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Author Topic: Gold Standard paper review  (Read 4948 times)
Ernst Dinkla
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« on: May 14, 2013, 09:17:54 AM »
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It may be more suitable to have a thread here about the review of the 5 Ilford Prestige (Gold) papers;
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/what_is_the_gold_standard_of_inkjet_papers.shtml
There is already a thread in the LuLa forums;
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=78166.0
where Alan Goldhammer made some comments that I had in mind too. If we keep in mind the thread here on the ultimate linearization; http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=78142.0
the questions raised by Alan get more depth. Meanwhile I have more questions to add.

When a certain driver mode, in this case Epson ABW, delivers a higher Dmax on a paper than other driver mode choices but suffers of irregularities in the shadow tone range, my immediate response would be "Can I get that tone range or dotgain in control and still hold the Dmax that high?". The use of QTR tools to create a linearized-perceptually profiled B&W print is well known right now. Both for use in a QTR workflow or for ABW with the Epson driver (the last Windows only since a year or so). The Ultimate Linearization thread here might bring forth another tool with a solution too for the hue/neutrality of the B&W tone range where possible.

To conclude in the Ilford review that the gain in Dmax by using ABW on Ilford Gold Mono Silk is not worth the problems in the shadows, 2.26 versus 2.63 D, asks for more explanation I think. It is a significant difference in my opinion. That it may ask for more light in viewing to make it usable is another thing that could be discussed. If the described shadow detail loss is a result of dot bleeding then an ink limitation and/or a slower printing speed may improve that aspect. I added dotgain checks to my QTR compatible greyscales for that reason. Even if that brings down the Dmax to 2.4 - 2.5 it is worth the work done. If the detail loss is the result of a bad linearization in the tone range then that can be solved by the linearization tools mentioned above. The neutrality/hue shifts over the tone range can be addressed with PS curve controls as done by Paul Roark, with QTR tools and workflow or what is described in the Ultimate Linearization thread.

There are other aspects of the review I wonder about. Dmax's of four different matte art papers that stay within the 1.30-1.40 range is not acceptable in my opinion, even if it is the result of Ilford's recommendation to use Photo Black instead of Matte Black. I would at least check an ABW made print with MK to get an idea what the papers are capable off. To observe that the small difference of 0.8 D between the affordable AC and more expensive Cotton matte papers is visible and the steeper difference between the matte and glossy papers even more can hardly be seen as revelations. Questioning Ilford's recommendation would have been my approach. A Dmax between 1.6 to 1.8 is more a gold standard for quality matte papers. I think Ilford made a mistake there.

Then there is the question whether UV-cut spectrometers measuring not lower than say 400NM can deliver relevant data on the paper whites when OBA is used as is the case with Ilford Gold Mono Silk. In an older thread on the Ilford Gold Mono Silk the cooler white was seen as an advantage, more choice in fibre qualities. b -1.51 is the lowest b value I have seen in all paper numbers quoted in the review and with an UV-cut instrument that result is normally an arbitrary extrapolation of measurements above 420NM, so not hard data. I did add spectral plots of Ilford Prestige Mono Silk to SpectrumViz today, the Lab is 95.9 1.4 -4.3, quite like Ilford quotes in its specs. The other Ilford Prestige papers were measured several months ago and the AC types have OBA content that deliver  a b -4.3 and a b -3.9 and even the Ilford Galerie Prestige Smooth Fine Art Matt is neutralized too with some OBA = b -0.1.  I think a b -4.0 is visible without an instrument, a walk from indoors to outdoors should tell enough whether it is an OBA effect. Ilford's specs PDF shows similar Lab values. It also mentions that the AC papers reviewed here are 220 gsm and dual side coated.

While I did wonder in an older thread what specific qualities made the Ilford paper a Mono one, I do not see the obvious cooler white enough represented in this review. Another property that could make a difference, a high Dynamic Range, could have been better estimated with a bit more effort.

