Software plugins unnecessary for B&W?
I own Lightroom , Photoshop CS6 and Apple Aperture (which I use less and less). I don't currently own any other post-production software. I am a lifelong serious amateur photographer, but I only recently started trying to get really serious about black and white printing.
At one point in time earlier in the history of digital photography, specialty products like Nik's Silver Efex Pro were considered to be extremely useful for B&W. However, with the continual improvements in primary products like Lightroom and Photoshop, I wonder if it still makes sense to invest in Nik software at this point. Does it really make B&W any easier now in 2013 with LR4 and CS6? What does it do for me that Lightroom+Photoshop doesn't?
I realize anything can be done in Photoshop if you're willing to invest the time. But I value my time, and if Silver Efex makes anything easier I would spend the money to buy it. The problem I see is twofold. One, I think Lightroom now does 90% of what a photographer needs, and for the other 10%, there is always Photoshop. The other problem of course is that the Google acquisition has put the whole future of Nik software in doubt. Since I'm not already a Nik software user, I'm not sure I want to start putting money into it now. If I had gotten into this 5 years ago I would probably have concluded differently then of course.
I realize nobody has anything but opinions on the future of Nik and we are all in the same boat as far as knowing what the future holds. But what about the usability factor? Is Silver Efex Pro 2 still worth buying given what I already have? I'm most interested in hearing from people who like myself have Lightroom and/or Photoshop. If I didn't own these products already I would be asking a completely different question.