Silkypix Developer Studio Review

June 3, 2008 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 12 Comments | |

SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0Silkypix Developer Studio from Shortcut Software is a RAW conversion software application that offers a real alternative to the mainstream contenders. Silkypix is specifically aimed at enthusiast photographers and professional users, offering a professional colour management engine, ICC profiles, and control over white balancing, contrast, sharpness, saturation, lens correction, image perspective and trimming (cropping), outputting and printing. Silkypix Developer Studio costs $149.00 and is available for Windows and MAC. Jon Canfield discovered if Silkypix Developer Studio can compete with the likes of Adobe Camera RAW, Lightroom and Aperture.

Website: Silkypix Developer Studio Review

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#1 Harry Kachline

Seems as if Canon's Digital Photography Professional does pretty well, and it's included with the camera. Probably other SLR manufacturers include something similar to it.

Thanks for the review.

4:57 am - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

#2 XebastYan

Thanx for this review. I use Silkypix since Version 2 and i like it. The only thing i also miss is some good organization tools.
As Photoshop is known also for a huge sum of Plug-Ins there is also soemthing for Silkypix. At eos-images you can buy film tastes and classic tapes as plugins for Silkypix. I got both and have to say that the Film tastes are rich feature and nice to use. Also a book about the Software is available as a donwloadable pdf.

7:04 pm - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

#3 A Reader

Thank you for the review.
It would be helpful if you would include the version you are reviewing.

9:38 pm - Sunday, August 17, 2008

#4 Tim Benton

The software is slow and clutchy, but most seriously hangs up after 'developing' one or two images.

3:31 pm - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

#5 victor bell

very good-just what I needed

6:49 pm - Wednesday, August 5, 2009

#6 ed curran

The review was fine but it did not mention any points for B&W printing. Maybe Jon could fill me in on weather this software is the best for making fine art B&W images on a digital printer. thx, ed curran

11:00 pm - Monday, November 9, 2009

#7 andy

thank you.

1:29 pm - Saturday, November 14, 2009


I really love this program as Adobe does not render images to exact sharpness and color as they are in camera. I use this to convert to tiff then hit LIghtRoom. The sharpening on this tool is amazing and i love the detail and color punch.
When i shoot red flowers lightroom makes them orange Silky Pix makes them amazingly red.

8:40 pm - Monday, May 3, 2010

#9 Jack

Another reviewer was puzzled that some editing with Silkypix generated 800mb memory usage. To see why, just click the "undo" button. Every time you click any button in Silkypix it saves every change. So you experiment with the color temperature back and forth -- click, click, click... -- and each click is saved.

When you want to undo a step, you have to click, click, click the undo button -- but IT DOESN'T TELL YOU WHAT YOU ARE UNDOING!

Unlike Photoshop or Paintshop, which allow you to preview changes and do an A-B comparison before applying the settings, Silkypix applies each change every time you try something out. This is madness. It might not crash a good home computer, but if you are laying out a page for a newspaper or magazine at the same time you are editing a photo in Silkypix, it could crash your system.

Most of the controls are not intuitive, though they look very impressive, like the creation of some mad genius. Sadly, when I tried to read the manual to find out what these odd terms meant, I found about 100 pages of gobbledygook filled with ungrammatical sentences made up of words that seemed to be picked at random. Whoever wrote it did not seem to know how to use an English dictionary.

Apart from the bad grammar, the manual is still enigmatic. I tried to find the noise reduction controls, but the manual was of no help. It took months before I stumbled on it, hidden behind a tiny icon next to the sharpness control!? So much for a consistent, intuitive interface.

Behind the hidden noise reduction panel are some very aggressive settings, so aggressive that they led me to believe my lens was not sharp. When I turned the noise reduction off, I discovered the lens was just fine. So months of raw file conversion had been spoiled.

It would have been nice if the noise reduction had at least been correlated to the ISO setting, or even the camera setting.

There are no histogram adjustment or levels adjustment sliders, as there are in Photoshop and Paintshop. These are by far the most useful controls for photo editing, especially when you've got a bunch of photos to tweak on deadline.

Silkypix has a lot of controls, but if you can't figure out what they do, what's the point? And some of them are redundant.

There are two places to do an EV adjustment, one on top of the other. There are two places to zoom the image on the screen, one under Operation, the other under View -- WHY??? And there are two points where you can adjust sharpness, the later being at the point when you save the image -- that's when you finally find the unsharp mask. The basic sharpening controls are actually pretty good. The problem is most editors adjust the sharpness AFTER the image size is selected, which is not possible with the basic controls. And one of the worst things you can do to an image is multiple sharpening.

There is no consistent interface, and the creators do not seem to know what the terms "edit," "operation," "view," and "parameter" mean, as the functions under these headings seem to have been thrown in at random. Even some of the functions under "file" obviously belong somewhere else, like "load development parameter,"
which one would think would go under the "development" or "parameter" headings. The more I try to figure out this spaghetti-brained program, the more confused I get.

I find most of the controls in Silkypix so awkward that I prefer to export the raw file as a TIFF for editing in Paintshop or Photoshop. There are some controls that are effective and powerful, but some useful features are missing, so it is not a complete photo editing program. If you take this route, make sure you turn off the noise reduction, or at least reduce it. You must do this every time.

So, why do I use Silkypix. Because I have to.

I got Silkypix included with a pretty good $1,500 camera, the Lumix GH1. The problem is the camera makes internal corrections for geometric lens distortion before creating the jpegs. I have used other raw converters, but the geometric distortion is there, uncorrected. Silkpix includes the correction for the camera/lens automatically, and presumably for chromatic aberration, too.

Silkypix should have hired someone who speaks English to write, or edit, the manual and the interface.


"Contrast center

This is the reference to judge the brightness when adjusting the contrast. Upper from the contrast center is considered as bright, and lower is considered as dark....

On the contrary, when setting the contrast center bigger, you feel that the tone of the image becomes darker...."

I dislike using Silkypix. I don't feel confident about making changes in settings because it is so difficult to do an A-B comparison before applying a new setting, and virtually impossible to use the undo control. When I am through, I do not feel confident I have gotten the best possible image.

7:45 pm - Saturday, August 21, 2010

#10 Jack

Tim, above, says Silkypix "hangs" after processing one or two images. I guess this is because the program quickly becomes a memory hog.

If you are using a netbook, which comes with 1 gb ram standard, Silkypix would either require your computer to use lots of virtual ram -- shuffling data back and forth on your hard drive -- or it would "hang." Adding an extra gig would probably help.

Before you sneer about using a netbook for photo editing, consider that lots of travelers do this, and then post pictures online. I talked with one on vacation who uses Photoshop professionally, and he says he had no problem using Photoshop on his netbook.

8:10 pm - Saturday, August 21, 2010

#11 frankd

I don't use Silky pix for anything other than raw conversion. I use lightroom and photoshop for any photo manipulation of TIFFS. But straight out of camera, Silky pix will do a better job of reading and deciphering the RAW FILES than any ADOBE PRODUCTS hands down. I see more detail, better color, etc. But I only use this to convert to 16 bit TIFFS once they are TIFFS they go straight into LIGHTROOM.

2:56 am - Sunday, August 22, 2010

#12 Mopkins

SilkyPix is next to useless. Its instruction manual is translated word for word from Japanese and is nearly unintelligible. The app is non-intuitive. The ikons are so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read the screen. While it is surely a capable app once learned, these disadvantages make it a product to be avoided.

5:29 pm - Saturday, February 11, 2012