I usually have two problems using darktable (due to my lack of knowledge and practice): dealing with highlights and denoising.
It looks like I can’t use Denoise Profiled to get natural-looking results while keeping a good amount of detail. I usually just want to reduce the noise to make it more pleasant (and not suppress it, giving those plastic results), but I find it difficult to do it in DT. I always have to play a lot with the denoise profiled’s parameters (following rawfiner’s videos about it), but the module takes a loooong time to process on my machine, I get tired/out of time, and I usually end up going back to RawTherapee when I want to edit a high ISO picture (if I only want to do basic adjustments to an image and denoise it, I use Capture One Express, I really like its denoising tool).
The same apply for highlights: I always have trouble with them in DT, but they are rarely an issue with RT.
So, since I prefer using DT for almost everything, I would really like to learn better how to deal with these issues, and would be nice to see your edits. The photo I’m posting here is nothing more than a snapshot, but I thought it would be useful as a test/learning tool. I’m posting two JPEGs: one is my edit on DT (which I don’t like at all), and the other is from capture one express, just to compare (I know it’s not fair to compare two totally different softwares and that results can’t be copied, but it’s just to give an idea of how it deals with details; pay special attention to the details on the top of the building).
Capture One Express:
This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.