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permajet test prints - fbd 360PermaJet FB Distinction 360
- review

A heavy smooth semi-gloss 'Baryta' style photo paper

Earlier this year Keith was at the UK Focus show, and looked at two recent papers from PermaJet.

This review looks at their 'FB Distinction 360' paper (see also his Ultra Pearl review)

It's a 'triple weighted, bright white fibre base paper' ...PermaJet kindly sent us an A3+ box to test.

Keith Cooper has been testing this paper on our 44" width Canon iPF8300 printer for both colour and monochrome printing.

About the paper

The paper has a hefty 360gsm weight and a smooth semi-gloss finish.

There are some more photos showing the surface finish later in the review.

It's a heavy paper with a finish much like some heavier darkroom papers - PermaJet describe it as: "imitates the traditional look and feel of a true Baryta paper".

Permajet logo

During our testing for black and white printing and profiling it's clear that the paper had a modest level of Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs).

In normal display and home lighting this just makes it look a good bright white, rather than the distinct blue that some papers with large amounts can show with only a touch of daylight.

Paper details can be downloaded from PermaJet, who also offer media settings advice and a custom profiling service for their papers.

Specifications (from PermaJet)

There is a good range of sizes available.

Roll Formats

12 metres per roll

 60" 44” 36” 24” 17” 13"
 √ n/a n/a
                    
Cut Sheets A2 A3+ A3 A4  6"x4" 7"x5"
n/a n/a

Using ICC profiles

printer test image for black and white printingFor all our paper tests I create our own ICC profiles, printing out a sheet of coloured patches (nearly 3000 on an A3+ sheet) and then measure them with our iSis scanning spectrophotometer, before creating profiles. I'm using X-rite's latest i1Profiler software for this.

For our Canon iPF8300 I also created a custom media type - based on the Premium Semi-Glossy Paper 280 setting - this worked well, giving a good ink coverage and wide range of colours.

For black and white printing, I used the Canon driver's monochrome print mode - the paper produced very good prints and I didn't find the need for the linearising profile I sometimes create.

  • I'll be coming back to some specialist aspects of B/W printing when doing some printer reviews over the summer.

The picture to the left shows our standard black and white test image.

This is something we always print out to test black and white image quality, since it has aspects which show up any problem areas in printing.

Here's a piano top of prints from the second box - I've lit them to show paper evenness, surface finish, and stiffness (where the prints go over the edge of the piano.

permajet test prints - fbd 360

As you can see , there's no obvious gloss differential in the prints.

Given I'm using pigment inks, if the reflections you can see below are the most I can show (and it took some effort), then I have no problems with the way the ink is behaving on the paper - this is testament to the advances in ink technology, and in surface coatings for modern papers.

surface finish

Our initial testing encountered a slight problem with paper curl. This can be an issue with heavy papers like this.

When some of the new 'Fibre' papers originally came on the scene a few years ago, there were numerous issues with sheets exhibiting serious curl as they dried, or ambient humidity changed. This has largely been fixed in today's papers.

printer head strike - black marks on paper

I tried to straighten out the sheets using the old trick of gently rolling the paper over the edge of a table, but in our iPF8300 the kinks caused head strikes - I've come across similar problems when I was testing some papers in an Epson 3880.

I reported this back to PermaJet and a new box of (flat) paper turned up the next morning - I'm told that this problem was in one small batch of cut sheets.

  • To be perfectly fair, I've had this problem with many other makes of paper too, so I'm really mentioning it to remind you to open and check boxes of paper when you first get them - oh and to store paper away from damp!

datacolor test image for printer profilie evaluationPrint Quality

The prints made on our 8300 (a pigment ink based printer) all seemed just fine from a quick look.

When evaluating papers I'll make a basic profile and print out test images such as the Datacolor one to the right (download).

If I like the look and feel, I'll make a more detailed profile and test with a few images, so as to get a feel for what sorts of work I might like to use the paper for.

There were no apparent issues with ink adhesion to the paper, or any obvious bronzing.

Compared to the PermaJet Ultra Pearl paper I also tested, these print have a much more obvious 'fine art' feel about them - however, we're talking of of paper very much aimed at different markets.

One of the B/W images I printed. The surface finish of the paper, along with the deep blacks give this view (taken just after rain) a very effective look. [Image is from my recent Nik HDR Efex review]

Guildhall Lane, Leicester

Guildhall Lane, Leicester.

Conclusions

I like the smooth finish of this paper - the weight and finish give a more solid 'quality' feel to prints.

If people are going to handle prints, then factors like the 'feel' of a print do have a considerable subjective impact on people's perceptions of quality. The prints on the piano above are ones I'd happily show as examples of my work (they all happen to be of my local city - Leicester in the UK)

Prints have a sharp contrasty look about them, and the surface is good at handling detailed contrasty images.

Keith Cooper and two of his printsThanks to everyone who has ever purchased something via our links.
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It's an acid free alpha cellulose base paper, so should have moderately good archival properties, although the presence of OBAs might put some off for archival purposes.

The level of OBA activity was not overly intrusive - the piano is by a north facing window, which on a sunny day will easily make the OBAs in a paper glow.

For black and white photos, the paper was capable of showing nice deep blacks and shows very little gloss differential with the Canon Lucia II inks in our iPF8300.

In fact I'll be taking those prints you can see above along to an upcoming Canon printer event, where I'm talking about the iPF8300 printer.

Summary

A heavy 360gsm paper that with it's smooth semi-gloss surface and stiffness, gives a high quality feel to prints. It shows off high contrast colour and black and white images very well. Modest amounts of OBA also give prints a definite punch that makes the paper excellent for portfolio work.

Supplied through PermaJet in the UK and available with profiles and a custom profiling service.

Article History - first published May 2011

A personal health warning about paper reviews ;-)

I'm always a bit lost when I see comparative reviews of papers in some magazines that include a stack of spurious tables and diagrams covering various measurements about printer/paper/ink performance. Most are utterly meaningless (without -detailed- explanations of the theory and practice behind them).

I've written a bit more on this in the Blog: Paper reviews - a warning

Print choices are a personal thing - if you're just going to choose papers by numbers then I think you're slightly missing the point..

See also: Do your prints have 'Depth'?

Other related info

The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
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