Linux and photography

For many years pho­to­gra­phy and linux have not been the best friends. But it seems, as if this has changed.

This week I did some­thing which see­med impos­si­ble until now. I kicked Windows.

No more XP/64, no more 7/64. Go figure.

DigiKam 1.4

Final­ly the­re are linux-repla­ce­ments for the have-to-have-apps like Ado­be PS and LR. Now I use Digi­kam (cur­r­ent­ly 1.4, see screen­shot abo­ve) to manage/edit all my pho­tos, Gimp (2.7, devel) as addi­tio­nal edi­t­ing-soft­ware and also Kri­ta, which has some poten­ti­al. And the Kipi-plugins are a real time-saver for re-occu­ring tasks.

The 8‑bit-bar­ri­er has been over­co­me by Digi­kam and Kri­ta, which both can hand­le 16-bit-files. And I am sure that it is only a ques­ti­on of time, until Gimp can too. This was a big step ahead. Also the hand­ling of RAW-files has beco­me very easy – as well as imple­men­ting color-pro­files. Now I can say, that the­re is hard­ly a rea­son – at least for even ambi­tious ama­teurs – to shell out lots of money for com­mer­cial pro­ducts. On a sideno­te: This is also true for video-edi­t­ing. My recom­men­da­ti­on: KDEnlive…

During the years I had many linux-dis­tri­bu­ti­ons on my HD, but the­re is one that I always come back to. So… the­re must be a rea­son 😉 It is Arch/64. Hard to beat speed-wise and the­re are tons of fresh apps for any pur­po­se you can think of.

If you want an over­view on what the alter­na­ti­ves for bread-and-but­ter-apps on win­dows are, I sug­gest that you have a look at this site.

ps. When I said, the­re is no more win­dows, this was not all true. I still run xp/32 in a vir­tu­al machi­ne even­tual­ly, as the­re is one pro­gram I could not replace: Nokia PC Suite. I need it to sync my mobi­le pho­ne. But this is easy and works well.

In case you’­re interested…

- Very com­pre­hen­si­ve arti­cle by Nathan Willis

28 Kommentare

  • Loved your arti­cle. I still have to use Win­dows to pre­pa­re taxes. But other than that, I have made the move to Linux.
    Oh, your pho­to­graphs are Outstanding!

    • Vir­tu­al­box could be a reme­dy for you. Spea­king of taxes… I still have to do my decla­ra­ti­on for 2009. I just hate it! 😉
      But cer­tain­ly I’ll use XP in a vir­tu­al machi­ne for it this year.

    • Yes­ter­day I con­ver­ted (refor­mat­ted) my data-dri­ves from ntfs to ext4. This is going to be the lit­mus test. Now we’ll see how well Digi­kam copes with 24.000 pho­tos. But I am confident. 😉

  • I like digi­kam too. Howe­ver for edi­t­ing even on 64 bit it can be a litt­le slow. May­be it’s my machi­ne, may­be not.. Howe­ver I’ve found a pro­gram that you’ll drool over but it’s not a repla­ce­ment for digi­kam.. Digi­kam is a terif­fic orga­niz­a­tio­nal app.. For RAW and jpg mani­pu­la­ti­on check out Darkta­ble. It’s young, very capa­ble, sup­ports tethe­red shoo­ting with several camera’s and offers a lot.. (I’m a user not a dev.. )

    • I read about it befo­re and it is on my to-test-list. thanks anyway! 😉
      A gene­ral hint: I gai­ned a lot of speed using KDE (4.5.1) by tur­ning off Nepo­muk and Ako­na­di (I don’t use KMail, KOr­ga­ni­zer etc.). 

  • I find that Bibb­le­pro from Bibb­le­l­abs nice­ly fills the space that Pho­to­shop lea­ves if one lea­ves Win­dows behind. It works on Win­dows, Mac and Linux. Unli­ke the pos­ter, I do not find RAW hand­ling on Linux very good. And I am get­ting kind of tired wai­t­ing for GIMP to catch up to 16 bit.

    • What exact­ly don’t you like?

      Did you try to con­vert your came­ra-files from pro­prie­a­ry RAW to DNG?

    • thanks, I’m awa­re of cinepaint/filmgimp, but the­se are rather old and as far as I can see they are not develöop­ped anymore.
      We’ll see how Kri­ta develops.

  • KDE 4.5.1.
    That’s the way I like it – as mini­mal as possible.

  • Nice 😉

    But actual­ly I did not start to use it, as I always had a linux on my machi­ne during the last almost 20 years, but final­ly I free mys­elf from the grip of Big Bill.

  • I’m a big fan of Digi­kam mys­elf. But as a repla­ce­ment for LR you should also give Dar­kroom and Raw­stu­dio a look.

    • I am sure, you mean Darktable, right?

