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Author Topic: current favorite papers?  (Read 17977 times)
blowery
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« on: November 20, 2005, 07:54:44 PM »
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I've been going through a bunch of the current paper reviews in the archives, and I've noticed that the end of many state something along the lines of "this is my new standard for gallery prints."  So, I'm just wondering, what are folks favorite papers right now?  I'm using a 2200, generally with Epson's Enhanced Matte and Luster papers, and I'd love to hear some opinions on other papers out there, especially the newish Crane Museo II, which I can't seem to find many reviews on.  I print about 75% color, so quality color reproduction is a big desire.

I've ordered a bunch of samples of different papers, so I'll post back here what I find.  

Also, is it meaninful to compare the ICC profiles that different makers offer for their papers to try and get a sense of the relative performance of the papers?  I've been playing around with the icc profiles for some different papers and found some interesting things.  For example, it looks like the Epson luster has a substantially bigger gamut and depth than the Enhanced Matte.

Thanks,

--b

[update: added bit about percentage color printing and fixed a spelling mistake]
« Last Edit: November 20, 2005, 08:57:05 PM by blowery » Logged
mikeseb
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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2005, 08:05:21 PM »
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So, I'm just wondering, what are folks favorite papers right now?

I have been quite pleased with Moab papers. For proofing and everyday use, Kayenta Photo Matte (205 gsm) is relatively inexpensive, and is close enough to them to proof for the more expensive Entrada line. I've used their Entrada White and Natural finishes (the latter w/o optical brighteners) in both th 190 gsm and 300 gsm. I will be printing an upcoming show on 300 gsm Entrada Natural finish.

The only complaint I've heard about Moab papers is that they have had in the past a tendency to flake after printing, leaving white spots. I give each sheet a vigorous going-over with a draftsman's camel-hair brush prior to printing to dislodge any loose flakes.

I have also used and liked Arches Infinity Smooth White 230 gsm. It is a lovely paper but soooo expensive.

I print about 98% B&W, and all of that matte. The limited glossy printing I have done has been on Red River Ultra Pro Satin finish. Even with Imageprint RIP, I find that there is just too much bronzing on my Epson 4000. It is not much an issue for the type of printing I do.
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michael sebastian
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2005, 10:35:57 PM »
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I'm in the process of trying different papers for my new R2400.  At this point looks like Epson Enhanced Matte for everyday use and Moab Entrada for special prints (vacillating between Bright White and Natural).  Velvet Fine Art looks interesting for specialized purposes.  On the glossy side, have used Epson Premium Luster but will be testing Moab's Kokopelli Gloss and Satin finishes.  

Paul
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2005, 08:17:26 AM »
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Another vote for Moab Entrada natural. I've been going through boxes of the 17x22 190gsm at an alarming rate.

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[MikeSeb:] The only complaint I've heard about Moab papers is that they have had in the past a tendency to flake after printing, leaving white spots. I give each sheet a vigorous going-over with a draftsman's camel-hair brush prior to printing to dislodge any loose flakes.

Same here, but to my knowledge this holds for any of the rag matte papers with the kind of coating that keeps the ink on the surface for a better gamut. That surface is also frighteningly easy to scratch.

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[Blowery:] Also, is it meaninful to compare the ICC profiles that different makers offer for their papers to try and get a sense of the relative performance of the papers? I've been playing around with the icc profiles for some different papers and found some interesting things. For example, it looks like the Epson luster has a substantially bigger gamut and depth than the Enhanced Matte.

I don't think so because I don't see the profiles created by one person being consistent with those from any other person, even using the same spectrophotometer and software. What I've found after testing a variety of papers on my 4000 is the following:

A) The difference between colour-handling on the best matte papers and RC is mostly in the dark saturated colours and black depth. The mid and light hues are fairly similar.

B) There are even saturated colours in the darker hues that a good matte paper can beat RC at. IOW, if I print a fall scene on both matte and RC, it's not necessarily a given that the RC will show the greater gamut.

C) It is the Dmax (blackness) of the RC papers, as well as their sheen that gives them the appearance of greater vividness of colour. Black depth is the real Achilles heel of matte paper, but this is only an issue for certain images, esp. those with large areas of black and shadow.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure you can translate this directly from the 4000 and K3 machines to the 2200 used with the Epson driver. Although I no longer have a 2200, as I look back on the prints I did with it I find the shadow gamut very disappointing. I think Epson were poring on the matte black ink in order to compensate for the weak Dmax of pigments.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2005, 01:32:12 PM »
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Also, is it meaninful to compare the ICC profiles that different makers offer for their papers to try and get a sense of the relative performance of the papers?  I've been playing around with the icc profiles for some different papers and found some interesting things.  For example, it looks like the Epson luster has a substantially bigger gamut and depth than the Enhanced Matte.

