by Mike McNamee Published 01/06/2012
The paper is relatively thin at 350 microns. To put that into perspective it would take about 70 sheets to create an inch-thick book of 140 sides, excluding any protective interleaving.
In the Hahnemuhle range only Albrecht Durer is lighter (at
210gsm). The whiteness parameters are tabled and these place this new paper alongside Photo Rag itself, that is, a mildly fluorescent coating with a whiteness that places it in the middle of the range. Like Photog Rag it is almost perfectly neutral on the spectro (at D65
The paper was tested on the Epson 4900 using Matt Black ink. A profile was made using i1Publish and a 400-patch target. The media settings were USFAP, Quality (1440dpi High Speed On).
Our database for media printed on the Epson 4900 is still relatively small but we do have data for Photo Rag and Epson Hot Pressed Natural White. Both are very close in looks and performance. The data match between this new paper and HPR is remarkable. A narrative verdict would run thus:
1. The average error is low and split equally between saturation and lightness components.
2. On average the patch values are between 1.7 and 2.6%
too light, reflecting the final Dmax.
3. The weakest patch set are the HiGAM colours in which the saturation is the major contributory error.
4. The skin tones are excellent, the residual errors lie almost exclusively in the saturation component giving very clean portraits.
5. The gamut volume is excellent at 618,954.
The Dmax is 1.58 and the Colour Inconstancy Index (off an all-colour print) was slightly high at 3.78. The Dmax was raised to 1.65 using the Epson ABW driver and the CII was lowered to a more normal 1.88. The mid-grey was recorded at 53%, just a touch light. The shadows were discriminated down to 20 RGB points and the highlights up to 251 points, both excellent results. The monochrome print we made was excellent.
We made some real prints: a landscape, poppy field, figure study and creative image. All were really first class, especially the skin tones of the figure study. Overall the prints lived up to the expectations generated by the audit statistics.
The resistance to scuffing seemed higher than normal which if proven to be true is excellent in a product intended for book-making. The opacity is also an important parameter for a product intended for double-sided printing. It is a parameter we do not ordinarily record, so the database is rather sparse! For comparison the HPRBA is very opaque at 99.1%; show through should not be an issue with this paper. It compares, for example with a values of 97.3% for Epson Premium Lustre.
The results are what we would have expected from Photo Rag. This series remains a firm favourite and the benchmark by which we value other media. Photo Rag Book and Album comes with top recommendation providing you are happy with the light OBA content. As intended, it looks perfect for high-quality, bespoke book-making.
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