I picked up some Ilford Smooth Pearl paper, since that’s what DigitalSilverImaging.com uses for their ROES Luster printed with Epsons and although I placed an order with them which I hope to get back this week, I also did my own print tests on that paper since it is really right in the spot that I’d like to be in terms of printing costs.
It is not as thick as the Gold Fibre paper (and I’d expect that as it is much less expensive) but it also has a very nice finish, both for b&w and for color, and no color shifts that I could pick up as I moved from daylight to tungsten.
Also ordered a more expensive print on cotton rag Canson Platine Fibre Rag from DSI.
Between the two papers, I should have enough to make a final decision. I’m still sitting here with a ton of prints to do, and so the plan is – wait til the orders arrive; make the choice and go for it. I could even use both papers, one for larger prints (the heavier paper) and one for the smaller prints.
In the meantime, I’ve printed out about 40 blank Certificate of Authenticity papers (which I still fill in for each print). And we’ll see how reusable the packaging from DSI is.
I did learn one thing, and that’s that I don’t like the chemical processed papers UNLESS you are talking about the double-weight Ilford Gallerie Fiber. That’s an entirely different story. The Ilfospeed is too thin and I don’t like the surface. And I wasn’t crazy about any of the Fuji Crystal papers for black and white (see previous posts) though one or two came close.
But even this very simple, inexpensive Ilford Smooth Pearl (yes they changed the name of the papers, or added Prestige to the name?) but even this inexpensive paper had a crisper feel to it than any of the chemical LAMBDA stuff.
Anyway – that’s just an opinion of someone that’s been doing this since the early days of the Kodak Brownie :) Take it for what it’s worth.
At the time of this post (when else could it be?) here’s a link to give you a starting point for the higher end papers:
Here are the prices for using ROES and value printing – where you can select Lustre, which is currently Ilford Smooth Pearl
So as an example, for a Value Ilford Pearl Print, 8 x 12, you are charged $8 (that is a damned good price. It is, like all the value pricing at various labs) based on the idea that you’ve got your workflow figured out and that they don’t need to examine your prints.
For a Canson Platine Fibre Rag 8 x 12, now you are up to $27 (this price also includes inspection of the print, cropping, resizing)