Recently I have been trying to do a lot more photography shooting in RAW. Because of this, I have been doing a lot less editing in the Gimp and a lot more editing in Darktable. Recently I did a short review/tutorial on Darktable. I have had a few people ask me to compare or show some of the differences with Lightroom and Darktable. This will be a quick overview on some of the differences and similarities between the two programs.
Here is a video tutorial showing the differences. If you don't want to watch it, just skip past it and I have some screenshot attached as well.
A Look Into Lightroom
If you are a photographer who shoots in RAW, chances are pretty good you already know what Lightroom is. Lightroom is perhaps the most popular RAW editing software. Unfortunately (for me) it costs a lot of money. As a result (and as a consequence of me using Linux) I do not have the program to do a step by step comparison. Fortunately though, there is a wonderful website called Fro Knows Photo. If you are interested in photography, then I highly suggest you visit this site. One of the great things of this site is that the owner of the site, Jared, goes through and does tutorials editing RAW photos in Lightroom. In addition to that, he provides the RAW photos so that you can follow along and do your own edit. I suggest you give this a try as it will help your RAW editing skills. I used one of his portrait tutorials. You can visit his site here if you would like to download the RAW file (you will have to sign up for the forum to download the files though).
I am not going to get into great details, but I will show some comparisons of what Jared did to the photo in Lightroom, and what I did in Darktable.
Lightroom - Library>Rotate
Darktable - Correct>Crop and Rotate>Angle -90
You will notice that by default, the RAW photo in Darktable does seem to be a bit brighter.
Lightroom - Jared increased the yellow, exposure, contrast and black levels.
Darktable - Basic>White Balance> Increased the Red and Green. Basic>Exposure> Increased the exposure and black levels.
After this, Jared did a minor tweak to the girls face to lighten the shadow on the left side of her face. I don't know of any way to do spot edits in Darktable; I don't think this is possible.
Lastly, Jared did some minor tweaks with the exposure and yellow, so I did the same bumping up the exposure a bit and playing around with tint.
You will notice that the edits are pretty close. The main difference I can see is that Jared's edit is a bit more yellow and the shadow is reduced a bit on the girl's face. I think though that Darkroom held up fairly well against Lightroom in this edit.
In the Fro Knows Photo tutorial, Jared invited a guest to make edits on the photo as well. So we will do another comparison to Dom's edit.
Dom used the Lightroom Luminance tool to enhance the orange, red and yellow. He also brought the green luminance down a bit.
In Darktable I did Color>Color Zones>Saturation and played with the colors.
I found this was difficult to mimic Dom's edit and I don't feel like I did an incredibly good job. Darktable simply does not allow you to edit colors the same way Lightroom does.
The next few things that Dom did in Lightroom simply are not possible to do in Darktable. He did a lot of edits specific to certain parts of the photo. For instance, he burned the background then increased the brightness of her face. He also did a lot of brush edits to bring up the clarity and take down the sharpness.
One thing he did do that I was able to do in Darktable was adjust the white balance and tint. I did it to the exact specifications he used but it did not turn out the same in Darktable.
|Final Lightroom edit|
|Final Darktable edit|
A few more edits that Dom made were increasing vibrance, adjusting tone curve and cropping the photo.
I was able to crop the photo and tried to mimic the vibrance by adjusting Luma in the equalizer.
All in all I would still say Darktable is a fantastic program. It is obvious to me that Lightroom is much more feature rich. I like the fact that Lightroom allows you to do specific edits to parts of the photo and wish that Darktable could do the same. Other than that though, I think Darktable is very powerful; even though the interface is a bit different, you are able to do much of the same edits you would be able to in Lightroom.