How to get Darktable sharpness to match Lightroom

I have not tested the speed difference, but on my computer sometimes DT crashes when I engage astrophoto denoise. I believe this is a problem with my computer rather than a DT problem. However, editing the same image in Ansel when this occurs allows me to apply astrophoto denoise without a crash. That is why I suggested Andy the OP might want to try the fork.

BTW, having tried Ansel there is much I miss from DT. I personally use shadow and highlights module a lot. Lets be fair, this module or its equivalent is probably in every piece of commercial software and even FOSS. It is there for a reason. It works well. Then AP comes along and tells as it is bad. Well as much as I like the tone equalizer module and use it, the look is different to shadows and highlights. I really appreciate all the great work that AP has done, but I don’t want to be forced to do it his way and only his way.

In Ansel I also I miss the export module in darkroom view. I do not to have to go back to lightroom view to check or set my export settings. I also love the way DT now names the processing module with the preset used.

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As much as I dislike his communication style, he clearly articulated the problems with this module and said its fine as long as you don’t push it hard.


I totally agree with this statement. He also said photography is about the look. So if it looks good it is good.

What I really like about DT’s shadow and highlights module is the ability to soften with bilateral filter if halo effects occur. It is also better to perform multiple instances of smaller values than one large sledgehammer adjustment.

I am working a playraw image at the moment and the dynamic range of the lighting means I am using both the tone equalizer module and the shadow and highlights module.

Terry, thanks for reminding me about this issue. Will try to get this fixed asap :slight_smile: There are already to reported issue at github about this.


@hannoschwalm thanks for all the great work you and the other developers put into continually improving DT. I just love the way the modules are renamed with the used preset. A small but nice improvement.


For me the difference in the three images are in the settings chosen by the user. The middle one seemes to have more local contrast but I cannot know the settings used to sharpen the image in Capture One and Lighroom. Just assuming that the sharpen and denoise functions are adjustable in these programs.
The version made with darktable looks a bit blurry, but for me this is a result of the user edit. When I opened the lowest image in darktable the image already had good sharpness and low noise, therefore I just added a bit sharpening with the contrast equalizer and sharpen module (to my personal taste).
DSC04771.ARW.xmp (11.0 KB)

I don’t know if others have shown it but I really also like the look that you get by using the watercolor preset in subtract mode…it will be instantly dark and you can see the detail…then you just drag the mask fulcrum tab in the left to return the brightness and dial in the effect… I first saw Boris use it in one of his video’s


Using those 3 layers on a slow computer is painfully slow, and you can get good sharpening with a single instance set up like this. Much faster, and you just fine tune the sharpness with edge sensitivity (or maybe an extra iteration if really needed)



I know I think AP also said not to use the sharpness slider… it is I believe to be reserved to tweak a blur when the module is used like that… but you can use it alone and still often get nice sharpening… Often up to 50% is okay you just can’t change much else from default or you will get dark edges pretty quickly… There could be other reasons I have forgotten that make this not a good idea but hey if it is fast and looks good why not??

I’m getting the same feeling about contrast EQ - I haven’t used it much, as D&S seems to get all the bells and whistles, but at least for simple sharpening it seems to work well.

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I’m lazy and should explore D&S in more depth… I use 90% of the time the dehaze preset… It just seems to give the look and degree of sharpening I need… I might add a local contrast one on occasion if I have a pretty flat starting point and sometimes I bump the iterations a bit… I have sort of abandon the the contrast eq… it is good for tweaking noise a bit in certain situations … I guess the D&S is using wavelets in a manner similar to the contrast eq and then its just different math after that on the scale…

Sorry to suggest a different tool, but for what it’s worth I really like the results I get from the RL Deconvolution sharpening method in RawTherapee/ART. In my experience it’s on par with DxO Photolab (which I have) and Lightroom (which someone else used to compare for me in a test).

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You can use this with DT as a lua script on export… I usually resize my jpg and then add this… it does a nice job


Tbh, use what gets the job done. If LR is your thing, as is for majority of professionals, use it.

I usually use LR on default Sharpness levels (40), then do additional sharpening in Photoshop, depending on whether that file will be viewed on screen or in print and at what size.

That being said, RawTherapee has one of the best sharpening tools for my taste, but the whole app is painfully slow due to no OpenCL usage.