DxO Filmpack - 256 schades of gray


I was listening to a recorded webinar from Hector Martinez about DxO FilmPack 5 dated from Jan 2015.

On this webinar he says that DxO Filmpack is the only software on the market that supports 256 shades of gray and that most other black and white conversion software on the market only supports 156 shades of gray (including Nic Silver Efex Pro).

See the YouTube webinar on 0:24 and on 43:20.

I know this webinar dates from Jan 2015 (almost 7 years ago) but I wonder if this is still the case today.

I would expect that DxO FP 6 still supports 256 shades of gray but what about Silver Efex Pro in the latest Nik Collection 4.

Does this mean that DxO FP is a better Black and white convector than Silver Efex?

I was searching on the web about the importance of the shades of gray in black and white conversion but I did not find mush about that.

Does this this makes a big difference in black and white photo editing?

Do you know where I can find examples showing the difference between an image in 256 and 156 shades of gray?


Daniel Kuppens

(DxO PL 5, DxO FP 5, NiK 4)

I think somewhere in all that is some marketing hype. All on-screen images are based on 8-bit or 256 shades. I have never, in 30 years of software engineering, heard of of a 156 shade rendering, which comes somewhere just above 7-bits or 128 shades.

Anyway, why bother with using external apps like Silver Efex when when you can have a complete, all-in-one B&W workflow with PL5 and FP6 integrated?

Because it’s been the experience of some (including me) that Silver Efex Pro can produce more pleasing results and has some adjustment abilities that are more interesting. It’s fairly easy to get a good result with Silver Efex Pro - maybe easier than with FilmPack integrated into PhotoLab.


If that is the case, it would be interesting to set up a challenge from a common file, to see if there really is a difference :nerd_face:


It is still unclear to me whether FilmPack will allow you to develop images identically to Silver Efex Pro. However what is clear is that it is faster and far easier to develop black and white photos in Silver Efex Pro.Pro.


Does this mean that both software packages DxO FP and SEP can work with 256 shades of gray?

Work with, absolutely - all graphical apps work in, at least, an 8 bit colour space, with some working with 16-bit files.

I think the confusion is that what he is saying is that other software’s B&W emulations may only be based on sampling the original film at only 156 shades - which, to my mind, is being just a bit naughty and may be stretching reality.