Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?  (Read 1389 times)

HSakols

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 711
    • Hugh Sakols Photography
Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« on: May 15, 2017, 10:25:41 AM »

When I first started out printing, I used cheap mat paper from Epson, but later changed to photo paper because I like the blacks better.  I'm curious why other photographers prefer using mat paper and inks.  Do you find you get a better look to your prints?  I'm just curious, especially with all the different flavors of paper out there.

Hugh
Logged

Mark D Segal

  • Contributor
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9698
    • http://www.markdsegal.com
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2017, 10:42:32 AM »

The latest generation of matte papers and inks have considerably improved the perceptual rendition of Black and shadow tones in general. Some people prefer matte surfaces because of their artistic feel, and because they don't reflect the glare of glossier papers which some people find distracting, but along with that comes a sacrifice of DMax. This is all about personal preference in the "fine art" market, and what looks best for the photo being printed.
Logged
Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

Paul Roark

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 290
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 11:34:09 AM »

I don't know how many matte-only inks are  left on the market, but with respect to the matte v. glossy black and white inks I use, there are several reasons one might stay with matte only. 

First, if one mixes their own B&W inks from stock MK, the cost can be close to two orders of magnitude less than the desktop, small cart cost of OEM inks.  The current version of the matte only B&W inks I'm referring to are discussed in this PDF: http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/3880-Eboni-Variable-Tone.pdf .  They can be installed in any Epson printer that has third party, empty, refillable cartridges available.

Second, matte inks don't need the binder (read "glue") required to stick pigments onto glossy paper.   Because of this they don't clog nearly as much as glossy inks.

Third, if you're doing "fine art" where you'll probably want to display the image under acrylic (or  museum glass), you can tape hang the artwork as opposed  to adhering it to a backing.  I think this is both easier  and better.

Fourth, on my wall, in actual display settings, the matte under glass often has a better dmax than the glossy inks/papers.  It's all about reflections.  Our spectros are  measuring the dmax under ideal conditions.  Normal room lighting is not ideal.  Avoiding reflections off the surface of  the paper can be important.

For  me, the main reason to bother with glossy is for prints that are going to be displayed  without glazing (including my gallery brochures).  I'll be running  my 9800 with the glossy B&W "variable tone" inkset in it today just to keep it from clogging, and once my large canvas show is over at the end of September that inkset is probably going to be pulled and the matte version installed.  Keeping big  printers running  when one does only intermittent printing is a problem.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
Logged

Wayne Fox

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3765
    • waynefox.com
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 12:39:38 PM »

I rarely use matt black and matt papers, but when I do it’s because they offer a character and look that seems to fit the mood of the image I’m printing.

You mentioned you started using “cheap” matt papers then switch to photo black papers.  Some of the not so cheap papers have a wonderful look when printed.  While the blacks might not be technically as black when measured, because of the dispersion quality of light as reflected from them they have a richness and quality much different than PK papers.

Eric Myrvaagnes

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 12713
    • http://myrvaagnes.com
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 01:05:38 PM »

I rarely use matt black and matt papers, but when I do it’s because they offer a character and look that seems to fit the mood of the image I’m printing.

You mentioned you started using “cheap” matt papers then switch to photo black papers.  Some of the not so cheap papers have a wonderful look when printed.  While the blacks might not be technically as black when measured, because of the dispersion quality of light as reflected from them they have a richness and quality much different than PK papers.
My attitude is much like Wayne's.

I now use photo black inks and papers almost exclusively, mainly because of the waste of ink when switching between Photo Black and Matt Black inks, but also because in my darkroom days I always preferred unferrotyped glossy prints to mat prints.

I agree that some images just really seem to look best on a good, non-glossy paper, and I tend to judge my prints with no glass or plexi on them. It is also true that, as Paul said, as soon as you frame a print under glass or acrylic, the paper surface becomes undistinguishable, and the dmax difference vanishes.
Logged
-Eric Myrvaagnes    (A sampler of my new book is on my website.)
http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my photo website. New images each season. Also visit my new website: http://ericneedsakidney.org

Rob Reiter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 272
    • The LightRoom
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 04:34:01 PM »

When I first started out printing, I used cheap mat paper from Epson, but later changed to photo paper because I like the blacks better.  I'm curious why other photographers prefer using mat paper and inks.  Do you find you get a better look to your prints?  I'm just curious, especially with all the different flavors of paper out there.

