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Author Topic: Starting to print - Paper choice  (Read 2125 times)

rodppereira

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Starting to print - Paper choice
« on: May 10, 2018, 01:42:05 PM »

Hello!

I'm a hobbyist and just bought a Epson P800 to print some of my photos. Nothing professional related, I will only print to myself and maybe some gifts to family and friends.

I'm from Brazil and it seems that quality papers are scarse here. In the next month I'll be travelling to USA (Chicago) and Canada (Vancouver) and I would like to ask here some sugestions about what papers to buy, wich types and sizes.

As I said, I'm a complete beginner in printing, so what I need is some sugestions to experiment, taking advantage of my travel next month.

I plan to buy a X-Rite i1Designer in USA too.

Thanks in advanced!

Regards,
Rodrigo.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 01:55:36 PM »

Rodrigo,

I would suggest you start by defining your taste in photographic prints. What sizes are you most likely to want your photos to be and do you prefer matte or gloss/luster finishes, or some of each depending on the photo? Once you sort those two things out, you have usefully narrowed the choice. Narrowing the choice is important because the options are very numerous. Then there is price: do you have a budget ceiling for how much you want to spend on printing for say the next six months? That will narrow choice further because papers vary a lot in price. Speaking of which, you will probably get better pricing in Chicago than you will in Vancouver, but if you are going to Chicago first it could be a pain to travel from there with a lot of paper, unless you plan to have it shipped.

Next, you should do your research. If you are new to printing, you should watch the "Camera to Print" tutorials on this website to better understand what you are getting into and what the possibilities are. Then you should read the reviews of papers that have appeared on this website over a long period of time. Several other websites (for example, Northlight Images)  also have reviews of paper that are not advertising. Then, once you've seen which papers may appeal to you do your price comparisons on the internet by looking at sites such as B&H Photo Video, Shades of Paper, etc.

At the same time you are doing all this, if where you are in Brazil you have an actual photography store that sells inkjet papers, they would also have sample books provided by the major paper manufacturers that will allow you to see and feel the various papers first-hand, perhaps the best instruction of all.

With all of this, you will be able to make sensible decisions about what paper to buy. Notice I have only recommended to you an approach for finding out what you want, I am not recommending particular papers, because in the final analysis, it is a decision that largely depends on personal needs and preference.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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rodppereira

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 03:52:37 PM »

Thank you very much for the detailed answer!

I'm already reading a lot around the Internet, including the Northlight Images and your reviews of the P800 printer, but not papers reviews yet. And I'm watching a Lynda.com course about inkjet print too, to get an better "initial understanding" of printing. Certainly I will watch/read the mentioned "Camera to Print" tutorial too. Fortunately there are a lot of resources available, that is great.

Even studing all that resources, it seems difficult to me define beforehand what sizes and finishes I will most likely. That's because I have no previous exprience or contact with quality prints, rather visting some galleries. Only a few times I sent my photos to minilabs to print 5x7 photos, so I have no references. And where I live in Brazil there is no actual photography store that sells inkjet papers, unfortunately. There are some online but very limited.

My idea is to buy a few sorted papers of different finishes and sizes to experiment and learn about quality printing. In a second moment, after experimenting different papers and consequentily getting a better knowledge of the printing proccess, I will do a more educated choice, based and my preferences.

So, knowing that I only have a Epson P800 printer (limited to A2 size, but maybe I could buy the optional roller support) and have no plans to upgrade it in a long time, it would be possible to sugest a "begginer learning kit" of papers (different sizes and finishes) to get in touch with the printing procces as a hobby?

Regard the budget, something around USD500. But could be more or (preferably) less.

Regards,
Rodrigo.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 04:14:15 PM »

Some of the manufacturers sell sample packs that have several sheets of several different paper types in one pack. Usually they are A4 or US Letter size. This could be a good way of wetting your feet with different papers to see what you like once you start making some prints. I would suggest you start off with less expensive papers to experiment getting the basics right. If you want to do matte, then Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Matte paper; if you want to do Luster, Epson Ultra Premium Luster. These are very basic, popular papers, not the most expensive, and the handy thing is that the profiles for using them are built in with the printer driver. They will work well enough for you at this stage. Don't buy large amounts of the them to start with. Once your comfort level is higher it would be a good idea to then diversify away from these and use so-called "Fine Art" papers that have more character and don't have optical brightening agents in them.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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rodppereira

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 05:38:24 PM »

Great advice Mike, it fits very well into my situation: some papers to experiment and explore, and some good quality standard papers to start printing my photos.

