View Full Version : Best photo-type inkjet paper for B&W?
What's the best photo-type paper for black and white printing? I'm enquiring about the gloss type paper, versus matte paper. Why do you like the paper you prefer?
I've been using Epson Premium Lustre, but someone I know recently expressed his preference for Epson Semi-Gloss paper. He thought that it looked more like silver paper.
HP Premium Plus Soft-Gloss ain't bad. It looks somewhere between RC and commercial Fiber papers.
If you can use Epson K3 inks - Museo Silver Rag
Have you seen the reviews for the new paper by Crane. I have not tried it but it seems from the reviews to be worth a look:
Neil, there is no BEST. This is one of those questions where you will get as many responses as their are responders. Your best bet is to get some sample packs from the major paper manufacturers (e.g. Red River, Moab, Hawk Mountain, Crane, etc.) and see what you find there that you like. These sample packs are very inexpensive and the best way I can think of the test what is available and make some personal decisions.
I hvae no single personal preference, it depends ont he image I ma printing. Generally I prefer semigloss and matte finishes over gloss but that is pure preference and it holds for wet processing as well. One paper that I am working a lot with right now which has a nice creamy base and is a heavy paper is Red River Natural; I really like it. It is an archival pure alpha cellulose paper that has no optical brighteners. Not for every image or every taste but I am finding it a perfect choice for soft subdued winter color scenes.
I've heard enough from people I trust to order a couple of rolls of the Crane Museo Silver Rag.
And a 7800, yippee!
Though I was not that thrilled with the early tests that I did during the beta testing period of Silver Rag, there are plenty of people out there who I respect who like the production paper allot. That is where I would go if I were you.
I saw some of the Crane Silver Museo rag and frankly, it does not excite me... So I think the best advice so far is Ted's -- Order some samples and try them yourself ;)
Me personally, I like InkJetArt Micro-ceramic gloss for glossy prints with K3 inks (7800) and don't care too much for the combination of glossy textured surface of luster and B&W images -- which is probably why I don't like the new Crane paper. Also nice for B&W is Epson Premium semi-matte (uses the Pk ink), but it's base is not as bright as the gloss or luster.
FWIW I still print a lot of my B&W with UC Matte ink (in an older 7600) using matte papers. For matte, I like Hanemuhle Photo Rag and Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art.
Kirk, the paper surface changed quite a bit from the first samples, during and as a result of feedback from the beta testing (though I know you are still very fond of the cotton rag papers...).
I had a roll from the last test batch from before production and I really liked it - and it was quite an improvement over the early stuff. But I'm still waiting for some of the actual production paper to get here...
At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, the best B&W prints are still made on old-fashioned silver/gelatin (or platinum) fiber base papers. Digital can be surprisingly good, and is getting better, but it ain't there yet.
Hi Tim, what's the Museo paper like? I'm particularly interested in the density of the blacks, color, and sharpness compared with the RC papers such as Luster. Everyone's raving about this paper but I can't get my hands on a roll!
for what it's worth, I saw the same print made in a darkroom and also on Museo Silver Rag (with an epson 9800 with K3 inks) and they looked identical. In my hand I couldn't tell them apart - sharpness, tonal range, color, everything, and they where not behind glass. Charles Cramer made both prints. His darkroom print was selenium toned on fiber based paper though...
"Kirk, the paper surface changed quite a bit from the first samples, during and as a result of feedback from the beta testing (though I know you are still very fond of the cotton rag papers...)."
True Tim, I do prefer the mat art papers. My prefered paper right now is Crane Museo Max. I have a print on it now in a group show at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Please note everyone that the great equalizer is GLASS! It is hard to tell a mat print from a glossy one or even a silver print when they are all under glass. You have to get to an angle and look close to see the difference. After my recent retrospective, a person who is very knowledgeable commented to me that he saw three digital prints in the main room of my exhibition. There were about 60 prints in that room total. Only three prints in fact were silver-all the rest were digital archival ink!.
I like Epson Premium Semi Matte. Its a bit smoother than Luster, not so much "more matte" in sheen or gloss but less textured to my eye.
Also depends on the printer. HP Satin (soft gloss in smaller sheets) is really nice, if you have an HP printer.
I like Hanemuhle Photo Rag 308 along with MIS Eboni and Ultrtone inks
Check out Ilford Smooth Pearl with K3 inks. When looking for a darkroom substitue with inkjet paper you might notice the following when doing a side by side comparison of the same image on both traditional fiber glossy and inkjet. I believe you give up a little something with each type paper.
(Using 4800 k3 inks)
1) with Silver Rag (late beta test roll) you give up a bit of resolution as well you have to deal with an annoying luster type texture when not viewed dead on under the proper lighting. You'll also notice a slight bit of color/metamarism when viewed at an angle. Otherwise, this paper has all of the DEPTH of traditional silver gelatin fiber and a look all it's own.
2) with the Epson semi-gloss and Ilford smooth pearl you get great resolution but you will notice a decrease in apparent depth. Again I'm talking side by side with your eyes going back and forth. You also get tipped off that it's inkjet paper when viewed at an angle and the texture is seen.
3) The matte papers don't try to emulate silver gelatin fiber/gloss and have a beauty all their own! They have all of the DEPTH of a traditional paper but not the gloss or dmax. This finish works in it's favor and is an advantage. I personally like this choice because of the fact that it's the most different and stands on its own. Prints on this paper look like art whereas the glossy types look a bit like reprints.
I hope this saves you a little time. However, the best way to find out is to see for yourself.
On my 2400, Hanemuhle Photo Rag for matte and Luminos Ultra Gloss for a gloss paper. I have some Silver Rag on order..EC
I appreciate everyone's responses.
How does the Museo Silver Rag handle the K2 inks? I have an Epson 4000 printer, and I'm using the ColorBurst Pro RIP. I have the capability of generating my own profiles.
My favorite matte paper by a long way is Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 300 gsm. I also quite like Moab Entrada for proofing or where you need a bright white paper. It feels a bit cheaper than HPR to handle and receives ink a bit differently but it is a very, very good paper and for some applications it may even be better.
Neil, I've heard the K2 inks don't perform too well. I know k3 give better dmax and less metamarism. I haven't seen with my own eyes what k2 inks look like on SR but read elsewhere they don't work as well.
Neil I run K2 inks on a 4000. I was not impressed with the my tests of the early beta samples of SR. I have not tested the much evolved production paper.
If you like a high gloss look, Pictorico Pro Photo Gallery Hi-Gloss White Film is worth a try. Impressive dmax, depth and resolution.
Hahnemuhle will be offering their second attempt (first was Photo Rag Satin) at emulating the look of an air dried FB paper. This one will be FineArt Pearl. PremierArt also has Premier Luster Rag (terrible surface). Lexjet is also now selling a silver rag look-alike.
I have two rolls of the Silver Rag on order but Tim just sent me a sample and it looks terrific. Amazingly close to unglazed FB glossy, and super blacks. The surface is bulletproof and the weight/stiffness is very satisfying. It looks like it will be sharper than Photo Rag, which is my current paper.
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