In the older thread "New Ilford Prestige: Gold Mono Silk"  http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=70745.0 there is also my comment on the Ilford paper labelling; a textured paper is called Smooth and some qualities have very identical names but differ in weight and are either single or dual side coated. In another thread the sheet packaging of the new range is considered worse than before.

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 09:21:11 AM by Ernst Dinkla » Logged
Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 09:28:57 AM »
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Thanks for a very informative post.  I'm still trying to get my thoughts in line around the 'ultimate linearization' tool that's on the the other thread.  There are still a lot of us who do B/W and struggle with shadow detail and it's not always something simple to correct.  The paper manufacturers may not be doing us a favor by marketing 'B/W' specialty papers if in fact they really do not perform any better than existing papers that are already out there.  I pretty much stick with Museo Silver Rag for B/W since it's a paper I know well and I can deal with the shadow details quite well.  I must confess to having less success with Ilford Gold Fiber Silk in this regard.  At any rate, Dmax is important in terms of absolute black but there's other stuff to deal with as well.

Alan
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NeroMetalliko
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 10:07:51 AM »
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Hello Ernst,
many thanks for the post.

I have here a box of Ilford Gold Cotton Smooth 330,
I made some test last month on it with a previous version of my tool and I plan to redo the profiles with the current revision.

I have used my R3000 with Matte Black ink because I think that this is the correct ink for that paper.
Ultra Smooth Fine Art Paper as media setting (as Ilford recommended for my printer)
all setting set to max quality which is my standard setup for all papers:
SuperPhoto - 5760x1440dpi; MicroWeave ON; HighSpeed OFF; EdgeSmoothing OFF; FinestDetail N/A (grayed out)

All what I can say at the moment is that with the Ilford canned ICC profile, relative colorimetric + black point compensation ON
I got the following numbers from my strips (Adobe RGB):

White: L*=96.282; a*=-0.179 ; b*=2.358
Black: L*=17.819; a*=1.849 ; b*=0.992
Dmax=1.59; Dmin=0.05 (calculated from spectral reflectances data)

Measurements were done with ColorMunki, on three physical different patches for black and for white and averaged 6 time each one
(so 18 measurements for black and 18 measurements for white)

I will post here my final findings, including linearization for both ABW & ICC when ready.
I hope it will help.

Ciao Smiley
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 10:23:57 AM by NeroMetalliko » Logged
Mark D Segal
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 03:23:02 PM »
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It may be more suitable to have a thread here about the review of the 5 Ilford Prestige (Gold) papers;
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/printers/what_is_the_gold_standard_of_inkjet_papers.shtml
There is already a thread in the LuLa forums;
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=78166.0
where Alan Goldhammer made some comments that I had in mind too. If we keep in mind the thread here on the ultimate linearization; http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=78142.0
the questions raised by Alan get more depth. Meanwhile I have more questions to add.

Hi Ernst,

Thanks very much for your - as usual - technically insightful comments.

One of the very first things reviewers need to do in approaching a review is to frame the objectives and the scope, consistently of course. Perhaps we did not state these clearly enough. Our intent was to present a set of basic comparative results using the recommended and usual settings, without however, going into all the extra measures and testing that would be needed to drive every last ounce (or milligram) of potential quality from these papers. That sort of effort would cater to a small, but for sure, interested number of readers. That said, we agree that all of the things you suggest here and Alan suggested in the other thread are thoughtful, doable and most likely worthwhile trying. If you have the time and interest to implement your suggestions, we would be pleased to try arranging with Ilford to send you the paper samples and when your work is done and written-up, you may contact Luminous-Landscape for publishing an article on the website, as we know there are folks, including ourselves, who would be interested to see what you come up with.

Best regards on behalf of both authors.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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eronald
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 11:36:30 PM »
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Hello Ernst,
many thanks for the post.

I have here a box of Ilford Gold Cotton Smooth 330,
I made some test last month on it with a previous version of my tool and I plan to redo the profiles with the current revision.

