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Author Topic: Alternative to Epson Exhibition Fiber?  (Read 10723 times)
mlondon
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« on: February 27, 2010, 07:13:46 PM »
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I really like Epson's Exhibition Fiber, great colors, great blacks, great range, etc. However it scratches extremely easy.

I'm getting ready to print out a large number of prints for gifts to people I have photographed in China.
I think that for many of them, once I give them the print, it may not be as well cared for as the paper demands.
I could use something like Premium Luster, but it doesnt have the same qualities or weight.

Can anyone recommend a good alternative to the Exhibition Fiber that still has the weight and feel of a traditional photographic print,
but with a more robust surface that is not as susceptible to scratching (and finger prints for that matter.)

Many thanks.
Matthew
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 08:42:15 PM »
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I've tried a lot of them, and to me they all seem about the same - they're all pretty fragile. Then again, I handle all of them pretty carefully so I don't really know if one is perhaps a little better .. I just get the sense that a little better really doesn't get  you what you are asking for.

Perhaps you can present the gift in such a way it suggests care?   Or since the recipients may not see the value of what you are giving, a lovely print on a more durable paper such as luster may be enough.

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mlondon
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 08:45:11 PM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
I've tried a lot of them, and to me they all seem about the same - they're all pretty fragile. Then again, I handle all of them pretty carefully so I don't really know if one is perhaps a little better .. I just get the sense that a little better really doesn't get  you what you are asking for.

Perhaps you can present the gift in such a way it suggests care?   Or since the recipients may not see the value of what you are giving, a lovely print on a more durable paper such as luster may be enough.

Good points... I do present them carefully, but no control over what happens next. A Luster surface for sure is stronger, just wish there was a thicker one than the Premium Luster.
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ghaynes754
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2010, 10:30:27 PM »
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Exhibition Fibre with Premier Art Spray or something equivalent.  Seals the print and makes it pretty indestructible.  Check out John Paul Caponigro site or the Premier Arts site.  Might be the way to go if you are not going to mat them.

Or have them printed on a photo printer.  There are some great B&W papers out there for digital prints on traditional silver halide photo paper.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010, 10:31:33 PM by ghaynes754 » Logged
Ken
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 10:44:01 PM »
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Quote from: mlondon
I really like Epson's Exhibition Fiber, great colors, great blacks, great range, etc. However it scratches extremely easy

I agree with the PremierArt (or Hahnemühle) protective spray, although in my experience the closest thing to "indestructible" is Renaissance wax. I tried it on a couple of different matte papers and it was terrible, and it took the ink off of the two canvas prints I tried it on, but it worked beautifully on Exhibition Fiber and Canson Baryata. Just apply it thinly and very gently.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 10:56:13 PM »
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Quote from: mlondon
Can anyone recommend a good alternative to the Exhibition Fiber that still has the weight and feel of a traditional photographic print,
but with a more robust surface that is not as susceptible to scratching (and finger prints for that matter.)

Exhibition Fiber is less susceptible to scratching than say, Harman's Gloss FB AL baryta paper.  I recently mailed a couple of 17"x22" prints on EF in mailing tubes and they reached their destination without harm.

Have you tried Hahne's Photo Rag Baryta?  No conclusions on durability yet- I've several prints stored loose that I'm testing for scratching but might be worth checking out.

Paul
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 08:46:15 AM »
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I wary of adding any protective sprays to images as I don't think that they have been fully evaluated in terms of archival preservation.  I have mailed out over 40 prints on both the Epson paper and Ilford Gold Fibre in four inch diameter tubes.  The image face is protected by a sheet of archival paper as it is rolled.  I include an instruction sheet that gives clear instructions about handling and framing.  I've have had no reports of print damage and have heard back from a couple of framers who indicated that the surface was unblemished.  This is about as good as you can do unless you are going to do all the matting and framing prior to shipment.
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mlondon
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2010, 08:53:42 AM »
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Quote from: Alan Goldhammer
I wary of adding any protective sprays to images as I don't think that they have been fully evaluated in terms of archival preservation.  I have mailed out over 40 prints on both the Epson paper and Ilford Gold Fibre in four inch diameter tubes.  The image face is protected by a sheet of archival paper as it is rolled.  I include an instruction sheet that gives clear instructions about handling and framing.  I've have had no reports of print damage and have heard back from a couple of framers who indicated that the surface was unblemished.  This is about as good as you can do unless you are going to do all the matting and framing prior to shipment.

Thank you for you thoughts...

