Photography News issue 25

First tests 43

Photography News Issue 25 absolutephoto.com

PermaJet FB Baryta papers test pack 2 From£11.95 As a wet darkroom printer, I have always loved air-dried gloss paper finishes, so when I started making prints on an inkjet printer it was a simple and very natural progression to use papers that give a similar effect. Of course, the beautywith inkjet media is the huge range of excellent finishes available, and I have regularly used PermaJet FB materials so when the new FB range was announced it made sense to do some testing. I used a wide selection of known images, pictures I have outputted previously on PermaJet materials. Images included scenics, portraits, studio still-life shots, and a colour test chart. My tests were done with a selection of Epson printers, from my own golden oldie, the Stylus Pro 3880, to the new generation of printers, also from Epson, the SureColor P400, P600 and P800 models. The same file was printed in each of the new materials using generic profiles downloaded from the PermaJet website. Buy a pack of PermaJet papers and you can have a customised profile for your output system made to ensure you get the best- quality results. The results that I achieved with generic profiles, however, were impressive so it is up to you if you want to have any custom profiles made.

FB Gold Silk 315

FB Royal Gloss 310

If the FB Royal Gloss 310 is too rich for your tastes and perhaps the FB Satin 310 not strident enough, FB Gold Silk, could be the material for you offering a mid-point between the two. The finish is luxuriously silky but it has a lovely smooth sheen to it, too. Print quality is excellent with lots of vibrant, solidly saturated colours to enjoy but this is not at the expense of more delicate hues which are well recorded. It works well for monochrome because you get punchy images that aren’t overly contrasty. The marginally warmer white base works well for most subjects, too.

In the previous range, FB Gloss and Royal were my favourite materials, but some prints suffered from head strike. Those two materials have been replaced with this one that utilises new coatings on a lighter base to give a flat-lyingmaterial for superior printer loading. It’s the glossiest material in the FB family, and the paper surface is very smooth. The gloss finish gives prints an extra bit of life and the white base, similar to Satin, make images stand out. With its depth, this paper is excellent for gutsy black & white images and richly saturated colour scenes.

Prices A4 25 sheets £24.95, A3 25 sheets £49.95 Tone 6 (PermaJet’s own rating with Oyster being 1 and the brightest base) Weight 315gsm Thickness 0.31mm

Whiteness

101 (CIE)

Prices A4 25 sheets £27.95, A3 25 sheets £55.95 Tone 5 Weight 310gsm Thickness 0.34mm

Whiteness

98.5

Coatings Single-sided, acid-free smooth silk/satin baryta paper Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in and 44in rolls

Coatings Single-sided, microporous acid free art paper Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in and 44in rolls

FB Distinction 320

FB Satin 310

In the FB range Distinction easily has the whitest base and that is immediately apparent when you lay out the prints made from the different finishes. It’s not unpleasant at all but it’s white to the point of coolness and that might not appeal to everyone. In terms of output quality, Distinction is as capable as any in the FB family. Whether images are subtly or vividly coloured they come out beautifully on Distinction. With its very white base, black & whites can look marvelous, and pure whites, bottomless blacks and smooth mid-tones come out exactly as intended.

PermaJet’s old FB range did not have a Satin option so this finish offers something newwith a very subtle sheen and a very smooth surface. It is very much an air-dried gloss print but probably with even less sheen. Look with an oblique light and you see a little surface texture. For exhibition or display work this paper would suit because it’s not very reflective. Colour rendition is first rate. Rich without any brashness and highly saturated, though it’s not a high-gloss material. My black & white shots came out superbly with gorgeous blacks, crisp highlights plus a hint of warmth.

How it rates

Prices A4 25 sheets £29.95, A3 25 sheets £58.95 Tone 3 Weight 320gsm Thickness 0.35mm

Whiteness

Prices A4 25 sheets £27.95, A3 25 sheets £55.95 Tone 5 Weight 310gsm Thickness 0.34mm

Whiteness

106

103

Coatings Single-sided, acid free smooth white baryta paper Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in, 44in and 60in rolls

Coatings Single-sided acid free, fine art pearl paper Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in and 44in rolls

Verdict I enjoyed PermaJet’s previous range of the FB paper and outputted a lot of work on Royal Gloss, Warm-tone and Distinction 360. I did have the odd issue of headstrike and some of the surfaces were prone to scratching, so handling had to be quite considered. I think, however, that the new finishes have resolved any issues of the older range and they are capable of outstanding print quality. Whether outputting colour or black & white images use one of these materials and you will be rewarded with outstanding results. I thought all the papers performed really well and there was no weak one, so picking which to use is very much a subjective choice. Clearly, if you are unsure which to use at this point, buy the test sample pack and go from there. I had two personal favourites. I like rich prints and in black & white, I love deep, deep blacks and I thought FB Gold Silk did the best with delivering them and the material’s tone appealed, too. My other pick is FB Matt 285. I feel my images don’t suit matt finishes generally, but I thought this material was actually quite sympathetic to my work so I’m happy to explore its potential.

FBMatt 285

The only paper without a sheen in the FB range is FB Matt 285, and it does offer an interesting counterpoint to the other finishes. Using the Matt Black ink option available on Epson printers, our test showed that this material is certainly from the top drawer. Matt finishes, by their very nature, usually lack the depth and vibrancy of their gloss or lustre rivals and that is true in the case of this material but the difference is much less than you might think. Our test prints look excellent, and certainly if you want a matt finish that doesn’t produce flat-looking prints this is the paper for you. Of course, a matt paper is so-named for its lack of surface sheen and there is no problem in that respect either with a totally smooth matt finish that’s free of any sheen. In terms of base tone, FB Matt 285 is more akin to Royal and Satin than the slight warm of Silk or the brilliant white of Distinction.

Prices A4 25 sheets £19.95, A3 25 sheets £41.95 Tone 5 Weight 285gsm

Thickness

Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in and 44in rolls Contact permajet.com

0.31mm

Whiteness

101.5

Coatings Single sided, ultra- bright smooth paper

Pros Print quality is better than the older versions, good range of finishes Cons Only one matt/art finish to choose from

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