I have used my R3000 with Matte Black ink because I think that this is the correct ink for that paper.
Ultra Smooth Fine Art Paper as media setting (as Ilford recommended for my printer)
all setting set to max quality which is my standard setup for all papers:
SuperPhoto - 5760x1440dpi; MicroWeave ON; HighSpeed OFF; EdgeSmoothing OFF; FinestDetail N/A (grayed out)

All what I can say at the moment is that with the Ilford canned ICC profile, relative colorimetric + black point compensation ON
I got the following numbers from my strips (Adobe RGB):

White: L*=96.282; a*=-0.179 ; b*=2.358
Black: L*=17.819; a*=1.849 ; b*=0.992
Dmax=1.59; Dmin=0.05 (calculated from spectral reflectances data)

Measurements were done with ColorMunki, on three physical different patches for black and for white and averaged 6 time each one
(so 18 measurements for black and 18 measurements for white)

I will post here my final findings, including linearization for both ABW & ICC when ready.
I hope it will help.

Ciao Smiley


I wonder whether a ColorMunki Dmax measurement is worth much above a certain DMax.
These instruments have design goals, and reading into the black is probably not one of them - maybe a reading with a "real" spectrodensitometer might make sense for some of the papers which have a good Dmax.

Edmund
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Edmund Ronald, Ph.D. 
Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2013, 02:47:44 AM »
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 If you have the time and interest to implement your suggestions, we would be pleased to try arranging with Ilford to send you the paper samples and when your work is done and written-up, you may contact Luminous-Landscape for publishing an article on the website, as we know there are folks, including ourselves, who would be interested to see what you come up with.

Best regards on behalf of both authors.

Hello Mark,

Ilford did send me samples of the papers already and I measured them for SpectrumViz. My next goal is to add Dmax numbers to all the papers I have in SpectrumViz and preferably for four matte black pigment inks: Epson UC HDR, Canon Lucia, HP Vivera, MIS Eboni. It is possible to load a 4 channel Epson desktop model with them and drive it with QTR to get 4 greyscale targets on one A4 sheet in one printrun. Then it will be still a lot of work to measure the lowest L value in the targets and add those numbers to the paper data. After that I can do the PK inks. All Pro Deo in practice so I limit any other activity in this field. I may have been harsh on your review but I have a constructive side in my character too.

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.

 
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Ernst Dinkla
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 02:54:32 AM »
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I wonder whether a ColorMunki Dmax measurement is worth much above a certain DMax.
These instruments have design goals, and reading into the black is probably not one of them - maybe a reading with a "real" spectrodensitometer might make sense for some of the papers which have a good Dmax.

Edmund

Edmund,

There is a lot that can be said of the ColorMunki's spectral measurements and what it saves as spectral data but I doubt that it will be bad at  densities below 2.0 D. At 2.5 D more spectrometers in the class we use will have flaws I guess.

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Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm
December 2012, 500+ inkjet media white spectral plots.
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NeroMetalliko
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 03:19:44 AM »
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I wonder whether a ColorMunki Dmax measurement is worth much above a certain DMax.
These instruments have design goals, and reading into the black is probably not one of them - maybe a reading with a "real" spectrodensitometer might make sense for some of the papers which have a good Dmax.

Hello Edmund,
thanks for you comment.

Even if the ColorMunki is the entry level spectrophotometer in X-rite line, this doesn't means that it is not a reliable instrument.
In fact, compared to other more professional products, it is less flexible (UV cut only), slower in the readings, it needs bigger patches size, it is less practical due to their form factor, more plastic built, and finally is highly crippled in the features of the software which comes with in. Obviously probably is less precise than a i1 Pro2, for example, as it should be given the price difference, but within their own specifications/limits, the ColorMunki is a reliable instruments.

For Dmax calculation I use the full range of reflectances data I can extract from an exported cxf file in ColorPicker, so, this is not a feature present in the ColorMunki software, it is something I have done for my personal reference and I cannot put my hands on fire being an absolute correct value.
In any case all the times I have compared my measurements with other public available ones I found a reasonably good match, this fact, in addition to my personal experience of repeatable measurements, have confirmed to me a good trust in the overall capability of the humble ColorMunki.

