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Author Topic: Rag paper, why use it?  (Read 7166 times)
feppe
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« on: August 12, 2007, 04:00:53 PM »
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I just finished watching the excellent From Paper To Print tutorial - thanks for the non-DRM downloadable format! -, and didn't get an answer to the question I was dying to learn: why would I want to use rag/matter paper? Michael and Jeff touch upon it in the tutorial, but don't offer a "real" answer outside of the tactile feeling rag paper has. Is that it?

When I tried matte papers I was quite disappointed about the muted blacks - many of my photographs are urban night-time long exposures, and really benefit from deep, rich blacks. But obviously a lot of fine art printers use rag paper. What am I missing?
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2007, 04:40:45 PM »
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It's all a matter of taste, and of application. If your prints are going to be framed behind glass or acrylic then you should likely go with a resin coated paper. If they will be experienced directly, ie: held in the hand, then the look and feel of a fine art rag paper is likely preferable.

A new generation of papers coming this Fall will offer the high Dmax of photo papers with the tradition look and feel of traditional silver gelatin papers. We've had a few attempts before, but a couple of these new papers really seem to have nailed it. Watch for them. There will be reviews here within the next couple of months.

Michael
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feppe
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2007, 04:47:25 PM »
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A new generation of papers coming this Fall will offer the high Dmax of photo papers with the tradition look and feel of traditional silver gelatin papers. We've had a few attempts before, but a couple of these new papers really seem to have nailed it. Watch for them. There will be reviews here within the next couple of months.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=132863\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That does sound promising. I really enjoyed the texture and the matte surface of the rag paper samples I got when I was choosing my papers - especially with B&W - but just couldn't deal with the weak blacks.
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Avalan
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2007, 05:51:29 PM »
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You can find Fine Art papers with satin or pearl coatings which are designed to get photo blacks . Many paper manufacturers have produced this line of Fine Art papers. You need to chose the proper media type for profiling and printing ( and not Fine Art or Matte media type ) in order to let the printer to use photo blacks.

Some examples from Hahnemuhle papers : Photo Rag Satin , Photo Rag Pearl and Fine Art Pearl.

Very nice to hear from Michael that new generation of papers will be introduced soon.

Avalan
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SteveZ
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2007, 06:17:41 PM »
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I just finished watching the excellent From Paper To Print tutorial - thanks for the non-DRM downloadable format! -, and didn't get an answer to the question I was dying to learn: why would I want to use rag/matter paper? Michael and Jeff touch upon it in the tutorial, but don't offer a "real" answer outside of the tactile feeling rag paper has. Is that it?

When I tried matte papers I was quite disappointed about the muted blacks - many of my photographs are urban night-time long exposures, and really benefit from deep, rich blacks. But obviously a lot of fine art printers use rag paper. What am I missing?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=132852\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Another super paper I use which I'd suggest you try is Crane's Museo Silver Rag.
I showed one my prints to a photographer associate of mine who's been shooting and processing film for over 40 years and he couldn't believe how close it resembled a silver print made in a wet darkroom.
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rdonson
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2007, 06:36:48 PM »
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That does sound promising. I really enjoyed the texture and the matte surface of the rag paper samples I got when I was choosing my papers - especially with B&W - but just couldn't deal with the weak blacks.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=132864\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What papers and printer were you testing on?  Just curious as there is wide selection of matte papers currently available.
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[span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'][span style='font-family:Arial'][span style='font-family:Geneva'][span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%']Regards,
Ron[/span][/span][/span][/span]
feppe
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2007, 12:40:50 AM »
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What papers and printer were you testing on?  Just curious as there is wide selection of matte papers currently available.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=132874\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I got samplers of Hahnemühle and Red River papers. Perhaps the issue was - as suggested - that I used matte paper type in printer profile settings. Or perhaps the reason was dye inks of the Canon i9900.
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scott_dobry
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2007, 08:12:49 AM »
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2x for Silver Rag.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2007, 09:37:00 AM »
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Pardon my ignorance on the subject...when are prints typically handled directly?  I just haven't run accross that yet I guess.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2007, 09:45:35 AM »
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Pardon my ignorance on the subject...when are prints typically handled directly?  I just haven't run accross that yet I guess.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=132983\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

