I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop since 1996, just 3 years after it became available for the PC. Version 4 did not have RAW Image processing capabilities but then in 1996 digital cameras were not really popular. I purchased my first digital camera in 2005 and while the camera did produce RAW files as well as JPG files, there really wasn’t much of an option for processing RAW files. In 2006 “Raw Therapee” became available with version 1.1 which I started using, it really wasn’t that great but by version 2 in 2007 it was quite usable and I used it regularly. So now I had Photoshop and a Raw processor.
In 2006 Adobe added “Bridge” to Photoshop CS2 which prompted me to upgrade from my now version 7. Bridge was a great RAW processor which allowed batch processing as well as a nice image content manager. Needless to say my use of Raw Therapee dwindled. Eventually Adobe added Lightroom to their collections of apps; versions 1 & 2 were useless and I continued to use “Bridge”. Lightroom version 3 turned out to be quite a good app with outstanding image management “Library” capabilities. While “Bridge” is still an integral part of Photoshop, Lightroom has been my Go-To app. The ability to create multiple libraries is so useful especially when photographing many events over the course of year, after year.
While happy with the Adobe product line I grew tired of paying a monthly subscription fee and while I did find a suitable replacement for Photoshop, “Affinity Photo”, I was still using Lightroom as my RAW processor. I was talking to a fellow photographer who was using Darktable and suggested I give it a try. After a few rough starts and hours on YouTube I finally saw the light and started using “Darktable” as my primary RAW processor. While “DarkTable” is deficient in its Image management (Library) capabilities, it shines as a RAW processor, allowing me to do things “Lightroom” only wishes it could do; it’s quite amazing. Oh yea, did I mention that it’s FREE and works on pretty much any operating system you’re bound to use. I currently have it installed on my PC as well as my Linux machine. There is a learning curve, especially when it comes to layers and masks but believe me, it’s worth giving it a try.