In a competitive field of inkjet paper we have many players providing solutions to your printing needs. The products ePHOTOzine covers are the photo quality papers that you'll use to make images to display in albums, frames or folders. ICI produce a vast range of papers that fit into this arena. Options include media with Glossy, Matt and Satin finishes in various weights and some with double sided coating. If you intend handing your photos around you want heavier weight so the prints feel like real photos, but if the images are going in an album or frame a lighter weight is fine, providing it holds the ink well. ICI make a heavier 'wow that's a real photo' paper that's a 260gsm option with a high gloss finish (there's also a Satin version). ICI recognise that different printers need different settings and have included a quick guide in the pack. I tried the papers in a HP 970cxi A4 printer and through the latest Epson 1290 A3 model.
Out of the pack, it's immediately obvious which side is which. The coated side has a definite gleaming white appearance and is really smooth to feel. The paper handles well and is quickly seated in the printer. You don't need a support sheet and there's no chance of the papers sticking together unless you handle them with moist fingers which I hope you're not intending doing anyway.
I set the Epson printer up on Photo Quality Glossy film at 2880dpi resolution and the HP on Photo glossy using PhotoRet III.
I first ran an Agfa test file through which is capable of showing many failings in a paper as well as its print capabilities. I then ran an ePHOTozine test sheet through that I use to test for paper handling and drying qualities.
The paper displays accurate colours on both models. Using the suggested setting for the Epson has resulted in over inking on the black which has produced a very heavy looking shadow, and makes the fine 0.2point line almost blocked in. This hasn't affected the overall colour swatch though and all colours are faithfully reproduced. The paper has a brilliant white coating, which ensures highlights are vibrant. On the HP some of the colours in the swatch are too vibrant making them look a little unnatural, but more detail is visible.
Overall quality of reproduction is astounding on both printers and you would be really happy using this paper.
Now down to handling. There's no point in having a great colour if the image rubs off when you handle the paper. I performed a number of tests when the print was output for handling.
To find out how these are done click here .
Drying: Dries before the print appears
Paper tackiness: None
Smudge test: Won't smudge, even with moist fingers
Water resistance: Yes, inks not affected
Coffee: Stained, but wipes dry
Scratch: Doesn't scratch
Paper tests can produce different results in different printers with different inks so these results should only be used as a guide.
A fantastic paper, with many plus points to its credit. Good colour reproduction, bitingly sharp and superb handling makes it a paper that I would use with confidence.
Test by Peter Bargh