As many of you may know, John and Ema have opinions on many topics. We are also constantly testing new products, either casually for our own knowledge or more officially as beta testers. This page will be the home to our observations until such time as there is enough information to create a consolidated report. All postings on this page are just our opinions and should not be taken any more seriously than that.
Healey Studio Review Blog: Paper and Canvas
Since we have become Hahnemuhle Certified Printers our opinions are sought on recommendations for Hahnemuhle Media and others. We have decided to list our observations here as time allows so save time in consulting with clients, so we have a place to start a conversation.
We currently do all our printing on Canon 12 color archival pigment printers, IPF8400 to be specific. For color archival printing we believe the Canon system to be the best available, although there is still much room for improvement in all the available printers. We use custom profiles for our specific printer, and sometimes do custom adjustments for the particular media so we cannot say that any media will perform we say it does for another printer.
In general we do not use paper that is designed to mimic wet darkroom papers, sometimes referred to as Digital Photographic Paper, versus Fine Art Paper. In the right hands, digital photography has grown to surpass wet darkroom photography in image quality and archivability. Digital printing should be treated as a new photographic Art form not a substitute for wet chemistry. Therefore we select our printing media each for its own individual merits.
Photographic Media Review: Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl
We have been told that this fine art cellulose paper has the widest color gamut of all of the Hahnemuhle media. This appears to be true. There are other media that print colors that this media cannot but overall this media is the best for range. The cellulose paper back is brighter than the cotton paper media (Photorag Pearl) giving it a bit more brightness which seems to increase the D-max. Pearl coating uses photo black ink not matte, so it would be classified as a glossy paper, yet in fact the Pearl coating is smooth yet not too glossy with a very subtle iridescent pearly shine. In the real world these qualities translate to the most fine and subtle detail being visible in a print.
In general I would say this is my favorite media for most types of prints. It is certainly not an economy paper, so I reserve this paper for images worthy of a perfect print. The smooth not overly glossy texture keeps skin smooth and allows viewing of the finest detail, while pearl shine prevents the dampening the contrast as matte papers have a tendency to do. If I had to choose one word to describe the effect this paper produces I would say Elegant.
For those planning on printing on Fine Art Pearl in on their own printers: Fine Art Pearl has the same drawbacks as all the heavy cellulose papers. In our dry environment here in the Southwest, even with the humidifier running continuously, the cellulose paper practically hardens on the roll, requiring flattening after printing and the sheet form has a tendency to curl up on the corners requiring straightening before printing
In Summary: Best all around paper you have an image that requires no special effects or enhancement.
Photographic Media Review: Hahnemuhle Metallic Canvas
New to the market as of January of this year, Hahnemuehle Metallic Canvas. What can we say? It is a groundbreaking new media. The depth and the vibrancy of the color is simply breathtaking. So superior to “plain” inkjet printable canvas it is incomparable. The surface has a white pearl appearance with a fairly subtle canvas texture. It prints the warm colors in a way that just must be seen to understand. This canvas material appears to gather the ambient light in the room and shine it back at you. We believe this is the combination of the canvas texture and the metallic reflective coating that creates micro cells that act as small lenses.
This canvas is metallic so not every print will benefit from printing on a metallic media. For instance a Las Vegas show girl in full regalia and glitter makeup would be appropriate for a metallic media while a natural skin toned soft portrait would not. However we find that many landscapes do benefit as do architectural images and obviously brightly colored abstract work.
The metallic canvas again is not for those who are wallet sensitive, however if one considers the cost of matting and framing, this canvas can be gallery stretched without protective coating. So with the savings in labor and additional materials, it may be the less costly option. For larger stretchers we recommend John Annesley’s museum quality stretcher bars. It is expensive to print in very large format, and one should take care that the print is not reduced in value due to poor workmanship of the stretcher.
For those planning on printing on Metallic Canvas in on their own printers: be warned it is time consuming and the learning curve is a difficult climb. The special nature of the coating and the way it reacts with the archival ink is different from printing on any other media we have experienced. When properly executed the results are worth the extra effort, but extra effort will be required. We believe that because this material is highly reflective, that the transparency of the color of each ink effects the appearance of the color much more than with traditional inkjet media, or even other metallic media. So therefore the amount of ink that is applied to the canvas will change the appearance of color and how it reacts with the coating itself. So budget in many test prints to find the perfect settings to achieve the print you desire.
In Summary: Just absolutely stunning. An unadulterated pain to print with but very much worth it.