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Author Topic: Fine Art Paper comparisons  (Read 7648 times)
MichaelEzra
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« on: November 10, 2008, 09:12:21 AM »
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I am trying to find the best paper for printing color landscape work on archival media using Epson K3 inks. Landscape images as viewed on NEC2690WXi monitor (93% of aRGB) have brilliant color, yet when printed using MK inks everything is muted, though, as expected, of course.

Currently I am using soft-proofing in photoshop to evaluate icc profiles of various papers for Epson K3 inks. I wonder if there is any software tool that would allow to quantitate the differences.

I searched the net for any meaningful comparison of printing gamuts of various papers (without OBA as a preference) and did not really find anything. So, if you happen to have any insight, I would very much appreciate any information you may share.

Thank you,

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routlaw
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2008, 11:14:09 AM »
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Quote from: MichaelEzra
I am trying to find the best paper for printing color landscape work on archival media using Epson K3 inks. Landscape images as viewed on NEC2690WXi monitor (93% of aRGB) have brilliant color, yet when printed using MK inks everything is muted, though, as expected, of course.

Michael

There could be several things at work here. For what ever reason monitor software usually encourages you to create an LCD monitor luminance value that I feel is far too high resulting in images of intensity the likes of which no printer on the planet can match. I have the NEC 2190uxi and while its a great monitor, Eye One Match recommends a Luminance value of 120 which to my eyes is off the charts far too bright and intense to match prints with. So before getting to discouraged with media I would recommend you re-profile your monitor luminance value of 80 or 90 and then make some comparisons. You might find your expectations change after doing this.

FWIW I photograph & proof paintings just about every day of the week and have to be very critical matching monitor and proofs using matt papers usually. I keep my NEC around a luminance of 80 and for the most part it works out pretty well and that is with a very bright setup for viewing the paintings with, a bank of daylight florescent's mixed with a track of Solux daylight MR 16's all with a 90+ CRI rating.

That out of the way you did not mention what type of paper you prefer, gloss, satin or matt. In the last year or so a number of companies such as Harman, Hahnamuehle, Crane to name a few have developed 100% cotton rag papers with coatings that really do mimic the look and feel a true silver gelatin print and with dmax ratings to equal them, well almost. So far with the papers I have experimented with the Harman Gloss FB seems to be the paper that has the most color gamut, with Cranes Museo Silver Rag close behind. But Hahnamuehle also has some very nice new papers as well. If you want to stick with matt based papers IMO it gets a bit trickier and more difficult. Once again I love the look and feel of the Harman Matt FB which has a by far the nicest tactile feel of any matt paper I have come across, very luxurious look and feel but it will not display color gamut like the glossy version.

No doubt you will get other suggestions for papers which I have not dealt with, but I can't recommend enough at least starting with the above three paper companies.

Hope this helps.

Rob
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008, 06:05:41 AM »
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Dear Rob,

Thank you for the feedback. My LCD is calibrated at luminance of 115, so it is brighter than the paper. It is sad that one would have to dim the display and detriment the displayed image to conform to the limitations of the output technology.

Since I prefer paper without OBA, I think Silver Rag may be a better choice. I compared the gamut of the ICC profiles of Silver Rag with Museo Max, and Silver rag is significantly wider, also providing much richer blacks. Something of concern is bronzing and gloss differencial on Silver Rag. Do you have any experience with this?

Thanks again,

Michael
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 06:06:27 AM by MichaelEzra » Logged

routlaw
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 08:26:04 AM »
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Quote from: MichaelEzra
Dear Rob,

Thank you for the feedback. My LCD is calibrated at luminance of 115, so it is brighter than the paper. It is sad that one would have to dim the display and detriment the displayed image to conform to the limitations of the output technology.

Since I prefer paper without OBA, I think Silver Rag may be a better choice. I compared the gamut of the ICC profiles of Silver Rag with Museo Max, and Silver rag is significantly wider, also providing much richer blacks. Something of concern is bronzing and gloss differencial on Silver Rag. Do you have any experience with this?

Thanks again,

Michael

That was one of the main things I liked about Silver Rag, it does not exhibit any bronzing on my printer but then neither do any of the Harman papers. The Hahnamuehle however did exhibit a tad bit of bronzing, however I have talked with a few other printers recently who said that was not the case with their newer printers. As far as I know the Harman papers do not have OBA, not sure about Photo Rag and many of the Hahn... papers however. I have worked with the Museo Max and it is a nice paper for sure, but will also say it might not be the best paper for doing your b&w's. Even the folks at Colorburst once told me this is a tricky paper to work with and profile. Yet I have never had that problem with Silver Rag, go figure.

