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Ilford Inkjet Paper Reviews Part 2

Ilford Inkjet Paper Reviews Part 2 - Brian Wadie reviews four more Ilford Inkjet papers for ePHOTOzine.

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Category : Printer Paper
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Ilford papers

This review covers the following papers
:
A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Cotton Textured 330gsm
A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Cotton Smooth 330gsm
A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fine Art Textured 220gsm
A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige  Gold Fine Art Smooth 220gsm

I carried out these tests using my Epson Stylus Photo R3000 using the same settings I would for my normal print jobs.

The packaging was strong, informative and colourful and indicated that Ilford provided ICC profiles for each paper at their website www.ilford.com.

I downloaded the profiles for these papers to try them during this evaluation but found that when using the Gold Cotton Textured profile with my system they gave a slight purple cast to the blues so carried out the rest of the testing using my normal procedure, which is to select the correct setting for the paper type then allow the printer to manage colour. Note - this is probably a function of the way that my system is calibrated / set-up rather than the Ilford  .icc profiles. When printing in black and white I use the "Highlight Point Shift" setting in the Advanced Colour Controls panel of the R3000 software.

I have commented on the subjective handling qualities of each paper in the relevant section.

When evaluating the quality of the test prints I finally came to the conclusion that trying to show the differences between them by scanning the images then reproducing them digitally on-screen was a bit of a waste of time as it in no way reflects what is seen when looking at the print itself. I will try to compensate for this in the detail of my written description.

The test images I used were the following:
test images
 


A3+  Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Cotton Textured 330gsm

Ilford

Handling: With a distinct but fine texture this paper has good rigidity with minimal curl and a nice feel, feeding easily via the front-sheet feed on the R3000. It has an off-white colour which is typical of this class of paper with no OBA. 

Comparing it to my current textured paper of choice, Permajet Fine Art Parchment 285 gsm the texture is less pronounced (and for me, less satisfying - but this is a purely subjective assessment so do check for yourself). It's also slightly less stiff and on the positive side, exhibits less lateral paper curl.

Black and white printing: This paper provides strong blacks with a good tonal range with smooth gradations between tones although there is very slight loss of definition between the last two darkest tones of black (similar to the result with Gold Fibre Silk). The paper is very slightly 'off-white' with a cream tone which imparts a very pleasant slight antique feel to black and white prints made using the Epson 'Neutral / Normal' black and white setting in the printing software.

Colour Printing: Prints exhibited strong colours with good tonal range and excellent match to the Agfa colour standard.

One big difference between this paper and the 'Parchment' is that the latter gives colour prints an almost 3D look, even when viewed behind glass. Once again, it's a subjective assessment and this effect may not appeal to everyone but it prevents the otherwise excellent Prestige Cotton Textured paper from becoming my new Textured Paper of Choice.

A3+  Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Cotton Textured 330gsm Rating


Pros:

Good tonal range
Minimal curl

Cons:

Gives prints '3D' look

HANDLING
BLACK AND WHITE PRINT QUALITY
COLOUR PRINT QUALITY
OVERALL

A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Cotton Smooth 330gsm

Gold Cotton Smooth

Handling: Handling is the same as the Cotton Textured paper with good rigidity, minimal curl and a nice feel, feeding easily via the front-sheet feed on the R3000. It has an off-white colour which is typical of this class of paper with no OBA and surface finish is similar to but slightly smoother than my usual smooth fine art matt paper which is Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm.

Black and white printing: This paper provides strong blacks with a good tonal range with smooth gradations between tones although there is very slight loss of definition between the last two darkest tones of black (similar to the result with Gold Fibre Silk). The paper is very slightly 'off-white' with a cream tone which imparts a very pleasant slight antique feel to B&W prints made using the Epson 'Neutral / Normal'  black and white setting in the printing software.

Colour printing: Prints exhibited strong colours with good tonal range and excellent match to the Agfa colour standard. I also checked it against another standard I use which tests for skin tones and the result was outstanding for all the ethnicities shown.

Based on these results I suspect that this paper will become my fine art matt / smooth paper of choice, replacing the Hahnemuhle Photo rag.

A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Cotton Smooth 330gsm Rating


Pros:

Feeds easily

Cons:

Slight loss of definition on last two black tones

HANDLING
BLACK AND WHITE PRINT QUALITY
COLOUR PRINT QUALITY
OVERALL


A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fine Art Textured 220gsm

Fine art textured
Handling: There is a distinct fine texture to the surface of the paper which gives a pleasing effect. It feels quite light weight and flexible and has a slight curl across the sheet but still feeds easily via the front feed path. This is a white paper with a significantly less creamy tone than the Prestige Cotton Textured version (suggesting that it contains optical brightener and or has less cotton content) The texture is less pronounced as well.

Black and white printing: A very pleasing result with a slightly better grey scale discrimination than the Cotton papers yet still keeping strong blacks and good tonal gradation. Line detail and sharpness is excellent.

Colour printing: The colour palette is more open and a touch less saturated looking than that on the Cotton Textured paper but, in both cases, there appears to be good correspondence with the AGFA colour chart.


A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fine Art Textured 220gsm Rating


Pros

Very good quality print

Cons

A little flimsy

HANDLING
BLACK AND WHITE PRINT QUALITY
COLOUR PRINT QUALITY
OVERALL


A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fine Art Smooth 220gsm

fine art smooth
Handling: This paper has a smooth, refined surface texture and feels quite light weight and flexible with a slight curl across the sheet but still feeds easily via the front feed path. This is a white paper with a significantly less creamy tone than the Prestige Cotton Smooth version (suggesting that it contains optical brightener and or has less cotton content). The texture is less pronounced as well.

Black and white printing: A very pleasing result with a slightly better grey scale discrimination yet still keeping strong blacks and good tonal gradation. Line detail and sharpness is excellent.

Colour printing: The colour palette is more open and a touch less saturated looking than that on the Cotton Textured paper but, in both cases, there appears to be good correspondence with the AGFA colour chart.

A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fine Art Smooth 220gsm Rating


Pros

Excellent line detail and sharpness

Cons

A little flimsy

HANDLING
BLACK AND WHITE PRINT QUALITY
COLOUR PRINT QUALITY
OVERALL


 

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Comments


brian1208 e2
11 10.2k 12 United Kingdom
11 Jul 2013 5:24PM

Quote:

A3+ Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Cotton Textured 330gsm Rating


Pros:
Good tonal range
Minimal curl


Cons:
Gives prints '3D' look

I'd like to clarify this assessment as its doesn't explain my point well. The fact is that the texture of the Permajet Parchment paper produces a 3D like effect (which I like a lot) and the "Con" is that the Ilford Prestige Gold paper doesn't show this effect, the prints looking a little flatter than with the Permajet paper

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