I am now a believer. I just got back from a trip to Tokyo where I shot a several hundred photos in and around Shinjuku and Shibuya and using Adobe Lightroom edited them in color or B&W, based on my perception on how I thought each image worked. (initial edits, done on a color corrected laptop, are posted at http://www.pbase.com/troutco/tokyojuly2007).
You’ll see the B&W photos are each tinted, to my taste, based on how I felt the image worked (some have a warm tone, some a colder tone, some a neutral tone). Some of the photos are color with specific colors intentionally desaturated. So far, printing out proofs at home tonight, using an Epson R2400, on Costco $18.95 semi-glossy, using my PrintFIX PRO 2.0 extended color/B&W profile for the paper, (without any tweaking of the profile) they look very good. My cursory reviews of them in less than ideal lighting is very impressive. I don’t see any color casts, The toned colors look close enough to those on my desktop’s color profiled CRT and LCD to win a horseshoe contest.
I’ve always found printing to be a very iterative, time consuming and often not very rewarding process (probably one reason I do so little of it) and have never been pleased with the screen matching of the images and their printed form. Looking at these test prints, toned B&W and color, and proofing using the extended PFP2 profile, these are the closest matches I’ve ever seen between my output and my edits on screen.
There is a great deal of creative freedom being able to shoot, edit and render, and then print, all from Lightroom, without having to make a complicated science project out of process of generating B&W images. This was also my first serious use of Lightroom instead of the combination of Capture One Pro and Photoshop. The workflow was much more rapid, and flexible than I’ve had in the past and I could easily iterate edits in color, B&W, or both. Now that I’m back home, I can readily take any images that need more advanced sharpening, exposure or tonal adjustment or masking into Photoshop.