Beginner question: Darktables 1st start

I’ve been experimenting with different settings across highlight reconstruction & filmic, turning HL-recon. off included. The worst case scenario is using Filmic RGB with chrominance preservation + modern chromatic adaptation when lighting conditions are far from D65 illuminate.

Unfortunately that is the case when shooting indoors: artificiall light around 2700 K, so leaving white balance at “Camera reference” is so huge difference, that close to overexposured areas become ugly; applying CAT on top of it makes things crazy, and treating all of it with Filmic chromatic preservation makes one huge “ka-boom” :grin:

Of course I am aware that it can be my lack of understanding (despite countless hours of investigation), but for the time being, I find the mixture of the base curve and classic white balancing the most robust and treating highlights and overexposure exceptionally well :ok_hand:

However, I trust Aurélien and his knowledge, I believe scene-referred workflow is the future and I am able to use those tools like Filmic e.g. in landscape photos, but it certainly doesn’t work for me with typical indoor shooting.

I push myself to go full scale on scene-referred, but further training is needed. Maybe future versions of CAT and Filmic can solve my problem.

Thanks for the tip anyway :slightly_smiling_face:

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If you are in search of a solution, post a problematic images as a play raw. Single illuminant white balance should not be a problem.


Unfortunately problematic pictures contain people, e.g. from weddings, so I’m not allowed to post them, but sure, from now on I’ll be more aware and perhaps catch a photo with “safe” content and problem illustrated.

However, it’s not urgent - I really find darktable extremely useful, fast and convenient. Moreover, its output in terms of image quality, tonality, crispness and colour are basically outstanding.

I’m quite geeky and regularly dig in various other software, including DXO, CaptureOne and SilkyPix, but really, I regard darktable as overall killer winner. :trophy:

And there is one more thing - recently one user gave us whole lot of grief and aggression. Contrary to him I see one extra thing rarely mentioned: we not only benefit from using free software, but are also given careful explanation and vast shared knowledge.

Working in printing house I know how complicated and expensive is Colour Management, software and training - Aurélien alone gives us sophisticated knowledge, not to mention all the dedicated users here!

So, I’m following many posts here, meanwhile experimenting, in time I think I will use your expertise :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s quite uncommon that complex problems can be solved by simple solutions - so don’t expect darktable to have some magic implemented.
It’s really important to handle each issue separately: blown highlight‘s should be handled before filmic stuffs the whole scene referred stuff into a limited display referred - filmic just can mitigate the effect.
The masking concept is the key to this - different things can be handled different.
In advantage over the old single whitebalance color calibration allows different processing of different illuminated areas - this is a big value indoors where direct and indirect illumination can demand quite different whitebalance settings to get consistent colors. Color calibration and then colorbalancergb are the primary tools to get colors right, not filmic :wink:

For your clipped highlights sample: if there’s a channel with remaining infos you can try reconstruct in lch or color in the highlights reconstruction module. But don’t expect magic :wink:

If you use modern and set the WB to camera reference and then in CC it should be similar to as shot. If not you can select that in the dropdown in CC , ie as shot. If that does not come fairly close to standard WB settings also in as shot mode then I think you should try to post an image. Just take an empty shot with no people next time and then you can share it…

Oh indeed :slight_smile: I really appreciate this genius concept and was able to use it, even with bulbs indoors, when I had the time and no moving objects in the frame - I’ve shot five or seven bracketed frames, stacked them in HDR Merge and it was nice.

That’s ok :slight_smile: In fact, always when I check the new software or function, I begin with closely inspecting what option can be picked and what they do, so I’m familiar with “As shot” settings and so on.

My confusion lies somewhere beyond clicking, I believe. Where my understanding of maths or physics fails.

To not to hijack this thread, I’m setting new one - I fund a picture I can share publicly. :grinning:

In addition to Auto Matched curve ART (and RT?) can use Adobe .dcp profiles for a particular camera. I found that Adobe profiles give great results for Nikon D610 and Z6 without spending too much time and efforts compared to DT. Maybe I’m too lazy but I just cannot force myself to learn all that complexities of DT processing when I can quickly get nice results in ART with Adobe profiles.

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I normally use styles that I have created (inspired/copied from users here at

I also use LUT styles that I created with darktable-chart to get a SOOC JPEG look, check the other thread here at
I don’t own D610 or Z 6 so I can’t create LUTs for those with darktable-chart, but if you upload some raw file samples and how you want them to look in the other thread we may be able to help you on the way to create a basic style for you.

Thank you, Peter, I’ll take a look at darktable-chart.