by Mike McNamee Published 01/12/2014
This latest offering from Hahnemuhle Fine Art is a lightly warmed toned, baryta media on a 100% alpha-cellulose base. In a nod towards the fine art fraternity it is OBA-free. The surface finish is a medium matt with just a little sheen and some 'fibre' structure when printed - it is quite like an air-dried silver halide paper at reduced glossiness.
It was just too tempting to make comparisons with the 'similar' paper from the mill, Photo Silk Baryta 310 which we reviewed back in June 2014. Similar in weight and substrate, with the same general feel in the hand, this new media is in fact quite different in the detail of the coating. Despite being lower in grammage, the Silk Baryta is of higher calliper (370 microns against 320 microns for Photo Silk). As you will see later, the main difference shows in the UV booth and the whiteness statistics.
We half expected issues with paper transport in the printer. The media is quite thick and the alpha-cellulose base materials are stiffer than their equivalent rag-based siblings. Despite our concerns, the paper transported via the auto sheet feeder of the Epson 4900 and no adjustments were need to the Platen Gap. Weaker machines (ie smaller desktop printers) might struggle and the paper might curl with storage but both are solvable by changes to machine settings and choice of feeder.
A 400 patch target was made using i1 Profiler (version 1.5.6 for the record) followed by the usual colour audit testing. The results were excellent and in line with the best for barytacoated media. The colour range was high with a Dmax of 2.35 and a gamut volume in excess of the one million mark. The paper is two points warm of spectral neutral with a spectral response which indicates the absence of OBAs. The Fluorescence is very low at 1.0 units and the material is 'dead' in the UV booth. For comparison we put the Photo Silk back in the UV booth along with Fine Art Satin. We noted that the 'high gamut' colours were accurate with an identical average error to the Photo Silk, but slightly improved saturation retention. The media, then, lives up to its billing of having a high colour range. The metamerism was a low 1.6 (CII D65-A ΔE00 on 50% grey).
For monochrome testing we made a print using the Epson ABW driver with settings of Dark, Neutral and a media setting of Premium SemiGloss Photo Paper. The resulting print was pleasantly warm-toned reflecting the base tone, although there is plenty of scope to adjust this further to taste. The Dark setting delivered a 50% patch at 2.7% too light and so a darker setting would bring it to within about 1% of aim value. However, this will be an aesthetic decision and the user might prefer either lighter or darker settings for an individual print. The metamerism rose over the 'all colour' counterpart (which is usual - 2.66 CII against 1.6CII) and the Dmax improved to a very rich 2.56.
The media then lives up to its billing as a monochromefriendly offering.
The differences between FineArt Satin and Photo Silk Baryta are revelaled in the UV booth and by the statistics.
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