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Fotospeed Metallic Lustre paper review

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Paper review Fotospeed Metallic Lustre

Metallic Lustre finish 275 gsm photo paper


Keith Cooper has been trying out one of Fotospeed’s photo papers.

The Metallic Lustre 275 paper is photo paper with a distinctive reflectance to it, giving a ‘metallic’ sheen. Without optical brighteners, how does it perform and is it something for your images?

Fotospeed sell the paper in the UK – there are similar papers available overseas, so this review should be of wider relevance to photographers wondering if ‘metallic’ is for them.

paper pack FS metallic lustre

Fotospeed metallic lustre

I’ve looked at a few ‘metallic’ finish papers and whilst I’ve some nice looking prints, they were never a choice that would easily push to the top of my list when printing an image.

The Metallic Lustre from Fotospeed doesn’t have the in your face pink ‘glow’ that you see with some papers under certain lighting conditions.

Note: Click to enlarge (most) images, to see at much higher resolution.

Key Features of Metallic Lustre 275

Info from Fotospeed

  • 275gsm, With a microporous coating
  • Neutral white base with a metallic effect lustre finish
  • Wide colour gamut and high D-MAX
  • Instant Dry
  • Compatible with dye and pigment inks
  • Available in cut sheets and rolls

Sizes listed A4/A3/A3+/A2/17″ roll/24″ roll/44″ roll

I’m testing it on an Epson P5000 17″ printer [See my detailed P5000 printer review]

Profiling

Fotospeed supply custom profiles for many of their papers, but I always make my own for colour, and use my B&W test print for evaluating B&W print performance.

Here’s my ~3k patch colour target and the B&W test.

paper testing metallic lustre

The colour target is printed via the Mac’s ColorSync Utility although I could use the free Adobe print utility (Win & Mac)

The black and white print used the Epson ABW print mode at its default settings.

profiling target

The colour target is read using my X-Rite i1iSis scanning spectrophotometer. [iSis review]

isis scanner

I’ve used flash for this photo to give a feel for the reflectance of the paper.

The results are used with X-Rite i1Profiler software to create an ICC paper profile.

For the B&W print I use an X-Rite i1iO scan table, with my i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer in place. The B&W image has a set of test patches in it to be read with this. [original i1iO review | i1iO for B&W print linearity]

i1iO reader

Although the arm says Gretag Macbeth, the device is actually an i1iO 2 (my older i1iO model was modified by X-Rite).

paper measurement

The spectrophotometer measures the patches using the i1Profiler software and gives me the option to save readings.

saving bw data

This functionality is available in i1Profiler without licensing. I’ve written about this for the i1iO as well as with the i1Pro on its own.

The B&W measurements I want are just the Lab readings for the 21 patches. From this data I can use the QTR profile making software to get this graph.

paper linearity graph

Don’t worry about the details (it’s in several of my articles such as the i1iO one) all I’m really looking for here is just how straight the line of ‘L’s is.

In this case, it’s very good. So what?

It tells me that if I use the B&W print mode then my prints are not going to suffer from crunched up  shadows or other ills that sneak in if there are strong kinks or bends in the line.

The lines of  ‘a’ and ‘b’ also confirm that there is no significant optical brightener in the paper.

As an aside, let’s look at the full data for the black and white (paper) patches. Once again, you don’t need to know this, but I know some will be curious.

black patch info

It tells me that the blacks are indeed quite black.

A look at the measurements for the paper itself (i.e. no ink) show a slight difference for the M0/M1/M2 values in the blue part of the spectrum.

paper white patch

The M values refer to how much UV is in the light used to make measurements.

If the paper had optical brighteners (OBAs) in it we would see a bump here, not a relatively flat line.

The difference comes from the ‘metallic’ element of the paper finish, where blue(ish) light is reflected differently to other colours.

It’s seen in this oblique view under tungsten lighting.

purple reflection

Before you step back in horror, look again at the photo of the print going in to the iSis scanner, on the i1iO table and those below.

This is the ‘purple glow’ that’s put me off some of the more ‘in your face’ metallic papers – I’ve had to process the image above quite carefully to show the texture and colour.

Test prints of my photos

I’ve seen it claimed that the metallic papers give a different ‘look’ to your images that you may have already printed in the past… Well, time to drop into my old gallery archive, partly because I keep print ready copies of all of the images.

The Gallery on this site is long overdue an update – I moved it over when I spent a year re-writing the site from scratch, but have not quite got round to actually adding many year’s worth of new images – another rainy/quiet month job ;-)

Here’s a selection of the test prints I made, just resting on the bed.

sample prints

The bright red flowers are from my conservatory and featured in my recent article about how to print bright colours.

The gamut of the FS Metallic 275 was only slightly smaller for the reds than it was on the brilliant white glossy paper (with OBAs) I used for those tests.

One of the photos dates back to 1992, and is from scanned film.

Canadian rapids

Like all the B&W prints I used the ABW B&W print mode of the Epson driver for the P5000.

I’ve used flash here to try and bring out the shadow detail that’s in the prints – this is what you can lose if you are not careful about checking print linearity for a paper.

more print samples

Here’s the cottonwoods and storm photo in the Photoshop print dialog.

cottonwoods and storm

Like all the other colour images, printed using the relative colorimetric rendering intent with BPC (black point correction) enabled.

With one or two strongly coloured images I did check first with soft proofing, just to see if any significant areas were out of gamut for the paper, since many of the images are in the large ProPhoto colour space and could well have been originally edited on a smaller gamut monitor than I use now (see aspects of this in my recent BenQ SW240 monitor review). One needed a slight bump (<5%) in saturation and one needed going back to the (2004) RAW file, since I realised I’d edited it to print on a matt paper.

Conclusions

A good solid paper that doesn’t let its ‘special feature’ get in the way too much. The lack of OBA may appeal to some as well. The prints have the intensity of a normal ‘bright’ lustre photo paper, without the brilliant white that can detract from some images.

Black and white from the P5000 gives a slightly cool look, possibly from the diffuse specular reflection. B&W performance will vary with printer and ink-set, so be prepared to make some adjustments, although the measured linearity was one of the best I’ve seen on a paper for the P5000.

If you’re mounting it for display, then a white backing would be a good idea, since despite being a 275gsm paper, it’s not particularly thick.

Out of the box, the paper is very flat with no serious curl. The paper worked well from the feed cassette of the P5000.

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