My "starter kit" will be something like:

- some A4 sample packs;
- A2, A3, A4, A5  Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Matte;
- A2, A3, A4, A5  Epson Ultra Premium Luster;
- maybe one "Fine Art" paper to future use.

Two more questions:

- Should I buy the optional roll suport to the P800 (USD200) and papers in roll at this moment?

- I already have the X-Rite i1Display Pro. Is the X-Rite i1Studio necessary, good to have or irrelevant? (unfortunately the i1Pro 2 is out of my budget)


Thanks again!

Regards,
Rodrigo.

 
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I.T. Supplies

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2018, 05:52:40 PM »

Rodrigo,

From a resellers perspective on the products:
Only get the roll attachment IF you are thinking it will be useful in a short term time-frame and moving forward.  Don't just get it thinking it would be good down the road and you don't really use it after.  This will save you the money in the long run.  Since it's optional, you can get it when you'll need it most and for the future.

As far as the X-Rite i1 Studio- what are you looking to do exactly?  With more details and what you plan to do, we try to make sure you get the best product for your needs.

IT Supplies
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rodppereira

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 06:48:44 PM »

Thanks Atlex! I'll leave the roll suport for the future, if needed.

About the X-Rite i1Studio, it is for profiling the printer/paper. I think that generating a specific profile for my printer and paper should be better than the manufacturers profiles. Of course, I can be wrong in that assumption!
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2018, 08:04:20 PM »

Epson's profiles are pretty good. I recommend you hold off printer profiling software jntil you see whether you really need it (do only the monitor profiling to make sure it is giving you a correct image).
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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rodppereira

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2018, 08:21:41 PM »

Good, so I will leave out the i1Studio too and only use the i1Display Pro that I already have.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2018, 09:24:04 PM »

Should be fine.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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NAwlins_Contrarian

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 12:16:23 AM »

Quote
I'm a hobbyist and just bought a Epson P800 to print some of my photos.... I'm a complete beginner in printing .... I have no previous exprience or contact with quality prints, rather visting some galleries. Only a few times I sent my photos to minilabs to print 5x7 photos, so I have no references.

I would like to ask here some sugestions about what papers to buy, wich types and sizes.

My "starter kit" will be something like:
- some A4 sample packs;
- A2, A3, A4, A5  Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Matte;
- A2, A3, A4, A5  Epson Ultra Premium Luster;
- maybe one "Fine Art" paper to future use.

I started printing at home a little more than a year ago. In my opinion:

(1) the "sample packs" will not really give you enough sheets of each type of paper for an inexperienced printer to learn which type of paper to buy more of. I suggest you buy at least 20 sheets of each paper you want to try, and maybe 50 sheets. When you get more experienced, you may be able to decide whether you like a paper with just a few sheets.

(2) Since you bought an Epson printer, but are inexperienced printing, I suggest you start with what I think are all 4 higher-quality but normal-type Epson photo papers: (a) Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy, (b) Epson Premium Photo Paper Semi-Gloss, (c) Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster, and (d) Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte. I say this even though 2 of the papers you mentioned--Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster and Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte--are the two papers I use the most. You might decide you prefer glossy or semi-gloss.

(3) As Mark said, you can easily get Epson ICC profiles for a P800 and these Epson papers. Try them first--they may be all you ever need or want.

(4) You will have a very difficult time buying metric paper sizes like A4 and A3 in the U.S. Even the biggest sellers like B&H don't have many options. In the U.S. we mostly have sizes like "letter" size (similar to A4, but somewhat different), 13x19 inches (slightly larger than A3), and 17x22 inches (similar to A2, but somewhat different). If you buy U.S. paper sizes, you should be able to print on them just fine, but you may have a hard time finding frames in Brazil. Maybe in Canada you will find more metric paper sizes.

(5) Learning to print is easier with prints large enough to see detail and tonal transitions easily enough, but not so large as to waste paper and ink. I think U.S. letter-size and A4 are good for this. I most often print 8x10 inches or 8x10.5 inches on U.S. letter size (8.5x11 inches). I leave some border so I don't spray ink off the sides of the paper and into the printer. I also like a border.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 12:19:26 AM by NAwlins_Contrarian »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 08:25:28 AM »

I started printing at home a little more than a year ago. In my opinion:

(1) the "sample packs" will not really give you enough sheets of each type of paper for an inexperienced printer to learn which type of paper to buy more of. I suggest you buy at least 20 sheets of each paper you want to try, and maybe 50 sheets. When you get more experienced, you may be able to decide whether you like a paper with just a few sheets.

(2) Since you bought an Epson printer, but are inexperienced printing, I suggest you start with what I think are all 4 higher-quality but normal-type Epson photo papers: (a) Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Glossy, (b) Epson Premium Photo Paper Semi-Gloss, (c) Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster, and (d) Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte. I say this even though 2 of the papers you mentioned--Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster and Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte--are the two papers I use the most. You might decide you prefer glossy or semi-gloss.

(3) As Mark said, you can easily get Epson ICC profiles for a P800 and these Epson papers. Try them first--they may be all you ever need or want.

(4) You will have a very difficult time buying metric paper sizes like A4 and A3 in the U.S. Even the biggest sellers like B&H don't have many options. In the U.S. we mostly have sizes like "letter" size (similar to A4, but somewhat different), 13x19 inches (slightly larger than A3), and 17x22 inches (similar to A2, but somewhat different). If you buy U.S. paper sizes, you should be able to print on them just fine, but you may have a hard time finding frames in Brazil. Maybe in Canada you will find more metric paper sizes.

(5) Learning to print is easier with prints large enough to see detail and tonal transitions easily enough, but not so large as to waste paper and ink. I think U.S. letter-size and A4 are good for this. I most often print 8x10 inches or 8x10.5 inches on U.S. letter size (8.5x11 inches). I leave some border so I don't spray ink off the sides of the paper and into the printer. I also like a border.

Re (1): To get a general impression of the look and feel of a paper several sheets is enough. To have a more complete view of how they handle different kinds of photos, yes I agree one needs more - at least 10 or so.

Re (4): One does not normally find A4 paper in Canada. Some papers are available in 11x17, which can be cut in half to 8.5x11. Cutting paper needs to be done quite accurately for it to feed well into the printer.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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rodppereira

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2018, 10:08:00 AM »

Thanks NAwlins_Contrarian, very good points!

-> 1 - I understand what you said and the Mark comment about it too. With the sample packs I'll have a physical contact with that papers, learn what kinds of finishes, textures, etc do exist, but only limited experience in the print results. I think it's enough in my initial stage, and will allow for more educated choice in the future in line with my personal preferences.

-> 2 - I will include these other two papers too, unfortunately reducing the overall quantities of each paper because of my luggage weight limitations.

-> 3 - Yes. It seems that personal printer profiling is less important than personal display profiling. In other words, printer profiles seem to be less dependent on the specific hardware unit (the differences in units of the same model should be minimal), consequently manufacturer profile for one model works very well for all printers sold of that same model. In displays it is not happening and profiling each unit is necessary.

-> 4 - I learned that size problem yesterday, looking for papers in the B & H website. I have no choice, but buy those US paper sizes. If necessary I may try to order personalized frame sizes from local woodworks. Or start a new wood hobby ...

-> 5 - Good advice, I'll prioritize letter-size when defining the quantities of each paper.

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Eric Brody

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2018, 10:39:42 AM »

If you live in Brazil and your paper choices are limited, why not limit your experimentation to those that are really available to you. There's not much point in falling in love with a paper you'll not be able to obtain on a regular basis. Print early, print often and your skills will improve. Good luck. As a long time printer, it's encouraging to see someone just starting out who wants to actually make prints, good for you.
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rodppereira

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2018, 11:15:41 AM »

Thanks Eric!

I agree with you. It is better to use a reasonable good paper that is available when I need than use an excellent paper that is scarse here.

I'm afraid that even an reasonable good paper is difficult to buy, but your comment caught my attention. I'll intensify my search locally to get a better idea of what is offered in local stores.

Maybe I could find a local paper supplier that sells a good one to my daily use, and leave to buy abroad only some special ones.
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Rand47

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2018, 01:30:36 PM »

Hello!

I'm a hobbyist and just bought a Epson P800 to print some of my photos. Nothing professional related, I will only print to myself and maybe some gifts to family and friends.

