Darktable 4.6.0 Makes the Free Lightroom Alternative Even Better


Popular and excellent open-source photo editing app darktable has been updated to version 4.6.0, adding numerous critical features to the app.

Darktable developer Pascal Obry details the changes to darktable 4.6.0 in a new blog post, including information about the app’s improved editing history user interface, better color correction tools, more sophisticated control over color and lighting, and improved performance across the board.

Of the color tools, Obry writes, “A new processing module rgb primaries has been added. This module can be used for delicate color corrections as well as creative color grading. It allows the red, green and blue primary colors to be moved around using “hue” and “purity” controls. The underlying pixel operation is essentially the same as channel mixing.”

Obry and the others have also added a new “primaries” section to the existing “simoid” module that enables photographers to fine-tune the look of images captured in challenging light. “Modifying these parameters can provide pleasing sunsets, improved skin tones etc. This feature can only be used with sigmoid’s per-channel mode and is loosely based on ideas from Troy Sobotka’s AgX and related work in the Blender community. The included ‘smooth’ preset should provide a good starting point for further corrections using this feature,” explains Obry.

These new changes make darktable an even more compelling alternative to Adobe Lightroom and other expensive photo editing applications. In a new video, Raw Photography Tutorials on YouTube breaks down all the additions in version 4.6.

The YouTube channel features a diverse range of tutorial videos to help new users learn the ropes of darktable. The app’s developers also offer many educational resources on the darktable website.

New and existing darktable users can also stay up to date with the app on the forum, Pixls.us, where Obry is a regular contributor and photographers help each other get the most out of darktable.

Alongside new features, improved tools, better performance, and numerous bug fixes, darktable 4.6.0 adds further camera support, including for many vintage and modern cameras. Some of the highlights include compatibility with the Leica SL2 and SL2-S, Leica M11-P, OM System TG-7, Nikon Zf (14-bit compressed RAW), Pentax K-3 III Monochrome, and support for Sony’s new cameras, like the a6700, a7CR, a7C II, and ZV-E1.

Darktable is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux, and all the necessary downloads are available on GitHub. The availability of version 4.6 on macOS is excellent to see, as the darktable team asked for help with macOS development earlier this year amid fears that the macOS version could no longer be maintained.

Darktable has long been a staple in PetaPixel‘s “Best Free Photo Editing Apps” guide and is the best Lightroom alternative available. Alongside other open-source apps like GIMP and Snapseed, photographers can handle all their photo editing needs across desktop and mobile, all without paying a cent.

Image credits: Darktable