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PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 review

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Paper review: PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315

Baryta style smooth white paper

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PermaJet have a reformulated Gold Silk baryta paper.

It’s a 315gsm baryta paper with a smooth finish and good weight and is aimed at photographers wanting a bit more of a quality feel for glossier prints.

Keith has been trying the 2020 version of this paper on an Epson P5000 pigment ink printer, for both colour and B&W use.

set-of-prints

A Baryta paper

PermaJet have changed the manufacturing of their Gold Silk 315gsm paper and even though the same ICC profiles are said to work, improvements are listed as:

  • A smoother, more glossy surface finish
  • Improved coating technology
  • Now available in a 60” roll format

The paper is a smooth white – not brilliant and not warm. My testing during profiling shows quite modest amounts of optical brighteners (OBAs) in it.

This gives it a wide range of my photos that could work on it. It fits well as one of my key basic paper types I recently looked at in my article about deciding what papers are best for your work.

Sizes

The paper is available in cut sheet and roll paper sizes

  • A4/A3/A3+/A2
  • 24″/44″/60″ 15 metre rolls
Technical info
  • Weight – 315gsm
  • Thickness – 0.31mm
  • Whiteness – 101
  • Coatings – Single-sided, acid free smooth Silk/Satin baryta paper
  • Primary Features – Natural smooth satin finish, water resistant, superb colour and monochrome reproduction, exceptional ink absorption.
  • Optical Brightening Agents (OBA) – Yes
PermaJet’s description:

‘FB Gold Silk has a silk/satin finish on a fine art heavyweight base. Developed with a natural warm base tint to emulate the surface finish, texture and coating of traditional silver halide double weighted paper. A barium sulphate layer has been applied to the traditional fibre base, enabling users to create intense, rich blacks & creamy whites’

I’d not disagree strongly – it does have a look I remember from darkroom days, but without the curl.

Profiling

I always make my own ICC profiles for papers I’m testing. PermaJet will create profiles for you if you buy the paper. After a bit of testing I used the ‘Baryta’ media setting for the P5000 pigment ink printer, when making profiles for colour printing. I’d note that I tested it with the TPP (Traditional Photo Paper) and Premium Lustre settings as well and that differences were minimal. The TPP results for B&W using the ABW print mode were a tad better. As ever, media settings for a particular printer is never a clear cut choice.

This is my usual ~2900 patch A3+ profiling target.

profile-target-printing

I’ve printed my targets from the Apple ColorSync Utility, but other techniques work fine, as long as you ensure that colour management is turned off.

B&W too

I also printed my X-Rite iSis based B&W test strip to measure B&W print linearity for the Epson ABW black and white print mode. The measurements also allowed me to see the bump in the response curve from the modest OBA content. It’s the divergent green/red lines at the left. Red shows the effect of the OBA when UV light is included in the scan.

OBA-response

This shows a good even response with the drop off at shorter wavelengths showing the slight warmth of the paper and the OBA.

A look at the QTR output for the measurements of the greyscale target shows a good Dmax figure of ~2.4 [see the isis article for more detail and other ways of producing this data]

This is an indication of the print linearity when using the B&W ABW mode for the printer – Driver B&W modes almost always produce superior results than using an ICC (profile) based print workflow.

baryta-bw-linearity

Now, whilst I mention Dmax, it’s a pretty meaningless number in of itself (unless you’re in printer/ink/paper marketing). It tells me nothing of how useful that black is.

Note how there are clear gaps between the 94/96/98/100 ‘L’ reading in the graph above – that’s good, it means that shadow detail in my images will be visible as shadow detail in a print. Looking at the ‘L’ curve above, it’s pretty straight (for a graph produced using text layout).

More importantly, I’ll actually look at my B&W test image for evenness and lack of banding

first-test-print

The bulls-eye patch (just above the ‘A4’) is particularly good for this.

What’s the upshot of all this? … The paper should produce excellent black and white prints as-is, using ABW.

Test prints

This paper is similar to ones I’ve used in the past for exhibition work, where I want a good clear white that doesn’t intrude into more subtle images. It’s my choice for a lot of architectural images, especially stonework, such as my view of the steps at Wells Cathedral.

media-settings-fb315

In looking at the QTR graphs, I thought the TPP media setting was a tad smoother than the Baryta one. However I suspect if I produced one print at each setting (baryta/TPP) then I’d be hard put to point out tangible differences.

The photo was taken (hand held) on my 21MP Canon 1Ds mk3, with the TS-E17mm tilt/shift lens. For an A2 print I’d actually like a higher MP image if possible. Fortunately an application of Topaz AI Sharpen and the Gigapixel AI gives me a much better source image. This was particularly useful when I went back to some older 11MP images from my 1Ds.

Here’s the difference modern sharpening software can make. Remember that if you use software like this for print work, it can reduce (or eliminate depending on settings) the need to sharpen for print. [click to enlarge]

sharpening

Here’s the A2 print, out in my conservatory. [Click to enlarge]

large-BW-print

The diffuse (blue sky) light gives a feel for the print texture.

surface-finish

Detail is good, and the surface sheen is not intrusive.

steps-print-detail

Colours too

These two A2 print are from a trip to the Oregon coast in 2004. I’ve used on-camera flash to give a feel for the surface texture and the deep colours I see in these prints.

flash-reflection

The 11MP images have more than enough detail, so I can upscale them for print. With a good lens and exposure, my 2004 RAW files are quite OK for printing at this size. [Click to enlarge – this will give you a much better feel for the print quality].

set-of-prints

The Stonehenge shot is ©Paul Joyce. It’s from medium format film and I printed it as an experiment to see how much of a ‘darkroom look’ we could get.

The sunset colours do look good, with the orange ink in the P5000 a bonus for images of this sort.

Paper choices

Definitely a paper I like for my prints, especially where I want a bit more tonal and/or colour range than I get with a smooth art paper. If you’re looking for a paper of this sort to try, PermaJet do sample packs and free profiles if you get some paper.

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Site Notice: Like many working photographers, our work has completely dried up in these challenging times, so I'll be at home a lot. The silver lining is that I've lots of articles and reviews to write - if you've any suggestions or questions, please do let me know - Keith ...Why not sign up for our (ad free) Newsletter to keep informed about new articles.


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