by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2011
Fotospeed's Platinum series has won a number of awards over the past few years including 'The Societies Best Paper' for both 2008 and 2009. This was backed up by a win for Pigment Friendly Lustre in 2010, making it a trio of wins. We felt it was therefore timely to contrast and compare the papers and we also added the new baby in the Platinum series, Platinum Baryta - an inspired move as the latter turned in a spectacular performance!
In previous tests we looked at the entire Platinum range but used the Epson 3800 as the printer test bed, so we were curious to see how the papers fared with the high-gamut HDR ink set.
The base media properties are tabled. In summary, the Platinum Baryta is warm (warmer than its statistics would suggest actually); most observers would class it as an ivory finish, reminiscent of some of the fine silver-gelatine papers of the past. The Pigment Friendly Lustre is cool and bright and the Platinum Gloss sits in the middle in terms of whiteness.
The actual 'white' data are complex. The 'whiteness' values in the table place them in the correct order visually, that is PF Lustre-Platinum Gloss- Platinum Baryta, as does the measurement of OBA lift at 440nm. However, in the UV booth the Platinum Gloss is significantly more active. This is a quirk we are presently unable to unravel, we have the correct instruments and software but are lacking the specialised filters to make the measurements! Suffice to say that if you are suspicious of OBAs for your fine art printing you should go for Platinum Baryta; if you prefer to ignore that and like bright papers, go for either of the other two - the choice is yours.
In terms of feel, the RC PF Lustre is softer and more flexible and runs through the printer easily; the Platinum duo are stiffer, weightier and require the platen gap to be set wider. We had quite a lot of trouble loading the Platinum papers into the 4900, even with paper skew check turned off, so patience is the order of the day - the results are worth it - so persevere!
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