SOFT­WARE ROUND- UP

Digital SLR Photography - - The Beginner ’s Guide -

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.

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