Recommended tool and flow for mainly review and selection? (+darktable issues)


We are looking for tools and workflow to select good photos in a large album (about 3000 photos, after a vacation). We are on Windows, and photos come mainly from our mobiles only - Pixel 5 and Samsung S10+.
Previously we have been using Picasa, and liked the very convenient Starring method, and eventually used Export to generate a new folder with all the selected photos.

Now we want to advance to a more modern method with supported good modern tools. We thought it would be good also to have an option to do some more advanced editing, as we do have some technical approach, but it’s not a must.

After a research for available tools, we tried darktable, mainly in the lighttable mode, with following issues:

  • We identified some photos which originally look great, but after darktable’s export they look bad. Specifically we identified some as HEIC HDR photos from S10. Redoing the processing in darktable instead of the Samsung is too complicated and long for us, as we are sufficiently satisfied with Samsung’s processing and we have too many photos…

  • We got a weird problem in darktable which we couldn’t find a solution for - we are in Israel and have Hebrew support in the Windows, although the main interface and language is English, and darktable’s shortcuts are all broken, identifying all keypresses as Hebrew. When we try pressing “W” for example (while Windows keyboard is in English) it tells us that such key is not assigned, and showing us the Hebrew meaning of this key. The same problem is in 4.0.0 and was in 3.8. Due to this, the usage of the tool is extremely annoying - almost only numbers are the only default keyboard shortcuts working.

Do you have a suggestion for another tool or workflow for such operations?

Do you have solutions for our darktable issues?

Thank you!

You could rate and review your JPEGs in darktable. I like to review images in the lighttable view with the sticky fullscreen mode. The just arrow keys to move through images, and 0-5 for rating.

Without the need to process raws or a strong need of darkroom functionalities I’d keep on using picasa or switch to an open source equivalent like shotwell or digikam that are more focused on managing (creating/browsing) collection.

I personally use Shotwell as a collection manager and Darktable (experimenting vkdt as well) only as a darkroom …
Shotwell strong points in your use case would be :

  • the ability to manage and search large amount of images easily (22342 files in mine)
  • Flag system to quick bluid a selection for your current project (I use it mainly to mark the raws I want to process)
  • Basic but ok rating system (from rejected to 4 stars, rejected being masked by default)
  • Ability to pair raws/ooc jpeg under one entity in case any of these fancy smartphone does shoot raw+jpeg
  • Tags (hierarchical tags possible)
  • Quick search menu convenient to use where you can mix file names, extension, tags … (just a hassle you can’t conveniently fine tune a time period to restrain your search)
  • Ability to export and resize at the same time or to export as is, in fact just copying the selected files. Several modules to export on social or external CMS as well.

On the down side it’s coded in Vala which I believe is not so optimized … the app is less than snappy on old hardware.

I always believed Digikam to be better but wanted to stick to GTK apps on my system, maybe you should give it a try as well ?

Darktable is a very powerful editing program for RAW files. There would be better solutions for your needs and I would suggest trying some of the suggestions given on this forum. Adobe bridge is free to download (or it was when I last tried) and may suit your needs well. Download Bridge and get started.

Good luck.