2.3. Lighttable panels

2.3.1. Import

This panel is for importing images into film rolls. You can either import a complete folder, by pressing folder, or a single image with image. You can also cause darktable to search for connected cameras by pressing scan for devices. If a supported camera is connected you can import directly from that camera or control the camera from within darktable in tethering mode.

Imported images are organized as film rolls (see Section 2.2.1, “Film rolls”). All film rolls are accessible through the collect images module (see Section 2.3.2, “Collect images”). If you set the selection attribute to film roll you get a list of available film rolls, which can be filtered using the editbox to quickly find the one of interest. Double-click on a film roll in the list and it will open in the lighttable. You can also click the items in recently used collections (see Section 2.3.3, “Recently used collections”) to open the latest ones you have worked with.

2.3.1.1. Import from filesystem

You can import either a single image, or a folder. The imported image(s) will show up in a film roll with the name of the filesystem folder.

Clicking on image or folder opens a file selector dialog. Navigate through the filesystem, and select the item to import. On the lower part of the dialog, are some further import options.

As the name implies, checking import directories recursively will import images in the currently selected directory, and all subdirectories. It is not recommended, and wastes resources, to do this on an exhaustive list of images. darktable would generate thumbnails for all of them, but in the end only keep the recent ones in its cache. It is better to import images in smaller chunks, making logical film rolls.

Checking ignore JPEG files is a good choice if there are JPEG images in the same folder that you do not want to process; eg. if the camera stores RAW+JPEG, you often only want to work on the raws, leaving the JPEG images alone.

You can also apply some metadata during import; see Section 2.3.10, “Metadata editor” for more details.

Importing a folder does not mean that darktable copies your images into another folder. It just means that the images are visible in lighttable and thus can be developed. If you delete an image or a folder from disk after having imported them, darktable cannot access them anymore. Importing an image or folder in darktable is not a backup of your filesystem! Moreover, darktable does not watch for changes in the filesystem. Thus, if you add an image to a folder, after having imported that folder in darktable, the new image will not be shown until explicitly imported.

2.3.1.2. Importing from a connected camera

When a camera is detected, it will show up in the device panel after pressing scan for devices. If you hover your mouse over the camera tab label, a tooltip will pop up with information about the camera, such as model, firmware version, and more. Depending on the camera's support, buttons with actions will be available such as import from camera and tethered shoot.
Import from camera

This will bring up an import dialog, showing the images on camera that can be selected for import into a film roll in darktable.

You define the base directory for storing imported images and the naming pattern of sub directories and individual images in the preferences dialog (see Section 8.3, “Session options”).

Tethered shoot

Tethering is used to integrate darktable with your camera. While you take images with your camera, they are automatically imported into darktable, so you can review the result of the shoot. You can also setup remote capture jobs, controlling the number of images and time between captures, along with camera settings such as exposure time, aperture and more.

If supported by your camera, tethering will take you into the capture view for tethered shooting. Read more about tethering in Chapter 4, Tethering.

2.3.1.3. Supported file formats

darktable is focused on managing and developing camera raw files. It supports a huge number of file formats from various camera manufacturers. In addition darktable can read specific low dynamic range and high dynamic range images – mainly for data exchange between darktable and other software.

In order for darktable to consider a file for import, it must have one of the following extensions (case independent): 3FR, ARI, ARW, BAY, BMQ, CAP, CINE, CR2, CRW, CS1, DC2, DCR, DNG, ERF, FFF, EXR, IA, IIQ, JPEG, JPG, K25, KC2, KDC, MDC, MEF, MOS, MRW, NEF, NRW, ORF, PEF, PFM, PNG, PXN, QTK, RAF, RAW, RDC, RW1, RW2, SR2, SRF, SRW, STI, TIF, TIFF, X3F.

If darktable was compiled with JPEG2000 support, these extensions are also recognized: J2C, J2K, JP2, JPC.

If darktable was compiled with GraphicsMagick support, the following extensions are recognized in addition to the standard ones: BMP, DCM, GIF, JNG, JPC, JP2, MIFF, MNG, PBM, PGM, PNM, PPM.

Camera raw files

darktable reads raw files using the open source library RawSpeed developed by Klaus Post. The number of supported cameras and file formats is constantly increasing. It is beyond the scope of this manual to give an exhaustive list. Most modern camera models are supported, and new ones tend to get added very quickly. With the exception of Fujifilm X-Trans cameras, darktable does not decode images from cameras with non-Bayer sensors (e.g. Sigmas with the Foveon X3 sensor).

LDR image files

darktable natively reads ordinary images in JPEG, 8-bit/16-bit PNG and 8-bit/16-bit TIFF format. JPEG2000 is also supported if the required libraries are present at compile time. Similarly, if darktable was compiled with GraphicsMagick support, there are further import formats, like GIF, Dicom DCM, additional exotic TIFF formats, and some of Sun's portable xyz-map family.

HDR image files

darktable reads high dynamic range images in OpenEXR, RGBE and PFM format.