All what I can say to you now is that with my ColorMunki Photo I have no problem to get readings reaching L*=3 for black values, as for example I have measured on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk in ABW. My Dmax estimation based on reflectance data was around 2.4 in that case and if you look around you will find that these values are very reasonable ones.

For this reason I "dared" to post the L*=17.8 black value (with Dmax 1.6) I have measured on Gold Cotton Smooth, it was my 2cents contribution here, and it was a measure done with Matte Black ink, and not Photo Black ink as in the review, so I was thinking that it could be useful to publish it, and, even with all the cautions being a ColorMunki measurement, I think it could be considered decently reliable (in my opinion at least). I expect to see some better results in ABW, but I have not tested this yet.

That said, I fully agree with you that to get very precise and reliable measurements of deep black patches a specifically designed instrument as a spectrodensitometer (and/or a better spectrophotometer) is the best choice for sure.
I think that we will soon see here more measurements performed with very good instruments, and then we can draw further more consistent considerations on the topic of this post.

Thanks for the attention.

Ciao Smiley
« Last Edit: May 15, 2013, 03:27:04 AM by NeroMetalliko » Logged
mfaidengold
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 10:31:24 AM »
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Dear All,
Thanks so much for the interesting thoughts about the performance of the new Ilford papers.
In the original report by Mr. Reichmann, it states that the prints on the matte papers, photo ink was used as per Ilford suggestions.
Now, this is very strange, as the papers are indeed matte papers. Ilford has posted ICC profiles for both, photo as well as matte black ink.
Why test the papers with photo ink instead of matte ink on papers being matte?
Were you able to actually compare the same images on the same paper with the different blacks.
In my case, this is very important, because I have one of those Epson printers that uses up plenty of ink when switched from photo to matte, Epson 4880. So if I can get good results only using photo black, it would mean that I can go and print on Ilford new papers without the excess cost of inks.
Thanks so much,
Moises Faidengold
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 10:40:27 AM »
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Moises, there are two reasons why we used Photo Black: (1) It was the first question I asked when the exercise was getting underway, because I couldn't find specific advice on the matter. The reply I received back from Ilford's representative was to use Photo Black. (2) The profiles for this paper are keyed against Epson Textured Fine Art Paper. The Epson driver provides an option to use either Photo Black or Matte Black with this paper, indicating that either are viable - whether they are equivalent is a matter we did not investigate. Someone who is set-up to do this easily enough should give it a try and measure the results compared with what we got using Photo Black. Could be useful.
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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
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2013, 05:56:26 PM »
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Hello Ernst,
I have completed one linearization of Ilford Gold Cotton Smooth 330 in AdobeRGB and ABW, with Matte Black ink.

I tried both neutral dark and neutral normal in ABW settings and adopted neutral normal as starting point, because it was more linear in this case.

I have used an Epson R3000 (with Epson original inks) and Matte Black ink.
printer manages color, ABW neutral normal,
Ultra Smooth Fine Art Paper as media setting.
SuperPhoto - 5760x1440dpi; MicroWeave ON; HighSpeed OFF; EdgeSmoothing OFF; FinestDetail N/A (grayed out)

In attachment you can find the final results after a 2 step procedure (18->52->52 wedges) of Linearization,
being an ABW print it is only a L* linearization without gray tone neutralizer.
As visible in the graph, the resulting gray tone is in any case decently neutral in my opinion (note that Y scale range for a* and b* is -5/+5).

As expected, in ABW, Black and Dmax measured values are slightly better than the ones measured with ICC and previously posted.

White: L*=96.36; a*=-0.28 ; b*=2.33
Black: L*=15.97; a*=0.76 ; b*=1.85
Dmax=1.68; Dmin=0.05

I hope it could be useful.

Ciao Smiley

Andrea
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