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Old Nov 15, 2006, 10:19 PM   #1
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I wanted to try out a variety of photo papers on my printer and hang them up in direct sunlight, so I could select the best paper for my photos with my current setup. The photos have been up for less than a week, but I've already discovered some things about some of the papers that may be of general interest.

The papers I tested were all 8.5" x 11". I printed 4 photos per page, each with different characteristics but representative of the kinds of photos I like to take. The first was of a chestnut horse (reddish brown) galloping across my field of view in front of bright green trees and grass. The jockey was wearing blue silks and white breeches. The second is of the jockeys of three horses in the home stretch. The horses are all dark bay (brown with black mane and tail), and the jockeys are wearing orange, green and blue silks and white breeches. The third is a grove of leafless trees on a foggy Autumn morning with lots of reds and browns from the fallen leaves. The fourth is a sillouette of a woman on horseback riding past an open riding ring door. It has lots of black and subtle dark colors against a green field.

When the photos were dry to the touch, I left them to dry for 24 hours in a stack interleaved with sheets of plain bond paper. (I read somewhere that, if you're going to mount photo paper behind glass, you should do this before mounting the photo to make sure the ink is dry and outgassing has completed.)

I then taped a strip if black construction paper through the center of the page, covering the right side of the photos on the left side of the sheet, and the left side of the photos on the right side. I then hung them in southern facing windows, where they will all be exposed to the same unobstructed sunlight.

The papers I used were:

Canon Photo Paper Pro (Super High Gloss)
Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper (Luster)
Epson Premium Semigloss Photo Paper
Fuji Premium Plus Photo Paper (High Gloss)
Kodak Ultra Premium Photo Paper (High Gloss)
Kodak Ultra Premium Photo Paper (Semi Gloss)
HP Premium Plus Photo Paper (High Gloss)
HP Premium Plus Photo Paper (Soft Gloss)

The first problem I noticed was with the packaging and was not unique to certain brands. The papers that were sold in packs of 25 or less came in envelopes, while the larger quantities come in boxes. In the envelopes, either the first or last sheet in the stack may slide away from the rest during shipping, and form a crease along one edge, though the rest of the sheets are undamaged. You can't tell if this has occurred by examining the outside of the envelope. The larger quantities in the boxes may be affected by a different problem, however. In the boxes, all of the sheets may have a corner damaged, and again, you can't tell if this has occurred by examining the outside of the box. The problem with the envelopes only affects a single sheet, while the problem with the boxes affects all the sheets. I'll be buying my photo paper in envelopes.

The second problem I found was that some of the papers were prone to misfeeds. My printer is an HP CP1160 which I use for a variety of printing tasks. In this printer, I must load the paper face down in the paper tray. In all instances, I loaded the photo paper on top of a short stack of plain paper. Some of the photo papers consistently picked up a sheet of plain paper that was underneath. This leads me to believe that, aside from just the misfeed, these papers are also prone to pick up any dust that it may come in contact with as it travels through the paper path. All of us should occasionally clean the paper path of our printers (with Kensington Paper Guardian, Kodak Paper Path Cleaning Sheets, or the like).

The papers that misfed are:

Canon Photo Paper Pro (Super High Gloss)
Epson Premium Semigloss Photo Paper
Kodak Ultra Premium Photo Paper (High Gloss)

The third problem I found was that, after only a few days in the sun, some of the papers started curling rather badly.

The papers that curled are:

Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper (Luster)(only slightly)
Epson Premium Semigloss Photo Paper (only slightly)
HP Premium Plus Photo Paper (High Gloss)(severely)
HP Premium Plus Photo Paper (Soft Gloss)(severely)

The fourth problem I found was pretty obscure, and may be something only I will ever have to deal with. I happen to like using Scotch Clear Mounting Squares, and I used them on this project. They stick to anything, and can be removed cleanly and completely from anything. Well, almost anything. I used Scotch Clear Mounting Squares on the backs of all the photo papers I tested, but couldn't remove them from the backs of some of the photo papers. (I didn't intend to stick them to the fronts of any of the photo papers, but it did occasionally happen, and I was unsuccessful removing it from the front of ANY of the photo papers.) If you use these mounting squares on the backs of these papers, then you probably won't be able to reuse the photos.

The papers that I couldn't remove the Scotch Clear Mounting Squares from the backs are:

Canon Photo Paper Pro (Super High Gloss)

I haven't even gotten to the point where I'm evaluating fading yet, and my choices are already limited. Unfortunately, whatever photo paper I choose will probably be a compromise.

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Old Nov 19, 2006, 2:41 PM   #2
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TCav wrote:
Quote:
The papers that curled are:

HP Premium Plus Photo Paper (High Gloss)(severely)
HP Premium Plus Photo Paper (Soft Gloss)(severely)
It seems that some of what I've found belies information that appears elsewhere in these forums.

From Preserving the memories

>HP papers are manufactured to optimize how inks respond and are absorbed by the
>paper. The HP coating technology prevents paper jams, curling, and printed pages
>from sticking together.
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Old Nov 19, 2006, 3:50 PM   #3
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BTW, I posted the photos I used at:
Steves Forums > Post Your Photos > Critiques and Techniques
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Old Dec 3, 2006, 2:50 PM   #4
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An update:

On Curling:

The HP papers curled much more than the papers from the other companies.
In general, glossy papers curled more than matte papers.
In general,glossy papers curled more randomly than matte papers.
The only paper that DID NOT curl was the Canon Photo Paper Pro (Super High Gloss).

On Fading:

(Please remember, this is my experience with HP ink on a variety of papers. Inks from other companies may perform differently.)

After only 3-4 weeks in direct sunlight, all the pictures on all the papers faded.
Reds and blues faded.
Browns faded to yellow.
Greens faded to yellow.
Blues faded to gray.

Canon, Fuji and Kodak papers faded the most.
Epson and HP papers faded the least.

I will scan and post the samples here at a later date.

Some other notes:

The Canon paper was fragile. It tore easily when I tried to remove tape from the back.

The Fuji paper stuck to the black construction paper (even on the white borders), while the other papers did not.
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Old Dec 11, 2006, 9:38 PM   #5
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More on Fading:

The vertical lines in the white borders are where I traced along the edges of the strip of black construction paper before I removed it.

Unfortunately, because of curling, some of the papers did not stay up against the black construction paper. As a result, some of the transitions from the faded to the unfaded images are quite sharp (as with the Canon photo paper) while others are gradual (as with the Fuji photo paper). In all cases, however, the fading is quite visible for the papers that faded badly.

Again, this is using the HP ink in my HP CP1160. Your results may be different.
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Old Dec 12, 2006, 7:28 AM   #6
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Canon Photo Paper Pro (Super High Gloss)

Significant fading of reds and blues.
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Old Dec 12, 2006, 7:29 AM   #7
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Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper (Luster)

Slight fading of reds.
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Old Dec 12, 2006, 7:30 AM   #8
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Epson Premium Semigloss Photo Paper

Slight fading of reds.
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Old Dec 12, 2006, 7:30 AM   #9
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Fuji Premium Plus Photo Paper (High Gloss)

Significant fading of reds and blues.

(The extra black down the center is the construction paper that stuck to the photo paper)

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Old Dec 12, 2006, 7:31 AM   #10
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HP Premium Plus Photo Paper (High Gloss)

Some fading of reds.
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