I use the Epson profiles with hwm on my 1280 and em on my 2200 for most of my color prints. But this does not work well with images with deep shadow details or very saturated colors. For these, I have to switch to luster papers. Soft proofing with the ICC profiles will tell me which paper will print better.

I would not mind getting a couple of custom profiles if they can fix the matte paper problems.  But I could never get the profile vendors to come up with a straight answer.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2005, 01:52:53 PM »
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I would not mind getting a couple of custom profiles if they can fix the matte paper problems.  But I could never get the profile vendors to come up with a straight answer.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52013\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The straight answer is no they can't. The problems you're experiencing with matte paper are half due to the Epson driver and half are due to intrinsic limitations of pigment ink on matte paper. Even with the better driver in the Epson 4000 there are certain images that I have to print on Luster and certain dark images that I can't print on either.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2005, 02:45:13 PM »
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The straight answer is no they can't. The problems you're experiencing with matte paper are half due to the Epson driver and half are due to intrinsic limitations of pigment ink on matte paper. Even with the better driver in the Epson 4000 there are certain images that I have to print on Luster and certain dark images that I can't print on either.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52014\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for telling it like it is, rare indeed. Most people will claim that with a calibrated monitor and a custom profile, they can get prints to match closely with the screen images. Their prints may not have shadow details or saturated colors. or they are very forgiving.

In order for prints to match closely to an image, a soft proof(in PS CS) with an ICC profile should look the same as the original to begin with. But the soft proof with an ICC profile of some images (like those with deep shadow details and saturated colors) may look quite different from the original. Further more, soft proofs with two different ICC profiles of the same image may also look quite different. (You can easily see this in soft proofs with the Epson em profile and the luster profile on a 2200.) Even if (and a big if) a print can match closely to a soft proof, it can still be quite different from the original unsoft proofed image. Getting a print to match what is on a monitor is not as simple as what most literature claim.

If the Epson 2200 driver is the problem, that may explain why RIP, which replaces the driver, works so well in b/w and in color. Do other manufacturers' drivers have the same problem?
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gmitchel
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2005, 08:15:26 PM »
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I like Crane Museo for art cards.

For matte papers, I prefer Arches Infinity Smooth, Arches Infinity Textured, Epson Radiant White Watercolor, and Epson Velvet Fine Art. (The Arches are the 355g/m2 versions.)

For a glossier finish, I prefer Epson Premium Luster and Epson Premium Semigloss.

I use ImagePrintRIP to print on these papers with the Colorbyte profiles.

Cheers,

Mitch
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2005, 01:35:51 PM »
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I'm delighted with Epson's premium luster for black & white and color prints with photoblack ink on the 2400. It really stands up to heavy ink loads, and the pebbled surface seems to work well with my images.
I use matte fine-art papers for my 7600; I've been happy with Somerset velvet, but switched to Epson ultrasmooth fine art paper for gallery-quality prints because it produces a noticeably better D-max with matte black ink. Still nowhere near what you can achieve with glossier papers and photoblack ink, but the luscious texture and delicacy are great for landscape images and portraits.
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Mark Graf
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2005, 02:46:11 PM »
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Out of curiousity, for those of you using the RC papers - how are you addressing off-gassing (assuming they are going to be framed)?   This is one of the big things that keeps me away from RC papers, though I like the luster/semigloss finish.   I know I can treat it with a little soaking in my dry mount press, but it is inconvenient.

Mark
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Chris_T
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2005, 07:57:18 AM »
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One problem I have with the luster paper is the rippling. Unless a print is wet mounted, the ripples are very obvious under glass. Never have this problem with the matte papers. Perhaps it is because they don't have any reflection at all.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2005, 04:24:32 PM »
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Out of curiousity, for those of you using the RC papers - how are you addressing off-gassing (assuming they are going to be framed)? This is one of the big things that keeps me away from RC papers, though I like the luster/semigloss finish.

In my case, I tried several papers from different sources - got a sample, printed an image, waited a day for it to dry (under a sheet of plain paper), put it in a clip frame, waited a week, took it out, and looked for fogging on the glass.  It seems that most glossy or semigloss papers produce some fogging, but I found one obscure glossy paper that doesn't produce any significant amount.  Unfortunately, it's one that noone's ever heard of (Read) that comes from a local printer supply store that gets it in rolls and has it custom-cut, so I doubt you can find it.  You might just try several papers from several sources on your own and see what happens, and maybe you'll get lucky like I did.  (The several Epson papers I tried were pretty bad for outgassing, so don't bother trying those...)

