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Thread: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

  1. #1

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    Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    I am making a photo book with my epson p900 and want it to look and feel like a commercial book with offset printing. I'm stuck on finding the right paper. Specifically, I want semi-gloss to gloss double-sided pages that feel like paper (not plastic) and turn like pages (not too thick, maybe 50lb - 70lb).

    I ordered a double-sided paper sampler pack from Red River:
    https://www.redrivercatalog.com/brow...s-2-sided.html

    • The images look too flat and low contrast on their matte papers.

    • The 32lb matte doesn't work well with the ink load of the printer (it bleeds through and the paper puckers).

    • Their Ultra Pro Satin Duo 255 (66lb) has a reasonable sheen and the print quality matches or exceeds offset, but the substrate is plastic and it has a rubbery / squeaky feel when it rubs against your fingers or itself. I'll use this if I can't find something that feels better.


    Any suggestions?

  2. #2

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    I have been using the Pro Satin Duo 255 and I like it. Red River does make an Arctic Polar Luster Duo that is pretty nice and more expensive. I have used both in the 12x12 size and like both of them. They also make a double sided glossy that I would like to try but it isn't made in the 12x12 size. Years ago Ilford made a double sided Semi Gloss Duo. There's not much out there in double sided papers.

  3. #3

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    I have looked far and wide for quality book-making ink jet papers. The problem is, I've concluded, that all the papers that take photo black ink (semi-gloss, etc) have a coating that cracks when you fold it. Some crack more than others, but if you're folding the folios into signatures, then the gutters of the pages all have crackled at the folding. I also know what you mean by that squeaky feeling from the coatings. If you're not folding the pages, then it's not a problem, but I fold the folios into signatures and then sew them together.

    For my books I use the Red River 60lb polar matte double sided. It's an excellent paper, just the right weight, very smooth, and as good as Hahnemuehle or Canson in the final print.

    there are admittedly 2 challenges with matte papers. 1) They lose contrast and vibrancy, so I find I have to add a final adjustment curve in PS to get the look I want. 2) The pigment inks are more prone to shedding, so if you have a dark image facing a blank or lighter page, some ink may rub off. To solve this, I spray all my sheets with the Hahnemuehle varnish spray.

    It's a lot of work, but worth it if you're only making a limited edition of a fine art photo book.

  4. #4

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    Does the varnish bring out some gloss in the prints?

  5. #5

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sabeluc View Post
    Does the varnish bring out some gloss in the prints?
    Surfaces of matte papers remain matte. Glossy - glossy. If applied as intended (2-3 light coats), Varnish does not the change the reflectance of the surface.
    Varnish may not work equally well with all glossy papers. Testing could provide the best answer.

    Also speaking of printing on double sided papers - there is a risk that printer may introduce fine depressions (roller marks) or scratches on the back side while printing on one side.

  6. #6

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    I ordered sampler packs from Hahnemuhle, Canson and Moab. The packs don't have the double-sided papers but they have single sided versions that will be helpful. I hate just throwing money at this kind of thing but I don't see another way at the moment.

  7. #7

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    An update:

    I got the samplers from Moab, Hahnemuhle, Canson and Red River. The double sided luster paper from Red River is better than the mattes in terms of contrast but it has a coating that cracks when folded and an annoying rubbery feeling, so it won't work well as pages in a book. I read somewhere that the commercial photo books would use a 12-color offset process on matte paper and then coat it for the gloss. It sounds like this isn't available with home printing.

