Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS
  • REVIEWS
  • INSPIRATION
  • COMMUNITY
  • COMPETITIONS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here


Christmas Prize Draw 2017

Permajet Textured Fine Art Paper Review

Permajet Textured Fine Art Paper Review - Brian Wadie evaluates PermatJet Textured Fine Art Paper.

 Add Comment

PermaJet Paper in Printer Paper

Features
Handling and Texture
Black and White Printing
Colour Printing
Verdict

Over the next few months I will evaluate a range of the papers produced by PermaJet.

This first review looks at their Textured Fine Art Matt range which comprises:

Artist Transparency
A3+ Artist 210gsm
A3+ Papyrus 300gsm
Parchment Transparency
A3+ Parchment 285gsm
A3+ Museum 310gsm
   

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 FB Gold Silk and PermaJet Parchment as my Photo Lustre and Textured Fine Art Matt papers of choice).

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 (LR5.6) 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 Pro 2 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.

For the Artist paper I found that I got the best results using the Water Colour paper setting on the R3000, the other three papers gave the best results using my standard Velvet Fine Art paper setting.
 

PermaJet 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 four papers are as follows:

Artist Swatch

PermaJet Artist:

A 210gsm canvas-like textured art paper with an off-white base.

Made with 50% cotton rag, the base is pH neutral and mould made.

Ideally suited to the reproduction of Artists' watercolour work or the output of a photograph in which you wish to achieve subtle, artistic impression. It has a very high colour gamut volume for an art paper of its type.

An absolute 'need-to-have' for any artist wanting to reproduce digital inkjet copies of their works!

Museum Swatch

PermaJet Museum

A slightly textured, 310gsm off-white base and absolutely sumptuous fine art paper.

A mould-made paper which is pH neutral and has a high colour gamut volume with low colour error.

As the name suggests, a wonderfully subtle texture that has all the attributes for Museum standard inkjet printing. Ideal for galleries, museums and photographers who intend to create fine art prints in colour with a high degree of detail and pronounced texture.

Parchment Swatch

PermaJet Parchment

A highly calendered, whiter based fine art paper with a 285gsm base and an undulating surface - it creates a rigid high quality feel and paper structure similar to a true parchment but in an inkjet form.

This uneven surface prints beautifully and will give the images shadow and movement, creating life in still format. A high D-Max and low colour error makes this acid-free surface suitable for a wide range of image types.

Ideal for images with cloud, smoke, sand or landscape and widely used for producing invitations and certificates.

Papyrus Swatch

PermaJet Papyrus

A very rough textured paper surface with a lot of character.

Its off-white base of 300gsm weight is made of 100% cotton linters producing a pH neutral material with a very heavy high quality feel and rigidity.

Used very extensively in the reproduction of art images and pastel colour fine art photographs and images where a pronounced rough texture is required i.e. walls, stone and sand.

Evaluation:

As reported in earlier evaluations, when evaluating 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 bit of 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 Portland Rainbow For Evaluation  Colour
Stepchart Large Bw2 NormanKoren Evaluation Standard St Michaels Mount B&W For Evaluation

PermaJet Handling & Texture:

A3+  Artist 210gsm

This paper is relatively stiff but thin and as a result gave me the feeling that it needed careful handling to prevent creasing, for example when loading into the front fine art paper path on the R3000. Similarly when examining the print or putting it into my Cotswold Mounts "Slip in" Mounts I was conscious that it was prone to buckle and crease. The surface texture is the most abrasive to touch and the pattern is like a fine woven canvas.

A3+ Museum 310gsm

There is a lovely feel to this paper which stiff and firm, presenting no problems when feeding it into the front fine art paper feed path. Likewise, I had no concerns that it may buckle or crease when holding the A3+ sheet or fitting into its slip-in mount. The surface texture is smoother to the touch than Papyrus and the impressed pattern is less pronounced.

A3+ Parchment 285gsm

A lovely paper to handle marred only by a slight but persistent lateral curl (a characteristic of calendered papers?). Good rigidity and thickness mean that there are no concerns that it may buckle or crease in any of the operations involved in printing and mounting but it is necessary to apply some reverse curl to facilitate feeding into the fine art paper path and reduce the chance of edge strike during printing. I have also got into the habit of increasing the platen width to accommodate this. The texture of this paper is smooth to touch and the surface pattern is more undulating with a longer pitch, looking and feeling a bit like vellum or hand-made paper (made me think of the pages in some of the hand-printed antique books I have handled).

A3+ Papyrus 300gsm

The best handling paper of the set being absolutely flat stiff and easy to handle in all stages of printing and mounting. The surface has a gritty feel and a texture similar to very fine render. (For any artists reading this, it is the sort of paper one may use with Pastels).

Black & White Printing:

Viewed in isolation all these papers gave B&W prints of good quality with a wide range of grey tones, strong blacks and good line detail with very little evidence of blocking in the shadow areas. Tonal transitions were smooth in all cases.

There was very little to choose between any of these papers although the quality of the white obviously depends on the colour of the paper.

To help discriminate between them I did some subjective, side by side assessments, using my wife (an artist) and a friend who is a professional photographer as additional sets of eyes to assist.

Black & white tonality and detail:

Looking at the overall images and the greyscale wedges Museum and Parchment gave equivalent best results showing intense blacks and the widest tonal range of greys, Parchment being the whitest paper of the two. Papyrus was the next in terms of tonality and detail and Artist followed closely behind.

