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RAW conversions using Silkypix 3 and higher


Silkypix is a full-featured program for converting RAW digital camera data into standard TIF or JPEG image files.  Beginning with version 3 corrections became possible on TIF and JPG's.  Other small changes have been added to versions 4, Pro & 5.  The most useful of these is single image HDR processing in version 5.  After testing various RAW converters on the market I consider Silkypix the best.  You can download a free 30-day demo from the publisher.   

Original RAW image


This tutorial discusses the major steps of RAW image processing.  I have played with other functions such as highlights, distortion, lens correction, chromatic aberration, and find many of these effects to be so minor that they have been omitted.  Go ahead and try them out, dragging the sliders fully right and left to get a feel for what they do.  I don't spend much time worrying about these.

Silkypix processed image


Some folks say such a program is unnecessary since Adobe Camera RAW and camera manufacturers already provide conversion software.  They also say most adjustments can be made later with Photoshop or the like.  I find that the extra time and expense using Silkypix is well worth it when comparing results side-by-side.  As its name implies, the program produces outstanding images with a smooth silky appearance.

Camera Settings

For best results you should already have a calibrated monitor.  For more information see this page.

The sRGB color space is is the industry standard for images viewed on-screen & the web.  It has a limited color range so printed images may not look as good as on-screen.  I recommend producing files with the Adobe RGB colorspace if you print or sell your work.  Color space may also be selected during development.

Daylight or Auto white balance produces the best representation in-camera but you will likely change it using Silkypix.  You should also set saturation, contrast, and sharpness levels to normal and use the lowest ISO possible. 

In-Camera Exposure

Digital files are similar to slide film when it comes to proper exposure.  Err on the side of underexposure if necessary since blown-out highlights cannot be recovered.  Fortunately RAW files underexposed up to 3-stops or 1-stop over can produce acceptable results.  This flexibility makes the use of TTL flash less important for those cameras and housings that lack it.