    Here are the matte papers. I tested them with my recently calibrated Epson p900, using best quality, manufacturer recommended settings, and manufacturer ICC profiles:

    • Hahnemuhle FineArt Photo Rag Duo (276gsm): A bit thick for book pages. Has the feeling of a fine-art brochure from a gallery. The best in terms of print quality. Excellent sharpness. Colors are spot on. Can't really tell it's inkjet. Comes in short and long grain (need short grain for book folding). Dries flat. Super expensive at about $4/sheet for 11x17 ($1/page). A pretty clear winner but for the cost and thickness.
    • Canson Infinity Rag Photographique (220gsm). I tested the single sided version but there is a double sided version (Duo). 95% of the print quality compared to the Hahnemuhle. Thinner paper would make for better pages in a book. Paper quality pleasing to the touch. Dries flat. Does not comes in short grain (too bad) or roll. $2.92/sheet @ 11x17 ($0.73/page).
    • Moab Lasal Photo Matte (235gsm). Look and feel similar to the Hahnemuhle but with slightly lower print quality. This paper bled through so it won't work for my needs. It also didn't dry totally flat. I imagine ink load could be reduced or alternative settings used, but I only tested the manufacturer recommended settings. $0.98/sheet ($0.25/page).
    • Red River Polar Matte Double Sided (60lb): Brighter white than the Hahnemuhle and Canson. Maybe the thickest paper that makes sense in a book. About equal thickness to the Hahnemuhle but stiffer. Print quality is lower with some subtle inkjet artifacts showing and colors aren't as saturated. Whites are brighter due to paper brightness. Colors don't match screen very well. Paper puckers at print time from ink load and doesn't quite dry flat. Does not come in short grain 11x17 or rolls. Much cheaper at $0.70/sheet ($0.17/page).
    • Red River Premium Matte Double Sided (50lb): Equivalent brightness to the 60lb polar matte. Thinner paper would make better book pages. Lowest print quality and least saturated colors. Puckers when printing but does dry flat. Colors not a perfect match to screen. Available in short grain direction. $0.62/sheet ($0.16/page).

    There's no clear winner. One observation is that, despite their advertising claims, the Red River paper is in no way equivalent to or better than the Hahnemuhle or Canson Rag. However, it is dramatically cheaper and available in lots of sizes and with specific grain direction. My conclusion is go big (Hahnemuhle FineArt Photo Rag Duo) or go cheap (RR Premium Matte Double Sided 50lb). I would use the Hahnemuhle for something where it really mattered, e.g. one-off fine art photo book where the value of the sale dwarfed the paper cost. That's not my current situation, so I'm going to order some 50lb Red River paper and play with printer settings and see if I can fix the colors and improve print quality by iterating.

  8. #8

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    The Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Book and Album 220gsm paper is exceptionally good for making one-off books etc - and it comes with the grain direction pre-determined. That said, it has several headaches to be aware of: it can offset horrendously (mainly just the black ink) on to facing pages even after spraying with fixative etc & leaving to dry for a prolonged period; and if you decide to print any text on it via letterpress, you need to be very careful about ink choice and impression - the wrong ink can bleed quite badly (this is probably an issue that relates to the internal sizing of the paper used).

  9. #9

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    Thanks interneg.

    The Hahnemuhle "Book and Album" didn't come in my sampler kit but I assume its surface is the same as the "Duo" while being slightly thinner. If this is true, I agree that it is exceptional paper and having it be a bit thinner than the Duo resolves one of my complaints, leaving only cost (which is extravagant).

  10. #10

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    Re: Double sided inkjet paper recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sabeluc View Post
    Thanks interneg.

    The Hahnemuhle "Book and Album" didn't come in my sampler kit but I assume its surface is the same as the "Duo" while being slightly thinner. If this is true, I agree that it is exceptional paper and having it be a bit thinner than the Duo resolves one of my complaints, leaving only cost (which is extravagant).
    The price gets excruciating, fast! Especially if you're printing an edition of books. My own preference today is to tip-in prints & use a more optimal paper for letterpress. Less painful overall and makes slightly larger editions less costly. The other more radical alternative is to get the sheets for your book run on an HP Indigo (especially one of the recent 200+ lpi ones) on the right sort of offset style stock that you want, then hand bind it. With a bit of care & attention, the results can be very good indeed.

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