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Two sample prints using pinnacle warm tone baryta paperPinnacle Warmtone Baryta 310
- review

A smooth semi-matte Baryta based photo paper

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

When testing papers, I often pop round to our local paper supplier Paper Spectrum, in Leicester. They have vastly more experience of the photo paper industry than I have and are happy to pass on their expertise to customers.

On a recent visit I was asked if I'd like to try out their new Pinnacle warmtone baryta paper - a good hefty 310gsm.

About the paper

The paper is a solid 310gsm, although you should remember that with a dense barium sulphate layer, such papers can feel thinner than other ~310gsm papers.

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

photo paper - pinnacle warmtone baryta

It's a heavy paper with a smooth semi-matte finish.

Since it's warm, I wondered if it is totally free of Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs). Initially I thought so (it's not mentioned in the specifications) but looking at the spectral response of the paper, it's just too flat to be completely free of them. This isn't an issue for myself for the sorts of prints I normally produce

There is a free tool that compares spectral responses of many papers at Pigment-Print

I've some example photos later, that capture some of the richness in colour that you can get from a warmer paper. This is very much dependent on image choice, and your own tastes in printing.

Paper info from Paper Spectrum, who also offer media settings advice and a range of ICC profiles for some of their papers.

There is a good range of sizes available.

Roll Formats

15 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

A3 box of paper

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 (~2400 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.

The picture to the right 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.

Two sample prints using pinnacle warm tone baryta paper

Two views of the interior of the cathedral at Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. I'm really pleased with the look of both of these on the slightly warmer paper.

Note the paper is completely flat - no kinks or folds either out of the box or after the prints had been left out for a while.

The view below gives a bit of an indication of its stiffness and finish.

stiffness and finish of paper

datacolor test image for printer profilie evaluationPrint Quality

The prints made on our 8300 (a pigment ink based printer) all looked good - even during profiling and testing I noticed a sharpness and definition that's not always there with some whiter papers.

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.

Below, a view of one of the B/W images I printed - this is inside the newly finished part of the cathedral at Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk.

I've lit it to show the ink surface effect you get with pigment inks on some papers, but more importantly it shows no bronzing or other related problems. Remember that I've gone to some effort to show this effect and it's just not visible in normal print viewing conditions.

The ink dried quickly and passed my rough and ready 'fingernail scratch test' quite easily (indeed, with the inks in the iPF8300, only the rather fragile Epson traditional fiber paper has ever shown problems in this respect)

gloss differential, but no bronzing

You get this effect with any paper, where the inks are adhering to the surface layer, rather than sinking into the paper (such as with dye based inks) It can be an issue if you're looking for a high gloss print - but I'm not...

Conclusions

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

The paper was noticeably flat, right out of the box. Most boxes of paper show some slight curl, but not this one.

Put the paper next to any 'ordinary' photo paper and the lack of optical brighteners is obvious - print the right sort of image on it and the lack of brilliant blue-white takes off the harshness that can arise with some whiter papers.

I get a lot of papers sent to try out, and this one has made it into the list of ones I'll consider for some of my prints that we sell through Northlight Images.

The warmth, finish and capacity for fine detail of this paper particularly works for images of the fresh stonework at the cathedral, such as this B/W one of the tower. Whilst started in the sixteenth century, the tower was only finished in 2005 [More info about the cathedral]

interior - Bury St Edmunds cathedral

Cathedral interior (Canon 1Ds Mk3 with TS-E 17mm shift lens - hand held)

Summary

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A smooth warm 310gsm paper that with it's semi-matte surface and stiffness, gives a high quality feel to prints.

It shows off high contrast colour and black and white images very well.

Lack of optical brighteners (OBAs ) and the use of a Baryta (barium sulphate) layer give a clean slightly warm white that I feel suits certain of my B/W and colour images.

  • Update - further research shows a small amount of OBA - not obvious, but maybe an issue for some?

Supplied through Paper Spectrum in the UK

BTW if you're not in the UK, drop me an email, I might be able to suggest locally available papers with broadly similar performance.

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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