Help me to migrate from Lightroom to Digikam


Lightroom is the last Windows software I use. The Linux alternative is the combo Digikam+Darktable.

But I cannot understand the Digikam logic.

  • When I delete a raw file, I’m expecting to see the associated jpeg removed too. That’s not the case.
  • About face recognition, Digikam analyses the jpeg and the raw. So it does twice the job. If a face is recognized on the jpeg, I expect to have the same information on the raw. If I update the name of the person on the jpeg, I want to see the modification on the raw.
  • Why two xmp files, one for the jpg, one for the raw? There is no way to share information between them?
  • I shoot in raw+jpeg, filter by file type is the only way to hide the duplicate images?
  • file.xmp is read, but new information is stored within file.jpeg.xmp or file.raw.jpg. Can we change this?

So any way to fix these 4 bullets? They are the last thing before I can say definitively good bye to Microsoft and Adobe.

Sounds like most of your problems are from having two different versions of the same images (jpg and raw).

I used to shoot that way, and wound up just changing my camera settings to save straight to raw and no jpg, so I only get 1 file per picture now.

Reason being is your camera saves the JPG already anyways. It is embedded in the raw file itself. That’s how your OS can make thumbnails, or a non-raw viewer can open the file. It’s not opening the raw portion of the file, just the JPG version.

If I have a bunch of pictures that I don’t want to process - say I took 40 pictures at a party and want to share them with everyone who was there…but I don’t want to take the time to properly process them, then you can set up a batch job very easily in digiKam to save & resize the jpgs to a separate file that you then post online for your friends. As an example.

So althought this doesn’t answer your questions about digiKam, it may make more sense in your workflow to stop saving Raw+JPG.

These days the only time I shoot Raw+JPG is when I am tethering my camera to my desktop over wifi. Because it would take several seconds for a photo to appear when it had to transfer the raw file, but it’s almost instant when I transfer over the JPG. When the images go from memory card to hard drive, I delete all the JPGs anyways to simplify file management. They are only there to improve tethering experience.


Well there might be numerous reasons for shooting raw+jpg. Andoird is still unable to show/open raws afaik, or even show the thumbnails. So you need jpg if you want to view your photos on an Android device. Actually I never regularly used Lr or even a photo manager and I never thought about that duplicate “problem”. So I am curious…

I shoot DNG + JPG too. I usually select all of them - right click - group by filename. From that moment on you work on both of them at the same time (digikam will ask you whether you want to work on JPG only or both of them actually)

I think starting from version 6.0.0 digiKam will look for existing XMPs and if lightrooms xmp detected it maintain the same name structure and if none detected it will use its own naming (not sure which one is lightrooms which one is digiKam native)

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I also shoot RAW+JPG. It makes taking a first look much quicker browsing through JPGs instead of RAW files.
For a first look I use Irfan View on Windows. If I see a bad picture I delete it and Irfan View deletes the (sidecar) RAW file.

When I decide to delete an image later in Darktable it only deletes the RAW and XMP.
An option in the settings to delete other sidecarfiles, too, would be very handy in Darktable.

There are android aps that open raw … I used to use Portfolio RAW Photo Manager, which is still available on the Play store; although the RAW view capability is an in-ap purchase of USD 5.49.

I developed a process by which I would shoot RAW onto micro-SD cards with adapters, then I could insert just the micro-SD into my Android device to view the RAWs. Not so easy on a phone, especially these days when you generally have to switch the phone off to change the memory card.

Back to the question of one XMP file for RAW and JPG: Both file types are being handeled differently by Darktable. For example the modules RAW denoise and demosaic can only be applied to RAW files.
Moreover, the RAW and JPG are different images although they look very similar.

Darktable will give you one sidecar file per phtoo file and it uses a non-conforming sidecar file name, image.ext.xmp, e.g. bridge-photo.jpg.xmp and bridge-photo.cr2.xmp.

Depending on your reasons for using Digikam, you might find Geeqie to be a good alternative. It pairs up the raw and JPEG images, and delete will delete the pair.

Oh so many answers, thx you all!

@pphoto Thank you for the explanation, indeed it makes sense that some modification can only be applicable on some file type.

@Andrius Great! I was looking for this grouping option in the View menu not in the context one… Sadly, if I add a tag or a person, the data is stored only within the jpeg file and its associated xmp, not in the raw xmp. I will try the beta 3 version to check if the behavior has changed.

So you archive only Raw file? Sure, if I stop Raw+JPEG, it will ease the process But as said @pphoto it makes taking a first look much quicker browsing through JPGs instead of RAW files.