Use this forum to discuss, printing techniques, media, inks and other matters relating to producing Fine Art Prints.

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Postby Kevgermany » Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:56 pm

This topic opened for recommendation/discussion of papers.

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Postby jo-1 » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:28 am

hi kev

may I start to discuss on paper selection a bit (with reference to my worming up phase last year)

I've read a lot in news groups about textur, surfave and many other aspects of peper. Durability lightfastness . . .

The end of the day it all comes back to very personal subjective "habtis" and preferences.

For me the original HP Premium Plus paper works best for 80 to 90 % of my prints. Having said that I must admit that a semigloss surfave is good for a lot of things but when it comes to B&W a matte surface is sometimes really pleasing.

So I started to experiment with canvas (very nice indeed), Hahnemuehle, HP matte papers and other brands. In total I surely printed some hundert test prints and invested some 500 EUR ++ in the search for the ultimate paper.

Taking this "job" seriously means to do test prints, do tailormade ICC profiles, reprint and print lots of images to get a feeling for the qualities of the paper.

When I say "investments" I really mean investing lots of money and specially time. It turned out that the HP paper selection offers for my large format printer a nice selection of excellent quality papers that are lightfast and reproduce a wide gamut. Dmax is > 2,4 after four weeks and this is a kind of record on my papeers. Matte papers result in a dmax of approx. 1,5 or so. Not bad but one can see the differences in B&W printing clearly enough to build up one's mind.

So as a conclusion i would define these selection parameters for all beginers im Fine Art printing.

1.) Try papers of the printer manufacturer with the canned ICC profiels and experiment with the printing parameters.

2.) Try new papers with known ICC profiels that could fit (e.g. matte papers could be similar in it's behaviour)

3.) Try premium brands of papers first - you get what you pay for - most of the time (Hahnemuehle e.g. offers a free download of excellent ICC profiles)

4.) When you've fould a shortlist of papers reduce it to one paper in each kategory of interest. e.g. one matte, one semii matte and one glossy paper . . . having a too big selection will only limit you in your learning curve for the paper.

5.) Keep your color workflow and note it propperly to avoid paper loss due to wrong parameters.

If i knew tha same one year ago - I would have saved hundrets of EURs and a lot of frustration and mostly time for doing pictures out there ;-)

One further tip from my side: Do not invest in new pritners avery now and then - most printers of the last two or three years are capable of doing excelletn Fine Art work for you!! The new HP printers e.g. are only a little bit better in color reproduction on special media compare to my machine but if you have a good reason - go for it and stay with it!

A six color printer is by far good enough to do excellent printing on many media. If you happen to have a special need think twice before buying a new printer - ther might be a paper / pritner combination that solves your printing need.

Color gamut is the thin you'd look for first hand but color differentiation is surely the next point.

The end of the day printing is a lot about your own knowledge of your printing device. Invest the time to get to know your printer better and switch on maximum quality settings - I waisted precious time in setting the printer only to half of it's resolution. This lead to horrible results. This may not be true for all pritners but as I siad before - find out your propper setup and play with it.

BTW - glossy paper just shines with dye pritners - pigmented prints tend to be less shiny - so be aware that you must die one or the other way ;-)

I hope this helps for finding your own selection of Fine Art papers.

VBR <=> jo-1

P.S: Just ordereed Hahnemuehle Natrual Duo 216 g/m^2 - looks like an excellent improvment of the Duo 196 g/m^2 (if only the price would be less)
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Postby gcrogers » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:40 pm

Good overview, good tips. Thanks Jo.
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Re: Papers

Postby dudleyh » Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:39 pm

Kevgermany wrote:This topic opened for recommendation/discussion of papers.

I'm still searching for a paper that is as near to/idential to Ilford MG Fiber Matt as possible. So far i've not had that much luck.

I'm going to try and get hold of some Permajet and Lyson sample packs over the next few weeks and give their darkroom stype papers a go, as people have pointed me in that direction.

Has anyone tried Ilford Smooth Heavyweight Matt paper, or Epson Enhanced Matte Paper or Premium luster matte paper
, what are their surfaces like, anything like Ilford FB Matt?

