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Testing inkjet papers - Peter Bargh explains how ePHOTOzine test inkjet papers.
The Agfa test has several colour patches, a grey scale, a text box and a line test ranging from 0.2 point to 1.2 point with black on white and white on black. There are also various registration boxes and a colour chart. From these graphics we can assess the following:
Edge definition of colours
The colour pattern consists of adjacent CMYK and RGB patches to help us judge and compare edge definition of each colour and we can see if colours blend into each other.
The grey step wedge spans relative densities of 0 to 100 allowing us to judge the way in which a progressive greyscale is built up and the neutrality of the greys?
The series of six differently coloured patches allow us to check the registration accuracy achieved by the printer, and the inkjet medium the image is registered on. Look for ghost images and patterns in the black lines.
As well as technical tests using the test card we can also test various paper characteristics visually. These include the following:
Horizontal lines that sometimes appear when printing graphics usually occurs when the print head carriage return is misaligned. Bleeding Merging of contiguous colours.
Bronzy gloss over dark colour areas that is most noticeable when the photo is angled in the light.
When inks exhibit coalescence they dont mingle well. One effect is that the printed colour doesnt look smooth.
An irregular and irreversible deformation of the paper following the delivery of a critical amount of ink onto the paper.
Undesired curling of the paper. When this happens the paper will lift at the edges when you lay it flat.
Reduction of inks in the direction of the paper's fibres.
A loss of gloss after drying that's most noticeable with black.
Where the print is spotted - caused by irregular drying.
Where image and colours become visible on the back because the ink penetrates too deeply into the base.
If spreading has occurred, a dot will look too big and asymmetric.
We do a number of tests as the paper is emitted from the printer. These include the following:
We angle the print to the light and look for tiny pin sized tracking holes that occur when some papers are used with an Epson printer.
Here the colours are seen to spread, due to inadequate drying.