As someone who needs the best quality possible when presenting a print, whether it be to a friend or a judge in an international competition, I always strive to show the best quality print I can. While the image itself is subjective to the viewer, what is not subjective, is the actual quality of the print - and a major factor in this, is the type of paper that you use.
Recently, I've been trying out some paper from a friendly little company called Paper Spectrum. This company have made some big claims when it comes to the quality of their paper and this was too good an opportunity to resist seeing if their claims came up to scratch.
Now, to be honest, I was stacking the odds against the paper a bit as normally you need to have the paper profiled with your ink to get the best results, in this case, I hadn't!
I tend to use gloss or lustre type papers so my tests would use Paper Spectrum's Pinnacle Photo Gloss, a very nice 270gsm paper and their Pinnacle Photo Lustre which weighed in at a hefty 300gsm rather than my usual paper's 270gsm weight that it felt as if it would stand up on its own or substitute for the side of a Swedish wardrobe it's that tough. (For those who are not used to gsm ratings, I'm not going to go into the scientific settings etc as basically it means that the bigger the number, the thicker and stronger the paper)!
On the Paper Spectrum site, the chaps there have very kindly given basic printer settings for each of their papers and have also given a downloadable generic profile for each paper for different printers - nice service I thought, but it doesn't stop there! You can also get an individual profile made up for your very own printer, ink and papertype used! This is something I always recommend to anyone wanting to venture into printing pictures - for any reason. After all, it makes sense if you're going to go to all that trouble to make an image, why spoil it at the final stage? But, best of all, the individual service from Paper Spectrum will cost you absolutely nothing! That's right, it's FREE!
Each paper type comes from a carefully selected range of premium quality photo inkjet papers that offers users outstanding quality and performance. The Microporous coatings ensure clear, sharp, instant dry images with either dye or pigment inks and as explained above, I really tried my hardest to catch their claims out!
After printing out various types of picture from mono to full colour and using their suggested settings and generic settings I came to the conclusion that these claims made by the people at Paper Spectrum were not only fully warranted, they exceeded my own expectations. The blacks were really black and the colours were spot-on. The Lustre paper was fantastic, giving a deep, rich image that felt you could walk into while the Gloss gave the colour and mono images a real punch!
Was I impressed? Considering I was using their non-profiled settings remember, I was more than impressed as I watched each print pop out of the printer perfectly. In fact, so good did the papers perform, that I'm going to add Pinnacle Paper to my small collection of competition-quality paper for all my future print jobs, and would heartily recommend that others do so too!
Try some yourself, you really will not be disappointed!