Hugh

I stock(and use) a lot of matte papers and I and my clients love them. While glossy/luster papers will always have a potential for deeper blacks, it's usually something that only becomes apparent in side by side comparisons. Matte papers have a wider variety of textures that lend their own qualities to the final product. I float my prints in frames with no over mat so the paper characteristics are more apparent.

I do use photo style  (glossy) papers, especially when high color saturation is important. But don't cross off good matte papers-they have an more organic look and feel to them. With all the choices available for printing these days, there is a lot to be said for picking a paper to match the image instead of forcing everything into one "look" just because a particular paper has a smidgen deeper black or brighter white.
Logged
http://www.lightroom.com Fine art printing for photographers and other artists

John Chardine

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 76
    • chardine photography
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 06:28:04 PM »

I don't like the double-reflection effect of framing a glossy print under glass.

Mark D Segal

  • Contributor
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9698
    • http://www.markdsegal.com
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2017, 06:39:03 PM »

I stock(and use) a lot of matte papers and I and my clients love them. While glossy/luster papers will always have a potential for deeper blacks, it's usually something that only becomes apparent in side by side comparisons. Matte papers have a wider variety of textures that lend their own qualities to the final product. I float my prints in frames with no over mat so the paper characteristics are more apparent.

I do use photo style  (glossy) papers, especially when high color saturation is important. But don't cross off good matte papers-they have an more organic look and feel to them. With all the choices available for printing these days, there is a lot to be said for picking a paper to match the image instead of forcing everything into one "look" just because a particular paper has a smidgen deeper black or brighter white.

I agree with most of this, except that the difference of minimum L* (maximum Black) between PK/MK papers is more than a "smidgen" - we're talking moving from a range of L*2~3 for the PK papers to L*13~16 for the matte papers. As a result, it's much easier to bring out detail in the deep quartertones using PK papers, but that said, depending on the photo, some of the matte papers suit the images beautifully.
Logged
Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

luxborealis

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2259
    • luxBorealis.com - photography by Terry McDonald
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2017, 08:10:19 PM »

I'm using matte paper (Moab Entrada Rag Natural) and matte black ink for one simple reason: I don't want the gloss or semi-gloss of the paper to get between the viewer and the experience of being "in" landscapes I photograph. I want the viewer to think they are there without being reminded they are looking at a photograph. To me, this is what everything other than matte does; it reminds people they are looking at a reproduction.
Logged
Terry McDonald - luxBorealis.com.
Flickr Account;
PhotoBlog – Read and subscribe!

nirpat89

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 88
    • Photography by Niranjan Patel
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2017, 08:48:33 PM »

I look at it like this:  Matt papers work well for your Stiegliz-like and glossy papers for your Adams-like images. 

(Not that any one of mine are.)
Logged

Mark D Segal

  • Contributor
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9698
    • http://www.markdsegal.com
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2017, 08:57:01 PM »

I'm using matte paper (Moab Entrada Rag Natural) and matte black ink for one simple reason: I don't want the gloss or semi-gloss of the paper to get between the viewer and the experience of being "in" landscapes I photograph. I want the viewer to think they are there without being reminded they are looking at a photograph. To me, this is what everything other than matte does; it reminds people they are looking at a reproduction.

It depends on how the photo is lit and the angle of viewing.
Logged
Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

Doug Gray

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 570
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2017, 12:22:33 AM »

It depends on how the photo is lit and the angle of viewing.

This and your comment earlier re glare from gloss/semi gloss are critical.

Reflections from G/SG surfaces that are not illuminated correctly significantly reduce the print color saturation, washing out colors. Proper display requires flood illumination at an angle, preferably 45 degrees while viewing straight on. Matte prints do not require this and there is no loss of gamut from glare. The downside is that matte gamuts are smaller but if an image is within the matte gamut the colors from a matte print will not deteriorate with diffuse lighting glare.
Logged

Paul Roark

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 290
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2017, 05:57:33 PM »

I have used a spot meter to measure black test patches in actual display venues.  Often glazed matte is better than glazed glossy.  It all  depends on the lighting and other circumstances.

For my gallery brochures, direct sun outside is  what makes me always keep at least one printer that can output glossy.  Direct sun on a matte print is rather  unforgiving.  What might look  like a deep black inside can look simply gray in direct sun.  There the high PK dmax shows the differences we see in the measured numbers.  Inside under glazing it can be and often is a different story.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com
Logged

Damir

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 209
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2017, 06:14:05 PM »

More "organic" look against "plastic" look of photo papers.
Looks good from all angles.
Many different textures.
Less sensitive to lighting in various exhibiting spaces.
Logged

HSakols

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 711
    • Hugh Sakols Photography
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 06:34:06 PM »

Hey All,
Thanks for all the good information. I will have to experiment with a sample pack.  Once again I appreciate everyone's collective wisdom and I would love to see the actual prints.

