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Thread: Matt paper for B & W pics

  1. #1
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    Matt paper for B & W pics

    Hi bit of a newbie question

    Is the choice of paper between matt and glossy just a matter of taste ? Or would you guys recommend one above the other for b&w pictures?

    thks in advance
    andy

  2. #2
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Andy,
    You may get some additional comments from others, especially the gang that is at the present workshop in Carmel right now.

    There are a couple of things that I look for when printing on matte or glossier paper. One is the overall image and what "feels" right from a viewing perspective, including size, how displayed, etc. Some prints take on a richer look or fine art appearance if printed on matte. Not all, and there are some technical things that may impact choices. In general (really big caveat there that could draw some flames), matte papers tend to have a smaller color gamut in their output, but most folks may not ever see or care about that. The other thing is that matte papers also do not have as high a Dmax rating as some glossy or luster papers. The newer, fine art papers do, but things like Epson's Enhanced Matte do not. Why does that matter? It impacts the deepness of the blacks to a greater degree. The higher the Dmax, the deeper the blacks the paper will hold.

    Another point related to the above is amount of ink used. Matte surface papers can be very absorbent, and may require a bit more ink in printing in order to get the proper level of color saturation. The paper profiles for you printer/paper combination make adjustments for that. Again, not something many folks care all that much about, but sometimes the colors can get blocked up a bit more on matte paper than glossier surfaces, where the ink does not tend to soak in as much.

    Finally, since the matte surface is generally not quite as smooth as luster or semi-gloss or gloss papers, you may need to increase your output sharpening a bit more in order to achieve the same level of appearance compared to the others.

    Since you asked about B/W prints, the issues about DMax and sharpening come into play, and not the color blocking so much. (However, many printers, unless using only all black inks will use colored ink, especially yellow, and that can effect the fine gray separations of things and shadows.) In my opinion, stronger B/W images with lots of contrast hold up nicely on matte finishes and can look very art like. Finely detailed B/W images with lots of intermediary tones tend to print nicely on glossier paper. It is all really a matter of personal taste.

    I have been using a fairly new very high gloss paper (Lexjet Fibre Elite 285g), that has been giving me outstanding B/W images that look like traditional air-dried high gloss paper, and it is paper, not the resin backing stuff of more common luster or glossy papers. Detailed B/W images look stunning on them.

    Not sure this really answers your question, but this has been my experience. I print with an Epson 7800 printer using the ImagePrint RIP. It has some excellent profiles for B/W papers, and I have not been dissatisfied yet. Some of the multi-black printers from Canon and HP are also turning out some stunning B/W stuff, and the profiles for papers for these have been growing, so your choices are increasing there also. Some of the newer, bigger printers even have built in profiling options (HP), to let you dial things in precisely.

    My suggestion would be to go look at outputs, and even try to get sample packs of papers from vendors to test things. Only way to get what you may really like.

    LJ

  3. #3
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Andy, although one can make attractive prints with either matte of glossy paper, I use a glossy-type paper (Lustre) because these types of papers produces richer, deeper, more satisfying blacks. In this sense, the holy grail for many people is the look of air-dried glossy paper, as described by Anselm Adams in The Print (p. 45):
    Maximum image brilliance is obtained on a smooth, glossy-surfaced paper, which can have a reflectance range of up to 1: 100 and higher...The matte papers have much lower brilliance, with a reflection-density range of about 1:25...I use glossy papers comparable to Kodak's "F"- surface. Unferrotyped, these papers give a smooth semi-gloss finish with long tonal range.
    If deep blacks and maximum Dmax is not important for your prints you can use matte paper. In the darkroom most people used glossy papers by an overwhelming proportion, but the inks of earlier inkjet printers were durable only on matte papers and some people fell in love with the heavy weight, that is, the feel of these papers as well as their textures and have stayed with it, although these latter characteristics don't show when prints are framed under glass — I suppose the fact that these papers were often referred to as "fine art papers" had an effect as well.

    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Thks Guys very informative!!!

