Photo Paper Reviews

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Edited by George Schaub  |  Sep 18, 2012  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2012  |  4 comments

Every year the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), a worldwide association of photo and imaging magazine editors, meets to pick the Best of Class in a wide range of photo categories. As the sole US member of the association, Shutterbug joins editors from Europe, Asia, and Africa in the nominating, judging, and selection process. One of the most exciting aspects of photography today is the constant advancement of technology and design, and this year’s Top Products reflect that spirit and those accomplishments, including new categories of Video D-SLR and Mobile App. Editor George Schaub joins all fellow TIPA members in congratulating those selected to receive the prestigious TIPA award. (To learn more about TIPA, please visit the website at: www.tipa.com.)

Roger W. Hicks & Frances E. Schultz  |  Sep 14, 2012  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2012  |  0 comments

You can use Harman Direct Positive Paper (hereafter HDPP) in a whole spectrum of ways. At one end of the spectrum is the “Wow! Lookit!” of a school science project. At the other is a creative tool that will probably prove useful and profitable for some fine art photographers, and even some advertising photographers. We keep thinking of new ways to use it, but then again, you have to. It is a classic example of “creative limitation,”

George Schaub  |  Aug 15, 2012  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2012  |  14 comments

The Ilford name certainly echoes for those with a photographic memory, and now the Galerie brand name sits on a host of inkjet media, some fiber-based and quite a few RC-based products, the subjects of this review.

 

It must be said at the outset that any mention of RC-based papers usually makes printmakers head for the door. The bum rap RC gets is based on first impressions from 40 odd years ago, when it was quite clear that RC (Resin-Coated, plastic) base materials were poor relations used for convenience rather than quality. RC papers in the silver realm came a long way since their first introduction, and now Ilford claims that RC inkjet papers will do as well. While they have a fair amount of proper disclaimers about ink type and storage conditions, they state that when using pigment inks their RC surface papers will not undergo significant fading or discoloration in a range of from 30 to 100 years.

George Schaub  |  Jul 31, 2012  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2012  |  0 comments

Having worked with numerous types and brands of “metallic” surface papers I have some expectations as to what they can deliver. Metallic is a bit of a misnomer as these papers have a glossy surface on a paper (here acid-free) base with an opalescent sheen diffused throughout the emulsion coating. This gives a spark and edge to a print that glossy shares, but there is an extra kick in the paper surface that works quite well with some images, and not so well with others. It is a particular choice, one that should be part of your printing arsenal but hardly dominated by it.

 

I generally feel it is best to ignore marketing copy, but sometimes it’s fun to see how folks spin their yarn. Moab’s has always been somewhat transcendent, here telling us that the surface is “reminiscent of the ultra-smooth and slick sandstone surface of the famous bike trail that loops through the desert plains of Moab…” Well, never having done the loop that may well be so, but if so the bike’s tires better have crampons, since this surface is quite slick. What is more to the point is that the copy makes a more straightforward claim that “black-and-white images shine on this new paper producing deep blacks and ultra-bright highlights.” That, and other matters, was the subject of my printing tests.

George Schaub  |  Jun 08, 2012  |  0 comments

Ilford has relaunched their Galerie brand of inkjet papers, with one segment dubbed their “Prestige” brand. This is a first hands-on test of their Galerie Prestige Smooth High Gloss 215 gsm, based on pre-launch samples I was supplied.

 

In olden times printing papers were classed by weight, support (RC or fiber) grade (or VC, for variable contrast) and surface, and we’re beginning to see those classifications emerge again in the inkjet paper world, albeit in a different way than silver papers but nonetheless by weight and surface and support. If I were to classify this new Ilford Smooth High Gloss I’d call it a single weight, RC, and high gloss (Super F) "material", leaving grade aside of course as the contrast in digital is more determined by processing than paper grade.

George Schaub  |  Apr 20, 2012  |  1 comments

What qualifies a digital inkjet printing paper as “fine art?” To begin, it should be able to reproduce a wide range of tonal values and colors that satisfy the photographer. It should be “archival”, meaning that there should be no contaminants or even optical brighteners that could affect the print stability long term. And perhaps most important is that it should have that “look,” sometimes described as emulating a well-made darkroom print.