I guess I didnt make myself clear enough in my original posting.
The spray is not an option as I will be making about 100 8x10.5' and dont have time or space.
These prints will probably never be framed, which is the point of my posting.
Many of them will be for people in rural areas, without the money or access to such things.
I dont have the ability to carry dozens of small frames around with me.
So really just looking for a thicker paper that has a good strong surface and good colors/blacks.
The archivabilyt will help as they will most likely not be stored under protective glass and/or away from UV.


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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2010, 09:08:48 AM »
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Quote from: mlondon
So really just looking for a thicker paper that has a good strong surface and good colors/blacks.

What about just using Epson premium glossy or luster paper?  In my casual scratch testing both are far more durable than any of the fancy baryta papers.  The feel "in hand" is not as luxurious but that may be a compromise you have to make.

Assuming you are using a pigment printer image life should be good.

Or you can also try a matte paper, like Moab Entrada Rag.  Depending on the image's color pallet, color rendition is very good although blacks won't be as deep as on Epson EF.  But scratch resistance is good, and I like the texture and "heft" of the paper.

Paul
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2010, 10:07:38 AM »
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If Luster doesn't have enough weight for you then this completely unscientific test will not help, but...

Early last year I made a typical test print on a number of papers including Epson Luster, Epson Semigloss, Epson Exhibition Fiber, Harman FB AL, and Ilford GFS. I know these are not all in the same class or price range, but I just wanted to see what people like. The prints were made on an Epson 7900 with good profiles for all of the papers. Over a week or so several people saw these prints and each was asked to pick a first and second choice as to which one they like best. These people included some regular folks who aren't into photography or printing at all, a couple who dabble in photography, and a frame shop owner of 30 years.

The results:

1. Exhibition Fiber (100% chose this as their favorite)
2. Epson Semigloss (this came in second, closely followed by Luster)

When questioned further, those who didn't pick Luster essentially said the surface is "too sparkly", or the surface gets in the way of the image. No one picked Ilford GFS, which I happen to like and use quite a bit. Comments revolved around the paper being too warm or "too yellow". Comments about the Harman (previously said Ilford by mistake) mostly said it was "too shiny".

Epson Semigloss is quite sturdy and also resistant to fingerprints. If you ignore the finer points of the surfaces, it's overall sheen is similar to EEF, without all the tiny specular highlights of Luster. FWIW I've abandoned Luster when this sort of paper is needed.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 06:41:18 PM by DeanChriss » Logged

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Scott Martin
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2010, 11:06:57 AM »
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Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl is, IMO, the most durable surfaced inkjet paper out there, and should be the first choice if you're looking for excellent handling characteristics. The inkset of the printer you're using is also a factor that shouldn't be overlooked. Canon's new Lucia EX inks (in the 6300 and 8300) have hugely improved and best-of-class scratch resistance. Use of the gloss optimizer found in HP's Z series and Epson high gloss inkset (R1900) also improve scratch resistance dramatically.

I have a 2 inch tall stack of sample prints (from a variety of printers and papers) that I show to clients and at workshops. These prints get handled by a lot of people and it's impressive how messed up the cotton rag prints get, for example, and how exceptionally well the HFA Pearl prints hold up relative to the others.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2010, 11:11:10 AM »
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Quote from: mlondon
Thank you for you thoughts...


Many of them will be for people in rural areas, without the money or access to such things.
I dont have the ability to carry dozens of small frames around with me.
So really just looking for a thicker paper that has a good strong surface and good colors/blacks.
The archivabilyt will help as they will most likely not be stored under protective glass and/or away from UV.
Understand.  The other option might be to send them over in polypropylene envelopes or the equivalent.  Image would show through nice and clear but there would be the added protection.  If they want to take it out of the envelope they can.  I think you may have to make some compromises in terms of the paper if this kind of approach is not acceptable.  A number of suppliers carry such envelopes; I get mine from Archival Methods.
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AFairley
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2010, 12:11:31 PM »
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Quote from: mlondon
These prints will probably never be framed, which is the point of my posting.
Many of them will be for people in rural areas, without the money or access to such things.

Given these conditions, I think the best approach is to compromise IQ somewhat and use an RC paper as suggested above.
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Mr. Capp
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2010, 12:27:16 PM »
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It's amazing how epson leads the way with paper.
Back in the day with enhanced matt, and now with Exhibition fiber.

Does anyone know the history of this paper? Who makes it who coats it?
Granted Hahnemuhle photorag baryta is killer but way expensive. I scooped up
a ton of EEF on sale. I don't mind the look of GFS but it curls too much
in the printer, especially in winter under dry conditions, same with the new canson
baryta lots of moisture differential leading to curls and he'd strikes. The platine looks
like a decent alternative to hahn's PRB and silver rag any other opinions on it?

