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A Silverfast 8 Book Review

now all we need is the software

in Book Reviews , Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In mid-2012, given the parlous state of film-based photography (especially colour slide film), and the less than encouraging signs from Lasersoft Imaging, the chances that a new book on Silverfast would be published must have been remote. That it would also be a very good book, even less so. Scanning veteran Mark D Segal has nevertheless confounded expectations with his eBook, “Scanning Workflows with Silverfast 8, Silverfast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop”. The title may be quite a mouthful, but it is justified through the contents.

Msegal sf

Although the book was written in close collaboration with Lasersoft, makes of Silverfast (of itself a positive sign), it’s no hagiography. Where the author feels that Silverfast is not going to give you best results, he makes no excuse for providing alternative solutions in Photoshop and Lightroom. However, with his exhaustive - but never exhausting - exposition of Silverfast’s vast feature set, he reveals and clarifies areas of the application which I’ve either never used or never been comfortable with.

The book targets Silverfast 8, which for me remains something of a pipedream, and I’m stuck with SF6 for scanning with my Minolta film scanner, and although I religiously download each new public Beta of SF8 HDR, I’m sorry to say that that is still way short of usable. However, although some tools, for example AACO shadow recovery, are improved in SF8, what Mark writes is still applicable to SF6.

The last book to be written on Silverfast was Taz Tally’s Official Silverfast Manual published in 2003, which while pretty good for its day, only covered film scanning as an afterthought on the included CD. Mark’s book on the other hand is firmly focused on film, both positive and negative.

The writing still is clear and communicative, avoiding the trite humour that so many writers seem to feel they can’t do without. The author is not going to get rich with this book, which is available for €29.95 from the Silverfast web site. It is clearly something of a labour of love - let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be a requiem.


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Older Comments

from Gary McJimsey on Tue, September 11, 2012 - 6:16

It sounds like this eBook does not cover the new version of HDR Studio 8 which is too bad as SilverFast / LaserSoft provides very little detailed instructions on the finer features of both SilverFast Ai Studio 8, HDR Studio 8 or the lesser priced versions that have fewer features.  SilverFast needs to vastly improve on their instructional material, self helps on their website and those short video clips that they provide on line.

from david mantripp on Thu, September 13, 2012 - 10:05

Hi Gary,

Actually the book covers version 8 in full detail, up to date. The principal features are common across all versions. HDR Studio is effectively Ai Studio with file i/o instead of scanner i/o.  Actually I still don’t understand why the two are not combined, especially as the multitasking in SF8 would allow users to be re-editing an HDR scan whilst a new scan was being processed.

Anyway, the book really gives in-depth coverage and in my opinion is the best work ever written on Silverfast.  Personally I think that Lasersoft should provide it inclusive with each license sold. But then again it does include coverage of alternative workflows with Adobe products, so there is some conflict of interest there.


from Gary McJimsey on Fri, September 14, 2012 - 5:20

Thank you David.  Good of you to comment.  I think I will purchase the eBook before I do the update on SF8 or the HDR8.  I may just do the SFAi8 and discontinue the HDR as it is time consuming.  It would be nice to receive this eBook with the purchase of SilverFast applications.  They could leave out the PS and Lightroom parts.  I do my scans independently of PS and save the SF scans in tiff then duplicate for a working copy, saving layers and then duplicate for a flatten copy to use prints, internet etc.  So I could easily get by with a shorter version of the eBook.

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