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Paper review Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300

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Fotospeed Gloss Art Fibre 300 review

Looking at a heavy fibre base paper with a smooth shiny surface

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We’re always looking for high quality distinctive papers to add to our print options and recently, Keith was asked to have a look at a new heavy art paper from Fotospeed in the UK.

The paper is called Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300 and is part of Fotospeed’s fine art ‘glossy’ range of papers.

If you’re outside the UK, there is also some general information about printing and how we test papers.

Fotospeed gloss art fibre 300gsm

Platinum Gloss Art Fibre 300gsm paper

fotospeed art fibre 300I’m testing this paper on the Canon PRO-2000 24″ wide printer (review), looking at colour and black and white printing.

Our print work here is aimed at the higher end print market, as well as our commercial photo prints (large prints for offices) so I’m always interested in prints that have a ‘feel’ of quality about them. One of the first things I noticed about the paper was indeed that ‘feel’ in that it’s thick and fairly stiff – indeed, I’ve been given business cards on less substantial paper.

The paper

Fotospeed say:

Made from 100% alpha-cellulose pulp, Platinum Gloss Fibre 300 is a heavyweight exhibition quality paper, and is protected against environmental influence, so prints will last for decades. The paper’s archival quality makes it ideal for professional or amateur photographers who want to create long-lasting images, while its glossy finish and tonal rage makes it a good choice for those who don’t want to lose detail when shooting in bright conditions.

and list the key Features of Platinum Gloss Fibre 300 as:

  • 300gsm
  • 100% alpha cellulose
  • White with a glossy finish
  • Instant dry
  • Water resistant
  • Compatible with dye and pigment inks
  • Archival quality
  • Available in A4, A3, A3+, and A2 and in 24in, 36in, and 44in 15m rolls.

I’ll note (see testing later) that it does have a modest amount of optical brightener, which might preclude its use for some archival uses (but far less often than some suppose).

Setup and profiling

Before using the paper, I take some time to create a custom media setting on the PRO-2000 printer.

custom paper setup

Apart from making it less likely for me to try and print to the wrong paper, it lets me create a custom setting that includes a print feed adjustment to optimise print quality for the exact thickness of the paper.

If your printer supports such custom settings, do have a look at using them.

Fotospeed supply ICC printer profiles, and have a custom profiling service available too.

I’m making a profile, using i1 Profiler and the X-rite i1iSis scanning spectrophotometer. I’m using nearly 3000 coloured patches for my profiling target – considerably more than used by most generic profile makers.

During the measurement process I note the spectral response of the paper, confirming a moderate amount of optical brightener – at the lower end of what you’ll find in glossy papers, but still there.

Note the peaks for measurements that include UV light (M0, M1)

paper measurement showing OBA presence

Black and white

As well as colour prints, I’m very interested to see how the paper performs with black and white images.

I have a specific B&W test image (more details and free download) that I use to evaluate monochrome printing before trying some photo prints. This includes targets I can measure to check linearity (with an i1i0 – more details).

I’m printing with the driver’s B&W print mode (this would be ABW if you were using an Epson printer such as the SC-P800)

These two curves (see the i1i0 info for far more details…) show a 51 step greyscale ramp, measured with (M0) and without (M2) any UV in the lighting.

They also show how black the prints will go (DMax 0f ~2.4)

bw measurements m0

I actually never pay a lot of attention to this DMax number – it’s far more important to me what the prints look like. If you see people quibbling over DMax figures, the to me it’s a sign that they are perhaps missing the whole point of printing your work (YMMV).

The linearity of the curve (line of ‘L’s) is not perfect, but close enough that applying a correction curve/profile will make very little visible difference to many B&W images. One thing I look for with such curves is to see whether shadows are being crunched up.  Here it’s looking OK and a detailed check of my B&W test image backs up my thoughts about the need for any correction.

Remember that the corrections I’m looking at are for the B&W print mode – not normal colour printing with ICC profiles.

bw measurements m2

Suffice to say, the combination of the surface texture and modern pigment ink-set gave some lovely deep and rich shadows.

Making some prints

Here are a few of the test prints I made (and profiling targets).

test prints

The colour image has lots of deep browns and greens – always difficult to bring out clearly in print.

I’m printing from an original in the ProPhoto colour space and with a 16 bit workflow (directly from Photoshop CS6)

Since I know how I built the ICC profile for the paper, I always look at both Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual rendering intents to see how the overall tonality looks when I check the soft proof option in the print dialogue.

Soft proofing can be a useful tool, but be careful of overly relying on it – you need to build up experience and learn to trust your judgement (it’s a tool, not a crutch).

colour print

The print is packed full of detail – I had a 44″ square version of this at a local exhibition a few years ago and everyone knew where it was taken.

Ideally, I’d print these circular images at ~2 metres square, but I don’t have a big enough house for a really big printer…

colour test prints

The B&W circular print relies on deep blacks and I wasn’t failed here…

high contrast bw

As a final check, I printed the view of Wells Cathedral using the Canon CO (‘Color Optimizer’) clear coat in auto and full modes.

bw auto coat

I’m deliberately looking to show the glare off the paper, to show the ink on the paper. To see this effect you need the lighting at just the right angle.

bw full coat

The differences are slight, so I’d be quite happy to use the CO coat with this printer, set at its default ‘Auto’ mode.

Darker prints with strong contrast often work better on a paper of this sort, whilst lower contrast ones can look better on a softer matt art paper.

The Suffolk beach print is one I normally print on a smooth matte art paper, but I though I’d give it a go with the much higher contrast option.

soft bw print

Once again, I quite like it.

It hasn’t taken on the sharpness I associate with printing on glossy papers, then again, this paper isn’t what I call gloss…

Final thoughts

I know it has the word ‘Gloss’ in the name, but this isn’t a gloss paper to me.

From my point of view, glossy papers are shinier than the inks on them, and with the Canon inks this one isn’t.

I didn’t have an Epson printer to test at the time, but I’m sure it would give similar good results on a modern Epson printer (such as the P800 OR P7000 I’ve reviewed in the past).

It’s a smooth semi-gloss (or should that be semi-matte?) paper with an excellent surface finish. It gives solid colour and deep blacks, along with a thickness that compliments the prints (never underestimate the ‘feel’ of prints if you let clients pick up and handle a few samples…)

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