One Paper to Rule Them All...

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by warren_lewis|1, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. Background: I shoot with the FujiX system, primarily landscape and travel. Usually RAW, then convert in Lightroom to Velvia, or B&W.

    Recently purchased an Epson P800. In the past, with my Canon printer, I juggled all sorts of different papers. In my quest to simplify my life, and improve my printing ability, I'd like to just use one paper. Ok, I'd use a second paper for B&W if needed.

    I do have assorted sample packs ordered and will print on those this weekend. I plan on Printing 2 images, using their ICC as 5x7 on 1 sheet, and a full size image on the other.

    Thoughts: Available in 8x10, up to 22x17 and 17" roll. Also, any suggestions on a print workshop would be appreciated (East Coast US, or online). My printing skills is the weakest link in my workflow. Using an Apple 27" iMac with a Spyder used regularly to color match the monitor to the printer.

    I realize this is a hotly personal topic. Hoping to get a clear picture of what people are using and why.

    Thanks for the help,
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  2. Unless I have a specific application in mind, I use a smooth luster paper. It is glossy enough (use glossy settings) to produce bright images in high detail, yet can be mounted or sleeved in a portfolio with little danger of sticking. For framed and mounted prints, I prefer a matte art paper, matted and under glass. I like some canvas prints, but haven't tried it myself. My wall space is under the governance of the Secretary or the Interior (my wife), so with few exceptions, I display prints in portfolios.

    Glossy inkjet prints are often disappointing. They are never as glossy as a machine print or dye-sub, and tend to show bronzing when viewed at an angle.

    After a long [printing] hiatus, I purchased a Canon Pixma Pro-10 - a 55 pound monster which prints up to 13x19" prints, using a set of 10 pigment inks. It does nearly as well with matte paper as semi-gloss, but uses a lot more ink. An 8x10 (or 8.5x11) luster print costs about $1 for ink plus the paper, about $.50.

    Calibration and print profiles are necessary, but not sufficient. If certain colors, e.g., flesh tones, are important, you may have to calibrate using standards which concentrate in this range. Secondly, the density of the print can never match the same image on a back-lighted display. I usually have to lighten them about 20%, which is a convenient default setting in Lightroom. That's even after setting my display to 80 ftc instead of the recommended 120 (which would make me go blind).
  3. Suggestion on printing workshop (albeit not East Coast....) Stephen Johnson, I took his 4-day printing course to improve my printing, and I learned a LOT. Well worth it. I did consider John Paul Caponigro's workshop (Portland, ME), but logistics and timing worked out better for Stephen's class. Do choose someone who has similar subject and style as you would like to have, and has the capability for you to make some prints during the class. There is just no substitute to having an expert looking over your shoulder while you learn how to optimize your print. In preparation for the course, I can recommend Jeff Schewe's "The Digital Print", or join Luminous Landscape's forum ($12-$15/year) and watch their ~12-hour "Camera to Print and Screen" video tutorial. The many work area setup tips and printing techniques Stephen taught me have substantially reduced the time, paper, and ink I consume in making a good print.
  4. I'd print from the sample packs first, then re-post the question once you know what surfaces, etc., you like. E.g., not much help if folks list papers available in a roll if it's a surface or brightness you don't like.

    Personally, I default to a luster paper, usually Moab Exhibition Luster. It has a wider gamut and provides more detail than matte papers, and I think it uses less ink. While I like the appearance of matte papers for some images, they lose some of that feeling if you put them behind glass, unless you use a nonreflective glass.
  5. I enjoy the Moab papers myself. The colors and textures I get out of those papers are really pleasing.
  6. I've been using Moab Entrada Natural matte paper for years. I occasionally experiment with others but I always go back to Entrada Natural. I have faith in its archival quality - it's acid free and has no optical brightening agents (OBAs). I am very pleased with the color and black & white prints on Entrada Natural from my Epson Stylus Photo R2880. Moab offers a sample pack - two 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of each of their papers.

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