But so far the EEF is the choice! Once cured overnight it's actually pretty scratch resistant.

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mlondon
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2010, 03:43:07 PM »
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Quote from: DeanChriss
Over a week or so several people saw these prints and each was asked to pick a first and second choice as to which one they like best. These people included some regular folks who aren't into photography or printing at all, a couple who dabble in photography, and a frame shop owner of 30 years.

The results:

1. Exhibition Fiber (100% chose this as their favorite)

Epson Semigloss is quite sturdy and also resistant to fingerprints. If you ignore the finer points of the surfaces, it's overall sheen is similar to EEF, without all the tiny specular highlights of Luster. FWIW I've abandoned Luster when this sort of paper is needed.


This is my point exactally, the Exhibition Fiber paper has that "wow" quality that even someone who is not a photographer notices instantly, and sets it apart from all the other papers I've used.

To the other poster asking about who makes the Exhibition Fiber, it is Innova.

I have not tried the Epson Semigloss. Is it thicker than the Luster? If so, that might be my best choice.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2010, 02:41:58 PM »
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Quote from: mlondon
This is my point exactally, the Exhibition Fiber paper has that "wow" quality that even someone who is not a photographer notices instantly, and sets it apart from all the other papers I've used.

To the other poster asking about who makes the Exhibition Fiber, it is Innova.
I suspect in large part it is because of the optical brightening agents in the EEF paper.  The disturbing thing is how quickly the paper white fades in stability testing.  I like the paper but don't believe that it meets archival standards.  You don't see the same amount of fading in either the Ilford GFS or Museo Silver Rag, the other two gloss finish papers I print on.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2010, 05:24:32 PM »
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Quote from: Alan Goldhammer
The disturbing thing is how quickly the paper white fades in stability testing.  I like the paper but don't believe that it meets archival standards.  You don't see the same amount of fading in either the Ilford GFS or Museo Silver Rag, the other two gloss finish papers I print on.

Source for this?  And does the EEF get yellower than the Ilford (which is very warm to start with).

Personally I think EEF looks good for many other reasons than just it's white point.  Texture is perfect, fine detail holds up extremely well, and blacks and greys are rich and full.  Just the right amount of "sheen" .. .not  too glossy and not to dull (which is what I dislike  with Ilford GFS).  Add to that it just stays flat compared to all the others ...
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2010, 06:32:11 PM »
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Quote from: mlondon
I have not tried the Epson Semigloss. Is it thicker than the Luster? If so, that might be my best choice.

Epson Semigloss is not thicker than Luster. Both are 10 mils thick. That's why I said this wouldn't help if Luster was not thick enough for you. My thought was that if you were thinking of using Luster you might get closer to the look you want (though not the feel) by using Semigloss. Luster and Semigloss have very similar properties and tend to feel less like paper and more like plastic - a property of most resin coated papers. But the Semigloss lacks the "sparkly" surface of Luster, which can be a little obtrusive. Semigloss is far more durable than EEF.
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mlondon
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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2010, 06:34:06 PM »
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Quote from: DeanChriss
Epson Semigloss is not thicker than Luster. Both are 10 mils thick. That's why I said this wouldn't help if Luster was not thick enough for you. My thought was that if you were thinking of using Luster you might get closer to the look you want (though not the feel) by using Semigloss. Luster and Semigloss have very similar properties and tend to feel less like paper and more like plastic - a property of most resin coated papers. But the Semigloss lacks the "sparkly" surface of Luster, which can be a little obtrusive. Semigloss is far more durable than EEF.

I ordered some today !

Thanks for all your feedback.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2010, 07:17:08 PM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
Source for this?  And does the EEF get yellower than the Ilford (which is very warm to start with).

Personally I think EEF looks good for many other reasons than just it's white point.  Texture is perfect, fine detail holds up extremely well, and blacks and greys are rich and full.  Just the right amount of "sheen" .. .not  too glossy and not to dull (which is what I dislike  with Ilford GFS).  Add to that it just stays flat compared to all the others ...
Wayne,

The Aardenburg site has solid data on all of the papers with Epson ink sets.  I think the printers may be different in one of the cases.  I was struck by how the white and paper white of the Epson paper changed dramatically relative to the other two papers.  I don't know about whether it takes a turn towards yellow or not as that is not reported.  It was striking that the worst patches in the test for the Epson paper were the white and paper white while the other colors held up pretty well.  Maybe this is fine for a print with little white and lots of color but I would be quite wary of using the paper for critical B&W printing.

You are right about it staying flat.  It's the best of all the glossy papers that I have used in that regard.

Alan
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 07:18:17 PM by Alan Goldhammer » Logged

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