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You do not need expensive paper unless you be selling your prints. You don't want to throw a paper in the bin that costs £2 or more per sheet.
I use Fotospeed Lustre/Harman Lustre or Satin and 7Dayshop Satin. I find there be no difference between them. I now buy 7Dayshop as that is half the price. Give it a try.
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Try Jessops new gloss and satin papers, £14.25 for a box of 20 A3 sheets. To my great suprise they work extremely well on my Epson R3000, very little gloss differential / bronzing, good colour saturation and detail and suprisingly good B&W, particularly on the gloss.
Its my paper of choice for club comps (but I don't use it for my commercial prints)
It certainly depends on the type of inks. My old Epson 1270 used Dye based inks which reacted with two of the epson papers to give archival properties. In practice this produced excellent prints with the recommended Epson Premium Glossy or Heavy Matte but I had poor results with specialised art papers. My current printer is an Epson R2880 which uses pigment based inks and I seem to be able to print on almost any paper but then some subjects work better on some styles of paper so I use a range of types. I still use Epson Premium Gloss (and occassionally Heavy Matte) but use Tecco Matte for some colour prints and Hahnenuhle German Etching, Pinacle Cotton Hi White and Permajet Artist for monochrome. I found it useful to attend Focus on Imaging at the NEC where you can see examples of photographs printed on various papers and thus short list those you like.
The best paper I have used is from Fotospeed.
They have a great range of paper and have very freindly, and helpful staff.
Go ahead and buy Satin or lustre from 7dayshop about £18 for 50 x A3. As I said earlier, you can't tell the difference between that and fotospeeds or from Harman.
You will not regret it.
I like Ilford Galerie.... Usually use Innova FibaPrint white semi-matte but A4 as it is expensive. Used to use Hahnemuhle Fien Art Barytia or Perma Jet ditto if I print to A3 - also expensive. I have found the printer profile for a DaVinci paper baryta paper I got ages ago works well for all of these papers - i.e., prints look okay to me. Don't use the Da Vinci paper any more though as too many sheets were spoiled by curling or dented corners and wouldn't go through the machine. I think having the right profile helps get a good print (Epson do their own, of course, and US Epson have them for some extra interesting profiles to download, too) and also having your screen calibrated correctly. But your probably do all that already.
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