Major improvements are on offer in the latest release of Darktable, an open source alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

This pro photography tool traditionally issues a new stable release on December 24 and 2021 is no exception. Those unfamiliar with this highly-regarded tool will find more details on its capabilities in the comprehensive online manual.

This update lets users control Darktable using MIDI controllers and even game pads

Rather notably, Darktable 3.8.0 introduces an overhaul of its keyboard shortcut system. The revamp enables users to control Darktable using novel input devices such as MIDI controllers and even game pads.

“Standard keyboard/mouse shortcuts can now make use of mouse movements (horizontal, vertical, diagonal) as well as multiple button/key presses and short or long presses/clicks,” the team say of the change.

There’s also a new ‘Diffuse or Sharpen’ module, and a new scene-referred blurs module to create motion and lens blurring in a ‘physically-accurate’ way.

The ‘Perspective Correction’ module is now called ‘Rotate and Perspective’ and lets users “manually define correction settings by drawing lines or rectangles on the image”, and ‘Scopes’ is the new name for the ‘Histogram’ module.

Other changes in Darktable 3.8.0:

  • New LMMSE demosaic algorithm for working with high ISO and/or noisy images
  • Composition guides available globally (no longer confined to the crop module)
  • Support for Canon raw CR3
  • Read support for HEIF/HEIC files
  • Improved colour checker profiling tool
  • Improved denoise (profiled) module
  • Flip buttons added to the orientation module
  • Faster file name matching in the organiser
  • Activate an area colour picker using ctrl + right-click
  • Adjust XMP writing behaviour
  • Better timezone editing in the geotagging module
  • Rating support added to the collections module
  • PNG files are now supported in the watermark module
  • Colour picker values can be copied to the clipboard
  • Colour scheme of the timeline is improved
  • Tiling enabled in the colour balance RGB, diffuse and filmic RGB modules
  • New presets in the collections module
  • Search box added to preset preferences and shortcuts

And all of that is just a mere tickle on the surface of the full set of changes, more of which are detailed in the Github release notes.

Darktable is free, open source software available for Windows, macOS and Linux. The best place to download it is the project website.

You can get also get the latest release from the Darktable Github releases page. A OBS repo provides builds for Linux users who prefer a regular repos; this update should be made available from the Snap Store or Flathub in the coming weeks.

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