Permajet FineArt Printer Paper Review

Brian Wadie reviews the latest range of FineArt printer paper from Permajet.

|  PermaJet New FineArt Media in Printer Paper
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Alpha Natural Rag 310   300dpi

I was delighted to be asked to evaluate the new range of Permajet FineArt Media as I have been using their FineArt Parchment as my paper of choice for my gallery prints but I was somewhat dismayed to find that this paper has been dropped from their new range. I will be interested to see if there is a paper in the new range that impresses me enough to take its place.

Methodology: I thought I would provide some context on how I am going to carry out the evaluation, to show you why and how I print.

I'm a hobby / semi-professional photographer with a passion for print making, producing images for my own pleasure but selling several hundred prints a year via Gallery exhibitions and local  craft fairs (making sufficient money to cover all my printing costs and leaving some small profit after tax to buy new equipment each year).

I also print for competition purposes and have some success at the club and regional level.

As a result, I need to have high quality papers that will match the images I wish to print and typically select three papers to use as my "standard product range", comprising photo quality lustre, matt fine art and textured fine art, the latter being my most successful product for sales and competition use.

Every year I carry out a review of any new papers that have come to the market and select a few to test against my current selection.

It's at this point I should declare a partiality for the Permajet brand of papers, using Permajet Parchment as my Textured Fine Art Matt papers of choice and Permajet Titanium Lustre 280 as my preferred paper for images requiring extra impact. In addition I use Ilford Prestige Gold Fibre Silk for my mainstream lustre prints and Ilford Prestige Gold mono Silk for my Black and White prints

I print using an Epson Stylus Photo R3000 (which I purchased as a result of a comparative evaluation of 3 A3+ printers I did for ePHOTOzine in 2011) using a very basic process which I have found gives me the best results for least effort, using Epson inks.

I set my camera and post-processing software (LR CC) to SRGB, let the printer manage colour and use the standard printer profiles supplied by Epson, selecting the paper type according to the paper I am using (I realise that this is not the process followed by the experts but it works for me).

My monitor (currently a 24 inch Dell Ultra-sharp) is calibrated using a Spider 4 Express and my printing room has North facing windows so that I have indirect lighting on the screen and papers.

Whilst this is a very basic set-up I find that it gives me a consistently good match between screen and printed image that is reproducible over time, so that I can reprint the same image year on year knowing that the customers will be getting the same product.

I carried out the present evaluation in the same way that I would for my normal print jobs, as described above.

 

PermaJet FineArt Media Features

The packaging was strong and informative, providing advice on the correct setting to use and how to handle the paper and indicating that Permajet provided ICC profiles for each paper at their website.

Permajet descriptions of each of five papers are as follows:

Museum Heritage 310   300dpi

Museum Heritage 310gsm

"A slightly textured 310gsm off-white sumptuous art paper. Mould made pH neutral and a high gamut volume with low colour error makes this the choice of most Fine Art print labs and Galleries"

Gallery Etching 310   300dpi

Gallery Etching 310gsm

"This incredible addition to the textured fine art range provides one of the most interesting textures available whilst allowing the most detailed image reproduction possible. The heavy weight, alpha cellulose 310gsm base is reminiscent of a modern day etchings paper exhibiting a consistent and undulating matt coated surface. It's natural whiteness works in harmony with any artistic or creative photographic

image.  This is the ideal paper for those wanting to reproduce artworks with a rigidity, texture and feel of the most loved textured fine art materials available.

Portrait Rag 285   300dpi

New Portrait Rag 285gsm

"A beautiful natural white art paper with a pH neutral base that is delicately textured.  Produced from a mix of cotton and alpha cellulose which gives a soft feel while retaining the rigidity the art/lab printing and framing houses demand. Smooth skin tones and image sharpness can be achieved with the wide colour gamut and high D-Max that the new coatings bring"

Artist Watercolour 250   300dpi

New Artist Watercolour 250gsm

"The Artist Watercolour 250gsm textured art paper has a sumptuous off-white base tone made from alpha-cellulose. The mould-made base material with a highly defined rough surface that delivers incredible fine art prints.

Ideally suited to the reproduction of Artist's watercolour work or the output of photographic images from which you wish to achieve subtle artistic impressions."

Photo Art Silk 290   300dpi

New Photo Art Silk 290gsm

"The popular surface and finish of the Smooth Art Silk has been updated to a 290gsm base offering printer friendly loading. The unique ink receiving layer that exhibits the silk / satin sheen once printed on has been developed to give greater colour vibrancy and increased scratch resistance. This superb coating is undetectable on the surface until the ink is applied and then burst with a subtle yet vibrant silk sheen. The new Photo Art Silk 290gsm media is ideal for all reproductions of landscape, wildlife and creative digital art as well as portraiture"

PermaJet FineArt Media Evaluation, Handling and Texture

As reported in earlier evaluations, when examining the quality of the test prints I came to the conclusion that trying to show the differences between them by scanning the images then reproducing them digitally on-screen was 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, please bear in mind that the assessment of printed images is by its nature a subjective activity so these are my personal views.

The common test images I used for all papers were the following

Agfa Test Print For EPZ
Agfa Test Print For EPZ

Portland Rainbow For Evaluation  Colour | 1/320 sec | f/9.0 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200

Portland Rainbow For Evaluation Colour 

Stepchart Large Bw2 NormanKoren Evaluation Standard
Stepchart Large Bw2 NormanKoren Evaluation 

St Michaels Mount B&W For Evaluation | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 17.0 mm | ISO 100

St Michaels Mount B&W For Evaluation

 

Handling & Texture:

All these papers showed no edge curl and were stiff enough that they presented no problems when feeding into the Fine Art feed on the Epson R3000.

Differences in stiffness were very slight but to separate them I would rate them as follows, with stiffest = 1 and least stiff = 4

One thing of note was how "dry" the paper surfaces were compared to previous Permajet Fine Art Media I have evaluated and used. One effect of this is that I was not able to determine which was the printing surface by using the "damp finger test" as there was no detectable surface tack on either side of the paper. Make sure you keep these papers in their packaging until you are ready to print on them!

 

Museum Heritage 310gsm

With a slightly off-white colour this paper has a subtle texture which is less defined and feels slightly rougher than that of the Fine Art Parchment.

Stiffness rating: 2

 

Gallery Etching 310gsm

The colour is similar to Museum Heritage , with maybe slightly more yellow tinge and the texture is more defined.

Stiffness rating: 1

 

New Portrait Rag 285gsm

With a slightly off-white colour this paper has a subtle texture which is less defined than the Museum Heritage.

Stiffness rating: 4

 

New Artist Watercolour 250gsm

The surface texture of this paper was a bit of a shock when I first looked at in and initial impressions were not that good (but see my later comments). There is a clear "directionality" of the impressed pattern, with the strongest lines running horizontally across the paper.

Stiffness rating: 3

 

New Photo Art Silk 290gsm

There is a very subtle texture to this paper which becomes more apparent when it has been printed on. It is  a whiter paper than the others in the range which helps give the printed images an extra boost in colour. One difference between this and the others under evaluation is that immediately after printing the surface feels very slightly tacky (slight surface drag as a finger is drawn gently over the surface, where all the others feel paper dry).

Stiffness rating: 1

 


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Comments


3 Feb 2016 11:26AM
Thanks for the very informative and detailed review, always helpful to see another opinion on all the different papers available today as it can become somewhat of a minefield to choose sometimes.

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