Darktable 3.8 Quick Review

Darktable has had a new release, and with version 3.8 we see many refinements and extra features that make it even better than it’s been before. Why pay for editing software when Darktable 3.8 is just so good?

What is Darktable?

Darktable is a raw editor for the full control of editing your images (it will edit jpeg images also if you don’t use raw). It has many advanced features, and although quite daunting at first glance, the software is intuitive and has plenty of options to customise the layout and tools to your own needs.

Darktable 3.8 features the most comprehensive tools to control the colour in your images, and includes everything you need for a complete workflow. It has advanced masking features that mean you can target the exact areas you need to adjust.

Every tool you expect from an editing package is available, plus it has a light table view that allows you to see all your images in one place, and compare or cull images. You can also give your images ratings and tags to ensure that if you have a lot of images, you can find what you need quickly and efficiently.

What’s new in Darktable 3.8?

The biggest additions to Darktable 3.8 are the “diffuse and sharpen” module and the “blurs” module. The former module is already becoming a firm favourite for adding bloom, sharpening and much more. Although it looks complicated, there are a lot of presets available to give you a great starting point.

The new “Diffuse & Sharpen” module looks intimidating but is blessed with a host of presets to help you on your way.

The “blurs” module allows you to add physically accurate blurs such as lens blur, motion blur and gaussian blur.

In addition to these modules, other modules have been tweaked, the histogram option has further options plus it can be moved to the left of the display panel for more room on there right panel and the crop module has been adjusted to give a better workflow.

There have been dozens of bug fixes, code rewrites and much more behind the UI to give you the best experience ever. One such new ability is to be able to press shift and click on an item in your history, and the module will open up for you automatically.

Who is Darktable aimed at?

When you first look at the user interface for Darktable 3.8, it looks very complicated, but just like other software, it has a learning curve. You can adjust the module list simply to match your level of expertise, from beginner, through to advanced user. Darktable is non-destructive, so you won’t lose any of your images, even if you make mistakes.

Customise your workflow UI with these presets, or create your own.

Spend some time with Darktable and you will be rewarded. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials and other resources that can be found in this article here.

Downloading Darktable 3.8

Darktable is available on Windows, Mac and Linux and is available from their website Darktable.org

Conclusion

Darktable is free and open source, designed and maintained by photographers, for photographers. It’s worth sticking with, it gets regular fixes plus has two main feature releases every year.

Even if you don’t initially use it as your main software, it’s worth dabbling in and getting used to. You can then save money and never purchase paid for software again!

Coming in 2022 I am hoping to have a Darktable section on OneCameraOneLens which will not only point to useful articles, but also start hosting exclusive dtStyles to aid your workflow. Stay tuned for more!


I am a semi-professional photographer who runs a weekly meeting photography group as well as numerous Facebook groups (Great Photography Walks South Wales and Fujifilm Lovers Worldwide Group). I also have a brand-new blog website dedicated to various other things which I like to call The Ramblings Of A Welshman. I hope you can join me there; you might find it interesting!

Published by Mark G.Adams

Fujifilm Documentary Photographer & Blogger.

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