by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2010
Permajet source their materials from a wide range of mills always striving for an edge in quality. The full list is extensive in both finish and size availability. They also have a juicy set of six canvas materials to cover every eventuality. The Royal Baryta 325 is a favourite particularly for its colour precision and its cross-backed construction which keeps it very flat for easy transport through a printer.
Fotospeed have their own range of papers to suit all needs and are one of the very few companies who can supply material in 10x8 formats favoured by portraiture professionals. They also distribute Canson and Hahnemuhle products, along with a spectacularly tough canvas range.
Made by Legion Paper, the Moab range is a no-compromise fine art range made in the USA and now distributed by Colour Confidence in the UK. As normal with papers, those carrying the 'bright' tag to their name are optically brightened but the 'natural' finishes are OBA-free. Entrada Rag Natural is well regarded by American fine art printers.
Another well-regarded name from the USA and, like Moab, distributed by on-line-paper.com. This is the only source of the specialist fine art paper in panoramic shape at 13" by 44" for big, imposing pans. They have a range of 10 Museo papers.
None of the printer manufacturers are also paper mills, so it stands to reason that they source their boxed products from mills around the world. Some disguise the source, others (eg HP), call their product by the originating mill name. All the papers do, of course, carry the blessing of the printer manufacturers and carry the required profiles as part of their printer driver installation. Some of the papers are made to more stringent quality control standards than other papers from a mill, eg Epson insists that their papers are sourced from the outsides of the mill rolls so that they are inherently flatter. The favourite at Professional Imagemaker for a gloss/lustre media is Epson Premium Lustre. This is a reliable performer with no OBAs and a reasonably tough surface with a moderate tooth. You will not go wrong with OEM papers but they do not always have the panache of the older mill names. Canson, for example have a strong association with the Arches Mill (founded in 1492), and have supplied famous artists such as, Picasso, Chagal, Warhol, Ingres, Miro and Alechinsky. Irving Penn made his platinum prints on an Arches base paper. You cannot buy a heritage like that.
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