Lisa
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strachanh
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2005, 02:18:40 PM »
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Outgassing or gas-ghosting (you can google it) is particularly bad with Epson's premium luster. It is the glycol in the ink which evaporates so slowly, leaving a film on the glass when the print is matted and framed. I eventually found Ilford's Smooth Pearl to be the best for coated papers. I use it with my Epson 2200 and Imageprint's RIP. I usually leave the prints sitting around to air-dry for a day; then frame them, and have found no outgassing.
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dbell
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2005, 04:03:15 PM »
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I've been going through a bunch of the current paper reviews in the archives, and I've noticed that the end of many state something along the lines of "this is my new standard for gallery prints."  So, I'm just wondering, what are folks favorite papers right now?

I generally prefer lustre finishes to hi-gloss, so most of my prints on non-matte surfaces are on Epson Premium Lustre or Premium Semigloss. I like Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl a great deal as well. The surface is similar to Premium Lustre, but it's a little whiter and has a little more texture. The biggest drawback I've noticed to the Ilford paper is that large sheets of it crease or ripple VERY easily, so if you make big prints, you need to be careful how you handle them. I think the premium semigloss surface provides slightly deeper blacks than the lustre papers without being as shiny as a true glossy paper.

I have yet to find a very smooth matte paper that I like on my printer (a 2400). I don't like the way Epson Enhanced Matte looks at all. Deep black areas end up with a kind of mottling that I find very unpleasant. I can control it somewhat by dialing the ink density way back in the driver, but this is only somewhat satsifactory. I like the heavyweight matte paper a little more, but it's nothing special. For images that benefit from a textured matte surface, I very much like Epson Velvet Fine Art. I think it's a really beautiful paper for images for which its appropriate. I haven't printed as much on the Watercolor paper.

I found Ilford's fine art paper to be OK, but not as nice as VFA and I didn't manage to produce any acceptable prints at all on their heavyweight matte paper, regardless of the profile/paper type combinations that I tried.

I do significantly more B&W than color (probably 3 or 4 to 1) and I'm using a different ink set than you are, so take this for what it's worth.

If anyone has any recommendations for a very smooth-surfaced matte paper that works well with K3 inks, I'd be interested to hear about it.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2005, 04:05:33 PM by dbell » Logged
blowery
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2005, 04:15:19 PM »
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Sweet, paper samples showed up and I'll be running them through some of my shots this weekend.  This run is mostly matte papers, but I think I'll order some of the luster / glossier papers as well and see what I can do.  All this talk of how good the K3 inks are on glossy has got me thinking about possibly switching up to the 2400, but I think the wife would kill me...

I also got the Red River sample pack, but I'm not so impressed by the initial quality.  Maybe the prints will make up for it.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2005, 04:43:56 PM »
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If anyone has any recommendations for a very smooth-surfaced matte paper that works well with K3 inks, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Moab Entrada Fine Art Natural, either 190 gsm or 300 gsm.

Eric
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2005, 05:06:20 PM »
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Moab Entrada Fine Art Natural, either 190 gsm or 300 gsm.

Eric
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52701\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I like Entrada as well, but should be noted it isn't as smooth as Epson's Heavy Weight or Enhanced Matte papers.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2005, 05:10:15 PM »
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On the glossy side, have used Epson Premium Luster but will be testing Moab's Kokopelli Gloss and Satin finishes. 

Paul
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=51836\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Based on my brief tests with these papers on the Epson R2400, they compare very closely to Epson's Premium Gloss and Premium Luster, respectively.  Viewed side-by-side, the Moab papers seems very slightly more saturated than Epson.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2005, 07:28:36 AM »
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Based on my brief tests with these papers on the Epson R2400, they compare very closely to Epson's Premium Gloss and Premium Luster, respectively.  Viewed side-by-side, the Moab papers seems very slightly more saturated than Epson.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52705\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Has anybody tried the new Moab 285 Semi-Gloss?  (It's a dual-sided paper.)  I just ordered some samples so I'll be able to try myself, but just curious if any of you have tried yet ...

Eric
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photopat
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2005, 12:11:38 PM »
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I have to this date not found a matte paper ( in A3+ )that beats Innova photo smooth high white in overall performance.

The only one that might beat it when it comes to better gamut might be Museo II ,which I haven't tested yet. But by examening the profile (which is not telling the whole story)seems to have a better gamut than Innova


Patrick.
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