e.g., boxed portfolio prints.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2007, 09:46:35 AM »
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Ah!  Nope, haven't done that yet.
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Brian Gilkes
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2007, 05:33:36 PM »
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Michaels comment is enigmatic and tantalising. One of the great things about this new technology is new papers. What luxury! The trouble is many are disappointing and don't live up to the hype.
A few points
* Rag papers (any surface) are made from cotton. Most of the rest are made from wood. Cotton is   generally regarded as  having better archival properties but it depends on how wood is processed. Getting rid of the lignin and other impurities in wood is expensive and not good for environment. No one asks where the wood comes from or how much water and pesticide the cotton uses. There are other fibres, e.g. kozo, gampi, hemp (such as in Awagami papers)  and others. For gloss and close to gloss there are also synthetics (as in Pictorico gloss).
* Behind glass on acrylic the difference between photo type and matte type diminishes. All the same the qualities of both can be seen with good glass and framing. A paper with true deckle edges floating behind optically clear glass looks pretty swish.
* I don't care  if the new papers look like silver gelatine papers or not. I am interested in if they can reveal fine detail, tonal gradations, wide colour gamut and deep blacks. I want the whites to look white, neutral or warm- not green or fluorescent blue. I want papers that resist scuffing and kinking.
I want papers that look the same under household fluoros , diffuse daylight or gallery lighting.
*An increasing number of prints are not displayed behind glass or plastic. This is especially appicable for prints above 1mx1m. I have printed up to 7.5 squ. meters  and the demand for big prints - selling so far up to $15,000- is increasing. These are not framed in the old 19th or 20th century manner, but pinned, held with magnets or adhered to surfaced metals or  other materials.
In these cases the surface characteristics of the paper is very important.
* New inks , dithering patterns , nozzle size etc. are all important in determining "look" of prints.
Paper coatings have an enormous influence.
* Individual taste is fascinating. I have papers some artists insist on as without peer, and the same paper is totally rejected by others as complete rubbish.
Cheers,
Brian,
www.pharoseditions.com.au
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AndyF2
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2007, 07:12:26 PM »
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I want papers that look the same under household fluoros , diffuse daylight or gallery lighting.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=133060\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I appreciate what the frustrations I think you're describing,  taking great pains to balance and print the image perfectly and then having the future owner exhibit it in murky or inadequate light   !  I was at one point thinking I would want someone to take home a range of small test prints and tell me which one looked good in the illumination of their home, before selling them a final print.

But paper that self-adjusts to the white balance of the room lighting ??  That's a fascinating idea.

Andy
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mkfitz
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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2007, 09:55:54 PM »
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It's all a matter of taste, and of application. If your prints are going to be framed behind glass or acrylic then you should likely go with a resin coated paper. If they will be experienced directly, ie: held in the hand, then the look and feel of a fine art rag paper is likely preferable.

A new generation of papers coming this Fall will offer the high Dmax of photo papers with the tradition look and feel of traditional silver gelatin papers. We've had a few attempts before, but a couple of these new papers really seem to have nailed it. Watch for them. There will be reviews here within the next couple of months.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=132863\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Would one of those new papers that seem to have nailed it be the Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta that was recently announced?