My curent printers are an Epson R2400, and oldschool 1290 for my personal use, (the 1290 goes from dedicated B&W to cheap 3rd party inks on a regular basis). My usual paper is Premium semi gloss as I know how it performs well now, though if I were to give a list of papers I have used over time I would be very long. I have found it quite easy to change papers and get good results quickly as profiles for the R2400 do seem to be very good!

I think its a case of use what ever paper is right for a print, not make a print right for a certain type of paper!
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Postby Paul Warner » Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:38 pm

Hi. Epson Enhanced Matte is a very good paper. Using my old 2100 I used this in order to proof prints before using a fine art matte such as Somerset Enhanced Velvet, an excellent paper, archival, and cheaper than much of the competition. The problem with the Epson paper is that whilst the image itself is very stable, the paper base will discolour in air/light over time. I found that spraying it does improve things, but I`m not sure for how long.
I believe that many of the new fibre based archival papers are actually made by the same company, so I would suggest trying out the cheapest and seeing how you get on. I have settled on the Innova range for my gallery prints, and am very impressed by it. They have added a matte paper to the range.
I should point out that I am primarily a black and white worker, and results with this range have been so impressive using Epson`s Premium paper setting that I have discarded plans to mess around with profiles for the time being ( colour results also seem to match the monitor very closely). My printer, however, is the new 3800, and I`m not sure whether the above would also apply to the 2400.
Hope this helps.
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Postby DaveA » Sun Mar 25, 2007 6:07 pm

Hi all,

I'll add my two cents.
It's clear there is no such thing as the perfect paper, it comes down to taste, subject matter and use.

For now I'll just give my view on one paper and the stipulation of using the photo black ink with the 2400, and b/w printing.

Have found using Pictorico high gloss film to be outstanding.
I proof with epson prem glossy and taken by itself looks great, but the same image printed on Pictorico, shows a bit more detail, but much more impressive is the tonal range the paper shows. Images just glow and puts the prem glossy to shame in side by side. Im n ot talking about the mirror effect, but the fact that the pictorico shows a greater tonal range hands down. In blind test, eveyone I have shown the two papers always picks the Pictorico. Now befor anyone accuses me of being on there pay roll, to me with color prints, I find the difference between epson prem glossy and the pictorico, very small and in my view not worth the hugh cost difference.

Dave ps I know of at least one fine art photog, his name exscapes me who uses the stuff and he is very at east as to the life span, of 60+ years.
my pet gripe of people being concern about prints lasting 150-200 years
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Postby wesjr » Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:02 am


I'm also a big fan of Pictorico W.F. It has a unbelievable color, contrast and color. It works great with my R1800.

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Favorite Papers

Postby Diane » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:38 pm

Matte: Harman matte and warm matte, depending on the photo. Also, Calumet Brilliant Matte as an alternate.

Gloss: Harman Gloss (actually not all that glossy). I feel that the depth of color that this paper offers is unmatched on any other paper I've tried, unless I went to Pictorico which is way glossier (not usually what I'm looking for).
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Re: Favorite Papers

Postby jrhilton » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:39 pm

Diane wrote:Matte: Harman matte and warm matte, depending on the photo. Also, Calumet Brilliant Matte as an alternate.

Gloss: Harman Gloss (actually not all that glossy). I feel that the depth of color that this paper offers is unmatched on any other paper I've tried, unless I went to Pictorico which is way glossier (not usually what I'm looking for).

Only thing I don't like about Harman FB papers is they don't stay flat, espcially if you print a high key image, and looking at a lot of forums on the net, it seems to be quite a common problem. Appart from that they are great, and I agree the Gloss is a very good paper, though both are ever so slightly warm in colour.

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Postby poah » Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:18 pm

jo-1 wrote:hi kev
The end of the day it all comes back to very personal subjective "habtis" and preferences.

with so many different papers out there is tough to choose one.

I like the harman gloss and matt paper, calumet brilliant satin matte and hahnemuhle bamboo paper.

for cotton rag papers you are best to choose ones that have no OBA's, pH neutral and are buffered.
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