Another Tuesday and another photo for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness. I picked this photo of hazelnuts I took last week. Currently we have lots of hazelnuts in our garden. Most of them are already laying on the ground waiting to be collected.
Today’s post is a little bit different, because I let different kind of imaging software run against each other. So, who are the competitors?
First of all: my regular raw developing software Capture NX2 for the color image. It’s the source for this comparison and you can see it at the end of this post. I also used it for a first monochrome conversion, although I usually don’t use this feature of Capture NX2.
Next, my favorite bw-tool Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. In this comparison I used it twice: the plugin for Photoshop CS6 and the standalone version.
The third competitor is (at least for me) the new kid on the block: MacPhun Tonality Pro, that is also usable as a stand-alone software and as a plugin for Photoshop.
The last competitor is Photoshop CS6 without any plugin.
There are really huge differences between the competitors. While Nik can only work with TIF or JPG-Images, Tonalitiy Pro is able to handle Photoshop PSD files as well as native Nikon and Canon Raw files. So, you don’t need another kind of software for your raw development. Another pro for Tonality Pro is the native file format, that stores your complete history with layers just like Photoshop would do. Silver Efex Pro depends on Photoshop for this. Thus, running the standalone version is only a quick-fix-tool. For a straight workflow you definitely need Photoshop and run Silver Efex Pro as a plugin.
Native Photoshop is in my opinion the weakest conversion. Silver Efex and Tonality, both produce very good results with only minimal differences.
Both, Silver Efex Pro and Tonality Pro, come with a bunch of presets organized in several groups. And both can save your own presets. But only Tonality Pro can handle RAW files, can save your editing history and does not depend on Photoshop.
Just in case you want to produce high quality monochrome versions of your photos, I’d recommend giving Tonality Pro a try. There’s a demo version available for free.