    Mitch i doubt your remember,but i emailed you on flickre with a request but you had issues with your pc speed and directed me here thksssss..What a cool site so chilled,none of the pettiness i've come across on other sites !!
    Your pictures rock

  5. #5
    aero
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Hi All,

    Not to hijack this awesome thread, but do you consider what gloss looks like versus matte while under glass? I was told that glossy under glass has a bit too much glare, whereas matte under glass looks like a bare glossy photo (hope that made sense).

    Personally, I have been *hating* printing matte - it's takes so long to get a single print right, and though it makes sense for several of the more "pastel" photos or those which cry out for texture, gloss always gives me better blending of colors, better blacks and looks better (to my eye) for pics with lots of grain.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks for the great discourse,
    -Dan

  6. #6
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Dan:

    I don't know about high-gloss paper, which I've never framed under glass, but with Lustre this is not an issue. Incidentally, for very large prints like 100x150 cm (40x60 inches) I don't use a matte but frame the print flush with the print and use a frame about a 1-1/2 iinch deep with the print at the back and the glass 1/4 inch from the glass, that is, as if the print is in a "box". This distance between the glass and the print gives more of a feeling of depth, if you know what I mean.

    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  7. #7
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    IMO, going with a matt or photo surface paper is an artistic choice; you like one over the other for some visual or tactile reason. That said, with the latest couple of generation printers and newer inks, the gamuts are generally larger on photo papers than they are on matt art papers. Moreover, most photo papers no longer show serious gloss differential or metamerism, so with the larger gamut tend to be my usual chioce.

    In photo papers, I like Epson PPP Luster and Harman FB Al gloss. In art papers, I like Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art and Hanemuhle Photo Rag.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Jack,
    We are pretty much on the same page on this, as you can tell. I use the Epson Premium Luster for most of my printing, but the Lexjet Fibre Elite 285g for the glossy. I think it looks a lot like your Harman FB stuff, but may be a bit lighter weight. (I think Innova is making the paper, and it is not bad.)

    On the matte, I agree that the Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art stuff is superb. My only issues with it are a) is does have a slightly warmer color, but colors look outstanding on it....rich beyond description, and b) the surface needs to be handled carefully, as it will scuff, because it is so fine. I also use a drafter's dust brush to gently sweep it before printing, as I have found it to sometimes have flakes, being a hot press paper.

    The Hanemuhle Photo Rag is still a "standard".....lots have tried to copy, but have not quite gotten it. Great texture on it also.....feels rich to the touch, and that sometimes adds to the beauty when somebody handles the print, I think.

    Really wished I could have made the Carmel trip with you folks. Looks like it was both fun to be there and to print stuff ;-) (Sorry, I just love printing stuff....only way to really know how things look.)

    LJ

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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Hi guys thks for all the post...I was rather excited and posted a thread about wining a printer on ebay its a Epson Stylus Photo R800 got it for £90..

    I know odd way round,asking about paper before i had the printer, but wanted to get my eggs in a row and not waste money...

    It's my first printer so pretty excited,just didn't have the cash for Epson UltraChrome A3 size..I'm guessing the info above stands for A4 ???

    Word to the mod if you wish to delete my new thread no problem, i was excited lol
    Last edited by naoip; 13th April 2008 at 06:14.

  10. #10
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Re the R800 --- Excellent printer, but uses pre-K3 UC ink with an added gloss optimizer. You can get very good results with the Epson papers and canned profiles, but for any of the 3rd party we discussed above, you'll want a good, custom profile -- which unfortunately can cost half of what you paid for the printer...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  11. #11
    aero
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    I think now that Lightroom 1.4.1 has the profiles issue licked, I can use the Hahnemuhle profiles without needing to hard code the paths - so I'm going to try Photo Rag this week. My Lightjet prints come back from Calypso on Tuesday - I'll followup with the info when it's all done.

    Regards,
    -Dan

  12. #12
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    Re: Matt paper for B & W pics

    Hi thks Jack, my printer came yesterday more or less spotless...I went for the Epson premium glossy ...Going to do a print today, after ive figured out the best set up...

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