Without a doubt I think an L value of 115 is way to bright, but once you get used to working with a lower Luminance it will be fine and dare I say it easier on your eyes to boot.

Good luck.

Rob
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2008, 08:31:22 AM »
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This suggestion is going to sound crazy I know because it goes against everything you hear about backgrounds (ie: neutral gray, etc).  I have an apple 30 inch display and my luminance is set (last i checked) at around 119 or so. (I used to keep my sony CRT at around 80 or 90 however).  With this said, I have found all my image files look great on my monitor but when I print they are too dark, requiring a lot of re printing.  I tried something and it has worked wonders for me.  In both Lightroom and Photoshop I set my background to pure white, not middle gray.  When I'm looking at my images against this white background that previously looked good against gray, they look dull.  I go in with exposure, brightness, curves, white and black point adjustments and they end up looking really good on my first printing on white paper.  Try it, might work for you.  I'm not saying you don't have to soft proof in Photoshop but try a white background for your image edits and see if this makes any difference.  Eleanor


Quote from: MichaelEzra
Dear Rob,

Thank you for the feedback. My LCD is calibrated at luminance of 115, so it is brighter than the paper. It is sad that one would have to dim the display and detriment the displayed image to conform to the limitations of the output technology.

Since I prefer paper without OBA, I think Silver Rag may be a better choice. I compared the gamut of the ICC profiles of Silver Rag with Museo Max, and Silver rag is significantly wider, also providing much richer blacks. Something of concern is bronzing and gloss differencial on Silver Rag. Do you have any experience with this?

Thanks again,

Michael
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2008, 08:50:33 AM »
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Quote from: routlaw
That was one of the main things I liked about Silver Rag, it does not exhibit any bronzing on my printer but then neither do any of the Harman papers...

Rob,

Which printer & ink do you use? I have a sample of Silver rag (a beta sample from 2005) printed on Epson 7800 with K3 inks. There is some very noticeable bronzing and obvious gloss differential.
I wonder if that has been improved since that sample was beta-printed.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 08:58:28 AM by MichaelEzra » Logged

MichaelEzra
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« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2008, 08:57:37 AM »
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Eleanor,

I think it is in fact an excellent suggestion. It is very easy to trick the human brain. I will check the differnces. I usually rely on a histogram, but the last-step adjustment of levels for printing output will be helpful on a white background.
Thank you! Michael
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2008, 09:01:44 AM »
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I use Silver Rag (Museo) but I usually have to put a very very light coat of Premierart clear spray on it to eliiminate any gloss differential.  Don't have problems with bronzing.  I like Epson Exhibition Fiber and Harman Gloss even more and don't spray those.  I'm on a 9880/K3 epson printer but I got the same results on my 7800/K3 printer with Photo Black too.  You shouldn't be getting bronzing on any papers with your 7800/K3 unless you are using Imageprints DK Phatte Black profiles with photo black ink.  They you will get some slight bronzing. Eleanor


Quote from: MichaelEzra
Which printer & ink do you use? I have a sample of Silver rag (a beta sample from 2005) printed on Epson 7800 with K3 inks. There is some very noticeable bronsing and obvious gloss differential.
I wonder if that has been improved since that sample was beta-printed.
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routlaw
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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2008, 10:48:55 AM »
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Quote from: MichaelEzra
Rob,

Which printer & ink do you use? I have a sample of Silver rag (a beta sample from 2005) printed on Epson 7800 with K3 inks. There is some very noticeable bronzing and obvious gloss differential.
I wonder if that has been improved since that sample was beta-printed.

Currently I am using the old 9600 waiting for the new 9900 that I am on the list for. Curiously I have not noticed bronzing but definitely gloss differential which can be cured by and large with a 2-3 light coats of Lyson Print Guard or equivalent. I have no idea however if the beta sample has been improved, new one on me.

