darktable modules to not use?

As I’m learning darktable, I’m reading various discussions on different modules and picking up some tips from those providing video instructions. I get the impression that darktable has evolved quite a bit from a few years back yet there still might be some legacy modules or new modules that provide better results than others. For example, someone mentioned not to use the Equilizer module or Raw Denoise for any denoise work - better to stick with Denoise (profiled) and Denoise (bilateral filter or non-local means) methods. In another example, it was suggested the Fill Light module was not so go and to use the Tone Curve or Zone System modules. Last example - I saw the Levels module wasn’t worth using over other means.

So my question is what modules just shouldn’t be used anymore?

I do think some of the newer modules give better results, but, if you’re using a module, know how to control is percisy, and it gives you pleasing results, then why not use it?

A better question might be: if you’re new to using darktable, which of the modules should you spend time learning?

My answer is:

  • exposure & filmic
  • color zones
  • tone curve
  • equalizer

These are the main modules I use all the time, and you can get a long way with just those modules.

Also, really take the time to understand the parametric masking.


Thanks, yes, I do want to spent my far-too-few hours available to learn the most important ones, which is why I thought about whether or not there are modules I should just not bother playing around with if there is general agreement among users they are outdated or better alternatives are now in the program.

I would add these modules (the total list depends also of your photos) :

  • color balance (make the possibility to tune colors globally and help adjust luminosity, contrast and correct a saturated color by the chrominance preservation mode of filmic)
  • color zones : just for the case of a derivated color and to correct that
  • noise reduction (profil) : at least this one with two instances if needed (chroma and luma ones)

Just concentrate on the list of paperdigits and these modules and you probably all you need for near all your photos. After that, if you want to go further, you could see the list of workgroups added on 2.6.1 (or 2.6.2, don’t remember really which one). You will find them on the “more modules” options.