Silkypix Version Confusion
I'm not sure how expensive the full cross platform pro version of Silkypix is, but have you considered Adobe Elements or Lightroom as an alternative? I have LR 4.3 and I prefer its RAW processing for my FZ200 to that of SP 5.0Pro. Granted, I do need to move the sliders around a bit as there is not a default setting like there is in SP5.0, but once I find a NR and sharpness setting that seems to work well for each ISO, I create a Preset and apply that to each subsequent Panasonic RAW image that I am processing.
AdobeCameraRAW, which comes with Lightroom, Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements (albeit a cut-down form in Elements) is a very good RAW development engine. I use Photoshop CS5 that has ACR running "process 2010" but I understand that the latest version in Photoshop CS6 (and Lightroom 4) use "process 2012", which is said to be a touch better than the already very good "process 2010".
I still use ACR for cameras other than the FZ200; for the FZ200 I use "Silkypix V5Pro for Panasonic Cameras".
A few of us lads from this forum performed some ACR development experiments with ACR (both "process 2010" & "process 2012"). The objective was to try to find "ideal" ACR NR/sharpening slider settings (presets) for each FZ200 ISO. Two main findings emerged:
1) The four expreimenters came up with often quite different "ideal" settings of ACR for the same picture/ISO. It became obvious that "ideal" really means "to individual taste". In other words, we all preferred a slightly different balance between noise and sharpness. In addition, we found that often quite large variations in our NR/sharpening ACR slider settings often produced a very similar-looking effect, especially at normal viewing levels.
2) One of our members found and tried "Silkypix V5Pro for Panasonic Cameras" then recommended the rest of us try it too, via the 30-day free trial. Despite our best efforts with ACR, all of us admitted that the default development by Silkypix V5 did a significantly better job than any of us could achieve manually with ACR, on the NR/sharpening front. At this point we decided to abandon our attempt to find & recommend "ideal" ACR NR/sharpening settings in favour of exploring Silkypix V5Pro.
BUT, as you intimate, some will still prefer ACR over Silkypix. As we discovered, it does come down to a matter of taste and personal preference. Nevertheless, I would say to any who are seeking an "ideal" RAW developer - try "Silkypix V5Pro for Panasonic Cameras" and (if you can) compare it's RAW development to that of ACR.
After all, both can be tried via free-trial periods - although I must mention that many have found it difficult to actually extract the free-trial version from the Adobe website. (See various posts in the PC-Talk forum). I failed to get the LR4 trial to download myself.
I prefer Silkypix V5Pro for two significant reasons:
1) It's NR/sharpening tools seem to offer a better chance of getting my "ideal" NR/sharpening balance.
2) It finds this balance automatically, although I can still tweak it if I want.
The only thing I don't like about Silkypix is the Japenglish manual, which seems to have been done with machine-translation from the Japanese and is therefore rather quirky, even obscure. I am attempting to put it into more familiar english - not a short-term task.
SirLataxe, RAW-bore extraordinaw.
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