I downloaded the 15 day free trial of the lightroom plugin for Silver Efex Pro and decided to give it a go. It
is the most powerful tool for creating professional quality black and white images from your photographs.
The tool is pretty self explanatory but there is also a comprehensive user guide available.I picked a photo from my recent weekend in Margate which I thought would look good in black and white, and tried out some of the different settings.
The original: taken on a d80 at 9am in RAW format, edited in Lightroom using Auto Tone.There are a couple of main ways to do the editing, firstly from the pre-defined styles, which covers things like undexexposing, overexposing, pull process, push process, different filters, and even holga and pinhole. There is a neutral image always available to reset any settings.
Processed in Silver Efex Pro using the Pinhole style - makes it look like a moonlight shot.
Processed in Silver Efex Pro using the Soft Skin style.Some of the more interesting settings are using the stylistic qualities of 18 different black and white films.
Processed in Silver Efex Pro using the film emulator for Kodak ISO 32 Panatomic X.
Processed in Silver Efex Pro using the film emulator for Ilford Delta 100 Pro.This tool is definitely worth a download and play with and it gives a lot of predefined options for making some really impressive black and white images but I'm not sure I can justify the $199.95 price tag for a tool that'll be used now and again.