PermaJet Mercury Ultra White Matt Canvas +
PremaProtect varnish review
PermaJet is a market leader in high quality papers, they offer the world’s largest range of inkjet papers and canvases, these include Digital photo papers, Fibre based papers, Smooth and Textured Fine art papers and canvases.
Canvas has been around for hundreds of years as a popular artist medium. It’s now a favourite for portrait and landscape photographers who want to produce a Fine Art or artistic look to their work. Printing on canvas is no more complicated than standard inkjet printing, albeit there are a few extra steps. In this review we are testing PermaJet’s latest products, Mercury Ultra White Matt Canvas and PermaProtect canvas varnish.
Mercury Ultra White Matt is a textured, heavy weight product (405gsm) with a brilliant white surface which is ideal for bringing out details in a photograph. The canvas is compatible with both Dye and Pigment ink printers from desktop size through to large format printers. The media is available in the following sizes; A3+ (10 sheet pack), 17”, 24”, 36”, 44” and 60” wide rolls (length 15 metres). For this review we are using an Epson Pro 3800 printer together with a custom profile.
For producing colour accurate prints on specialty media you need to use a custom profile, most printers, from Epson Canon or HP do not offer profiles for third party media. However, you can in most cases, download a profile from the paper manufacturer’s web-site. At the time of writing PermaJet do not have a profile available for this new canvas, but you can download a target file from the PermaJet web-site and print it using your printer. Post the printed targets to PermaJet and they will create a custom ICC profile for you, free of charge. The profile will be unique to your printer, ink and media combination, new profiles need to be created for each media type being used.
For printing, select Photoshop Manages Colour and from the profile drop down list select the custom profile (I have created one called PermaJet MUW Canvas). Go into the printer’s properties and make sure that No Colour Adjustment is selected, this prevents the printer from also applying a profile. The media type should be the same as used when printing the target files. The Media Type setting controls the amount of ink that is placed on the media and determines whether Photo Black or Matt Black ink is used, for our test prints we used the Epson Watercolour – Radiant White as the media type.
Canvas media is best suited to large format printers that have the facility to accommodate roll media, smaller desktop printers require rigid media. A support sheet is provided with the A3+ media as you can’t load canvas via the rear media tray, it needs to be loaded via the front straight paper path together with a rigid support. Place the canvas sheet onto the support sheet and feed this into the front straight paper path holder. The rigid sheet ensures that the media is gripped and pulled into the printer. Now you can use the printer in the same way as you would with using any other media.
The Mercury Ultra White canvas has a brilliant white textured surface which may not suit all subjects, for traditional style portraiture it can look too cold and clinical. However, it is well suited to a contemporary style of photography that makes use of a whiter than white backdrop. Generally, subject matter printed on the smaller A3+ canvas needs to be large and fill as much of the area as possible, otherwise the textured canvas surface can break up some of the finer details in a photo.
The PermaJet canvas produced dynamic colour photographs using a variety of subject matter. Colours have a wide gamut and are vibrant to the point that they seem to jump of the canvas. Primary colours are particularly strong, yet at the same time the subtle colours maintain a delicacy of tone. Black and White photographs worked particularly well, the blacks are strong whilst still retaining sufficient shadow detail. There was also plenty of subtlety in the lighter grey tones although on close inspection the actual canvas texture was showing more than I would have liked.
The other new product is the PermaProtect, this is a fast drying water based varnish that is applied to the printed canvas. The clear varnish offers protection against, UV, handling, abrasion and airborne pollutants as well as increasing the lightfastness of the canvas. The varnish also has the benefit of increasing the colour saturation and density of blacks. PermaJet claims “that the varnishes will not discolour or change over 85 years.” This claim is based on independent tests by a well known UK laboratory. The varnish is available in Gloss, Matt and Satin in 250ml pots and 2.5 litre cans. There is also a custom foam roller kit (sold separately) for applying the varnish. The roller has very fine pores to ensure an even application, don’t be tempted to use a roller from your local DIY store as these are generally designed for use with thicker emulsion paints. The varnishes can also be applied to other canvases and Fine Art papers.
Before applying the varnish, you should ensure that the ink on the canvas has dried for at least 24 hours. Stir the varnish for 2 minutes and then pour a small amount into the tray, this has a milky white look but will dry clear. Load the roller evenly for consistency and then apply a single coat to the entire canvas making sure all areas are covered. You can apply more coats to increase the colour vibrancy but it will extend the drying time. The canvas will be dry in less than 20 minutes. Applying the varnish using the roller kit was a simple task, we didn’t encounter any problems, although you should apply it in a well ventilated room. The roller and tray can be washed in water after use and then re-used again. The finished canvas print can be mounted on acid free museum board or stretched onto a wooden frame, PermaJet can supply all the necessary items for this
Large photographs printed on Canvas and displayed on a wall look impressive and can add another dimension to your pictures. The PermaJet Mercury Ultra White Canvas produced vibrant well saturated colours on our test photographs, together with an exceptional brilliant white canvas base. However, I should point out that we used our own custom profile created with an X-Rite i2Pro spectrophotometer. We were informed by PermaJet that this is the same spectrophotometer that they use to create their profiles, so in theory you should be able to achieve a similar result. A coating of PermaProtect varnish ensures your photographs will be well protected against dirt and air borne pollutants.
- 10 sheets of A3+ £ 47.95
- 17” roll (15 mtrs) £102.00
- 24” roll (15 mtrs) £144.00
- 36” roll (15 mtrs) £219.00
- 44” roll (15 mtrs) £264.00
- 60” roll (15 mtrs) £360.00
- Foam roller kit £ 4.50
- Varnish 250ml £ 7.49 Gloss, Satin & Matt
- Varnish 2.5 Litre £ 53.99 Gloss, Satin & Matt