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Silver Efex Pro 2
Posted By: loco, 04-26-2012, 08:05 PM

I recently purchased Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2 after my free trial ran out. The software is expensive at $180 for a plug-in, but I have found that I can not come near its results on my own. I'm simply not too good at processing monochrome. Fortunately, I had an Amazon gift card balance that took care of most of the expense.

Many of you have this software already, but for those that don't, it's got great manual controls and also a good amount of presets included. I usually pick a preset I like and then tweak it with the manual controls if necessary. My favorite part is the "toning" section. Lots of control there, too, and great options like copper, sepia, coffee, selenium, etc.

Anyway, here are a few photos I've converted to monochrome using Silver Efex 2. Hope you like them and thanks very much for looking!

f/3.5, ISO 640



f/2, ISO 100



f/3.5, ISO 3200



f/2.5, ISO 100


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04-28-2012, 10:44 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sailor Quote
Nice job, Lori. That second shot (of the onion) is outstanding.

Jer
Thanks so much Jer! Glad you like them.

QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
Topaz is awesome. Nik is okay too, but honestly I think the Topaz is a better buy. I can do almost anything in Topaz that I can do in Nik and it's easier actually.
I like Nik.

04-28-2012, 10:54 AM   #17
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These pictures all look very good to me, especially the last. I've seen impressive results from this software elsewhere but have not bought it yet - because of the price.

Question though.... is there any point to shooting in B&W anymore? Does good PP in Silver Efex on a color image yield results that are just as good as an original B&W capture + PP? Did you compare Silver Efex to other software, such as converting to B&W in Photoshop and then taking it into Topaz Adjust for example?
04-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeoJerry Quote
These pictures all look very good to me, especially the last. I've seen impressive results from this software elsewhere but have not bought it yet - because of the price.

Question though.... is there any point to shooting in B&W anymore? Does good PP in Silver Efex on a color image yield results that are just as good as an original B&W capture + PP? Did you compare Silver Efex to other software, such as converting to B&W in Photoshop and then taking it into Topaz Adjust for example?
Thanks very much for your kind words, GeoJerry!

I'm sure others are more qualified to answer your questions. But here's my take. In my opinion, there's really no point shooting black and white. I thought I'd once read to shoot in color and then convert to b/w later because you capture more data? Maybe that's wrong.

I compared Silver Efex to the various presets in Lightroom and strongly prefer SEFX. I compared it to just doing it manually myself in Lightroom or Photoshop Elements and much prefer SEFX. No, I have not used Topaz. I'm sure it's great, but having used SEFX, I can't imagine it being better. Nik has so many controls if you want to do things manually, but also lots of presets if you just want to let the software do it for you. And the toning is really cool.

I'm sure you can't go wrong with either.
04-28-2012, 04:07 PM   #19
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Tone range in the shoes is great, but the cat is the winning image for me in this set. The texture rendering in the white hair of his collar, from some near blank white to well-defined individual hairs is especially satisfying. He's (she's?) also a handsome fellow (lady?).

04-28-2012, 05:06 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Tone range in the shoes is great, but the cat is the winning image for me in this set. The texture rendering in the white hair of his collar, from some near blank white to well-defined individual hairs is especially satisfying. He's (she's?) also a handsome fellow (lady?).
Thanks so much! So pleased you like it. That's a boy, and I'll be sure to tell him you think he's a handsome fellow.
04-29-2012, 08:15 AM   #21
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The second shot makes onion look beautiful. Kings and their horses looks amazing as well.
04-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brownie Quote
The second shot makes onion look beautiful. Kings and their horses looks amazing as well.
Thanks very much for those nice comments, Brownie! Glad you like them!
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