George Schaub  |  Dec 19, 2011  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2011  |  0 comments

There’s no question that glossy and satin or pearl-type surfaces give an image more “pop,” but on the other hand you might want to use a matte surface to enhance the look and feel of certain images that rely less on pop than a quieter mood. It could be boiled down to a simple rule of thumb: for rich, high-saturation images you might use a glossy or semigloss; for more subtle colors it might be better to use a matte or satin. In the black-and-white realm it’s more of a toss-up but I think the same general rule applies. For example, for architectural images of adobe or stucco wall buildings I use matte; for glass and steel skyscrapers I choose glossy. Notice that I always modify the recommendations with “might”: if you really get into papers for printing you’ll make your own judgments. But there’s no denying that surface decisions play a role in overall effectiveness of the image.

 

George Schaub  |  Oct 27, 2011  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Let’s face it—some images just look better on a glossy surface. Yet, some folks spurn gloss for its “commercial” cachet and snapshot aesthetic. For those who prefer a “crisp” look to their prints but eschew gloss for practical and aesthetic reasons, a paper like the new Lasal Exhibition Luster could do the trick. Replacing Moab’s former Lasal Photo Luster (a 270 gsm paper vs. this one’s 300 gsm), this Resin-Coated (RC) paper has a bright white base, is flexible yet strong, and touts a new coating technology that the company claims yields improved scratch resistance and enhanced “opacity.” The paper is affordable for its class, with letter-size paper well below $1 per sheet (in 50-sheet packs), 13x19” at slightly under $2 a sheet, and a 17”x100’ roll at $143, all quoted from the company’s website.

 

Being an RC paper, the company says you can print using either dye or pigment-ink printers, although it says pigment is preferred. Lacking a dye printer our print runs were done using an Epson 3800 (pigment) printer using Epson (Premium Luster) and Moab ICC profiles, and both Photoshop and Epson printer controls. Color and black-and-white images of landscapes, people, and graphics were chosen for the tests. Prints were left overnight to cure, although we note that prints were instant dry and the paper showed no signs of ink “wetness” sometimes seen with fiber-based papers right off the press, and there was no dry down effect perceived. Prints were made with Photo Black ink settings.

Frances E. Schultz  |  Oct 24, 2011  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Ilford’s new Multigrade Art 300 (MGA 300) paper is a completely new, different, silver halide, wet-process printing paper: the company’s first new paper in 13 years. The tonality is rich and subtle, and the feel of the prints is incomparable. As a bonus, it is perfect for handcoloring.

George Schaub  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2011  |  1 comments

Inkjet printmakers have nothing to complain about when it comes to paper choices. There are glossy, semigloss, and matte surface papers galore, each with their own charm and cachet. Regarding the latter aspect, Somerset is no slouch, having established a reputation in both inkjet and other art papers many years back.

Their latest entry into the inkjet market is Somerset Museum Rag, distributed by Moab. This 100 percent cotton, 300 gsm paper displays a smooth matte surface, a considerable, but not yellowish warm tone, and while strong and fairly thick, is actually quite supple. The paper is single-sided, which means the tooth is on one side only, and telling the printable from the backing side is not something that will be immediately apparent. For that reason the packaging comes with a stick-on label that says “printable THIS SIDE.” You would do well to keep the original cellophane packaging until you get a good feel for the surfaces. I found that if you rub your thumb along the surface the differences become clear, with the printable surface evoking somewhat of a higher pitch.

George Schaub  |  Mar 01, 2011  |  1 comments

The substrate and the image often go hand in hand, with a natural tendency to choose a matte surface for one type of scene, bucolic landscapes, perhaps, a hard gloss for commercial work, and a luster for deep blacks and a fine art feel.

George Schaub  |  Feb 01, 2011  |  0 comments

OK, so I have on the meditation tape and have done my breathing exercises and now I’m ready to print on Hahnemühle’s Bamboo paper, which they dub prime for “spiritual black and white and color photography.” Made from 90 percent bamboo fibers and 10 percent cotton, and washed in “pure spring water,” the paper comes with a bit of New Age hype but at the end...

George Schaub  |  May 01, 2010  |  1 comments

Part of the fun of making inkjet prints is the wide variety of printing surfaces and weights from which you can choose. You can go the budget route and have some fine papers to work with, or choose papers that have brand cachet and a price tag to match. That cachet generally pays off in a level of quality and durability that many printmakers both admire and hope to discover in their printing...

Jon Canfield  |  Jul 01, 2009  |  0 comments

It’s kind of difficult to believe that there could be much innovation in a material that’s been used for thousands of years, but I’m always surprised at the number of new printing papers that come out each year. Of course, the traditional surface photo papers in gloss and luster finishes continue to be the most popular choices, but there is an ever-widening variety of fine art...

Pages

X