Chase for a Daily Paper
No, not the daily paper as in the Wall Street Journal. That sort of paper is read online, thanks, where I don’t end up with lots of trash afterwards.
I’m talking about a search for a paper which can be my ‘daily user’ printing paper – the cheaper stuff I make work prints on so that I work through the process of editing and adjusting the photos without burning up huge quantities of cash on expensive stuff like Crane Museo Portfolio. I mean, Crane Museo Portfolio is lovely stuff, and all other things being equal, I’d print on nothing else (until I find something better).
But all things are most definitely NOT equal. In particular, a 17″ x 50′ roll of CMP costs (the lowest price I’ve been able to find) $130. In contrast, my previous daily paper (Epson Enhance Matte) cost $52 for a 17″ x 100′ roll. Yes, that’s right, CMP costs a factor of five more. And when you’re planning on making a lot of prints, a little economy goes a long way but a big economy puts you outside the gravitational influence of the Sun.
So the search is on for some daily paper. One option would be to use Epson Enhanced Matte, because it’s cheap.
One candidate I’ve found so far is InkjetArt’s Premium Duobrite Matte. It’s priced on a par with Epson Enhanced Matte – $52 for a 17″x100′ roll. Shipping is cheap. Sounds good, so I ordered a roll.
At first blush, the stuff looks and feels nice. The base color is colder than EEM, which is not my preference. But it’s ok, and it comes in whacking big rolls on a 3″ core, which means that it doesn’t have as much curl as some other inexpensive papers that come on 2″ cores.
So I profiled it. Here’s one comparison – InkJetArt Premium Duobrite Matte (solid) and Crane Museo Portfolio (wireframe):
Well, it’s nice to know that paying five times more gets you substantially better performance. InkJetArt Duobrite Matte scraps out some very minimal wins in the lighter tones, and gives up HUGE losses in the lower values.
Now, to my eye, it looks to me as if the differences here should make a profound difference in prints. What I really need, I guess, is a way to not just compare the two profiles (which might reveal differences between the gamut) but also a way to see how the differences in gamuts alter the rendered image. Such software exists. I suppose this represents another divergence from making photographs as I scurry down the hallways of color theory and software tools. Sigh.
Now, just for yucks, I compared InkJetArt Duobrite Matte to Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art:
I haven’t shown you the reverse side of the graphic, because the two gamuts are identical, or at least so nearly identical that it makes no difference.
And now for the instructive comparison, InkJetArt Duobrite Matte(wireframe) and Epson Enhanced Matte (solid):
Looking at yesterday’s post, we saw that Epson Enhanced Matte has a gamut the same general shape as Epson Ultrasmooth, but just a smidgen larger.
And yet on the z3100, Ultrasmooth and InkjetArt Premium Duobrite Matte have almost exactly the same gamut, and yet InkjetArt Premium Duobrite Matte and Epson Enhanced Matte are pretty radically different, with EEM winning substantially in the dark tones and giving up lots of ground on the high tones.
There is no transitivity here. The fact that paper A outperforms paper B on one printer tells you next to nothing about the relative performance of A and B on a different printer.
How annoying. I guess there ain’t nothing easy.