darktable -vs- GIMP


I’m not a professional photographer or graphic artist just dabbling a bit in an amateur fashion with graphics. I read a review espousing the virtues of Dark Table. How does Dark Table compare with Gimp? Thank you!


They are like apples vs oranges! In a nutshell, darktable is a non-destructive raw photo post-processing and catalog software. However, GIMP is a general-purpose image manipulation software. darktable works like Adobe Lightroom while GIMP works like Adobe Photoshop. You can read more here:

By the way, it’s not Dark Table! It’s darktable :slight_smile:


Hi @eagertolearn and welcome!

I do not want to make your world too complicated, but do not forget to take a look at RawTherapee as well :slight_smile:

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


Depends on what you need, but using darktable you might (or not) need additional processing in Gimp less often than when using RawTherapee.

Both raw processors are among the most capable libre programs, and quite different, so worth some of your time.

Have fun!

(Stefan Schmitz) #5

I use darktable for every photo - it’s my RAW-converter and I do everything about color, white-balance, b/w conversion, contrasts and the like in dt.

The Gimp is as important, but I use it only on about half my pictures (or less). Dodge & burn, get rid of that electric-lines in the background or make a texture just that bit more smooth is what I do with the Gimp. But not every photo needs that kind of treatment, so I don’t use the program on every picture.


Thank you so much!

I just use photos mostly to ask about repairing or replacing things so
I use Gimp to add arrows and text etc.

I doubt I’ll ever use Raw photos but I do appreciate your kind info
and learning!



darktable is a RAW processing software while GIMP is a general image manipulation tool.

I use darktable for RAW processing and enchanting jpegs incl. selective editing using drawn and parametric masks, digikam for culling and cataloging, GIMP for editing when multiple layers required, adding text, frame, etc. and printing.


Thank you for sharing that insight.

I’m not a professional photographer so I doubt I’ll ever be working
with RAW photos, just editing them so I’m thinking Gimp will do for

Thanks again.


What exactly do you mean with “working with” vs. “editing”? If this means feeding jpeg photos to Gimp, it is a kind of “shame”. I’m not even a hobby photographer, but still like what mentioned raw processors can pull out of average raw photos. They can usually provide better output, for jpeg export or for intermediate 16-bit (or more) tiffs, meant to be further edited in Gimp. I believe. But you can, luckily, do whatever you want, and still get good pictures. And you will.


Good morning, @eagertolearn,
(at least according to my local time),

This thread could perhaps be a bit more fruitful
if you mention what camera you use and how
it is set to save your photos :slight_smile:

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


It hasn’t been mentioned but you could edit your files in dt as well. Try it. In some ways, raw processors like dt make editing easier because they come with a suite of tools that you can tweak to your hearts content. In contrast, I find that GIMP is more granular in that it make take more than one step to achieve an effect. There is more micromanagement. You can learn to be proficient at both types of apps but for most people it might be easier to use dt.


Hi afre,

I can’t log into my account on pixl.us

I tried changing my password - nothing works so I hope you get this message.

I don’t see a list administrator to email re: logging in.

Concerning your reply…

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

You’re correct re: Gimp being complicated.

Is there any PDF of a "Beginner’s Guide to darktable to get me started
learning how it works?

How does dartkatable compare with Inkscape?

Is darktable easier to learn? Easier to use? Offer more or better features?

Thanks so much!




I can’t log into my account on pixl.us

I tried changing my password - nothing works so I hope you get this message.

I don’t see a list administrator to email re: logging in.

Concerning your reply…

When do you use raw photos? Do you create art with them?

It;s not clear to me when I would use a raw photo?

Ex. I take photos to share with a friend to ask how to repair things.
How would a raw photo help with that?

It’s not like my camera take bad photos now.



@eagertolearn I would recommend reading the darktable manual, which is fairly straightforward to follow. As for Inkscape, it is a vector based editor. So, it doesn’t edit pixels but lines, shapes, gradients, nodes, etc. If you are working on photos, what you would like to use are raster editors. darktable and GIMP fall under that category.

@patdavid et al.


Hi Claes,

I have a Canon EOS Rebel DSLR. It’s set to its factory default
settings as I don’t know enough re: cameras to know what alternative
settings I should consider and why set them to those settings.

I’m on a wild journey to learn re: photography and graphics!

I started by learning a few tasks in Gimp - e.g. add arrows, text,
Perspective Tool, etc.

Thanks for your insights.


Hi Andrius,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Those tasks sound very advanced.

I’m not quite sure when and in which instance I might apply them.

(Mica) #17

@eagertolearn you should be able to reset your password via email.


Hi afre,

Thank you so much for sharing the link to the user manual.

When I reach that page it appears I have to keep clicking Next to
reach additional content.

Is there any way to download the whole manual as a pdf?

Thanks again.


@eagertolearn See: https://www.darktable.org/resources/.


Yes, I tried that and it seemed to accept the new password but when i
visit the list and see the posts and try to reply it prompts me to Log
In and when i typed my email address and new PW it just keeps asking
for it over and over again.

I tried using my username and and PW but got the same results.

That LogIn stays plastered to the page so it never logs me in.

Is there a list administrator I can email?

Thank you.