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SilverFast Ai Studio GUI
SilverFast Ai Studio GUI
Developer(s)LaserSoft Imaging
Initial release1995; 24 years ago (1995)[citation needed]
Stable release
8.2.0r3 / December 17, 2014; 4 years ago (2014-12-17)[1]
Operating systemWindows XP and later
Mac OS X 10.5 and later
Available inMulti-lingual[which?]
TypeImage scanning, image processing
LicenseCommercial proprietary software

SilverFast is the name of a family of software for image scanning and processing, including photos, documents and slides, developed by LaserSoft Imaging.


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 European Digital Press Association 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.[2] In 2011 version 8 was introduced, and HDR imaging software followed in 2012.

SilverFast HDR


Scanner Software Digital Camera Software HDR Software Printer Software
SilverFast SE SilverFast DC SE SilverFast HDR SilverFast PrinTao 3)
SilverFast SE Plus 1) SilverFast DC VLT SilverFast HDR IT8
SilverFast Ai SilverFast DC Pro SilverFast HDR Studio 3), 4)
SilverFast Ai IT8 2) SilverFast DC Pro Studio 3), 4)
SilverFast Ai Studio 1)
SilverFast Ai Studio IT8 1), 2) SilverFast Archive Suite SE
SilverFast X-Ray SilverFast Archive Suite

optional: 1)Multi-Exposure, 2)ICC Printer Calibration, 3)PhotoProof, 4)ColorServer


It can be used as a stand-alone application, as a Photoshop plug-in, or as a universal TWAIN module. Versions include:

  • SilverFast SE[3] and SE Plus (beginners / with Multi-Exposure)
  • SilverFast Ai and Ai Studio (professional and expert users)
  • SilverFast Ai IT8 and Ai Studio IT8 (incorporating IT8-target for ICC profiling)
  • SilverFast X-Ray (a special version of SilverFast Ai designed to digitize radiographic films for scientific and medical radiography)

SilverFast DC[edit]

Screenshot: SilverFast DC Pro

SilverFast DC is a stand-alone software solution for digital camera image processing. It contains 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.

  • SilverFast DC SE - for Beginners
  • SilverFast DC Pro - for Professionals
  • SilverFast DC Pro Studio - for Experts
  • SilverFast DC VLT - the Virtual Light Table

All DC versions include a virtual light table for organizing, managing, and manipulating the images (for example color temperature regulation, exposure adjustment, and red-eye correction). The user can create photo archives and albums, add comments to images, generate contact sheets of the complete view port, and produce or print single pictures in high resolution and in variable sizes.

SilverFast DC Pro has the functionality of the scanner-software SilverFast Ai for digital images. Supported are the standard image formats such as JPEG and TIFF, and unprocessed raw image format. The access to the raw data permits manual color correction or sharpening instead of using the camera's automatic adjustment, which often does not work perfectly. SilverFast DC supports Adobe DNG and many camera models, some optimized by special camera profiles.[4] With the included IT8-target, individual ICC profiles can be self-made for every camera.

SilverFast DC Pro also has automated color optimization AACO, support for JPEG 2000, unsharpmasking USMPlus, CloneTool, and an improved PrinTao module with text and layout functions.

SilverFast HDR[edit]

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[5]
  • SilverFast HDR IT8 - with IT8-target for ICC profiling
  • SilverFast HDR Studio - with additional features

SilverFast HDR contains the functionality of SilverFast Ai 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)[edit]

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.[6][7] 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)
Dynamic range
(Dimensions of 10)
(.tif, .tiff)
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 Archive Suite[edit]

The SilverFast Archive Suite includes SilverFast Ai IT8 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.[8]

  • SilverFast Archive Suite SE - consisting of SilverFast SE Plus and SilverFast HDR
  • SilverFast Archive Suite - consisting of SilverFast Ai IT8 and SilverFast HDR Studio and IT8 calibration targets

SilverFast PrintTao[edit]

Screenshot: SilverFast PrinTao

PrinTao is a software for printing images and documents. Templates can be used to make workflow easier and faster by reducing similar and repetitive worksteps. PrinTao has predefined templates to which the user can add self-made ones. Other features:

  • Positioning of pictures automatically or manually on the preview with the aid of grids and auxiliary lines
  • Scaling, Mirroring, Rotation, layout of pictures
  • Inserting text in or around a picture
  • Adding copyright information to pictures
  • Adding IPTC or Exif meta data.

The PrinTao module is already included in the SilverFast Ai / DC / HDR Studio versions.

Optional features[edit]

As marked in the table above, some products are available with \additional features:

Multi-Exposure (ME)[edit]

"Multi-Exposure" is an exposure blending technique for scanning transparent originals like slides, negatives, and film strips with increased dynamic range.[9] 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.[10] Multi-Exposure does not work with reflective originals and differs from "Multi-Sampling," which also scans multiple times but with unaltered exposure.


PhotoProof is a tool for color-true and binding processing of images from digital cameras. The image optimization is done in the RGB color space. When activating PhotoProof, the user immediately sees a CMYK simulation of the image by means of RGB softproofing on the calibrated monitor. Thereafter a color-true contact proof can be created on any suitable, calibrated output device. The embedded media wedge is used as a reference for a true-to-color proof.


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.

IT8 calibration[edit]

IT8.7/1 target by LaserSoft Imaging

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.[11]

Supported devices[edit]

SilverFast supports 325 scanners[12] and 214 supported digital cameras.[4] Most Microsoft Windows-only 35mm USB scanners sold under various names are not supported[citation needed]. Each scanner model requires a separate license.

Heidelberg drum scanner[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

Software supporting many scanner models:


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Awards: History by brands: LASERSOFT Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine, European Digital Press Association, retrieved December 26, 2010.
  3. ^ Sally Wiener Grotta and Daniel Grotta, "With SilverFast SE, your scans look more like the originals," Macworld August 25, 2009, reprinted from PC World.
  4. ^ a b "List of digital cameras supported by SilverFast".
  5. ^ Patrick Wagner, Software test report SilverFast HDR by, retrieved December 26, 2010.
  6. ^ Article on HRDi and iSRD
  7. ^ HDRi - 64bit RAW data including infrared channel
  8. ^ Archive Suite Test Report by photographer John Barclay, May 6, 2010, retrieved December 26, 2010.
  9. ^ Test Report: SilverFast Multiexposure and Scanner Dynamic Range by Dietmar Wueller, Image Engineering, February 5, 2007, retrieved December 26, 2010 (pdf)
  10. ^ Patrick Wagner, Which kind of quality increase does MultiExposure provide?, FAQ, Scan Software Silverfast,, retrieved December 26, 2010.
  11. ^ Nadir Magazine: scanner- and printer-Calibration with SilverFast Ai IT8 by Agostino Maiello
  12. ^ Products supported by SilverFast, LaserSoft Imaging

Further reading[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]