Friday, January 8, 2010

Digikam - Light table

This post is somewhat related to the post about ctypes and gphoto.

I consider myself a pre-amateur photographer and that means I'm taking a lot of shots just to learn how the camera works. I own a Canon EOS 1000D and have recently moved from the fully automatic exposure modes to the advanced exposure modes, and to be more specific, the programmed auto exposure mode.

So, I needed an application that could load a couple of pictures, showing two pictures side-by-side for visual comparison and at the same time presenting the more important meta-data attributes such as focal length, exposure time, ISO and aperture. I considered doing such application myself and that's why I came across and started to explore gphoto. But luckily, I managed to stop myself and took yet another look at what Digikam offers. I'm a die-hard KDE-fan and have been using digikam, which is a KDE photo manager application, for quite some time to organize my photos but never actually used any other features except removing red-eyes.

To my surprise digikam included exactly the feature I was looking for! It's called the Light Table.

The Light Table
Digikam allows you to select a couple of pictures which can be placed onto the light table, as shown in the screenshot below.

By choosing Place onto Light Table a new window is opened with, in this case, the three pictures loaded and two of them shown side-by-side.

The light table also displays the meta-data for the respective picture (sorry about that some of the attributes are in Swedish) that are currently shown. You can synchronize operations like zooming and panning. When you zoom, both pictures will be zoomed to the same level and when panning, both pictures will be panned to the same area, really nice.

This was exactly what I was looking for. Now I can take a couple of shots with different settings, for example, changing the white balance, ISO and/or other parameters and compare the result rather easily. I get both a visual and a meta-data diff in the same view.

I just wanted to share my findings and hope this post was to some use for others that are looking for something similar.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm sure you realize this, but when you are working with photos in the RAW format, you can change the white balance setting after the picture has been taken.

  3. illume: I did never remove your comment! Blogspot might have some bugs... I took a quick look at Damn, really cool. Fortunately I own a IXUS 70.

    Mike: Yes, I know I can do some type of after-processing but I only tried it once. I'm not there yet where I'm playing with my RAW images :)

  4. Thanks, Mario - I use Digikam a lot for editing but never used the light table because I didn't really understand what it was for. Your explanation was perfect.