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Last Monday, Christmas Eve, like a Christmas present, the open source software for RAW editing Darktable has been updated to version 2.6. It's like a gift since this software is free and the last update contains really a ton of new features and improvements, making it an extremely powerful tool for those that prefer a no cost solution for their image editing and cataloguing, another competitor to Lightroom though usability of Lightroom is superior.

Interested in switching from Lightroom to something else? You can read our article on Lightroom alternatives.

Darktable is available for Windows, MacOS and also Linux (not common for other software especially paid ones). Link to official DarkTable announcement.

Let's see in details improvements and new features of Darktable 2.6:

  • main additions:
    • new module retouch allowing changes based on image frequency layers
    • new module filmic which can replace the base curve and shadows and highlights
    • new module to handle duplicates in the darkroom with possibility to add a title, create standard or virgin duplicate, delete duplicate and quickly compare with a duplicate
    • new logarithm controls for the tone-curve
    • new mode for the unbreak profile module
    • add mask preview to adjust size, hardness before placing them
    • make it possible to change the cropped area in the perspective correction module
    • the mask blur has been complemented with a guided-filter to fine tune it (this works on RGB and Lab color space).
    • color balance module has two new modes based on ProPhotoRGB and HSL
  • Other new features/improvements
    • visual rework of the lighttable (color label, image kind, local copy);
    • option to display some image information directly on the thumb;
    • optional scrollbars on lighttable, or lighttable and darkroom;
    • allow each masks of the clone module to have the opacity adjusted;
    • improvements in moving from Lightroom and Capture One to Darktable: Lightroom import module supports the creator/rights/title/description/publisher information while there is a new script to migrate collection from Capture One Pro;
    • new sort filter options (image aspect, shutter speed, group, custom sort with drag&drop);
    • collection based on the local copy status;
    • new zoom levels at 50%, 400%, 800% and 1600%;
    • better support for monochrome RAW;
    • add contextual help pointing to the darktable’s manual;
    • better copy/paste support for multiple instances;
    • possibility of renaming the module instances;
    • add frequency based adjustment for the RAW denoise and denoise profile modules;
    • different way to select hierarchical tags in the collection module (only the actual parent tag, all children or the parent and children);
    • better handling of grouped images by allowing setting stars, color label for the whole group;
    • now it's possible to apply a preset to a new module instance (mouse middle click).
  • Additional cameras support: many, many additional cameras are supported - Canon ‘.CR3’ raws are NOT yet supported.
  • Many bug fixes (like search from the map view now works).

As usual, this new major version is listed in our LightPoint Photo Software Database: DarkTable 2.6.