Photography and Art

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Papers

Until recently, most of the camera stores in my city (Toronto) sold a variety of brands of ink jet paper ranging from Hahnemuhle at the expensive end down to Premier Imaging at the lower end of the price scale. But, as the song goes, there's a new kid in town.

I buy most of my paper and ink at CCBC, a small outfit that focuses on computer-related consumables (paper, ink, DVD's) and often has the best prices around. They have a small retail outlet in Toronto and also sell lots of stuff on the web. I was in the store the other day and they were featuring paper from Inkpress Paper. Since then, I've seen the same paper in Vistek and Henry's Camera, so the word is getting out. I was really impressed with the sheer variety of the Inkpress product offerings. They have a professional line with three papers (warm baryta, pro gloss and pro silky) and a regular line of 24 (!) types of paper, ranging from matte paper to self-adhesive vinyl. Want canvas? Got it. Want natural cotton rag? Got that too. The range is awesome.

You can buy a sampler pack for each product line (see product list here) and I did just that. So far, I've done test prints (using the image above that has a good range of shadows, highlights and colours) on the warm baryta paper and the Pro Silky paper. The images were quite stunning, although the profiles produced distinctly varied results. The baryta profile was quite true to the image, but the silky paper image looked to have too much yellow in it. I'll have to tinker and see if I can find an Epson profile that does better. I've often had success in using the Epson profiles as a substitute for wonky profiles from other vendors. However, I was very pleased with the look of the pictures on both of these papers. The baryta paper is very warm in tone and the surface is lovely. There is a real depth to this paper and the photo looks quite three dimensional. There appears to be a very good range of tonality. The silky paper is much whiter and looks to be a very high quality semi-gloss. I'll keep printing and let you know what I find out.

The paper that I've been lusting after is Hahnemuele Photo Rag Baryta. This paper sounds like a dream come true - offering the deep blacks and three dimensional appearance of a baryta coating with the long-lasting properties of a cotton rag backing. Neil Snape says that the paper is "just right", not too glossy but still capable of rendering prints with that transparent look where the paper disappears and lets you wander around in the photograph. Here's his full review.

The good news is that this paper seems to be in stock at retailers. Here's a link to Vistek's listings. I think I might buy some :-)

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