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Innova Fine art cotton papers IFA26,27 Review

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Review – Innova Fine art cotton papers IFA 26,27

Soft Textured Bright White Cotton 315gsm IFA 26
Cold Press Rough Textured Bright White Cotton 300gsm IFA 27

We’ve long used some of Innova’s cotton based art papers for B&W fine art prints of Keith’s photography.

When recently testing an Epson SC-P7000 printer, Innova asked Keith if we’d like to have a look at two of their papers in this range, we’d not tried before. Such papers come in a variety of combinations of features, covering surface finish and brightness.

The two papers are Innova IFA-26 and Innova IFA-27 part of their ‘Fine Art Range’

innova test prints

Our samples were kindly supplied by Wayne at Fine Art FOTO in the UK.

Innova papers are available from many outlets internationally.

About the papers

The two papers are both ‘bright white’ – this means that they have a modest amount of brightening agents in them, giving a whiter look than ‘natural’ papers.

The surface textures are ‘soft’ and ‘cold press rough’. Soft has a quite light and fine surface texture that is not always visible under flat lighting. The rough texture has a much more ‘watercolour’ feel.

Here they are with a 5p coin (~18mm diam.) – lit from a desk lamp at low angle to bring out the texture.

comparing paper surface textures

Key features (from Innova)

IFA 26

“Fourdrinier, acid-free, museum quality paper with a bright white finish and soft textured surface.”

ifa26 paper specifications


“Fourdrinier, acid-free, museum quality paper with cotton content and a bright white finish with rough textured ‘watercolour’ surface.”

ifa27 paper specifications

Buying Innova paper in the US Innova papers are available via Amazon, Adorama and B&H - anything you buy via these links helps run our site, and is really appreciated. ...all Innova papers at B&H ...all Innova papers at Adorama]

I’m testing A3+ (13″x19″) on Epson’s SC-P7000 printer (with the light light black ink setup)

ICC profiles and media settings

The papers were profiled using X-Rite’s i1Profiler and ~2900 patch targets. Media setting was Archival matte.

Both papers were also tested using the Epson ABW print mode for black and white.

The photo shows both papers (lit from an angle to show the texture) and my standard B&W test image.

two black and white test prints

Reading the step wedge at the top allows me to create QTR correction profiles, although both papers were pretty linear, apart from a slight compression in deep shadows (there are several areas of the test image that specifically show this)

Both papers had a maximum black density of just over 1.7, using the ABW print mode.

Also noticeable from these measurements is the slightly wider divergence of the ‘a’ and ‘b’ values for the basic paper for IFA-26. Stronger negative ‘b’ values often indicate a bit more optical brightener, which might be needed since the ‘soft textured’ IFA-26 is 100% cotton. I’d also expect this from looking at the specifications listed above for the papers.

In normal room lighting (I still use tungsten lighting at home – no LEDs or CFL here) both papers look equally bright, but go near a daylit window and the smoother paper is noticeably brighter and bluer. I don’t think of this as good or bad, just something to take note of.

For those who like to see the numbers, here are the results from making QTR correction profiles.

If you’re curious about using such profiles to correct for non linearity in B&W printing, I’ve several articles covering the process, such as one describing how I set about using a new paper for printing.

measurements made for paper IFA-26

measurements made for paper IFA-27

My SC-P7000 ICC profiles and QTR correction profiles are available on request, free for non-commercial use.

Print Quality

Both papers were capable of very nice reproduction of photos, especially black and white.

Colour photos that work on matte papers like this are a matter of taste and style. I find the more pronounced texture of the IFA-27 a little too intrusive for my liking, but tastes differ…

colour and black and white test prints

The smooth finish version of this paper is IFA-14, a paper I first reviewed back in 2009, along with the natural white version IFA-11. Look in our print room and you’ll find 24″, 36″ and 44″ rolls of the papers.

The photo of the beach at Brancaster (North Norfolk coast) below is printed on the soft textured paper (IFA-26) – it’s one of my older images. Shot on Tri-X back in the 90’s. the grain and slight paper texture work well together. It was printed directly, using the ABW print mode on the SC-P7000, with no correction profile applied.

Brancaster bay


Buying Innova paper in the US Innova papers are available via Amazon, Adorama and B&H - anything you buy via these links helps run our site, and is really appreciated. ...all Innova papers at B&H ...all Innova papers at Adorama]

Two excellent cotton based fine art papers with different surface finishes. Tested during my SC-P7000 review.

As members of Innova’s ‘Fine art range‘ both were consistent with the smooth versions I have used for my black and white print work for many years.

Getting the best from any such paper requires the right image, and print setup.

Do take care to let the prints dry properly, since with the texture, prints right out of the printer can easily have a slightly dappled feel to them, that soon goes.

More print related information

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