After outgrowing iPhone and Picassa, I bought a copy of Adobe Photo Lightroom. In 2010 I paid $300 for a copy of Lightroom 3. It was a difficult purchase. $300 is a lot of money and this was the most I had ever paid for software. But I reluctantly handed over my credit card to Adobe because I wanted the features and functionality offered by Lightroom.
Some of my friends had suggested the open source software GIMP as a free1 alternative. Those friends obviously don’t do much photography because the GIMP is the most unreliable piece of software I have ever used. GIMP simply lacks any photography workflow feature that remotely resembles anything in the Adobe Photoshop suite.
However, I recently discovered an open source project called darktable that “gets it”.
darktable is an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers. It manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable and enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.
A “lighttable and darkroom for photographers”2? I think they stopped short of calling it an open source Adobe Lightroom replacement. From the feature list I can tell the developers are aiming at creating exactly that.
Here’s a shot list of features:
Wow! There’s a lot more. Too much for me to cover in this blog post. If you don’t already have Adobe Lightroom and you are on a budget, download a darktable and start playing around.