Visual impact:

Despite the small differences between them we all agreed that when put into a mount and examined from a typical viewing distance there was something special about the appearance of the prints made on Parchment. The images had a three dimensional feel that projected the detail off the paper and grabbed one's attention.

(As an additional test I had printed one of the portraits I used in the more detailed evaluation of Parchment onto the newly available Ilford Gold Mono Silk which has become my gold standard for mono printing. We all thought that although this paper was technically better with finer tonal gradation, whiter whites and stronger blacks, the same image on Parchment had greater presence).

This is the image used for this latter test:

B&W Portrait Image
B&W Portrait Image

Colour Printing:

I'll start by comparing the results for each of the papers using the standard colour test images and then make further comment on each paper using images selected to bring out the best of the characteristics, as suggested in the PermaJet descriptions.

Each paper seen in isolation is capable of producing good quality colour prints but when looked at in comparison with the others differences do appear.

Starting with the AGFA colour test, all gave very similar, natural, skin tones and the colour charts were also very similar. The reds on the Papyrus were slightly brighter and had more "pop" than on the other three papers as did the separation of the yellow text from the red banner. Parchment was the whitest paper and also had the sharpest line definition (the others being very similar).

Comparing the results of the Portland print the differences were again small and subtle. The cloud detail and structure was best on Parchment followed closely by Artist and then Papyrus and Museum which were indistinguishable (remember, these are very small differences).

Looking at the detail and colour gradations of the faint Rainbow Museum produced the best image (by a very small margin) with the others looking the same. Detail of the buildings and field structures (fences / posts, trees and stones) Parchment was best, followed closely by Artist with Museum and Papyrus a close third.

As noted above, these differences were very small, subtle and only seen after very close comparative scrutiny, in isolation each produced an excellent result.

Now, some examples of the images used to make prints made in accord with the PermaJet recommendations:

PermaJet Artist:

"Ideally suited to the reproduction of Artists' watercolour work or the output of a photograph in which you wish to achieve subtle, artistic impression":

Artist Special 1 Blue Bearded Iris
   

These gave some of the best results I have produced from these image files, the Iris in particular having fine gradation of tone with very clean & sharp detail.       

PermaJet Museum:

"As the name suggests, a wonderfully subtle texture that has all the attributes for Museum standard inkjet printing. Ideal for galleries, museums and photographers who intend to create fine art prints in colour with a high degree of detail and pronounced texture."

Museum Flower Meadow Museum Grumpy
   

Both of these image files produced prints I would be very happy to offer for sale in the gallery, the Flower Meadow detail being quite outstanding.

PermaJet Parchment:

"This uneven surface prints beautifully and will give the images shadow and movement, creating life in still format. A high D-Max and low colour error makes this acid-free surface suitable for a wide range of image types. Ideal for images with cloud, smoke, sand or landscape and widely used for producing invitations and certificates."

Parchment Special 2 Parchment Special
   

The image of "88" has an amazing three dimensional effect, people who have seen the print commenting that the motorbike appears to be leaping out of the paper. In the case of the yacht race there is excellent detail and texture visible in sea and sky and the spinnakers, (this image was a centre-piece in a recent exhibition and received many good comments, selling well).

PermaJet Papyrus:

"Used very extensively in the reproduction of art images and pastel colour fine art photographs and images where a pronounced rough texture is required i.e. walls, stone and sand."

Papyrus Koi Arrows Memorial Display
   

The Koi Carp image has a lot of fine detail and subtle transitions and needs to be printed on a paper capable of reproducing both this and the strong colours involved, likewise with the detail and colour gradations in the smoke trails in the Red Arrows print. Papyrus produced two top quality prints.

PermaJet Verdict:

A difficult thing to do in isolation as they are all first rate papers so I have rated them against each other within the set of four textured fine art papers

PermaJet Artist

Handling*
Print Quality B+W
Print Quality Colour
Verdict

*Reduced because of the feeling that this paper was prone to buckling and creasing when feeding into the R3000 printer and when putting it into a slip-in mount.

 

PermaJet Museum

Handling
Print Quality B+W
Print Quality Colour
Verdict

 

 

PermaJet Parchment

Handling*
Print Quality B+W
Print Quality Colour
Verdict

*I took half a point of because of the lateral curl and the need to set a wider platen gap to reduce the chance of head-strike during printing.

 

PermaJet Papyrus
Handling
Print Quality B+W
Print Quality Colour
Verdict

 

 

As can be seen, the differences are small and final selection will come down to the type of image that you plan to print.

For me the prime choice remains as PermaJet Parchment because of the indefinable but very real presence that prints made using this paper gives my range of images I print for sale and competition. In my view PermaJet have done an excellent job in presenting this range of textured fine art papers to the consumer.

 

Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.

Explore More

Comments


johnty 12 27 Wales
26 Nov 2014 3:53PM
Informative article Brian, but, you didn't mention which inks you were using Sad, as obviously they will play a major part in any printing evaluation.
John

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

brian1208 Plus
14 11.3k 12 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2014 8:29PM
Sorry John, an unintended omission.

I used the Epson R3000 + Epson "Pigment-based Epson UltraChrome K3 with Vivid Magenta ink technology"

(I never use 3rd party inks for my work, but you couldn't know that Smile )
brian1208 Plus
14 11.3k 12 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2014 2:42PM
John, thank you, the article has now been amended to show that Epson inks were used in the evaluation (thanks Josh)

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.