SOFTWARE ROUND- UP
Adobe's Photoshop, Elements and Lightroom, as well as Affinity Photo, offer fantastic controls for black & white editing, and that might be all you’ll ever need. However, there are some dedicated mono editing packages available, and they’re certainly worth a dabble…
NIK SILVER EFEX / FREE www. google. com/ nikcollection/ You don’t get much for free, but Nik Silver Efex Pro is an exception. As part of the discontinued Google Nik package, you can download it at zero cost. Silver Efex Pro is the top choice for many pros. There are more features, controls and presets than we can mention – it also supports TIFF editing, and ties in with Adobe software and Affinity Photo, allowing you to retain image quality and switch seamlessly between software.
MACPHUN TONALITY / £ 53 macphun. com/ tonality Tonality by Macphun is a powerful black & white editing software. But why would you pay when Silver Efex Pro is free? Well, Tonality offers a host of features missing from the Nik software – Raw processing, layers and masks, a wider range of presets, brushes, blend modes, and luminosity masking. That’s not to mention ongoing development, improvements and free support too. Tonality is, however, Mac- only at present.
DXO FILMPACK 5 / FROM £ 60 www. dxo. com If you want that vintage black & white film look in your images then DXO’S Filmpack is a great choice. There are two levels available – Essential (£ 60) and ELITE (£ 100), with only the ELITE offering Raw support, advanced colour controls for monochrome, highlight and shadow toning and almost double the number of bundled presets. Filmpack will run as either a standalone software, or as a plug- in within Adobe products.
TOPAZ B& W EFFECTS / USD$ 60 www. topazlabs. com/ bweffects Topaz’s monochrome offering has the most in common with Nik Silver Efex Pro, but with a price tag attached. However, Silver Efex Pro won’t be supported forever, and this is where B& W Effects really catches up. It’s easier to use than the Nik software too. Although there’s nothing here that can’t be achieved in Lightroom or Photoshop, Topaz B& W Effects makes life easy with plenty of nicely configured presets.