In analyzing diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, multi-tensor models address the limitations of the single diffusion tensor in situations of partial voluming and fiber crossings. However, selection of a suitable number of fibers and numerical difficulties in model fitting have limited their practical use. This paper addresses both problems by making spherical deconvolution part of the fitting process: We demonstrate that with an appropriate kernel, the deconvolution provides a reliable approximative fit that is efficiently refined by a subsequent descent-type optimization. Moreover, deciding on the number of fibers based on the orientation distribution function produces favorable results when compared to the traditional F-Test. Our work demonstrates the benefits of unifying previously divergent lines of work in diffusion image analysis.