Software Topaz will soon have a competitor to Nik Silver Effects Pro (SEP2).

Ray Sachs

Not too far from Philly
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you should be able to figure it out...
Ray, that is something I've been wondering about. Perhaps you and I can do a screen sharing iChat thing sometime and you can take a look.
I don't know anything about screen sharing or ichat. My guess is if you can't see it well on a smaller screen it probably has something to do with the screen size. Have you talked to the folks at Nik?



betwixt and between
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No, I haven't... Interestingly, Don said he noticed this as well on his iMac. I'll have to look more deeply into it, Ray, because I really like my X100 and miss using the SEP2.


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flysurfer I have SEP and Topaz B&W Effects. I do not Have SEP 2. I am curious what do you find less powerful and less sophisticated in Topaz. I know they do have a very different approach but …

SEP 2 just seems have more options, e.g. frames and edges and vignetting. Also, the look of SEP pics seems to be more refined. It's certainly a different look, and I find the SEP look more sophisticated.


Newcastle, Australia
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I am on a 15 inch MacBook Pro.

Mine is a 13" and I have hardly touched the iMac (20") since I bought the MBP. A larger screen will be wonderful of course, but I don't find it a great hardship to scroll around the smaller version with my mouse, using the preview in the bottom left to see what the full size will look like. Usually I only want to check a few areas which might be a bit dodgy. I guess the other thing I do is decide whether I am going to crop or not, and I do that at the start, as well as resizing for the web, so I am never trying to see a full 10-16Mp shot anyway.

If you don't resize, I can see how anything less than a 27" screen might be a pest.


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Brisbane, Australia
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I'm very interested because as much as I love SEP2, one can't see clear X100 images unless one zooms in 25%. For those who know SEP2 and have the X100 you will know what I mean.

I love the results from SEP2, but to be honest I try to spend as little time as possible inside it. It's actually surprising how much more refined Color Efex feels in comparison. For me I limit SEP2 to the application of the filter and burning only, mostly due to the quality of the image preview.


Yep, a black frame and a white frame. And less options for edges and vignettes.

Thanks flysurfer you have sparked my curiosity.

Compared with SEP Topaz is head and shoulder the winner but as I said I know very little of SEP 2

I decided to rectify that so yesterday I watched two hours of Nik Software educational videos about B&W conversion. Being very familiar with SEP the new changes and implementations in SEP 2 were of great interest. As a now Topaz user the videos were not at a waste as they presented some very good hints on B&W conversion in general.

I see what you mean about frames and I agree Nik is a head of Topaz on that one. By the way the frames for Topaz are not black or white but black and paper tone so toning has an effect on the boarder. I have been told by the development team of Topaz boarder additions will be added to in future free upgrades, but this maybe and is not now. I said before the Nik interface is very sophisticated looking. The addition of “History” is a wonderful feature and is much more convenient than Topaz’s “Snap”. On the other hand the inclusion of Zone support under the histogram and how they are implemented is a bit questionable. It is very cute Ansel Adams look but I suspect would slow down how I work. I find the use of brushes over control points far more intuitive, much faster, and more accurate. A few areas that Topaz shins are their handling of colour and adding more “Artistic” effects (oil, cartoon, sketch, posterization etc)

In the end, if I stick to traditional B&W conversion, I can get exactly the same effects from either program editing is faster in Topaz but conversion is quicker in Nik. So which one do I think is better? If they were the same price I would opt for Nik as I like they “History” feature over “Snap” in Topaz . At ⅓ the price it is a no brainer Topaz shines.. Although, If I had one or the other I wouldn’t change.

Both Nik and Topaz offers free trial I would urge people to take advantage of both offers.


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Since I own the complete suite of each company, I'm not in a position where I'd have to defend the one or the other. Practically, I do most of my stuff with Topaz now, because it works with iPhoto, which hosts my image library. However, if NIK worked with iPhoto, I'd probably do more with their suite, as I actually like their way of selecting image parts.

It's certainly nice to own both, since Topaz tends to have a certain "look" that I find quite attractive in combination with the cheap micro-sensor cameras I often use. Here are some examples I shot yesterday:

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As you can see, I'm using Topaz BW Effects for my color(!) work, as I found it can do more for me in that respect than Topaz Adjust. Here's more from yesterday:

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Again, I like the control the software gives me over COLOR. Ironic, but who cares, right?

Here's more examples from the day before, with a slightly different look:

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Finally, yet another take on color, this time for some pics I intend to use for the finale of my HS20 trip report:

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So for me, it's all about the "color timing" (hey, I have lived and worked in Hollywood for 7 years), and BW Effects is quickly becoming my favorite software to accomplish this. It's simple, it's intuitive, it's available and accessible, even in iPhoto, which small-sensor compact shooters like me tend to use quite often. I don't know wether the makers of this app even thought about what I am using it for. At least with NIK SEP 2, I never really thought about doing anything like that.

For comparison, here's some of my NIK SEP 2 stuff, which looks completely different. Different camera (X100), different workflow (mostly RAW), different software (Aperture and everything NIK has to offer):

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So, if not the subject, at least the software and workflow are quite different beasts. :wink: And so are the results. I love to try new stuff and to have options, that's why I followed the recommendation here and bought into Topaz. Hadn't even heard of that company before this thread.


betwixt and between
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Love those horses! I'll save my other comments for your travelogue.:wink:

Quick question - do the borders available on Topaz take away from the image at all, as they do on the NIK software?


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I have edited my post to include some SEP 2 stuff for comparison to illustrate that I don't regard or use SEP 2 and BW Effects as competing products. For me that would be like comparing a Corvette with a Hummer 2. Even though both are/were made by GM and may even cost about the same, they are completely different cars with different profiles. How could one possibly say which one is the "better" car, in an objective way?


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Thinking about it, I guess with NIK it's more about working with light. With Topaz, it's more about working with color.
But that's just me.


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But isn't that because you've chosen to use it for colour?

Of course. That's why I wrote:

But that's just me.

Then again, I have already done several B&W conversions with Topaz and posted them in this forum, hence no need to repost those files. ;) IMHO, the Topaz look is different from SEP2 in B&W, as well. However, it's hard to tell how much of a look is created by the software and how much by the user (who's always making choices, eventually settling on something he likes). With Topaz, I quickly found that I'm a fan of infrared and dynamic duo/quadruple tone filters.
Bill, thanks for the tip on the discounted price! I'm really liking how Topaz B+W handles images.
Shot this afternoon. Initial processing in LR then through CS to Topaz.

. . . David

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