Matte Vs Glossy prints

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by sanjay_chaudary, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Hi,
    The lab that I printed my negatives at, stopped printing from negatives. I am trying to find another lab to do my work.

    In my search, I got some glossy and matt finish prints done at a lab. The matt finish prints don't seem so sharp.
    Lab guy did say he was scanning them at 300 dpi and printing. Is there a huge difference in sharpness between Matt and Glossy?
    Its been a while since I printed Matt. My old lab offered only glossy in large size prints.
    Thanks in advance
  2. If that lab is scanning your 35mm negatives at 300 dpi for printing, that's the main problem with getting sharp looking prints. 300 dpi might be adequate for scanning other prints, or large format film, but not for 35mm. I quit wasting money on the local minilabs when they quit training employees to scan the negatives properly for adequate prints.
  3. david_henderson


    I hope you mean 300dpi at output size.
  4. There is quite a difference between glossy and matt. Glossy prints look more contrasty and deliver a heightened illusion of sharpness.
  5. I agree with with Lex Jenkins. Scanning at 300pi is the problem as far as sharpness goes. When deciding between matte and glossy I really think about the impact of the picture, the size, and subject matter. For some reason I prefer glossy for more nature-oriented photos and matte for portraits. Then again, I enjoy photos with strong textures so I think matte really brings that out.
  6. david_henderson


    I don't see how anyone can tell. If he's making prints of 16" x 12" from a scan of 300dpi at output size, the scanning's going to be done at almost 4000 ppi, which is as much as many film scanners can produce and should be enough to support a sharp print that size. But we don't know what size prints he's actually making and we don't know what scanner type is being used so even if we're pretty sure that the 300dpi is at output size, you still can't be sure that the scan he's getting should be or can't be enough to support the print he's making.
    Meanwhile the point Alan makes is certainly true in my experience too, but again without knowing the print size and scan type its difficult to forecast how big an issue this is going to be, relative to scan quality for this OP's prints.
  7. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    That 300 ppi has to be output. If scanning a 36 x 24mm negative at 300 ppi and then printing at 300 ppi one would get a 36 x 24mm (1.4 x 0.94 inch) print. It would have to be printed at 100 ppi to just get a 3.4 x 2.8 inch print.

    But that is neither here nor there. I always made glossy prints. I found that matte prints didn't have the sharp contrast that i liked and that also make them look less sharp. Matte paper also has a texture which may cause the exposure to be less sharp on it.
  8. david_henderson


    For me the larger the print, the more likely it is that I'll choose a matte or semi-matte paper. The brightness and contrast you can get from gloss papers is just too much on a large print, especially on a super-glossy paper like Fujiflex, and makes it more difficult to hang on a wall with the right extent of impact. Still, pretty subjective, and the final decision does often depend on the picture itself and where its going to be hung.
  9. Thanks all. The print is of 4 inches by 6 inches dimension. I am not sure of what machine the current lab is using. For all I know, it could be a simple small USB scanner, which is size of the Rubik's cube. My old lab had a noritsu machine.
  10. I have several Fuji Crystal Archive paper swatches, luster, watercolor smooth, gloss photo, matte photo, fuji pearl, and supergloss, some printed through an Epson printer, and some with a Chromira. The Supergloss paper through the Chromira is so obviously sharper, and the color gamut so much wider, it makes the decision easy for me pertaining to landscapes.
    There is subjectivity in deciding on what finish for picture size, but I think the subject matter, and tonality of the subject on paper makes the decision more of a priority. Picture size with gloss takes a back seat to the issues of tonality, and subject IMO.
  11. One other important issue for gloss is mounting. Yawn! Yes I know, we know, but I can't tell you how many times I've been burned from framers that tout being the masters of mounting. The surface is critical, and gator board doesn't cut it anymore. Never did.
  12. I agree with Lex. 35mm. negs should be scanned at at least 3000 dpi. For printing output 300 is fine but not for negative scanning. I think you may well need a new lab.
  13. PS.
    Since moving entirely to digital after 50 years I noe prefer the look of matte over digital when done on some of the the new archival papers using the new pigment inks.
  14. Sanjay, matt prints do look a little less sharp than glossy. How big, in terms of megabytes was the file and how big did you have it printed at? That way we can bypass the redundant and beat to death dpi, and ppi discussion. People get them confused. Its easier just to know your file size after scanned, and the dimensions of the print and then people can see if it was scanned correctly to size and print output.
  15. Thanks all. I did not get to see the file. He just scanned and gave me the prints.
    The other labs I had been to before have bigger machines which scan from negatives and print. I believe the chemicals may be housed in the machine.
  16. I actually prefer the matte. The glossy has a little too much reflection, which makes it hard to see the picture at certain angles.
  17. Here where I am. My lab uses a Nortisu or a Frontier system for scanning and printing, it's a complex all in one unit. I now just develop and I scan myself. One time they gave me a Photo CD by mistake so I got that for free. The scans are not as good as my Epson V700. Let alone better scanners you can get. It could also be what kind of settings they used as well.

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