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SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0 Review

SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0 Review - Despite attempts to worm out of doing anything, Gary Wolstenholme takes a look at this Silky black little number for you.

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Category : Other Software
Product : SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0
Price : £80
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SilkyPix Developer 3 is a RAW conversion workflow designed to be simple and efficient. This in turn allows you more time for taking pictures.

SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0 System Requirements

Windows:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista/XP/2000/Me (Windows Vista,XP or 2000 is recommended).
  • 64-bit OS is unsupported.
  • Intel Pentium processor-based PC or compatible computer (Pentium 4 or later is recommended).
  • Multi-core processor ready (Intel Core Duo, Pentium D, AMD Athlon 64 X2, etc.
  • Windows XP/2000/Me: At least 512Mb of RAM (Minimum 1Gb is required for Windows Vista).
  • 100Mb hard drive space.
  • XGA(1024x768) graphics adapter supporting at least 24bit colour is required.

Macintosh

  • Apple Mac OS X v10.2 (Mac OS X v10.3 or later is recommended).
  • PowerPC G4 with dual processor (G5 or newer is recommended). Intel
  • Core Duo is also supported.
  • At least 512Mb of RAM (Minimum 1Gb is recommended).
  • 100Mb of hard drive space.
  • XGA(1024x768) graphics adapter supporting at least 16bit colour is required.

SilkyPix Developer 3.0: Supported Cameras
An up-to-date list of cameras supported by SilkyPix can be found here.

SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0 is in direct competition with other standalone RAW processing solutions, which generally offer better batch processing options than the standard Abobe Camera RAW Photoshop plugin. SilkyPix does this, while offering a range of automatic pre-sets to help budding novices to get to grips with RAW work-flow.

SilkyPix Developer 3.0: In Use
The workspace within SilkyPix is easily customisable, with three pre-set option being made available on the toolbar. A thumbnail view, a view of a single image, or a combination view where thumbnail previews are displayed along the bottom of the screen can be selected. My personal preference is for the combination view, but I'm sure there will be people who appreciate having the option to select the workspace they require.

SilkyPix Developer 3.0

An entire folder of RAW files can be quickly imported in Silkypix by clicking the appropriate icon on the toolbar. The program is quick to generate previews on my computer, which means I can get cracking right away with the editing. All adjustment palettes are located down the right hand side of the screen, and each option (exposure, white balance, contrast, etc) has a selection of automatic pre-sets available via a drop down menu for speedy adjustments. For those who wish to take control of fine adjustments manually, a more detailed tool palette is located beneath all the options. The controls found here are those typical of this kind of software, and users of RawShooter, Bibble and Capture One will find them very familiar in terms of their layout and range of adjustment.

SilkyPix Developer 3.0
SilkyPix Developer 3.0

For complete novices, there are a selection of automatic picture styles which can be selected from a drop down menu above the tool palette. Options include:

  • SilkyPix Developer 3.0 Default
  • Super Neutral
  • Landscape
  • Sunset
  • Portrait
  • Nostalgic Toy Camera
  • Instant Film
  • Fine Street
  • Blue Sky
  • Sepia
  • Red Enhancer

SilkyPix Developer 3.0: Workflow
SilkyPix uses a system of tagging files for development similar to other RAW processing packages, such as Lightroom. Once your edit is complete, the file can be tagged for development later as a batch whilst you put the kettle on/alphabetise your CD collection/etc. Although this system is very straightforward and easy to understand, I'd much prefer it if the processing could be queued and processed at the same time as editing, as this saves a mighty long wait at the end of the edit.

A good selection of options regarding how your processed files are saved is provided, allowing you to save them in a specific folder each time, or in a folder within the one you are working from. The options are presented each time you process a batch, but the settings from the previous batch are always remembered so that you don't need to set it up each time.

SilkyPix Developer 3.0
SilkyPix Developer 3.0

SilkyPix Developer 3.0: Results
I found SilkyPix' automatic controls very simple to use and the results are acceptable more often than not. Occasionally it will get things wrong though, especially if there are large areas of light or dark in the image, and in those cases it pays to familiarise yourself with the manual controls .

SilkyPix Developer 3.0
The automatic controls have increased the contrast too much on this picture of a goose, blowing out highlights.
SilkyPix Developer 3.0
Difficult images with a wide range of subtle tones benefit most from being processed using manual settings
To assist in evaluating the output from SilkyPix, I compared images processed from the same file with two other popular RAW conversion packages - Capture One and Adobe Camera RAW.SilkyPix Developer 3.0

Of the three packages, I found it as easy with both SilkyPix and Capture One to get the result I was after. Both images have their merits, with SilkyPix reproducing vibrant greens in the image very well indeed. Capture One has produced a sharper image that is visibly less noisy.

SilkyPix Developer 3.0: Verdict
SilkyPix is a very competent RAW processing solution, with plenty of options to satisfy photographers from beginners, through to those who require more advanced manual controls for fine adjustments. The workflow is easy to understand, and fairly straightforward, although I would have liked to have the ability to queue and process files as I edit. Priced at $149 (roughly £80), SilkyPix represents a competitive alternative to other standalone RAW converters in this price bracket.

SilkyPix Developer 3.0: Plus points:
Simple interface
Good mix of automatic and manual controls
Thumbnails generate very quickly
Good colour reproduction

SilkyPix Developer 3.0: Minus points:
Images cannot be processed as you work
Sometimes results appear more noisy than with other converters even with strong noise reduction employed
Automatic modes can be fooled by large areas of light or dark in the image.

FEATURES

EASE OF USE

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL

 

SilkyPix Developer 3.0 costs roughly £80 and is available online. Take a look at the Shortcut Software website for more details.

 

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