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By Steve Baczewski
A big difference between the digital and traditional darkroom is the wider variety of paper surfaces available for the digital darkroom and the probability you’ll find a paper that best matches your vision. Epson (http://www.epson.com) just released three new inkjet canvas papers from their high-end Signature Worthy paper collection. They come in three different finishes -- satin, matte, and gloss --and pricing varies by stock and size.
If you’re a wedding or fine arts photographer and selling prints is part of your income, the distinct canvas surface might be a perfect fit. The surface texture is like traditional painter’s canvas with its distinct tactile feel, and by convention, meant to be stretched, framed, and displayed without glass.
All three contain elastic polymers to provide flexibility and to resist cracking when stretched. All three papers are also water resistant and made from an acid-free, lignin-free cotton-polyester blend. The white point is quite bright, especially on the Exhibition Canvas Gloss, and I was able to confirm with Epson that optical brightener agents (OBAs) are used on the papers. The issue is that OBAs deteriorate with time, resulting in a change in the appearance of the original print.
I printed using Epson’s UltraChrome HDR ink set. Dye inks aren’t recommended. Epson says that either matte or photo black ink can be used on canvas, but that matte black ink gives a higher Dmax. Epson posted ICC profiles for all three papers on their website. All three showed a surprisingly wide color gamut, contrast, and the ability to reproduce rich colors with accuracy. Gloss and Satin worked particularly well printing black-and-white images with good tonal gradation and deep blacks. (I don’t know how other manufacturers’ inks would work with these papers.) All three papers are available in roll widths of 13, 17, 24, 36, 44, and 60 inch with limited availability of 17 × 22 inch cut sheets.
Choosing the right paper is highly personal. These papers might change the way you see your work and serve as a welcomed addition to your paper arsenal.
Rating: 9 out of 10
(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com/ .)