Silverfast 9 vs NLP

Is there any owner on SF9 who can compare the quality of scans and conversion from negative directly done with SF9 with the same process through NLP?

I saw some videos and the results were quite good.

I own Vuescan and I also own NLP license. My problem is recurring cots for Lightroom. Since NLP doesnt work in other software I would be happy to invest in SF9 and use that instead of LR+NLP in case the results are good.

thank you

I have NLP and SF9 AI my conclusion was to scan 64 bit Raw DNG, Positive with infra-red dust removal and as Silverfast negative to positive using an Epson v850 at 2400 PPI resulting in files of about 45MB an 60MB raw. I was hedging my bets as I have about 80 rolls to process.

In general I preferred the NLP results from positive scans but its subjective. While dust removal is good its not perfect and you can see artefacts in both the positive and SF9 scans. The direct SF9 scans are good but some will require post processing and lightroom / photoshop will help. When i’ve finished i’ll probably cancel the lightroom subscription after exporting to TIFF or JPEG.

What I do like about NLP is the non-destructive editing so you can go back and adjust with SF9 once you’ve done the scan that’s it. With SF9 getting rid of the colour cast can be tricky and you have to do this at scan time but NLP analyses the positive scan and does a better job of removing it.

PS Doing three scans per frame is proving expensive in disk space and have just ordered a 1T external SSD
PPS Tried a demo copy of SF HDR but didn’t like it. The interface is as bad as SF9.

Thank you for the feedback.

Too bad NLP is not available for other apps than LR.

I understood you can export to RAW from SF9 and then edit the RAW in HDR. I am reffering to this video THIS...IS REAL RAW. Unleash the True Power of Analogue Film! - YouTube

Although I have preferred NLP in the past, I have recently converted 3 rolls of negatives and my opinions have changed. During these last 3 rolls I made the point to make direct comparisons between Silverfast and NLP each with varying settings. And I consistently was getting better results with Silverfast than I was with NLP. NLP gave me weird smooth waxy skin tones… And the colors were consistently better with Silverfast. This was particularly the case when NLP was set to “noritsu” or “frontier” import settings. I got better results with NLP with basically no import presets. That said the color and textures were still inferior or at the very best, “almost as good” in my subjective opinion, and that coupled with the fact that I was losing dust removal by using NLP… I ended up just using Silverfast.

That said Silverfast as a software is very annoying until you get used to its quirks. And there is basically no useful documentation on how to use it. The Silverfast HDR studio is basically identical to the scanning software so no improvement there either… but being able to apply dust correction and color correction on a master file anytime after scanning is a great convenience. Once you get used to it though, I find it easier to get basic color conversions done with Silverfast than LR and NLP. NLP’s interface also runs laggy on my set up. Adjusting any sliders is a very laggy and annoying experience in NLP for me. Using the color picker tool is highly annoying in NLP as well as the thing magnifies to such a degree it is hard to see where your sample is coming from…

A note though, default Silverfast settings aren’t a one click one solution sort of thing… For my uses it took poking around at all the different negafix presets to find one that gave a good starting point. For example I ended up using Royal Gold 400 for my Kodak Gold 200 negatives… that said Neither is NLP a one click solution. So you’ll likely want to keep LR around for final editing regardless. Perhaps there is some combination of settings in NLP that would give me comparable results… but in my opinion it was just easier and way faster using Silverfast.

Also a note… I scan using silverfast’s 64bit HDRi files and thus I do not need to do any color correction during the scanning, which makes it easy because at scan time you have no settings except dpi to even change, it is all done afterwards. I also am still stuck on Silverfast 8.8 and have not upgraded to 9. The price is ridiculous for what I can tell is the exact same product. Silverfast is highly annoying for its price and the fact you need to buy upgrade licenses and buy a new license for each scanner you may use… It was for those reasons I initially didn’t want to support the company and tried to make the switch to NLP. But unfortunately for now, I get definitively better results with less tweaking and with way more time saved, using Silverfast.

Perhaps i’ll bite the bullet and get Silverfast HDR studio one day but paid for the v9 upgrade. But you are right neither is a one click solution and some fiddling and post processing is necessary to get results that are pleasing. Spending time to remove dust is also important but hard to get a clean scan.

I tried multiple-exposure in SF9 but found it made the image worse.

Do you use multiple-exposure?

I’ve scanned 11,000+ images so far, half of them negatives. I’m scanning with SF9 in positive mode with only iSRD and GANE turned on, saving as 16-bit tiffs, then processing to ‘positive’ with NLP.

much of my film is between 20 and 30 years old, and some of it has taken on tints. NLP makes it easy to get more natural colour with these images. getting the same colour with SF9 is very difficult.

I export the NLP images to 16-bit tiff, and import both the negative scan and the NLP positive into Capture One where I can make further edits if needed. I also sometimes edit with Pixelmator Pro and its Machine Language auto-adjust.

I’m keeping the negative scan images in case there are even bigger advancements in ‘processing’ negatives in the coming years. but 90% of my film is personal use only, so accurate colour is not necessary.

cheers, Gregory

Hi Gregory.

Have you tried to get good results from SF9 negative scan → export to TIFF → finish editing in some RAW editor (LR or alternative)?
Are the results worse than scan “positive” → export to TIFF → edit in NLP → finish editing in RAW editor (LR) ?

I’m using SF9, and needing to find a NegaFix profile that gave acceptable results involved a lot of clicking and messing around with colour controls. it’s a lot easier using NLP. I still need to make adjustments but it’s much easier.

much of my film has changed colour while it was in storage. in Hong Kong, the weather is very humid. we didn’t store the film in dry boxes, so a lot of it was affected by mould, and sometimes dust. regardless, some of the film changed tint while in storage, including some of our positive (slide) film. if the negative film has changed tint, the SF9 profiles are useless.

the only reason I have a subscription to Lightroom (or any Adobe product) is because I’m using NLP :grin::wink: