And as has been stated before the Crane Silver Rag that Canon is rebranding is not as thick either,
Really? I have a roll of both right now... I don't think it's the same stuff at all, at least not the rolls I have. The color temperature is different as is the texture. They're very similar, enough so that I took a look at each very closely thinking it was a rebranding but the Canon Polished Rag is warmer than the CM Silver Rag and the texture is slightly different as well. If they are the same, I'd say the manufacturing tolerances are pretty poor.
As for Exhibition Fibre being too thick? I don't think so. It's certainly not as thick as some of the other papers I use without any problems at all and if it was indeed too thick then this printer wouldn't be able to print to canvas. The Crane Museo retains far more curl than the EEF and is a little more stubborn to handle yet I have no issues with it.
I've tried the Hahnemuhle Photo Ray Baryta and while it's nice, compared to Canson Platine, and Ilford's offerings, I fine the Hahnemuhle to be rather.... sparkly. There's something I like about each paper. I haven't tried the Fine Art Baryta from HFA yet.
At any rate, WRT EEF I've decided that given how extremely fragile it is (I've tried the Innova paper you suggested as well), I just don't want to deal with it. It scratches REALLY easily.
The Innova Semi-Matte may be the very best of all of the brighter white sheets of this kind. Check it out also, it is a great paper if you are looking to emulate gelatin silver emulsions.
Semi-matte? Not sure I've tried that yet. Is that similar in concept to HFA's satin paper?
From what I have read in the first review of the IPF8300, these new Lucia inks are showing the absolutely smoothest result in regard to gloss performance with the latest gloss fiber media. This is actually one of the reasons I want to buy one of these printers myself. It just seems to me like Epson is doing everything they can to keep better papers like Canson and Hahnemuhle out of their printers and in the process annoying the hell out of everyone. I don't like any of their media period. That alone would keep me away from the 9900, along with the continued poor MK to PK switching and constant head cleanings.
It's not completely free of gloss differential, it's there but it's not really an issue. Harman FB AL Warmtone does particularly well in that regard.