A bit of a comparison between between Darktable and Capture One

Hello @davidvj, would you mind to post your basic preset? Many people seem interested in good defaults, so it may serve as inspiration.

Congratulations @bastibe on your second child! I can certainly relate to the time pressures and why you have had to change your usual processing habits. I quite enjoy post-processing, but it can be a huge time sink, and time is probably my most precious resource at the moment (job + 2 kids +…).

Having very recently moved over to the Fuji ecosystem, I now have Capture One Express given to me for free. I may try it out sometime, but I’m already expecting it to be too limited for my needs. I’ve also invested in the DAM features of darktable, so am unlikely to give it up. However, my first impression of the Fuji film simulations is that they are incredible, so I’m already wondering if I’ll sometimes want to use software with the official film simulations built in. But after shooting exclusively raw for the last 15 years, I’m realizing that using JPEGs out of camera is a viable option once more with Fuji, so I may just continue to shoot Raw + JPG and only process the raws for the photos I want to display and print. That will be the real time saver for me.

This I can certainly relate to. It was my experience with Lightroom too. The results may not be the best, but acceptable results could be achieved very quickly, often in a matter of seconds.
By the way, have you tried X Raw or Silkypix - the other Fuji software? Would be interested to hear your thoughts on those.

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I have indeed! There’s a whole article about all the raw developers I could find up on my blog, which includes Silkypix. I am quite fond of Silkypix, actually. It is quirky, and its translation is a bit idiosyncratic, but results are excellent. But above all, its documentation is much more comprehensive and technical than any other commercial raw developer I know of. But it is also a bit slow, and being quite similar to darktable in spirit, I stick with darktable, generally. But I do own a license, and its Fuji film simulations are very good.

Fuji’s own X-Raw developer is not a raw developer per se, but instead connects to your actual camera via USB, and offloads all image processing to the actual firmware in your camera. Which is crazy cool from a technical standpoint, and obviously gives you the “true” film simulations of your camera like nothing else can. But on the flip side it is only as flexible as your camera’s post processing engine, which really does not compare to a desktop application at all.

Yes, this is what I was scratching my head about. What is the benefit of using your camera’s processing rather than a desktop computer’s? I would have thought the latter is infinitely more powerful and capable, so I’m wondering what the purpose of X Raw is.

It lets them avoid porting the demosaicing algorithm they’ve already developed from an ASIC to a general purpose processor.

Thanks! So for the user, there’s not really much benefit other than being able to access processing algos that would otherwise be unavailable (or not as good). But in theory, if they did port the algo to desktop software, there wouldn’t be any advantage.

I guess speed and access to those custom things they have in their jpeg engine. The film simulations are supposedly not just LUTs (idk). Then on newer cameras there are two color-chrome algos, clarity and skin smoothing. And the quality of those is at least not terrible for a camera-jpeg engine.

The simple use of aperture-priority will ensure that your camera correctly establishes the 18% pivot in 99% of all cases. It is simple point-and-shoot without holding up the family affair.

Not for me. I often want to expose a bit differently than the auto modes on my camera guesstimates. But good for you if it works for you.

The table at the end of this article might be of some interest…it might be nice to determine the raw exp bias that Fuji uses for each camera as it could help possibly with a more accurate starting point esp say with filmic. Looks like Fuji underexposes which is now know but this changes with iso and so some presets could be made to perhaps guide the starting point for filmic…

@dtorop added contrib/fujifilm_dynamic_range.lua to set the exposure based on the exposure bias.



@priort and @davidvj, thanks for the clarification. I was familiar with how to use auto-presets and it sounds like this is very similar, though with the option to apply a module with adjusted settings but disabled which is a neat trick.

I’ve also been playing with configuring shortcuts for adjusting common sliders using the dynamic shortcut for each slider. This way I can just hold down the corresponding shortcut key and scroll which achieves a similar effect. Do you know if there’s a way to adjust how sensitive scrolling is? Currently, it is very fine-grained so requires a lot of scrolling to make a relatively small adjustment (e.g. +1EV on the exposure module)

@garibaldi Not sure for dynamic but under regular situation in the modules you do the following

In addition, the precision of mouse-wheel and arrow key-adjustments can be altered:

  • hold down the Shift key while adjusting to increase the step size by a factor of 10.
  • hold down the Ctrl key while adjusting to decrease the step size by a factor of 10.

Both of these multipliers can be amended in the $HOME/.config/darktablerc file:

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For what it’s worth, in line with what @davidvj wrote, I tend to live in aperture-priority mode (and in daylight such as that of your shot at lowest ISO) and adjust exposure with the exposure compensation setting, which, at least on my Pentax SLR and I assume on most other cameras, is a quick and easy operation.

I mainly use the exposure-compensation setting on my camera so as to avoid ‘flooding’ the sensor with bright elements. I rely on my in camera histograms and ‘blinkies’ to alert me to potential sensor overload and then adjust accordingly.
For those using filmic-rgb, setting the exposure this way is blindingly simple and saves so much time in the processing.
I see people suggesting a reset/adjustment of black-point and white point during processing and that simply shifts, without control, the camera’s established 18% exposed pivot point of the data.

This is avoiding over-exposure? If so, same here.

I haven’t put time in to learn Filmic yet. I have the blog post open in a tab, ready to read. :upside_down_face:

You write that as a parent you have very little time to spend on editing photos, and you like Capture One because it lets you edit photos fast. As a parent of a small child that requires lot of care, I know exactly what you mean. That is why I invested quite some time in streamlining my photo editing in Darktable.

I wrote an post about my workflow here: Darktable speedrun: Stylish edits in 40 seconds

As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten so fast at getting acceptable result, that its getting a bit boring. I took this photo an hour ago. It only took me 57 seconds to edit this photo. And without any stress or haste.


Wow, that is fantastic! Thank you for the write-up, and linking to it here. Brilliant job!

You’re welcome! Don’t hesitate to get back to me if you have any questions about my workflow.

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I just tried to recover blown highlights with Levels in Capture One: It does not work. Apparently, levels come after Capture One’s base curve, and can not recover clipped highlights, even though they can be recovered by lowering exposure.

Thus, shadow/highlight recovery à la the Black and White point sliders in Filmic can not be replicated in Capture One. Darktable FTW!

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