Silver Efex v Filmpack 5

I am an enthusiast photographer who started using Nik back when it was free as a plug in with Photoshop Elements. I have since moved to DXO Photolab as my primary processing but keep PSE for more major edits. Of course I still use Nik and love Silver Efex.
I notice many others are using Filmpack for B&W. I have downloaded the trial and after a bit of a play, can’t see why I would move to FP from Efex. As far as I can tell, FP offers processing for colour and mono, manages RAW, and is integrated to Photolab.
Efex just seems to be easier to achieve my desired effect even though its TIFF and runs externally. I can achieve colour effects with Color Efex and and Analog Efex.
Am I missing something?

I think it’s a personal choice. I do very little B&W photography, but have used both FilmPack and Silver Efex on images to compare results. I like both, though not equally. FilmPack + PhotoLab gives me an all-in-one toolset that, while different from the Nik Collection, has rewarded my patience. However, I tend to agree that Silver Efex gets me where I want to be faster and sometimes with a better result. Color Efex is uniquely useful. I don’t have much experience with Analog Efex.

I take it from your post that you have the Nik collection and are considering buying Filmpack. As far as B&W goes, IMO Silver Efex can’t be beat for quality of output for a digital file. I can take my time and get every nuance done to my liking. For a quick film emulation, without going through the TIFF middleman Filmpack is a great solution and the FP B&W film emulations are quite good. I’m an old darkroom film photographer and appreciate good B&W digital emulations. However, FP 5 Elite is much more than just film emulations. In particular, the extra control of contrast with the advanced contrast sliders is IMO crucial to the proper operation of Photolab. When I was trialing the software I trialed the whole suite and decided to buy PL3 and Viewpoint 3 but wait on getting FP. That was a mistake. PL3 was not the same program without FP elite. I could not match my results that I achieved with FP without it. These contrast sliders work in concert with the selective tone sliders in PL and they are vital to the correct operation of ST. They also work on B&W emulations for small adjustments before sending the file to Silver Efex. I could not imagine using PL4 without FP5 elite. It’s just not the same program.


They both have their uses. Filmpack gives great quality, authentic film simulations. Silver Efex does the same plus lots of options for working with contrast, brightness etc. If you’ve never clicked the expand button below the contrast slider, for example, try it next time you use Silver Efex. The dynamic contrast option gives levels of control over the finished image that simply aren’t possible in Filmpack.

Another valuable side-benefit from having a Film Pack license alongside PhotoLab is that some extra contrast settings are then available - Like this: image image … The “magic wand” makes it auto-adaptable by image.

Whether this is worth the entry price, tho, is another question.

John M

As others pointed out FP is for your editing capability a plus even when you never use the Film emulations.
I am a very very bad B&W, monochrome editor. And the list of choices in FP and NIK Silver efex is that wide i got lost in the choice. :sweat_smile:

But i played with it in both and found NIk SE more nicer look can deliver in the different presets.
The different user interface doesn’t help either when you not much edit in NIK and alot in DxOPL. But i think that that’s no problem for you.

Conclusion FP is a great add to PL even when you still use NIK SE. :grin:

First, the initial “mini-review”: I recently purchased both PL4 Elite and FP5 Elite and so far, DeepPRIME has helped saved some old high-ISO images I previously thought beyond help. Amazing–basically a FF killer as the one borderline advantage FF had over MFT is now effectively neutralized! I’ve found the UI to be very intuitive and the tools very effective. Now, the question: In addition to the DxO products in question, I also have Corel AfterShot Pro 3 and PaintShop Pro 2020–is there any reason to also get NIK Collection 3 or is there too much redundancy with the other programs to justify the cost? It would be nice if DxO would offer a price break for existing customers! I see that they now offer “mini-bundles” of two of these programs but not one for PL4 Elite/FP5 Elite/NIK 3. You say “FP is a great add to PL even when you still use NIK SE” but would you say that “NIK3 is a great add to PL and FP5?” Thanks.

I find the Nik Collection a useful addition, even though I only use about half of it and not very often. But I don’t have experience with AfterShot or PaintShop. And you might have needs and opinions I don’t. So I think the best way to answer this is to try the Nik Collection free for 30 days - or download the repackaged Google version (from 2012) that’s still available free of charge:

Is it still possible to get the free download version of the Nik Collection? – Customer Support (

Personally, if you like PL4 and FP5, then NIK is certainly worth a trial as it is also pretty intuitive and uses very similar controls. Saves me quite a bit of time that things take using a pixel editor to accomplish the same goal.


Nik Silver Efex is by far my favourite tool for B&W and prefer it to FP5 Elite.
Try it out ! :slight_smile:

have fun, Wolfgang