I’m new to Rawtherapee and thought it may be helpful if I wrote up some first impressions.
I work in photographing artworks for a wide variety of artists, galleries, and museum and then I make prints for them at my print shop. So far I’ve primarily been using ACR for raw processing because 99% of what I do is single images that I don’t need a database for.
I had tried switching to Capture One about a year ago but it didn’t work well at all for single images (if you tried to open a single file it would force you to try to add it to the database then if it was already in the database it would give you an error but wouldn’t tell you where in the database it was - huge PIA - plus the keystone tool is totally broken and has been for 10+ years, only ICC profiles from Color Checker cards, and a host of other issues).
I had also used Darktable some a couple years ago though it always felt more like a kind of clunky replacement for Lightroom than a replacement for ACR to me. It seemed ok but not quite what I was looking for.
So then recently I tried Rawtherapee 5.8 and I have to say WOW - I’m absolutely amazed at the level of control this software gives. Its already making it much easier to notch out colors when doing color correction and it does a lot better job interpreting dng color profiles than ACR does IMHO. But then I tried the keystone tool … the reason I left C1 … well good thing I used to run a software company. I built the dev build from git and was pleasantly surprised to see a really great implementation in Rawtherapee. I hope there is a public release soon so everyone can see this huge improvement.
Its great to pick up a piece of software that makes you realize how much you still have to learn about an aspect of the field in which you work.
There are a ton of little things I really appreciate - like being able to choose dng color profiles from any folder (and not just a common folder like in Adobe). This has allowed me to move the color profiles next to the files they are for which is really useful when making backups.
My biggest feature request would be to allow interpreting ACR presets (or some other method) so that I can use HSV adjustments generated by the Datacolor SpyderCheker 48 software. I know this works slightly differently in Rawtherapee but I think it should be possible to translate it. I capture x-rite classic, x-rite sg, and datacolor spyderchecker 48 cards with every artwork I photograph (different cards work better for different use cases) and with rawtherapee i’m limited to using 2 of the 3 currently (unless I’m missing something of course)