I'm from Brazil and it seems that quality papers are scarse here. In the next month I'll be travelling to USA (Chicago) and Canada (Vancouver) and I would like to ask here some sugestions about what papers to buy, wich types and sizes.

As I said, I'm a complete beginner in printing, so what I need is some sugestions to experiment, taking advantage of my travel next month.

I plan to buy a X-Rite i1Designer in USA too.

Thanks in advanced!

Regards,
Rodrigo.

OK, I'll chip in here.  All GREAT advice above.... but let me add that if you start out with a good fine art "utility" (my words) paper like Ilford Gold Fibre Silk  or Gold Fibre Gloss, you'll have a paper with great gamut volume, easy to soft-proof for most general photographic subjects, and a really lovely paper to boot.   

And, once you've looked at several general paper types and specific papers that appeal to you and your subject matter - and have zeroed in on a hand full of "go to" papers - I'd recommend having a real expert like Andrew Rodney (The Digital Dog) or someone of his skill level, make custom ICC profiles for you.  As Mark says above, Epson's profiles are pretty good (the Luster paper profile the exception in my opinion - awful for the SC P5000), BUT the Digital Dog ICC profiles I've had made are noticeably better in pretty much every respect.  Unless one wants to get into the profiling aspect for the fun of doing so (and is able to spend the requisite dollars to get first class equipment and software), having really fine custom profiles made is the way to go, IMO.

Rand
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Rand Scott Adams

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2018, 02:15:56 PM »

I'd be hesitant with Ilford products.  Since they were bought from a new buyer in Australia (over a year or so ago), their inventory may not be properly accurate upfront and then when confirmed they have it, the product may be on a few weeks to months back order because they are waiting for inventory to come in or it's being made.  So, just an FYI on that part with Ilford in general.

Yes, it's good to try a decent paper that you can get easily and test at first vs something far away that will take time to receive if you need it sort of quickly.  If you're doing the prints for yourself to grow your printing business, than you can look further into locations of papers.  Also, might be a little cautious on certain brands since OEM (original equipment manufacturer) papers like Epson, Canon and HP have shipping restrictions in the USA from going out of the country (now minus HP media) which can cause issues unless shipping to a freight/mail forwarder or if you're in the states to receive it upfront.

Others have good ideas and what not, so this can help you better upfront to test first on something decent but easy to get before going further into better media that may be longer to receive.

Good luck otherwise and as long as you select proper settings on the printer and computer (computer (PC or Mac based) may need color management adjusted, but can get inexpensive options to adjust this), or you may be able to find quick solutions to help you first on adjusting these options to better help with colors.  When you get the products, it should be pretty close upfront though.  When trying to match it as best as possible, that can become a more expensive process (depending on how accurate you want) between hardware and software options.
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Rand47

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2018, 02:23:09 PM »

Quote
I'd be hesitant with Ilford products.  Since they were bought from a new buyer in Australia (over a year or so ago), their inventory may not be properly accurate upfront and then when confirmed they have it, the product may be on a few weeks to months back order because they are waiting for inventory to come in or it's being made.  So, just an FYI on that part with Ilford in general.

Not sure what the OP's sources may be... but Ilford GFS and GFG readily available at Amazon and B&H.  First I've heard of shortages / delays in availability.  I order and use them both quite regularly with no issues.

Rand
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2018, 02:40:32 PM »

The Ilford distributor here in Toronto lists and has everything - no shortages. The Galerie range of papers was relaunched in August 2014 by ILFORD Imaging Europe now based in Germany.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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rodppereira

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Re: Starting to print - Paper choice
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2018, 03:34:15 PM »

Thanks for all great advices!

I just did a little search online looking for papers available here.

The Epson brazilian website do not list "Ultra Premium Photo Paper" line, only "Premium Photo Paper", "Value Photo Paper" and "Photo Paper" with max size 13"x19" (https://epson.com.br/Para-empresas/Papel/Papel-Fotogr%C3%A1fico/c/w620).

The online offers of Epson papers are limited, no Ultra Premiums, in fact I only found one online store selling Epson papers (max size A3+): https://store.intercolorbrasil.com.br/papeis-inkjet-em-folhas

The most available brand seems to be HAHNEMUHLE, most of them very nice (and expensive) "Fine Art" papers. Is that brand any good and offer usable profiles for the P800 printer?

Regards,
Rodrigo.
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