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PermaJet FB Pearl 300gsm

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Review FB Pearl 300gsm paper

Pearl/lustre finish photo paper from PermaJet

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A pearl finish photo paper from PermaJet in the UK.

The pearl/lustre finish paper is fibre based with a baryta layer giving a clean slightly warmish finish, with no optical brighteners (OBAs).

Keith has been trying it out on the Epson P5000 pigment ink based printer [P5000 detailed review]

PermaJet FB Pearl 300 paper information

prints-on-bed

FB Pearl 300

The paper is a fibre based paper that’s similar in feel to some photographic (darkroom) papers. It feels like paper on the back, with a pearl finish surface on the front. The paper has a distinctly thicker feel to it than the metallic finish one I tested at the same time [Titanium 300]. It’s also less prone to creasing. The surface finish is also slightly more robust than the gloss.

Technical information
  • Weight – 300gsm
  • Thickness – 0.34mm
  • Whiteness – 94
  • Coatings – Single-sided acid free, fine art pearl paper
  • Optical Brightening Agents (OBA) – No
Media availability
  • Sheets: A4 A3 A3+ A2
  • Rolls: 17”x15m 24”x15m 44”x15m

Paper testing – profiling

I’ve tried the paper with the Epson P5000 printer – this uses pigment inks and offers a relatively wide gamut, with the addition of green and orange inks. See the P5000 review for more.

The FB Pearl 300 paper is OBA free, giving a warmer look in this  shot of test prints for the Titanium 300 and FB Pearl 300.

targets

The difference in surface texture is quite clear.

For many of my photos, especially black and white I prefer the lustre finish. If you make large prints, the reduced direct reflection can be even more welcome.

paper-surface

The profiling target I use for my papers has nearly 3000 patches (not 2033 as appears in this screenshot when using i1Profiler).

profiling-target

Whilst you can print from i1Profiler, I prefer to print from the Mac ColorSync Utility.

Just remember to select the ‘print as color target’ option, to turn off all colour management.

I’m using Premium Luster Photo Paper 260 media setting (PLPP260) – this will of course be different for other printers. Most will have a Luster/Lustre setting, although you may just see ‘Semi-Gloss’.

If you receive ICC profiles – do check to see what media settings were used. PermaJet offer a free custom profiling service if you buy their paper.

print-target-from-colorSync-utility

Black and white too

For black and white testing I have a special test image which incorporates suitable patches for measurement.

This image is available for download – it is free, but only for non-commercial use.

Black and white printer test image – download and article about its use

print-bw-test-print

I’m printing it with the Epson ABW print mode – this usually gives the best B&W print quality.

Measuring the test target show the reflectance of the paper. The brownish tinge is an artefact (bug) in i1Profiler.

paper-white-measurement

No bump in the curve at the left hand side confirms the absence of OBAs.

It also lets me see how black the black is.

black-bw-patch

For those that are interested in such stuff, I’m seeing a Dmax of ~2.1

The data I’m really interested in is the output I get by running the measurement data through QTR.

I’m looking for a nice straight(ish) ‘L’ line. This indicates no obvious crunching up of shadows, and means that I can print using the ABW mode and be confident that my image on the screen is likely to be reproduced.

fb300-m0fb300-m2

There are two charts since the measurements were made with and without any UV light present. The fact that the curves are very similar once again confirms the absence of OBAs.

Making some prints

I’ll start with this view along the Oregon coast. It’s taken on a relatively dull day. I’ve converted the original colour image to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro and adjusted black and white points to maximise tonal range. My testing of B&W linearity tells me that the fine detail in the dark cliff won’t be lost in the print through crunched up shadows. I’ve sharpened the image a bit for print, using Nik Sharpener Pro.

[click to enlarge]

coastal-road

There’s one other adjustment I’ve made before printing and that’s to lighten the apparent brightness of the surf.

I’ll used a masked curve adjustment layer for this (in Photoshop).

The idea is to boost the brightness of the whites, whilst slightly reducing the brightness of mid-tones.

This is lightly brushed in (the mask) to the surf areas. The brighter whites and increase in contrast gives the impression that the surf is brighter. Subtle masked adjustments with curves are one of my main reasons for using Photoshop, especially for larger prints. I know it has it fans, but Lightroom has no place in my print workflow.

lighten-surf

I’m printing from Photoshop, using the ABW print mode at its default settings.

bw-print-settings

Print size

I’ll scale the image to fit the A3+ (13″ x 19″) paper size with a bit of a margin.

printing-oregon-coast

You’ll notice that I’ve a print resolution of 288ppi

I’ve not resized or resampled in any way from the original (slightly cropped) Canon 1Ds mk3 file.

I know there is all kinds of stuff written about optimal ppi settings, but for a print this small I generally can’t be bothered with the extra work. Any improvements will be negligible and no-one will ever notice. What most people will see is the view and the feel for the mistiness I’m trying to show. The print is aimed at giving an impression for how I felt driving down the coast and why I stopped to take in the view. Never let the consideration of emotional impact be lost in the technical printmaking considerations.

Now, if you asked me to make an A2 or larger print of this image, my whole workflow would change. I’d go back to the RAW file and probably resize/sharpen and pay a lot more attention to resolutions etc.  Big prints are about a lot more than just owning a large printer ;-)  For a bit more about this, see the recent article about upsizing and sharpening for making a print.

Some colours

This photo of a newly built building in Leicester has a really nice deep colour to the sky.

gcs-building

It looks fine on a web site, but that deep blue is difficult to give enough vividness to in a print.

The print dialog (Photoshop CS6) shows a hue shift, but that’s partly because the preview is not properly colour managed. The real issue comes because of the depth of blue, which is very difficult to get bright enough from a print.

This is where hopes of matching a bright pure blue on your screen against a mix of coloured inks on paper runs up against problems.

sky-shift

As it happens, the colours in the print look quite good, but this is perhaps an image where making the blue a bit lighter and using a bright paper with OBA in it really might show though.

Sometime it’s more obvious than others that the screen is not the print.

With this view of some orchid flowers, I’ve switched on gamut warnings (the bright red bits).

These warnings show potential problem areas, but absolutely don’t mean that a print -will- have problems. If this is an issue, then an article I wrote a while ago might be of interest: Printing some brightly coloured flowers.

gamut-warning

Detail in dark colours is often where gamut issues can show through.

Once again though, the print looks fine.

test-prints2

Overall thoughts

An excellent paper that fits a wide range of my print needs, where I want a bit more tonal range and deeper blacks than I can get from a matt fine art paper. There are some images where I’d like the greater brightness of some OBA in the paper, especially some colour ones.

As ever, what paper matches your desires for showing any particular image is a very personal choice…

PermaJet FB Pearl 300 paper information

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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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