Photography News | Issue 32 | absolutephoto.com
51 First tests
Four papers sit in Fotospeed’s Signature range offering a selection of surfaces that suit fine art and exhibition use. Each offers wide colour gamut, high D-Max and very clean paper bases. Our test here used an Epson Stylus 3880 printer with Epson inks and generic profiles A selection of test images was used. These are pictures used in previous paper and printer tests so are known quantities. An image of the X-rite ColorChecker Color Rendition Chart was also used. Prints were checked under a daylight- balanced light source, Fotospeed Signature range From£21.99
Run your (clean, dry!) fingers over the paper’s surface and you’ll hear a soft rustle Platinum Etching 285 Etching is 25% cotton and 75% alpha-cellulose and of the three matt finishes here is probably the most textured, although the effect is still quite delicate. If your images feature expanses of even tone, this texture shows through nicely, giving that arty feel. It’s 100% acid free too. Colour images reproduce accurately and with a good deal of sparkle but remain lifelike and natural looking. It certainly suits landscape images because greens and blues come out very pleasingly with plenty of life. Etching works well for black & white images too, with areas of deep shadow coming out solidly while still retaining detail.
– these are free to download from Fotospeed’s website and are available for a wide range of printers. Custom profiles will enable even better performance. Photo black ink was used for Platinum Baryta 300 and matt black ink for the three other papers. Natural Soft Textured 315 Run your (clean, dry!) fingers over the paper’s surface and you’ll hear a soft rustle which tells you the finish is quite subtle. The base is slightly whiter and cooler than Smooth Cotton, just. The colour performance of Natural Soft Textured Bright White 315 (to give the paper its full name) is quite different fromSmooth Cotton. With this material colour saturation has been turned down a notch or two and that is really obvious in vibrant colours. This look will suit portrait workers. For black & white images, though, you get deep blacks and white whites with the full range of greys in between.
Smooth Cotton 300
Platinum Baryta 300
This is a gorgeously smooth matt paper and the base is a very clean white which helps sets off your richly coloured images really nicely. Its CIE Whiteness rating is 94, and it’s acid and lignin free for archival printing. Fotospeed in its blurb says this paper is good for highly saturated images and to be honest, that is exactly what I found. Where some matt finishes can lack punch, this material acquitted itself verywell and if you like your colour images with a good bit of snap as I do, this paper could be for you. It works well with monochrome too and the blacks have an impressive depth for a matt paper.
Baryta 300 is currently the only glossy finish in the Signature range. The finish is more of a high sheen (unglazed gloss in darkroom parlance) than a high gloss so surface reflections are not an issue unless viewing obliquely. The finish is lovely and the paper base is faintly on the warm side with a CIEWhiteness rating of 100. The material deals with colour and monochrome images very well indeed. Colour saturation is high and natural subjects really sing out and look excellent. Fully toned black & white images come with plenty of contrast but without blacks blocking up and bright highlights hold detail very well.
Price A4 25 sheets £27.99 – £1.12 a sheet A3 25 sheets £57.99 – £2.32 a sheet Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in, 36in and 44in rolls, panoramic 210x594mm Weight 300gsm
Price A4 25 sheets £24.99 – £1 a sheet A3 25 sheets £49.99 – £2 a sheet Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in, 36in and 44in rolls Weight 315gsm
Price A4 25 sheets £28.99 – £1.16 a sheet A3 25 sheets £57.99 – £2.32 a sheet Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in, 36in, 44in and 50in rolls, panoramic 210x594mm Weight 300gsm
Price A4 25 sheets £21.99 – £0.88 a sheet A3 25 sheets £43.99 – £1.76 a sheet Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 24in, 36in and 44in rolls, panoramic 210x594mm Weight 285gsm
A truly excellent paper that performs really well, giving very punchy results for a matt finish product. Feels great too. A lovely paper suited to fine art use.
Natural Soft Textured Bright White suits a more gentle approach so if you prefer a relatively understated colour performance this material will suit you well.
There is much to like about Baryta 300 and it performs very well indeed. Make your portfolio images on this lovely paper and you will not be disappointed.
Etching offers good value for money and if you want a lightly texturedmaterial that gives a more than capable colour performance this could be the one.
Pros Smooth finish, delivers excellent colours with punch, good blacks for a matt paper Cons Nothing
Pros Good for monochrome, subtle colour rendition Cons Not for those who like vibrant colours
Pros Deals with saturated and fully tonedmono images very capably Cons The sheenmight be toomuch for some
Pros Good price, vibrant colours Cons Surface texture might not suit all tastes or image types
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