I wanted to get a feel for how you guys process your raws, and when I say process I mean the bare minimum you may want to do on a photo apart from demosaicing, sharpening, noise reduction, lens corrections, defringing --> that leaves mainly tone controls.
The reason why I ask is that I have been trying to use the new filmic module and while I see its benefits, at times it feels a bit cumbersome to use, and I found myself going back too often to the excellent article @aurelienpierre wrote in his blog and start debating with myself uhm, what’s the dynamic range of my camera?.. how many stops should I have from black to whites, etc… Perhaps with more practice this will become second nature, but at the moment I’m stuck in deciding if I should persist in using filmic and use only that for all my photos, or should I use the simple tone curves.
And on the subject of tone curves, I’m also tring to understand if I “need” to use them in full RGB mode or in LAB mode working on each channel individually; once again I have seen contrasting views on this, people arguing against working in LAB mode and articles on the darktable blog showing on the other hand the benefits of working in LAB.
My internal debate comes also from recognizing that in the photos that I’ve processed until now, filmic does add a certain value, getting rid of sometimes nasty colors in the highlights for example, but is the final result so much better than using tone curves? Should I restrict using filmic only in photos with large variations in lightness, and perhaps skip it when the image is ‘flat’?
Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that my aim in photograpy is not to work on single images but build coeherent collections, sequences that hopefull will end up in book form sooner or later. I’m not a landscape photographer looking for ultimate sharpness etc, so my processing needs to be simple, minimalistic, and aimed at enhancing tones of my images, deepening shadows when I feel like it and sometimes lightly alter the colors (which is something that I’m able to do in Lab mode for example).
note: I’m aware of this thread but in here I want to specifically discuss about filmic vs tone curves and get a “final” answer, if that’s even possible.
note 2: I did have in the subject also “b/w” conversion because I wanted to get a feel for the most common/useful/used tool in darktable to do black and white conversion but maybe I’ll focus on the above discussion first.