Michael (new to the forum)
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2007, 06:52:31 AM »
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I just finished watching the excellent From Paper To Print tutorial - thanks for the non-DRM downloadable format! -, and didn't get an answer to the question I was dying to learn: why would I want to use rag/matter paper? [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=132852\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I know exactly why I use matte paper: I can easily see everything that got printed without glare and reflections. It is fine to measure DMax with a spectrophotometer and observe that non-matte papers have higher DMax readings, but when you look at the prints on most of these non-matte papers you need to do so at an angle which minimizes glare and reflections, otherwise the depth of black that is latent in the image get diluted by glare and reflections. One paper I've tried which is good compromise - because it has the high DMax and a surface texture which minimizes glare and reflection is Innova F Type Gloss Black Max. I know this paper is not to everyone's taste - has been described by one author on this website as "naugahyde" - but I think it is a good solution for those special images that need the really high DMax with a minimum of glare and reflections.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
madmanchan
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« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2007, 07:07:08 AM »
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I agree, Mark. Other similar papers are Innova FibaPrint White Semi-Matte and Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Pearl (the former has OBAs, the latter doesn't). Both similar to the paper you mentioned, but with slightly less of a sheen.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2007, 08:08:23 AM »
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I agree, Mark. Other similar papers are Innova FibaPrint White Semi-Matte and Hahnemuehle Photo Rag Pearl (the former has OBAs, the latter doesn't). Both similar to the paper you mentioned, but with slightly less of a sheen.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=133604\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Eric, yes, I've compared results between Innova F-Type and HPR-Pearl. Subject to the differences you mention they are quite comparable - really a matter of taste whether one uses the one or the other; however on very close inspection I found tonal separation in deep shadow areas is SLIGHTLY (and I mean SLIGHTLY) better revealed in the Innova.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
madmanchan
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« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2007, 09:15:18 AM »
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Hi Mark,

In addition, I also found that the d-max of the Innova White Gloss (a.k.a. F-Type Gloss) is quite a bit better (both visually and measurably) than the HPR. Naturally, whether this actually matters depends on the image itself ...
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2007, 09:41:23 AM »
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Hi Mark,

In addition, I also found that the d-max of the Innova White Gloss (a.k.a. F-Type Gloss) is quite a bit better (both visually and measurably) than the HPR. Naturally, whether this actually matters depends on the image itself ...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=133631\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks Eric, that's interesting and confirms my visual observations. "Depends on the image itself." is the key - thank goodness not all images need this extent of DMax - that paper is costly and heavy, not to speak of the cumbersome and expensive business of switching between Matte and Gloss inks in an Epson 4800. Fortunately the 3800 resolves most of that, but I seem to recall seeing material to the effect that there have been reported problems profiling and getting good results with Innova F-Type in the 3800. Have you come accross such issues?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
madmanchan
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2007, 11:53:28 AM »
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Hi Mark,

No issues here with profiling the Innova papers on my 3800. I haven't tried the Innova-supplied profiles, since I usually build custom profiles. When printing on White Gloss on the 3800, I found that the best Media Type in the driver was Premium Glossy for both RGB mode and ABW mode in the driver. I leave the Color Density slider at its default value of 0. For RGB mode, I read a d-max of about 2.2 and in ABW mode it jumps up to about 2.5, which is amazing. Color gamut is about the same as Premium Luster, which is already quite wide.

Two issues that I've seen when printing on glossy stock on the 3800 are:

1. Pizza wheel marks on the ejection rollers. No word from Epson on fixing this. I have found a workaround, though, which involves placing the printing sheet on a thick piece of backing paper of the same size (e.g., 2-ply mat board) and feeding the combo to the Front Feed (instead of the Rear Feed). Yeah it's a pain, and you can't do borderless this way (which doesn't bother me, since I never do borderless), but the plus is that the Front Feed doesn't use the pizza wheel ejection rollers at all, so the results are completely free of pizza wheel marks.

2. Rough transitions in the deep green-yellows and the deep magenta-reds. The print becomes noticeably "grainy" in these specific color ranges when using the Epson driver. I'm not sure whether it's a 3800-specific issue or a driver-specific issue. No solution for this yet. I want to try ImagePrint to see if it makes a difference but the Windows demo version won't print (this is intentional, unfortunately). Some might call the graininess pixel-peeping on my part but frankly it can get pretty bad in some cases ... it affects all glossy stock I've seen so far, some more than others. Never happened to me with the older 2200 and UltraChrome, regardless of whether I was using ImagePrint 6 Lite or the Epson driver.
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