When comparing Affinity Designer vs Darktable, the Slant community recommends Darktable for most people. In the question“What are the best graphic design programs?” Darktable is ranked 6th while Affinity Designer is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose Darktable is:
There are a lot of different modules.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro One-time purchase
Rather than a monthly subscription based model, Affinity Designer instead has a one-time fee ($49.99).
Pro Intuitive user interface
The user interface of many graphic editing software programs can often be discouraging for beginners. Affinity Designer, however, has a very well laid out and intuitive user interface with a small learning curve.
Pro Powerful artistic tools
Extensively tweakable brush types, color options...
Pro Extended slicing and export possibilities
An object can easily be transformed into a slice that can then be exported in various sizes end formats in 1 go. E.g. Export slice A as PNG 1x, 2x and 3x AND GIF 1x AND SVG.
Pro Powerful symbol managemment
Symbols can get individual property changes (color, shape, layer effects, fonts text...) while the other properties stay linked with the base symbol.
Pro Sketch Alternative (Great for Mixed OS Teams)
For those working in mixed environments that aren't 100% MacOS, you'll find devoting yourself to Sketch.app brings with it...pain. If this fits the bill for what you need feature-wise and you're in a mixed OS environment, it's a very capable replacement for Sketch.app. Note that it doesn't have all the same features, but then again it doesn't need all the same features. Short of organization differences inside the document you're working on, there shouldn't be anything you can't do with Affinity Designer that you could have with Sketch.
Pro Cross platform
Available on both Windows and MacOS
Pro SVG Support
In the era of "retina" displays, 4k UHD, 5k, and even 8k, Scalar Vector Graphics - independent vector images that can scale to any resolution without any display quality loss - are more important now than ever.
And this tool is quite capable of rendering true SVG output suitable for consumption at any display resolution (not a big bunch of rasterized bits in the document, actual paths, points, etc.).
Pro Focused vector graphics tool
Unlike some design tools, Affinity Designer isn't trying to be all things to all people. It's focused on its main area of expertise: vector graphics. That's not to say you can't use a raster image (think a photo in *.jpeg format for example), but it's not built to do much with that other than using it somewhere amidst the layers and that's about it.
Pro Integrates well with Affinity Photo
These are companion apps & switching between them is built in - Photo is a very powerful raster tool with a feature set close/better to Photoshop, it will also use some Photoshop plugins. This allows you to add-on powerful raster capabilities if you want them - put doesn't force you to.
Pro Excellent Photoshop/Illustrator import & export
Best I have seen in a non Adobe app, you can use most of the Photoshop mock-ups and templates easily. Opens most Adobe files to a level to be able to effectively use the content. Allows cross team collaboration across tool-chains.
The new version 1.5 has a very powerful feature set such as support for symbols and asset windows, as well as constraints controls and improved export options. This all adds up to an interesting alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
Pro Feature rich
There are a lot of different modules.
Pro Fast and Flexible
A very well considered UI makes edits fast and fluid. You can redo or undo any step without disturbing any other part of your edit. The UI doesn't get in the way.
Pro Good batch editing capabilities
Darktable allows applying the same set of operations to multiple images and saving your history stack as a style (you can pick exactly which modules).
Pro Edits are saved to a separate file
Original files are untouched by any edits. No worries on what was done before or if an accidental save occurs. All work is separate from the originals.
Darktable allows favoriting modules and remapping hotkeys.
Pro Allows for local adjustments
Most modules, by default, affect the whole image, but have the option to only be applied to masked-off areas (be those drawn masks, parametric ones, or a combination of the two).
Pro Supports tethered capture
On the camera set it to use USB Remote. Open Darktable, on the left side under Import, click scan for devices. The camera should appear. Click on tethered shoot. Next on the right side look for the gear icon above the battery n/a and click it. go to the session options tab, and change the base directory to the location you want to save photos. close that settings window and try taking a picture. It should come right up.
Con No plug-in architecture, so can't be tailored to specific purposes
Some applications (e.g. Sketch) have an open plug-in framework, by which the software can be extended by independent/third-party developers according to popular trends.
Con Treats all objects as filled
You can't select objects on the canvas by clicking on them, if they're surrounded by another object (like a rectangle or a frame). Designer treats all objects as filled, so if you've drawn a frame or outline or an object with a hole in it, you can't select objects within that hole directly. You have to laboriously iterate through all objects in a list until you get to the one you want. This is an extremely common situation, which cripples the entire product. Very surprising and unfortunate defect.
Con Can be overwhelming
There are a lot of different modules. You're going to need some time watching tutorials to understand how to get the best out of it.
Con For tethered capture on Linux you may need additional software installed that is not a dependency for Darktable
First make sure you have gphoto2 and libgphoto2.
Con No official Windows version
Whilst official builds exist for Linux and OSX, this isn't the case for Windows (though unofficial versions do exist).