What Paper’s That

Hodge Close Quarry at Holme Fell. The colours in this image are excellent using the new paper.

Recently I have been doing a few presentations at Camera Clubs and Photographic Societies. When I’m doing presentations I always like to take along some printed work. Members can then look at my prints when we break, as well as ask me questions.

One question that has been asked without fail is “what paper’s that?” as people seem to be very impressed. The answer is Permajet Matt Plus 240. The reason I use this paper is not because it’s very impressive but because it’s very, very good value. The print quality is good, there isn’t much bleed, the base tone and colour is nice for a matt paper and it even handles tonal range well. It a good value matt paper for general printing.

Following these comments, I decided to look for another good value paper but with a lustre finish rather than matt. I decided to try Fotospeed Pearl 290. First impressions are quite positive, even using a generic printer profile.

The image requires very little adjustment in soft proofing (something I like) and the detail is very clear and sharp. Colours are natural and strong and the prints have a good depth. The paper seems very similar to the old Ilford Galerie Pearl range which I used to print with many years ago.

The only thing I have noticed is that the generic profile is a little dark on my printer so I need to add some Brightness. I’m going to build a custom profile when I have a little time so I expect the results to improve.

It looks like I may have another good value paper.

8 thoughts on “What Paper’s That

  1. Robin,

    Can you tell us what printer you are using, whether inkjet or dye sublimation, where you buy these papers (online, UK camera shops, or if available in US), & typically what sizes you are printing. For example, I have one of the Canon Pro 100 inkjet printers, for papers using mostly Canon & some Canson when willing to splurge or Red River when economizing, but have religiously used the ICC profiles for the specific papers, with the printer doing the color management & with sizes limited to a max of 13X19 (A3). I have been getting pretty consistent results, also soft proofing like you say & using a calibrated Mac monitor. But I admit to being mystified by the many different brands & types of paper that are out there, so any knowledge or suggestions you have will be appreciated. Cheers,


    PS – I’m certain if I could get that Epson P800 dye sublimation machine that I can’t afford, all of my concerns would vanish in an instant!

    1. Hi Jed,
      There is quite a lot to selecting a photo paper. Some papers suit different subjects more than others. In some circles e.g. fine art, there is an expectation as to which paper type is used. Rather than trying to cover everything in a short blog answer I’m going to put together an article. It strikes me other people are interested in this given the number of questions I get at talks.
      In the interim, I bought my Permajet Matt paper from Fred Aldous in Manchester. It was a bit of an impulse buy because I like the look of the paper and it was cheap.
      The Fotospeed speed Pearl paper came from Firstcall Photographic.
      They also have a wonderful own brand Baryta paper that matches anything else I have tried.
      The other company I have purchased a lot of paper from in the past is Online Paper.
      I know Firstcall and Online Paper will ship international but I don’t know if the cost makes them too expensive. I also know that Fotospeed and Permajet sell online and ship overseas.
      Hope this helps

  2. Hi,
    It is worth taking advantage of both Fotospeed and Permajet’s free profiling service for their and some other manufacturers papers. Depending on your printer you may find the ‘correct’ profile is quite different to the generic downloaded profile. Just remember to have a good colour workflow with a calibrated screen otherwise you wont know where you are colour wise. I agree there is no one paper that suits all subjects so it is always worth having two or three profiled papers to hand depending on whether you want subtle or punchy pictures. This is where home printing wins out. I would also suggest that printing out your pictures is far more satisfying than seeing your pictures on screen. We should all be doing more printing if you really want to see your pictures properly. Lovely picture by the way.

    1. Thanks. I agree that the profiling service from both companies is very good and well worth using. I’m fortunate that I can create my own profiles but I have also used both of these companies profiling and they are excellent. I also totally agree that there is nothing like holding your own finished print and we should do more of it. There’s also a bit of an update to my post. I found out why my prints were a little too dark. I had selected the wrong profile in the Print module. The lesson is, be sure to name your profiles well. The generic profile is quite excellent with my printer.

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