import into existing film roll

When I am traveling I defer working on the photos until I get home to a computer with a decent calibrated monitor, but I like to back up the photos from the camera at the end of each day, and do some first-pass selection.

However, everything ends up in different film rolls. Is there a way to add imported images to an existing film roll?

There is a 1-to-1 relation between film rolls and folders in the system. Pictures in different folders go to different film rolls, and pictures in the same folder go to the same film roll. There is no way around it.

If you want to group images independently of that, you may use color labels (for something more temporal) or tags (for something more permanent).

More info in the manual:

This I understand, but could I add new images to an existing directory/folder then?

If this is merely just a missing feature, I could open an issue.

Yes. If you add the pictures to the same folder on the system, and then add them to darktable’s library, they will end up in the same film roll.

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Thanks, opened issue:

guille2306 was saying that pictures end up in the same film roll if they are in the same folder on your file system.


This I understand, but could I add new images to an existing directory/folder then?

means just put pictures in the same folder, import them, and they will end up in the same film roll? That’s your question, right? I don’t get why you open a ticket (although of course you can!).

If you don’t want to organize by folder (‘film rolls’) but by custom collections, that’s where the tagging is for:






This way you can assign your own tags and display by tags, so you can assign tags ‘per collection’.

As discussed in the issue, there are various workarounds, all involving multiple steps. I opened an issue because it would be convenient to just do what I want in a single step (import into same film roll directly from camera).

If I understand the “Copy and import” dialog correctly, then import options are retained between sessions. So if you set up the import once with a fixed subdirectory name (and job name, so no $ variables), subsequent imports should also go to that subdirectory.

So that would mean:

  • first import of a series, you have to enter a name for the target directory
  • subsequent imports will go to the same directory, until you change the target directory

So if that describes what you want, there is no need for another code path.

Of course, if you keep the defaults, each import ends up in its own subdirectory, due to the $(YEAR)$(MONTH)$(DAY)_$(JOBCODE) variables in the directory name.

This certainly works if you are willing to give up automatic film roll naming based on variables, and the film roll you want to go back is always the previous one. But that may not be the case.

Thanks for all the suggestions — again, this is a minor issue, and one can definitely work around it, but I still see the point of just selecting a previous film roll as a convenience feature.