16 Comment

  1. Pascal says: Reply

    Do the post-treatement values written by Lr fit correctly in Dartakble ? In other words, this means Darktable translates correctly Lr values in is own referential of value ?

  2. Graham Byrnes says: Reply

    A liitle side discovery: if you use a camera that writes directly in DNG (eg Pentax or Leica), LR will not write sidecars. It writes the information inside the DNG file…

    To get it out, you can use exiftool to batch-process your DNG files and write xmp sidecars… in principle. I had a few issues due to some security features in W10 when I tried running big batch jobs, but the solution likely lies in that direction.

    1. Iván says: Reply

      Hello, I’m thinking to migrate but I have a lightroom folder structure (year/month/day) and the most of my files are DNG. How could make a batch to get the xmp sidecar files?

      Thank in advance.

      1. Mathias Hueber says: Reply

        I don’t see why this shouldn’t work. If Lightroom creates the sidecar files Darktable will import them. The folder structure should work. Make a test run with only a test picture compilation.

    2. Good tip! I was thinking of using a RawTherapee + DigiKam setup, and I use Pentax, so that means writing a small batch script just like that. Thanks!

  3. Tony Hamilton says: Reply

    For me, this is a most valuable document in what is going to be a major challenge. I’m not going to start this migration (which is surely one way only ?) until I am a confident in my use of Darktable as I am in my use of Lightroom. This will take a few months yet. I am concerned that things change so rapidly on the web that I will not be able to find this page again when I need it. Could you possibly make it available as a downloadable PDF, or similar? Or is there some other way I can keep a local copy ?

    1. Every browser out there can make any web page into a PDF. You do not need anyone else to do it for you. On Windows you usually have a “Microsoft PDF Printer” in the list of printers, if you just try to print a page using Ctrl-P. Mac already has this as well. Google Chrome on all platforms has a “Save as PDF” option in its printing dialogue as well.

      Try! If you don’t manage, just post a question on SuperUser or check Youtube.

  4. What about the edits to the photos themselves? Color corrections, exposure adjustments, healing brush areas, over and underexposed areas etc. Can all those be migrated to darkroom?

    1. Mathias Hueber says: Reply

      No, none of those. Also, you don’t want it to be transferred, as Darktable simply works different. My workflow solves this problem for me, as I export the final edited image to png/jpeg and import those side by side with the (then untouched) original.

  5. Tim says: Reply

    Hi and thanks for this very useful article !
    Like you, I am switching from Lightroom to Darktable x Digikam. But I have still one question unanswered : can you have a double way to organise your pictures like in Lightroom with folders and collections ? Is it possible to do that in Darktable (I am not sure) or in Digikam ?
    Thanks for your help !

  6. > My new workflow with Darktable and digiKam *upcoming
    Is this still upcoming? It’s been a year since this was published 😉 Really looking forward to it.

    1. Mathias Hueber says: Reply

      Ahh, you got me – my second daughter got in the way 😉
      It is still on the todo-list for 2020 – promise!

      One “problem” is also that open-source projects really got a push during corona. With little time on hands, it is pretty hard to keep up with the new changes and create helpful content from it.

      I haven’t had time to look in detail on the 3.2 Darktable changes, but I am tempted to go completely with Darktable and ditch digiKam. Although, digiKam received some new features for custom RAW editors and meta-data updates.

  7. Brandon L Woodard. says: Reply

    I, too, am anxiously awaiting your new workflow article (Nov. 2020)! I’m currently in the process of planning the migration of my files and realized that 90% of everything from 2014 until early 2020 are all DNG-converted files — and no embedded RAW files!

    I took a test file, made adjustments to it, and used ExifTool w/ GUI on Windows to extract the XMP. Importing it w/ XMP into darktable allowed me to get most of the adjustments (really just did exposure and tone curve for testing if it worked or not).

    The end result was a success — I was able to get the XMP data for the current adjustments to the DNG file. However, it looked hideous in darktable. The “settings” applied in darktable were a bit different than how LR interprets them — the tone curve was not as smooth, but faintly resembled an S-curve.

