SilverFast was introduced in 1995, Version 3.0 was finished in December 1996, and version 6.6 came out in May 2008. It is the only software supporting the Heidelberg scanner on Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7. Some scanner manufacturers bundle their hardware with SilverFast. The named SilverFast the "Best colour management software of the year 2008" for improving the dynamic range of most scanners and for creating ICC profiles automatically. In 2011 version 8 was introduced, and HDR imaging software followed in 2012.
SilverFast is offered individually adjusted to the respective scanner model. If several scanners are operated, it is therefore necessary to purchase a corresponding number of additional licenses. Upgrade rates are also offered when purchasing a new scanner.
Overview of the available products:
|Scanner Software||HDR Software||Archiving Software||Printer Software||Photoshop Plug-ins|
|SilverFast SE||SilverFast HDR||SilverFast Archive Suite SE 1), 2)||PrinTao 8||SRDx Plug-in|
|SilverFast SE Plus 1), 2)||SilverFast HDR Studio 3)||SilverFast Archive Suite 1), 2), 3)|
|SilverFast Ai Studio 1), 2)|
optional: 1)Multi-Exposure, 2)optional: ICC Printer Calibration, 3)optional: ColorServer
As marked in the table above, some products are available with additional features:
Multi-Exposure – Multi-Exposure is an exposure blending technique for scanning transparent originals like slides, negatives, and film strips with increased dynamic range. This is accomplished by scanning the original multiple times with different exposure times, increasing the dynamic range and preserving detail in the light and shadow areas of the image. Multi-Exposure does not work with reflective originals and differs from "Multi-Sampling," which also scans multiple times but with unaltered exposure.
ICC Printer Calibration – The SilverFast ICC Printer Calibration calibrates the printer using a previously calibrated flatbed scanner as the measuring device for profiling the printer.
ColorServer – ColorServer executes the processes of color conversion, scaling, sharpening, separation, and optimization of image data automatically (even batch processing) in the 48-bit color space. JPEG 2000 allows a compression ratio of 10:1 without any visible loss of image quality.
- SilverFast SE (basic edition)
- SilverFast SE Plus (plus edition / with Multi-Exposure)
- SilverFast Ai Studio (premium edition)
- SilverFast X-Ray (a special version of SilverFast designed to digitize radiographic films for scientific and medical radiography)
SilverFast HDR Software
SilverFast HDR is a computer program for processing 48-bit raw images. Many newer scanners are able to output the image directly with all existing data instead of breaking it down to 24-bit. This 48-bit raw image can be saved immediately and digital processing performed later.
- SilverFast HDR (basic edition)
- SilverFast HDR Studio (premium edition)
SilverFast HDR contains the functionality of SilverFast Ai Studio for 48-bit raw data, such as defining output size and resolution, auto-adjusting of highlights and shadows, three-part histogram, gradation curves, selective color correction, unsharp masking, color cast removal slider, color separation, and CMYK-preview. SilverFast HDR can be used as a native plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, as a universal TWAIN module, or as a stand-alone application.
The HDR Studio has AACO (Auto-Adaptive Contrast Optimization), JPEG 2000, USMPlus (Unsharp Mask Plus), CloneTool and PrinTao.
HDRi (64Bit RAW data with infrared channel)
With version 6.6.1 any SilverFast HDR version supports the proprietary RAW data format HDRi. These 64-bit HDRi color files and 32-bit HDRi greyscale files contain additional 16-bit infrared RAW data besides the 48-bit color RAW data and 16-bit greyscale RAW data respectively. Therefore, a scanner with an infrared channel available to the software is necessary. This RAW format can keep any readable image information for later post-processing. The acronym "HDR" as used by SilverFast is not related to High-dynamic-range imaging, a widely used technique to increase the dynamic range of (digital) images.
The data format is:
|Format||Encoding||Compression||Color space||Color depth
(Bit per pixel)
(Dimensions of 10)
|RGB (linear)||none||RGB||64 = 48 + 16 (infrared channel)||4,8||0,0014%|
|RGB (linear)||none||RGB||32 = 16 + 16 (Infrared channel)||4,8||0,0014%|
SilverFast Archiving Software
The SilverFast Archive Suite includes SilverFast Ai Studio and SilverFast HDR Studio with an integrated color management system. This package is suitable for archiving slides, negatives, and photos, whereas the post processing can take place anytime after scanning.
- SilverFast Archive Suite SE - consisting of SilverFast SE Plus and SilverFast HDR (plus edition)
- SilverFast Archive Suite - consisting of SilverFast Ai Studio and SilverFast HDR Studio (premium edition)
PrinTao 8 takes over color management and all printer driver settings. It contains various printing templates like pack templates for portrait photographers or gallery wrap templates for printing on canvas.
SRDx Photoshop Plug-in
Most dust and scratch removal tools use blur effects which degrade overall image quality. SRDx works without any unsharping effects. SRDx uses an adjustable automatic detection of dust and scratches that can be fine-tuned manually using a defect marker and a rubber tool.
SilverFast DC has been discontinued. SilverFast DC was a stand-alone software solution for digital camera image processing. It contained features for reading the image data from the camera, for processing, optimizing, and archiving the images on the computer, as well as for printing the edited images.
The process chain (original - scanner / digital camera - monitor - printer) requires device calibration for accurate color reproduction. IT8 calibration runs automatically in SilverFast, using a combination of barcode technology and auto-alignment. SilverFast also utilizes the scanner as a measuring device to create an ICC profile for printer calibration.
SilverFast supports 325 scanners and 214 supported digital cameras. Most Microsoft Windows-only 35mm USB scanners sold under various names are not supported. Each scanner model requires a separate license.
Heidelberg drum scanner
SilverFast Ai Studio supports prepress drum scanners made by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Linotype - Hell) on Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7, as well as Mac OS X 10.3-10.5 operating systems. Supported models include the Chromagraph 3300/3400, Tango/XL, Topaz, Nexscan, and Primescan.
Software supporting many scanner models:
- Image Capture – scanner software for Mac OS X, bundled free with the operating system
- Scanner Access Now Easy (SANE) – multiplatform open source scanner API
- VueScan – multiplatform scanner software
- Awards: History by brands: LASERSOFT Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine, European Digital Press Association, retrieved December 26, 2010.
- Test Report: SilverFast Multiexposure and Scanner Dynamic Range by Dietmar Wueller, Image Engineering, February 5, 2007, retrieved December 26, 2010 (pdf)
- Patrick Wagner, Which kind of quality increase does MultiExposure provide?, FAQ, Scan Software Silverfast, filmscanner.info/ScanDig, retrieved December 26, 2010.
- Sally Wiener Grotta and Daniel Grotta, "With SilverFast SE, your scans look more like the originals," Macworld August 25, 2009, reprinted from PC World.
- Patrick Wagner, Software test report SilverFast HDR by filmscanner.info/ScanDig, retrieved December 26, 2010.
- it-enquierer.com: Article on HRDi and iSRD
- silverfast.com: HDRi - 64bit RAW data including infrared channel
- Archive Suite Test Report by photographer John Barclay, May 6, 2010, retrieved December 26, 2010.
- Nadir Magazine: scanner- and printer-Calibration with SilverFast Ai IT8 by Agostino Maiello
- Products supported by SilverFast, LaserSoft Imaging
- "List of digital cameras supported by SilverFast".
- Taz Tally, Ph.D. SilverFast - The Official Guide. - Sybex, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7821-4197-9
- Sascha Steinhoff. Scanning negatives and slides: digitizing your photographic archive - Rocky Nook, 2007. ISBN 978-1-933952-01-7