a Mac, not Windows. I'll reiterate that it is a little slower than Lightroom. At the same time I think it's more capable than Lightroom. As far as I know Lightroom doesn't have anything like Tone Equalizer.

I have a tip. By default, Darktable will produce images that don't look anything you are used to from Lightroom. Lightroom, because it's a mass-market product, has a set of reasonable defaults that will produce a decent image when you first load it. Darktable images, for me, looked low contrast and not saturated enough for me. I learned to create a presets for all my usual modules and have them automatically applied to all images. Now I just do a little tweaking and my photos are ready to go.
Have you downloaded the version that came out in December? I noticed the default image has a more finished look than in previous versions.
 

Lee Perrins

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I've used Darktable for quite some time - up until now on Ubuntu and Windows 8.2. I used an early i5 laptop with 8Gb RAM and on-board graphics (i.e. rubbish) when I ran it on Windows and although export sometimes was a little slow if I'd applied lots of adjustments, I had no complaints about the way it ran.

I've now gone back to Mac, and have it on my M1 MB Air. It's the new version, and just wondered if anyone could guide me as to how to get a pre-defined list of modules showing? Or even a list of all the modules available?

Since I installed this version I have to search for the module I want to use each time when I'm in 'Darkroom' mode, which is fine because I've used it for years so I know what I want to use and what they are called, but it's time consuming, and also means I am unlikely to discover any new modules.
 
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I've used Darktable for quite some time - up until now on Ubuntu and Windows 8.2. I used an early i5 laptop with 8Gb RAM and on-board graphics (i.e. rubbish) when I ran it on Windows and although export sometimes was a little slow if I'd applied lots of adjustments, I had no complaints about the way it ran.

I've now gone back to Mac, and have it on my M1 MB Air. It's the new version, and just wondered if anyone could guide me as to how to get a pre-defined list of modules showing? Or even a list of all the modules available?

Since I installed this version I have to search for the module I want to use each time when I'm in 'Darkroom' mode, which is fine because I've used it for years so I know what I want to use and what they are called, but it's time consuming, and also means I am unlikely to discover any new modules.
On the right side under the histogram info and above the modules, click the hamburger icon (rightmost) and then select "modules: all" or I guess "manage presets..." and create your own modules layout with everything in it. Or maybe for the modern recommendation, use the "workflow: scene-referred" to get the modules that make sense for that workflow.

Of course with understanding that you don't want to use most modules and many have overlapping effects, and some don't make sense being in the same processing pipeline based on how they work on the input data and the assumptions made about them.

You could probably check release notes on the website to get a sense of new modules.


Anyway, once you have all the modules you want to see, the left icon when selected (default) shows you currently active modules. Click it to deselect and it will show you the full list.
 
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Lee Perrins

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On the right side under the histogram info and above the modules, click the hamburger icon (rightmost) and then select "modules: all" or I guess "manage presets..." and create your own modules layout with everything in it. Or maybe for the modern recommendation, use the "workflow: scene-referred" to get the modules that make sense for that workflow.

Of course with understanding that you don't want to use most modules and many have overlapping effects, and some don't make sense being in the same processing pipeline based on how they work on the input data and the assumptions made about them.

You could probably check release notes on the website to get a sense of new modules.


Anyway, once you have all the modules you want to see, the left icon when selected (default) shows you currently active modules. Click it to deselect and it will show you the full list.
Thank you!
 

Brownie

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I used the 'legacy' (I think that was the title, I'm at work right now) mode, since I had a workflow set up in favorites. I can still add and delete modules if needed. Everything is shown in the other choices like color, etc. So, I stick in my favorites and will revert to the other menus for the odd module use, like spot removal, or haze, etc.

It's amazing how we never discuss the masking capability of this program. It is soooo easy and effective, and you don't have to set there and be accurate with drawing out the mask most of the time. A lot of the car shows I shoot are outside, in the shade, shooting into the sun. In those cases even using a fill flash ends up with a very white sky, not quite blown out but not acceptable. I can use a combination drawn/parametric mask to pull the sky back to something reasonable. And then the ability to use the exact same mask in the other modules is fantastic. If you haven't seen Bruce Williams series on masks, please do so. Even with the changes the series is accurate for general use in all off the releases as far as I know.
 
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SyZyGy

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I almost exclusively use darktable under Win10.
I would not pre-judge an program for Windows just because it is opensource. (Firefox, LibreOffice, etc. are all fine.) I tend to blame Windows for not efficiently allocating resources, not the app.

As an aside, FWIW:

The next version of darktable, v3.6, is expected in about a month or so. It should have performance increases, feature enhancements, and ofc. bug fixes. (pre)Release notes are here: https://github.com/darktable-org/darktable/blob/master/RELEASE_NOTES.md

ps. You may want to check the pixl.us site, since the darktable (and other OSS imaging programs) seem to have more dedicated discussion there. (including the main darktable developer.) https://discuss.pixls.us/c/software/darktable/19
 
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