Regarding Eleanor's comment about using a white background for editing images. No doubt this trick might work for editing your images by fooling the minds eye, but from my own past experience if you take a well designed print target such as Andrew Darlow's and produce a print from that set of images then hold it up next to your monitor under your normal work station viewing conditions you will still be sorely disappointed comparing an LCD L value around 115 or higher for monitor to print match. An even better print target albeit a very large one is Bill Atkinson's. However what I like about Andrew Darlow's target though is the light and subtle flesh tones of the two gals in the upper right hand corner of the target. If you can get a print to monitor match using an L value of 115 or higher using this target (and holding the print right next to the monitor for comparison) please report back to me on how you did it. Both of these print targets are available for free download, they are known "scientific" entities produced by experts in the field. Highly recommended for dialing in and fine tuning a workstation.

Hope this helps.

Rob
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2008, 03:49:01 PM »
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Hi,

Interesting ? Yes!

Crazy? No!

I have a Imac, not a terribly bad display but I really wish I could make it a little bit darker.

Erik


Quote from: eleanorbrown
This suggestion is going to sound crazy I know because it goes against everything you hear about backgrounds (ie: neutral gray, etc).  I have an apple 30 inch display and my luminance is set (last i checked) at around 119 or so. (I used to keep my sony CRT at around 80 or 90 however).  With this said, I have found all my image files look great on my monitor but when I print they are too dark, requiring a lot of re printing.  I tried something and it has worked wonders for me.  In both Lightroom and Photoshop I set my background to pure white, not middle gray.  When I'm looking at my images against this white background that previously looked good against gray, they look dull.  I go in with exposure, brightness, curves, white and black point adjustments and they end up looking really good on my first printing on white paper.  Try it, might work for you.  I'm not saying you don't have to soft proof in Photoshop but try a white background for your image edits and see if this makes any difference.  Eleanor
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2008, 07:58:54 AM »
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[quote name='routlaw' date='Nov 11 2008, 09:26 AM' post='236152']
That was one of the main things I liked about Silver Rag, it does not exhibit any bronzing on my printer but then neither do any of the Harman papers. The Hahnamuehle however did exhibit a tad bit of bronzing, however I have talked with a few other printers recently who said that was not the case with their newer printers. As far as I know the Harman papers do not have OBA, not sure about Photo Rag and many of the Hahn... papers however. I have worked with the Museo Max and it is a nice paper for sure, but will also say it might not be the best paper for doing your b&w's. Even the folks at Colorburst once told me this is a tricky paper to work with and profile. Yet I have never had that problem with Silver Rag, go figure.

The Harman FB Gloss AI is a terrific paper for color printing. However, it does have a small amount of OBA. Their paper which has no OBA is Gloss FB AI Warmtone, which in my opinion is unsuitable for color and specified by Harman for bw. Warning from me on Harman papers - they scratch easily, dent easily and have to be dry mounted to prevent "waves". At the moment they are worth the effort, but where oh where is the new Hahnemuhle?
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2008, 02:27:42 PM »
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I wonder if the surfaces of the new glossy archival papers are well received on the fine art market (galleries, collectors, etc).

Matte surfaces seem to be percieved as more "artistic", more intimate.
Yet there was no glossier substitute to that in terms of archival properties
until Silver Rag in 2005-2006, and thus my concern is that the perception
of this new media is not yet settled in the art world.

Is there any special consideration for landscapes?
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bill t.
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2008, 12:55:01 AM »
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Sorry to back up, but working with my 2690 I have found it useful to adjust the gamma for different papers, while staying at 90 cd/m2.  For punchy, glossy papers gamma 2.5 forces me to keep the image open enough (to print well) while for matte papers a gamma around 2.0 approximates the look of an art matte paper.  Otherwise it is horribly tempting post process for the monitor rather than the print.

Alternatively, it is sometimes helpful to have a top level Curves layer to adjust the monitor look for a particular paper.  Keep the layer turned on for post work, then disable it for printing.  Create the curve shape by comparing prints to screen.  Make actions to generate the layer for various papers.  Basically a dirt-ball monitor profile, but what the heck it works.  For almost all papers the curve will sag in the middle.  I suppose this would be especially helpful for those working with printing services.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 12:55:58 AM by bill t. » Logged
routlaw
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2008, 07:44:51 AM »
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Quote from: MichaelEzra
I wonder if the surfaces of the new glossy archival papers are well received on the fine art market (galleries, collectors, etc).

Matte surfaces seem to be percieved as more "artistic", more intimate.
Yet there was no glossier substitute to that in terms of archival properties
until Silver Rag in 2005-2006, and thus my concern is that the perception
of this new media is not yet settled in the art world.

