Three Olmec Photo papers – review
Three Olmec Photo photo papers reviewed
Photo Pearl Premium – OLM70
Photo Metallic Gloss – OLM71
Photo Metallic Lustre – OLM72
The Olmec brand of papers has been quite well known in the UK for some time.
It is now supplied by Innova, aimed at higher volume users than perhaps might be the case with Innova’s fine art papers which I regularly use here for some of our large fine art prints.
The Pearl Premium paper is a nice heavy 310gsm bright photo paper, whilst the two ‘metallic’ papers are 260gsm papers with a distinct blueish metallic sheen, broadly based on the Kodak Endura Metallic and Fujicolor Crystal Archive Digital Pearl papers.
The two metallic papers are quite odd looking with a distinct blueish glow – how would they look when printed?
|Photo Pearl Premium OLM70||Photo Metallic Gloss OLM71||Photo Metallic Lustre OLM72|
|Base Material||Resin Coated||Resin Coated||Resin Coated|
|Coating Type||Microporous pearl||Microporous gloss||Microporous semi-gloss|
|Surface Texture||Slightly textured pearl||Smooth pearlescent gloss||Pearlescent gloss|
|Thickness (Microns / inches)||299 / 0.012||267/ 0.011||267/ 0.011|
When creating ICC profiles for the Epson SC-P600 I used the Epson Premium SemiGloss media setting with Photo (PK) ink.
Note – also available in US cut paper sizes
|Roll Formats – 3″ core||44”||36”||24”||17”|
|Length 30m (71,72) 25m (70)||√||n/a||√||√|
|Cut Sheets DIN (50’s)||A2||A3+||A3||A4|
For current availability, check the Olmec info at Innova.
As I’ve mentioned, profiles are available for some printers, however you may still find it worthwhile getting a custom profile made. If you’ve an Epson SC-P600, then the profiles types used in the review are available for non commercial use on request.
The three profiling targets below show the brighter paper (OLM70). This is under tungsten lighting, any UV light (from daylight or fluorescent tubes) would exacerbate the difference, from its optical brighteners (OBAs)
The surface textures and metallic ‘glow’ show up in the reflections of a ceiling light (halogen ~3000K).
It’s sometimes known as geometric metamerism, where the colour of an object can vary with viewing angle – I’ve seen some pretty awful looking cars with this finish…
The pearl paper (OLM70) showing reflections.
I also created B&W linearising profiles for the ABW print mode of the SC-P600. For these, I measure step wedges from our standard B&W test print.
This oblique view of the paper shows up surface texture and purple glow very well (OLM72). It’s underexposed to capture the reflections, which are not nearly this obvious in normal use.
The measurement process also gives me spectral data, so for this plot (OLM70), the bump from the presence of OBAs is quite obvious.
Conversely, the very straight part of the spectrum in this plot (OLM72) shows the very flat white of the two metallic papers.
The drop off in the violet is most likely from the diffuse reflection, that you can see below as the blue glow (OLM71).
The Pearl Premium is a nice solid paper, one that I’d be very happy to use for our commercial prints. These are often framed and to be found in numerous offices and reception areas. It’s good and stiff, something that makes handling larger prints (40″x40″) much easier after printing.
My first thought when looking at the two metallic papers was “why?” I couldn’t see why I’d use them.
However, after profiling and making a few test prints, the plain white from the lack of OBA’s produced some very nice quality prints.
The blue glow would be much more noticeable on high key shots, but as these two shots of Lincoln Cathedral show, that’s not a style I use very often (I don’t photograph weddings or portraits).
What images work well with these papers is very much a personal choice, but I’m glad I gave them a real try out with the SC-P600. You need to experiment to get a true feel for what ‘works’ for your images.
Three new papers from the Olmec range, by Innova.
A solid weight photo pearl/lustre paper is good for general photo printing, where its stiffness helps in handling.
Two metallic papers are OBA free and a very neutral white, with a distinctive faint purple glow to specular reflections.
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