    So, all my photos from the last 5-6 years? 90% of them I will lose the post-processing because I converted to DNG and did not embed nor keep the original RAW files. However, most of those were family photos like parades for holidays, etc. and the oldest ones were simply beginner photos, learning and experimenting.

    In the end, this will be painful for me…but I’ll better learn to cull and let go from here out — and never delete or convert the original RAWs again!

  8. HolosPhoto says: Reply

    Great job Mathias!
    In IT since 1983… Finally leaving from MS Windows to embrace fully Open Source ecosystem software.
    I have a Lightroom archive of about 190K IMAGES converted in DNG with embedded RAW… But half of the archive still with partial editing not exported or finalized yet to final JPG.
    As I understood with big pain, is not possible to transfers to DK or DT settings of CROP, EXPOSURE, ROTATION, and all edits made from Lightroom DEVELOP panel.
    So the only way towards a migration to Linux Open Source software is to finish all edits in Lightroom and export a final JPG, right?
    There are advanced DNG managers for Linux?
    Very important to UPDATE analysis of migration process with LAST VERSIONS OF LIGHTROOM, DIGIKAM 7.1, DARKTABLE AND RAW THERAPEE… Does exists from November 2020 or someone has this plan for next days?
    Thank to all for sharing experiences. FHB @holos_photo

  9. Heiko Sieger says: Reply

    Hi Mathias,

    Thanks for sharing your suggestions and findings on migrating from LR to open source. I’ve been contemplating this myself for a long time. However, every time I tried open source alternatives to the Adobe set of photography tools I found that several things were either missing or not up to the same quality. Over time things got better, but there is still one thing holding me back: about 150K edited RAW images that would have to be completely redone.

    It would be nice if there was a kind of a “filter” that you could run the LR XMP files through to get translated into the corresponding Darktable settings. Do you think that such a “translation” tool is feasible?

    Another thing I noticed: You wrote about metadata but did not mention keywords or keyword hierarchy, both supported in LR. This is crucial to me as most of my photos use keywords and sometimes keyword hierarchies. I rely heavily on these to search and/or identify photos. Other important metadata that I use all the time are title, caption, label, headline as well as the sublocation. When I export images to jpg for posting on the web, the gallery app can automatically fill in fields using the metadata. Any thoughts on that?

    Finally the raw engine: what are your thoughts on the quality of Darktable or other RAW converters such as RAWtherapee? In the past I felt that the open source tools – though improving – are not on par with LR (and that isn’t perfect either). I spent a little fortune in cameras, lenses, tripods and what not to get good quality and would not want to compromise on that.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences, which are very helpful.


    1. Mathias Hueber says: Reply

      Hello Heiko,
      it seems we share more than one hobby 🙂

      In the beginning I was looking for a tanslation tool as you describe it myself, and even thought about building one myself. The problem with a translation would be the different raw converter engines. One can not simply translate the values one by one. I don’t think it is feasible. I do not have the problem as my workflow ends in “finished” images while I keep only the raw backups for the promising images. I describe it a bit in the outdated “synchronization between darktable and digikam” article.

      The only thing that makes sense to translate are meta data as rating, flags and tags. I have never used hierarchies in tags. I have to try that out.

      A big difference between DT and lr is that while in lr each settings module is meant to work on a certain aspect of the image, in DT there are overlapping functionalities between modules. With the more recent DT releases the LAB workflow has been introduced as alternative to the RGB version. So you can now choose between even more modules now (pixels.us has a very detailed piece on that topic)

      My biggest problem during the migration has always been that I want DT to act and behave exactly the same as lr does. This never worked and got me frustrated. In the end, instead of looking up how I can make DT behave like lr, I does DT work and why. This is tedious but pays of in the long run.

      I am currently preparing a complete rework of this whole lightroom open source migration series. Let’s hope I am done soon 😉

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