      I just built the git-ver­si­on and play­ed with it for a while and like it 😉 But I’ll have a clo­ser look soon. Raw­stu­dio is on my test-list as well. I used it some years ago, but was­n’t hap­py with it. Guess it has made some pro­gress in the meantime…

  • I find hugin an indis­pensable part of my digi­tal dar­kroom. For cor­rec­ting vignet­ting, cor­rec­ting lens dis­tor­ti­on, com­bi­ning pan­ora­mas and doing HDR work, it is outstanding.

      • I think it’s fair­ly safe to sta­te that for image qua­li­ty, Hugin is the best of the pan­or­amic tools, even when com­pa­red to com­mer­cial tools on other plat­forms. It may not be qui­te as easy to use as Auto­pa­no Pro or as fast, but even the­re it is improving. 

        And becau­se it can exami­ne your len­ses and save the cali­bra­ti­ons away for future use, you can cali­bra­te your len­ses using a pan­or­amic pic­tu­re and then app­ly the same cor­rec­tions to all your pho­tos, allowing you to remo­ve the dis­tor­ti­ons and vignet­ting (and even pur­p­le frin­ging). from your collection.

  • thanks for such hel­pful arti­cle. Pre­sent­ly using LR3 and PS4. I enjoy the linux plat­form and agree the linux is get­ting clo­se for serious pho­to work,


  • gald to find this site .. me run­ning KDE 4.5.2 with digi­kam 1.4.0
    i am loving it… I have Fuji­film Finepix HS10 super zoom came­ra… whe­re most tool fail to open the raf (RAW) files even on win­dows .. it works like a charm on linux 🙂 Gre­at blog … for some rea­son can­not install darkta­ble .. errors with repo .… Eager­ly wai­t­ing for digi­kam 1.5.0 to hit the repos 😀

    • Hi

      gre­at that you can pro­cess your files on linux so much easier. 😉
      But just in case: Ado­be sup­ports RAF sin­ce ACR 6.2, at least that’s what they say.

  • …you can brow­se your images with Linux and even browse…

    I think you meant brow­se and edit, right?

    Any­way, I’d like to con­tra­dict and say, that Digi­kam with some Kipi-Plugins has come very clo­se to Ligh­troom. I would not say it drew level with it, but things have chan­ged a lot during the last years. For someo­ne who does not have the money to get the Ado­be Pro­ducts the various linux-tools are an alter­na­ti­ve. The­re are short­co­mings of cour­se and I wro­te about that too.

    Per­so­nal­ly I went back to edi­t­ing my stuff on 7/64 in the mean­ti­me becau­se a) my work­flow is much smoot­her and fas­ter with my usu­al tools and b) I’ve paid qui­te a lot of money for apps and plugins both for LR and PS and I don’t like lost investments.

    I do not agree that you can­not get pro­fes­sio­nal results with linux-tools (not linux, that’s an OS). You sure can, but it may take some more time and more steps and some work­arounds. If you don’t mind that and have the time, you’ll be fine.

    BTW: No offen­se, mate, but in your gal­le­ry I see not­hing that could not be done easi­ly with Digi­kam, Gimp, Darkta­ble, Image­ma­gick and alike…

  • Hi, I use Ubun­tu in gno­me desk­top, I’ve been try­ing bibb­le 5 till I ran into digi­kam, but I’ve been loo­king around in forums try­ing to find out if the­re is no draw­back in instal­ling it in my gno­me plat­form sin­ce it is inten­ded for kde pri­ma­ri­ly. I want to know if it is worth the try and if it has more friend­ly and easy to use fea­tures than bibb­le, I’m no pro­fes­sio­nal pho­to­gra­pher, only into the ama­teur thing, but loo­king for a good app in ubun­tu for mana­ging and edi­t­ing my pic­tures (shot­well and f‑spot out of the ques­ti­on). So can you give me your comments about this two? and if I use digi­kam on my gno­me can I still have all the fea­tures it has on kde? thanks

    • Hi,

      the short ans­wer is: yes.

      The »pro­blem« with instal­ling KDE-apps in Gno­me and vice ver­sa is: when you do so, your sys­tem will pull some KDE-libra­ries as well, as the apps needs them to work. this is not pro­ble­ma­tic, but some peop­le just don’t want that to hap­pen. it is more about ideo­lo­gy IMHO. But basi­cal­ly you can install any KDE-app in Gno­me and any Gno­me-app in KDE.

      • Hi

        sor­ry, I do not know Bibb­le well. I used it some years ago, but only for short time. I have never tes­ted it tho­rough­ly. As fas as I know it is not free eit­her whe­re­as Digi­kam is.

        But if you are loo­king for an app­li­ca­ti­on that does not rely on KDE you should defi­ni­te­ly have a look at Darkta­ble.

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