Hugh
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 06:37:20 PM by HSakols »
Logged

kers

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1505
    • Pieter Kers
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2017, 06:51:15 AM »

I have a Z3100 printer that is capable of very intense blacks on matte paper like Hahnemuehle Rag 308.

However it is very sensitive to handling and scratches- you see everything that has gone wrong...

How do the people here deal with that?

I have never tried it behind antireflection glass like Groglass .

does anyone has experience with that?
Logged
Pieter Kers
www.beeld.nu

Mark D Segal

  • Contributor
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9698
    • http://www.markdsegal.com
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2017, 07:58:50 AM »

I have a Z3100 printer that is capable of very intense blacks on matte paper like Hahnemuehle Rag 308.


Interesting. Have you measured the L* value of the deepest Black you achieved on that paper? If so what was it ?
Logged
Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

Royce Howland

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 117
    • Vivid Aspect Photography
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2017, 10:59:16 AM »

I print mostly on mat papers with MK ink, by preference. I have nothing against glossy media, and don't at all mind the high quality baryta surfaced fibre papers for example. But I find mat papers possess more variety and often enhance the character of prints in subtle ways that I find very rewarding. Surface textures, the way the ink seems to live within the surface rather than sit upon it, the lack of glare and reflectance... all of these kinds of individually small factors contribute to prints that (to me) feel like they have more depth and dimension.

When I first started with digital print, I favoured glossy papers. Mat papers perhaps were less refined at that time; certainly the printer inksets were less refined. Canned ICC profiles were often mediocre at best. The results of all of this was underwhelming results on mat, while with glossy I could get something that looked good without killing myself in the processing & printing workflow. Now, I have inverted my preferences completely. Many mat papers are amazing, the inksets have come a tremendous way along, profiles are better across the board (though I now create my own to sidestep paper vendor variability), and the net results for me are very much more to my taste for my work and many of my clients' work.

Mat papers under low-reflectance glass in particular can be simply breathtaking.

Yes, the surfaces are delicate, so care must be taken during printing and subsequent handling. But the results are more than worth it, IMO...

Mark D Segal

  • Contributor
  • Sr. Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 9698
    • http://www.markdsegal.com
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2017, 11:04:11 AM »

I print mostly on mat papers with MK ink, by preference. I have nothing against glossy media, and don't at all mind the high quality baryta surfaced fibre papers for example. But I find mat papers possess more variety and often enhance the character of prints in subtle ways that I find very rewarding. Surface textures, the way the ink seems to live within the surface rather than sit upon it, the lack of glare and reflectance... all of these kinds of individually small factors contribute to prints that (to me) feel like they have more depth and dimension.

When I first started with digital print, I favoured glossy papers. Mat papers perhaps were less refined at that time; certainly the printer inksets were less refined. Canned ICC profiles were often mediocre at best. The results of all of this was underwhelming results on mat, while with glossy I could get something that looked good without killing myself in the processing & printing workflow. Now, I have inverted my preferences completely. Many mat papers are amazing, the inksets have come a tremendous way along, profiles are better across the board (though I now create my own to sidestep paper vendor variability), and the net results for me are very much more to my taste for my work and many of my clients' work.

Mat papers under low-reflectance glass in particular can be simply breathtaking.

Yes, the surfaces are delicate, so care must be taken during printing and subsequent handling. But the results are more than worth it, IMO...

I agree with your observation that inks and matte papers have improved tremendously over the years, such that matte has become a very viable option with a character all its own that can be very pleasing. That said, photos with important shadow detail in the deep quartertones, and for which very dense maximum Black is important, or where maximum colour gamut is important, still benefit from PK ink and paper. So in the final analysis, as is so often the case...."it depends", but at the least we have heaps of really good options these days.
Logged
Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

luxborealis

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2259
    • luxBorealis.com - photography by Terry McDonald
Re: Why Print using Mat Inks and Paper?
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2017, 06:03:54 PM »

More "organic" look against "plastic" look of photo papers.
Looks good from all angles.
Many different textures.
Less sensitive to lighting in various exhibiting spaces.

Exactly. Well said.
Logged
Terry McDonald - luxBorealis.com.
Flickr Account;
PhotoBlog – Read and subscribe!
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up