Is there any special consideration for landscapes?

Hard to say Michael and probably somewhat depends from gallery to gallery. For the most part photography is still the bastard step child of the art world anyway and I know of some galleries still who will only look at cibachrome color prints not even considering any sort of inkjet, go figure.

Once a print is matted and behind glass much of its tactile qualities are lost anyway. And yet you can always find photographers who succeed with some of the most unlikely presentation methods. In most circumstances I still like to think if the work is excellent and compelling gallery owners will be accepting no matter the presentation assuming they even consider photography is worth hanging on the wall in the first place.

Good questions, no easy answers.

Rob
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2008, 06:40:45 AM »
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I have made the first color print yesterday on Epson 7800 (K3) using Silver Rag paper. This the first time I was able to create a digital print that resembled rather an oil painting than any conventional photo. Miraculous! Thank you all for your input!
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routlaw
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2008, 08:53:09 PM »
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Quote from: MichaelEzra
I have made the first color print yesterday on Epson 7800 (K3) using Silver Rag paper. This the first time I was able to create a digital print that resembled rather an oil painting than any conventional photo. Miraculous! Thank you all for your input!

Cool, glad that worked out for you.

Rob
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« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2008, 11:57:56 AM »
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I don't think any amount of soft-proofing or discussion can take the place of buying lots of papers and printing samples.   My opinion is that soft proofing just isn't that good. I have a notebook with 50 different papers all with the same homemade sample image collage printed on them.   I think that is the only way to really evaluate paper.  Comparing color gamuts and other such stuff will only tell you what someone in a lab found under ideal conditions.  You need to decide for yourself, within your workflow, what works best.  Most manufacturers have sample packs that are very cheap, or even free along with good canned profiles that you can use to make your sample collection. Buy lots of paper and go on a printing binge until you find what you like.

As for matte paper or some sort of gloss/pearl/baryta finish.  If the image will be presented under glass, the matte will generally look much better, but if the print will ever see handholding, like in a portfolio, it must have some gloss to maximize blacks and to give a sense of "photographiness."  Otherwise, some un-initiated folks (typically our customer) will look at it and think it is an inferior product.  This fact is part of the reason that I don't show or sell my work unframed. I keep a portfolio that I printed on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl.  It shows much better than matte when talking to art folks.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2008, 11:16:47 PM »
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I'll second Eleanor on the white background idea. I shoot all day to Capture One with my crop tool set to surround the image with white- really helps!
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Marlyn
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« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2008, 05:58:01 AM »
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I print the same work (Colour Landscapes), and find Illford Gallarie Gold Fibre Silk,  and Epson Traditional Photo to be the best for this work.
As soon as (if/when) Epson produce Traditional Photo in a Roll, (rather than cut sheet) I'll prob move to that full time.

The only real problem with either of them, is they both damage pretty easily.   This is of course not a problem when mounted and framed.

Might give the ones you mention above a go at some point.

Mark.


PS: Traditional Photo is same as Exhibition Fibre,  different names, different parts of the world, same paper.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2008, 05:13:41 PM »
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Exhibition Fiber printed on my 11880 and 7900 to me is outstanding - I've switched from the RC papers (Luster and Glossy) because finally there is a true paper that delivers as much (and more) in color quality as the RC papers.  Very rich colors, beautiful very slightly stipple texture, deep blacks, great ability to show detail.  A nice "sheen" without being overly "glossy".

 I've been looking for something on rolls for panoramas (EEF only comes in sheets), so I've been testing Ilford Gallarie GFS, the Hahnamulee FAB, and the Harman Gloss FB.  The Ilford is nice, but does show a little bit more gloss differential (not any bronzing).  Its a little duller surface than the others.    The Harman is almost like a ferrotype surface ... very glossy, very smooth, great saturation and deep blacks.  The Hahnamulee FineArt Baryta is a very rich feeling paper ... has a little more texture than the Epson, but has a very similar sheen and looks the closest to the EEF.  It does come in rolls, so it's probably going to end up my second choice for pano's.

My Exhibition Fiber profile on my 7900 has a total gamut volume of 880,000, and black density of L*4.  very black.

One other thing, the Epson Exhibition Fiber is very flat out of the box and it stays flat.  No problem with curled edges.  The Harman and Hahnamulee both have a little curl at each end and require some attention to avoid jamming or surface damage.
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