Musings on Photography

Chase for a Daily Paper

Posted in hp z3100, paper by Paul Butzi on December 11, 2007

5D-071209-4857
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):

Cmp3100-Icb3100Cmp3100-Idb3100

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:

Idm3100-Ufa3100

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):

Idm3100-Eem3100AIdb3100-Eem3100B

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.

6 Responses

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  1. mcananeya said, on December 11, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Your recent posts are very interesting. It is helpful to see the considerations that go into this kind of stuff. Unfortunately, they are causing me to despair of ever being able to achieve your goals (albeit on a much smaller scale) for myself without quitting my day job.

    Grrr. What digital giveth…

    Best,
    Adam

  2. Sawicki said, on December 11, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    Using Photoshop to soft-proof can provide a reasonable comparison of what the two profiles will do to the actual image.

    Two comparisons to be avoided as the risk of experiencing a sever depression:

    1)the image with and without soft-proofing. For me at least this looks much worse than comparing the actual print to the image without soft-proofing. I think there is some perceptual compensation going on.
    2) the image soft-proofed on a matte paper vs one of the glossy ones. This is especially true for resolution in the shadows.

    Joe

  3. Mike said, on December 11, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Maybe I’ve missed something here. You work up your prints on a paper that isn’t the one you mean to print them on in the end? How can that be sensible. You’re making your moves to perfect things on a substrate you won’t use later and so would seem to be off base when it comes to putting the image on the proper paper. Perhaps you should spend less time analyzing various papers and look for ways to get the print right on the right paper quicker with less “waste”.

  4. Frank Armstrong said, on December 14, 2007 at 7:53 am

    You might want to try Staples (the office supply people) new Supreme Double Sided Matte. While it’s not available in rolls, it does come 13×19. When they put it on-sale, it’s about the cheapest thing around. I see it regularly for $4.95/50-sht box for 8.5×11. Don’t know how it would perform on your HP, but it is a great proofing (not final) paper for the Epson 4000 and 2200. Wish I could find out who’s making this paper for them.

  5. Jon Fitch said, on December 15, 2007 at 8:36 am

    I am a little unfamiliar with the Z3100 so this may not apply. I have an iPF5000. On that machine, I can get some papers in rolls in 17″, but not 8″. I cut the 17″ rolls into 8 1/2″ rolls with a bandsaw. Sand the ends of the rolls with a sanding block and Bob’s your uncle. Use the sanding block for matt board.

    I then make proof prints on the cut down sheets. If I want to see an area in detail at full resolution, I just crop the print temporarily and print the crop. It really saves on paper.

  6. Blas said, on November 3, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Great info,

    I have the z 3100 44 and I only have a problem the first mont the I got it.

    About mac leopard, I upgrade all my profiles was deleted from hp, but I started again like I have new printer and is working fine for me. Now adobe cs4 is the only one I can get it to work 100% I can’t open 3 images with layers or more, it’s keep logging out. I shot with H3D-50 so files are big.

    I had epson 7600 in that was a nightmare. So I don’t think I will be back to epson.

    good luck


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