Why Darktable is perfect for Fujifilm users.

There’s an editing package that stands head and shoulders amongst the paid for and subscription editing package services out there, and it’s called Darktable. Many people would have heard of it, but presume because it is free, it is no good or not suitable. However, things couldn’t be further from the truth, as Darktable isn’t only amazingly powerful, but has a lot of useful features, especially (but not exclusively) for Fujifilm users.

What does Darktable generally offer?

Before we delve into what Darktable offers Fujifilm camera users, you need to know what Darktable offers in the way of it’s general features.

Think of Darktable as Lightroom, but on steroids. It offers a full library/Lighttable organisation section which allows you to view and tag multiple images, arrange them by various forms of ranking and much more, on a similar way to Lightroom. However you’ll have none of that importing inconvenience of Lightroom , as you can point directly to the directory your images are stored, or even just edit single images very simply.

In the editing portion of Darktable you can of course start the process of non-destructive editing. Darktable 3.4 has a wealth of options, many more than Lightroom offers for total control over the processing of your images.

Darktable has some very powerful and unique features for masking, which once used, you’ll wonder how you managed without them. Being able to curve the gradient line is something so simple, yet missing from every other editing package. There are also the parametric masks, which give you instant and full control over the areas you want with the tweak of some sliders (very much like colour or luminosity masks, but more advanced). In fact, there are a ton of masking options, something for every conceivable operation you may need to perform.

What’s in it for Fujifilm users?

Firstly it handles Fuji raw files with ease, avoiding so called artefact issues that allegedly plague some software. Noise and sharpening is handled extremely well, and you’ll always get clean looking images.

And then we have the built in colour science. Using the Colour Lookup Table module, you can instantly choose from a selection of Fujifilm film simulations. When added to your image they can be very accurate, especially when you can the exposure correct. You can fine tune them to by changing the opacity of the modules mask, perfect for getting things just right.

The standard Color Look Up Table Options

There is also a Velvia module, which, as the name suggests, adds colour and contrast to your image in a way that using the Velvia film simulation looks and feels. A great module for making your images pop.

Finally, you have Darktable Styles (dtStyles) which can result be downloaded. There is a huge repository for Fujifilm styles, covering dozens of film stock variants and X-Trans III sensor styles. It’s a great resource to get your image looking “Fuji”, and styles can be adjusted easily, as they are usually base curves with often other adjustments which are added to your history stack for tweaking.

dtStyles (First half)
dtStyles (Second half)

Of course, Darktable can use LUT files too, so as an added bonus, you can add any Fujifilm (or other cameras) LUT files to help you achieve what your aiming for, especially if you’ve used those LUTs in other programs. Check out my good friend Marc’s website here for accurate Fujifilm LUTs.

Conclusion

Darktable has a bit of a learning curve, but in its latest update to 3.4, it’s easier to use that it ever was. If you’re coming from Lightroom, Darktable should generally be more accessable.

For a free and open source program, you can tell a lot of love has gone into making Darktable. Written by photographers, for photographers, and it shows, plus it is updated on a regular basis and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux computer systems.

Visit Darktable here, and give it a download, as it’s free!

Get your dyStyles here.

Visit here for many more LUTs etc

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The Best Editing Software You’ll Ever Need Is…

There have been hundreds and thousands of articles written about the best software that any photographer should use. They’ll tell you why you should use this software, and how it makes you a better editor of photographs. What this article well set out to achieve once and for all, is the best piece of editing software for you and your needs.

What’s Out There?

Before we can begin to decide what the best editing software is for you, you need to understand that there are two distinct categories available that will be critical in your decision of what you will use.

Photoshop & the like…

Firstly, there are the Photoshop type editing programs. There offer powerful image manipulation, and although not as easy to use as dedicated photo editing software, many people will use them either as a solo photo editing program or as an additional step.

These programs include the already mentioned Photoshop, which is the Gold standard in photo manipulation, and the only things that put people off buying it are it’s steep learning curve and subscription model which ensures that Adobe will always have a grip on you and your images.

Secondly for the Photoshop type editing program you have Gimp, which is the leading free Photoshop replacement, and in many respects just as usable, although it is missing non-destructive editing for a lot of its components. You also have other programs such as Affinity Photo which people enjoy. Affinity is cheap, you only pay once and keep it, and it is great for everyday use, is a bit more complicated than other programs.

Lightroom & the like…

The second category is the Lightroom type editing program. These are more specifically for editing photographs, they have a light table feature which displays rows of photos which you can view, bulk edit etc and see side by side comparisons of many different images.

Lightroom is of course the offering from Adobe that has set the gold standard. It’s an all encompassing photo editor that is used by most professional photography editors. It’s drawback for many is that it’s a subscription service, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Darktable is the leading Lightroom alternative, and in many ways is much more powerful, but had a very steep learning curve. It offers everything and more that Lightroom does, but it’s completely free.

We also have Capture One which is great and a one off fee (although they do offer free versions for Fuji, Nikon and Sony users), plus ON1 Photo Raw which again is a one off payment and a very powerful program to boot! Currently Luminar 4 is the talk of every photographer, and it’s an amazing program.

Which is the very best to use – let’s settle this once and for all…

Above was an outline of various software, they all perform amazingly, they all offer various models of payment and in reality they will all get the job done.

The best thing of all is that they each offer free trials of their software!!! Unlike other reviewers or bloggers, I’m not going to say you should use this or that software, I’m going to suggest you download and software that has taken your eye and try the free trial!

The best software that money can buy is the software that suits your needs best, and for the most part it’s all about the user interface and learning curve. There is no right or wrong answer to this!

What software do I use?

As someone who holds classes, runs photography groups and is heavily involved in photography, I am lucky to have a lot of software which I need to know in order to help others. However, I do have my favourites. I really enjoy Darktable and Gimp for my main processing, although I also enjoy Luminar 4, Photoshop and a little program called Photoscape X Pro, which I use probably more than any others when just sorting through jpegs ready to put up on the internet.

Take advantage of these free trials and also help me out!

I am an affiliate for Luminar, and if you’d like a special deal on this software, plus have £10/$10/$10 of your software, use code GPWNPT and go through this link.

If you’d like to try ON1 for an exclusive trial, use this link.

— I do not make money from these links, but it gives me the opportunity to try the latest versions so that I may pass on my knowledge to the photography groups I run online and in person.