Darktable vs Lightroom: which software to choose for non-destructive editing and color correction?
Darktable is an open-source photo editor. It supports RAW files from more than 400 different cameras and opens a great number of file types.
Lightroom is a batch photo editor famous for its impressive color-correction capabilities. The program enables users to enhance images, working with layers, curves, monochrome images mode, white balance, shadows and light.
Convenient UI. Darktable is a decent Lr alternative offering a user-friendly interface. Even a complete beginner will easily figure everything out. The software itself is divided into five modules: Lighttable, Darkroom, Map, Slideshow and Tethering. In such a way, all the functions are grouped for your convenience.
Great features for free. Like some other analog programs, Darktable offers non-destructive photo editing. In other words, an original photo is preserved if necessary. This is definitely photo editing software for beginners despite a learning curve. Moreover, you will be impressed with the number of useful features it offers completely free of charge.
Convenient catalog. Being a free Lightroom alternative, the program offers a convenient catalog where you may sort out images by various parameters, add them to your collections and assess them.
There is metadata on each image, like the manufacturer, camera model, the lens, date and place of shooting, focus distance, etc. Thanks to this feature, Darktable may be called one of the best photo catalog software on the net.
Deep color correction. The color group offers one more basic instrument. If you apply it, you will give a different hue or add some new colors to the photo. It is something like an effect provided by RGB curves, but it is achieved by moving two points. The light and dark dots are responsible for the lights and shadows in the frame and each can be given a different tint.
Useful Shadows & Highlights tools. Thanks to the convenient sliders, you may easily adjust dark and light segments in the photo. For example, by moving the shadows and highlights slider, you darken or brighten shadows. When you use the shadows color adjustment slider, you increase or decrease the saturation of colors in shadowed areas.
Great Sharpen tool. It is a simple contour sharpness using which you can achieve the effect of something resembling HDR. You can enhance an image that, for some reason, has lost its clarity. The tool has only 3 sliders: radius, amount and threshold. It is worth noting that the Sharpen tool should be used with caution so don’t set the sliders to the maximum.
No built-in presets. Unfortunately, there are no in-built Darktable presets. However, you may download or create your own effects to boost productivity. Also, you get graduated density features and grain controls since the grain feature enables users to add vintage touches to certain RAW photos.
No mobile version. Although Darktable is available for many platforms, it doesn’t have mobile versions for iOS and Android.
It is not an Adobe product. It should be mentioned that this program is not as popular as Adobe products, like Lightroom, for instance. Also, Darktable is not integrated with other programs.
Well-organized interface. There are seven tabs on the Lr interface. They help organize your working process in the most convenient way. Thanks to these modules, including Library and Develop, your workflow is moving.
Even if you use Lightroom for the first time, it will be easy to navigate it and figure everything out. The software features an appealing dark framework that helps highlight tone in the image.
Qualitative color correction. If you think that your shot requires a fantastic color correction, then Lightroom is the best program to solve this issue. You will be able to adjust exposure, contrast, sharpness, improve white balance, edit light/shades, etc. Moreover, there are a lot of free Lightroom tutorials on how edit photos in Lightroom.
Integration with Photoshop. If you make photo retouching in Photoshop, then using Lightroom is the right decision. These programs are developed by one company so they are connected with each other and interact well. You won't face any problems if you need to import a picture to Photoshop while working in Lightroom, perform image retouching and send it back to Lightroom.
Cataloging of photos. If you work in Lightroom, you may import images using a catalog with advanced metadata settings, adding keywords, changing the destination, and even applying presets when importing. The pics are organized into collections and you may navigate through folders on the desktop.
Mobile version available. In this respect, in the Darktable vs Lightroom battle, Lr is confidently pulling ahead. Developers provide a Lightroom Mobile app completely free of charge. It features useful functions and may boast of great HDR and curves capabilities. It works smoothly with RAW files, Lightroom mobile presets. However, it does not support batch photo processing.
High price. It costs $20.99 a month. There is a free trial version available ‒ you may use the software for 7 days. However, if you need it for longer, you have to get a paid licensed version. So, remember to check out current Lightroom discounts.
No deep photo retouching. In general, Lightroom is a great program offering all the necessary tools. But, at the same time, you can’t make complex adjustments with it. Only simple photo editing is possible with this software.
However, you may always export the necessary image to Photoshop and retouch it there. Then, when you are ready with the photo, you may again display it in Lightroom.
If we compare Darktable vs Lightroom in terms of price, you will see that the first option is more appealing. Darktable is a free program without any premium subscriptions or pro versions. If you want to install this software, go to the official website, then move to the “Install” tab, choose your OS and click “Download”.
If you want to buy Lightroom, you need to get the subscription.
These two programs ideally cope with quick image post-processing of a great number of pictures, in case you need only color correction or RAW format editing.
Darktable is better because of its free access, although Lightroom pleases with its stability and quality.
Therefore, if you are a beginner who is not eager to spend money on Lightroom subscription every month, Darktable is the best choice. If you are a professional shooter who needs stability, speed and clear task performance, Lightroom is the most beneficial software.
No matter which software you choose in the Lightroom vs Darktable competition, download these free tools that will help you improve portrait, wedding, street, travel and newborn photographs by adding matte effects in a matter of seconds. These Lightroom presets will make your photos gentle and trendy.