I wrote a while back about a possible B&W workflow here. Here’s another possible workflow, by Gary Tyson, via Eric Kim‘s website. The article / video is here.
Tyson is addressing the X-T1, but remember, this is exactly the same sensor and engine as in several X-Series cameras and almost exactly the same as in several others – so it will apply across the board, and of course the principle can be modified easily to suit the files of other makers too.
This workflow is also presented as Lightroom / Silver Efex Pro 2 specific, but the general principle of flattening your image can be done in Aperture or Photoshop if that’s what you’re using with Silver Efex Pro.*
Early in the discussion in the comments section underneath the video, someone gives the actual settings Tyson uses to make the ‘super-flat’ preset, which is useful and helps to set your own starting point.
I don’t really like the contrasty results Tyson goes for, but that’s fine – it’s all subjective. However, note that by choosing a different film / grain setting in the last step of the Silver Efex Pro stage, you will get a different final result. For example, the more moderate Agfa APX Pro 100 or Fuji Neopan ACROS 100 will result in a more moderate and natural look well suited for portraits and the like. Of course, choosing a different preset altogether or making your own from scratch for the first step in the Silver Efex Pro stage will also give (often vastly) different results.
Still using yesterday’s work from the previous post, below are three B&W conversions of the same file. The first uses Tyson’s method and settings pretty much exactly. The second also uses his method and settings, except for film / grain being set to Agfa APX Pro 100. The final image is the same as the second, except that it lacks the post Silver Efex Pro processing stage in Lightroom (i.e. straight from Silver Efex Pro without anything else added or changed).
* as I’ve mentioned before, somewhere or other, I generally go for a flat-ish file when converting in Capture One Pro, for similar reasons of providing a flexible, detail rich file
Typed with a little revelatory help from Gillian Welch (suitably B&W too)