... now what, Darktable or Lightroom?

I have taken 30 shots indoors at artificial light at ISO 10000. On the live view display of the camera they looked great, now on the monitor, in the fullscreen preview from Darktable they look terrible.

What can I do to denoise these raw images. I have Lightroom 5 at my disposal, but also Darktable v1.2.3.

I tried Darktable v1.2.3 with "noise bilateral filter", and it can improve the look of the exported JPEGs considerably, but it's slow (denoise+resize 18M raw file takes 2 min/pic). Are there any better plugins that are easy to use without much fiddling, but do a good job aat denoising?

By the way, Here is a feature request from a guy who complained (in 2012) about darktable's noise correction capabilities. He says that Darktable is poor w.r.t. color accuracy and even more so, performance. Is that still true?


Comparison of 4 pictures (these are not taken by me):


UPDATE: I have now used Lightroom, because there denoising is simple and 'just works', whereas in Darktable 1.2.3 I have three denoising submodules I can choose from. Needless to say, trying all 3 of them takes a lot of work and is quite time conusming. But it is still worth doing at some time, just because it is open source and the algorithms are well documented (at above-mentioned links for instance)

  • \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of Are there any good open source noise removal tools? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm the question+answer in Q "Are there any good open source noise removal tools?" is from 2010, Q has few specific answers, and the question is too general. I asked about Darktable OR Lightroom specifically. \$\endgroup\$
    – knb
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 19:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How about photo.stackexchange.com/questions/483/…? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 20:08
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, not really an answer but just a comment -- 130 photo × 2 minutes = a little more than 4 hours. If the results seem good, why not set it up to run overnight? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm it is indeed running over the weekend \$\endgroup\$
    – knb
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


Darktable has a great profile-based noise removal tool. You may give it a try if your sensor is already supported. If not, you can submit an own profile. See http://www.darktable.org/2012/12/profiling-sensor-and-photon-noise/ for all the glory details.

It is especially smoothing with the option "wavelets".

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great link! I really like the first sentence of the article: "to summarize the current situation in dt: we have a lot of cool tools wrapped around great algorithms with almost all the knobs you need to get perfect results. while you can actually get really great results it's this sheer number of knobs that makes finding a good parameter set quite a time consuming task. " Now let's see if I can create a profile for my Olympus E-P5. \$\endgroup\$
    – knb
    Commented Nov 9, 2013 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 The profile-based noise-removal with the wavelets option is amazing! I have to set its strength way down for best results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wayne
    Commented Jan 1, 2015 at 21:56

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