David, just a passing comment on this piece of your post - when I wrote the article, LSI in my mind was never "on" anything which I in partticular needed to let them "off" of. If you go back and check the context and purpose of the article that should be clear. I should also clarify that the features I wrote-up in the article ARE either new or improved relative to what existed at the time of my previous articles on SilverFast in February 2006. Whether these features are "meaningful" or worth paying for, of course is a subjective evaluation to be made by the user. Obviously some people would find them more or less worthwhile than others, and - OK - you've stated your view!
Well this ties in with you not getting into the merits or otherwise of value for money - which is absolutely your right. But you article does encourage people to go for the full "HDR" workflow, and I do think some debate of this is justified.
It is a difficult elephant to ignore in the room: if they just added (dare I say "enabled") code to reopen 48/64bit HDR scans in AI Studio, there would be no need for Silverfast HDR. And since a license for HDR costs pretty much the same as one for AI - which itself is tied to one model of scanner, unlike Vuescan, in my opinion we are verging on "outrageous", especially as the only real reason (in my opinion) to use HDR at all is to add flexibility to the workflow. You can scan in 48 bit color mode and treat that pretty much as an archival scan.
My scanner doesn't support iSRD, therefore I can't judge, but frankly if iSRD does work well, it is the first new "feature" in Silverfast to do so in quite some time. Look at their last headline feature, multisampling - I doubt you'd find many people happy with it. It simply doesn't work.
I could tolerate Silverfast's pricing as the inevitable result of a shrinking market and diminishing revenue if I could see some evidence that they respond to user feedback rather than just pile on gimmick after gimmick. The UI is an absolute disgrace - there is NO reason you need to click 5 times to enable iSRD other than pure designer/developer laziness, incompetence and lack of investment in the software. How much does it suck that, for example, the "Eject Slide Holder" button is tiny and sits right next to the "focus" button, which itself includes a quite unique UI widget - the focus mode flyout menu - yes, a flyout from a button!
It's been this way for _years_ - really, is the codebase so godawful that they can't fix it, or can they just not be bothered ?
(tongue in cheek mode on)
I do note you're using Windows ... maybe you're more tolerant of appalling UI design
(tongue in cheek mode off)
Fixing the UI would go a long way to improving and speeding up workflow. Adding a "reopen" feature, and filling HDR as a separate application, would together make for a valid and justifiable version 7 at a reasonable upgrade price. Just piling on new features in a way that would embarrass even Photoshop Marketing is going to kill them.
Just to be clear: I am a regular user of Silverfast AI, and I believe it is the best solution on the market. It can produce wonderful results if you stick with it. But the tragedy is both the software and the company (I'm thinking of the very cranky attitude of LSI support staff here) have vast room for improvement.