In a move seemingly just for folks like us, Google has reduced the price of the entire Nik image software suite from $499 to just $149. [UPDATE: See the comments for coupon codes allegedly giving further savings. Also, if you purchased one of the programs recently they'll give you the rest for free, I'm told. —Ed.] This comes with an assurance from Google that the famous imaging tools aren't going to be abandoned (Google acquired Nik last fall—primarily, it was widely believed, to get Snapseed. That left the fate of the rest of Nik's products not in limbo but in doubt.)
The present offer includes Nik's famous Sharpener (the latest Pro 3 version) originally based on Bruce Fraser's excellent book. [CORRECTION: Whoops! This is wrong. It was Pixel Genius PhotoKit Sharpener ($99.95) that was based on Bruce's ideas. Thanks to David Mantripp for setting that straight. —Mike.]
I've only used Sharpener and Silver Efex Pro 2, the B&W conversion tool, but Nik software is prized by a great many photographers and post-processing ninjas.
The download process is efficient and quick and loads right into your applicable programs (as plugins in Photoshop CS6 for me—with Lightroom too I'm told).
To see more go to the opening page of the Nik Software site or just Google "Nik software."
(Thanks to Kevin Purcell)
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Stephen Scharf: "As a registered Siver Efex Pro 2 customer, I can confirm that just sent me a link to download the rest of the suite for free."