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Old Dec 22, 2004, 7:39 PM   #1
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Using oem ink cartridges, I finally got a chance to do my own subjective visual comparison of various Red River photo papers (from their photo sample pack), Kodak Ultima Photo Paper (UPP-4A) and Canon Photo Paper Pro.

I chose 6 different pictures and printed them in 4x6" borderless format on each of the paper samples, and allowed them to set for a full week (not in direct sunlight). The Canon printer driver was optimized according to each paper manufacturer's recommendation. (Red River mostly recommended the Canon Photo Paper Pro settings.) The pictures included outdoor natural light pictures (from Caribbean cruise, ocean/sky, ship deck, and people playing in the beach/ocean) and indoor flash people portraits. All pictures were taken with the same 3.2 mp Fujifilm camera.

The visual comparisons were done in direct and indirect sunlight, as well as in a well lit room using flourescent lighting. I tried not to identify the paper manufacturer and stock grade (written in pencil on back). I did my independent ranking and then had my wife rank them.

There were different winners for the two picture types.

For the natural light outdoor pictures - scenic and people action shots, our unanimous top preference was the Canon Photo Paper Pro - the colors were the most vibrant and truest without looking artificial. The skin tones and skyline also seemed to be the most pleasing and natural. Red River Polar Gloss was a strong runner-up, and if not compared side-by-side to the Canon paper its minor short-comings would probably not be often noticed by casual observers. There was, however, the appearance of moderate to very slight banding in this group of pictures on all of the Red River papers. It occurred along the top edge of the bright blue sky pictures, and was least noticeable with the Polar Gloss grade.

For the sample indoor flash portrait-type pictures the preferential nod went to the Red River Polar Gloss. Reproducing skin tones was the biggest (but not the only) challenge, especially on a picture of my wife and I standing on a beautiful staircase landing that had stained wood walls and railings. From being in the sun a few days our skin was a little pinkish (not burned, and not a suntan hue either). There was a fairly broad interpretation of this in the different papers. We had the most natural looking skin tone (along with my white shirt, red tie, wife's black dress) in combination with the surrounding reddish-based and blonde stained wood elements on the RR Polar Gloss sample. In this grouping the Canon Photo Paper Pro was the runner-up, but there was a more obvious difference in handling the more challenging picture described.

Overall, the Canon Photo Paper Pro and the Red River Polar Gloss papers performed the best to our eyes in this unscientific test. (Within the RR lineup, the polar gloss seems best because it demonstrated a little sharper coloration and smoother color gradiants than their ultra pro papers). I also found some of the Red River satins and mattes to be pleasing to the eye, though they were not as accurate as the aforementioned - more on par with the Kodak Ultima. I had been using the Kodak Ultima Photo paper for the past few months because of it being more readily available and sale prices. And until I compared the Ultima directly against the others, I was generally happy with it. Its feel/tactility is the best of all the papers tested herein -- it just feels heavier and more substantial. I noticed a few weeks ago that the Ultima did not reproduce very well the indoor picture of my wife and I previously described (we looked too reddish); That was the catalyst for me to do the informal comparison testing that I have shared here.

I plan to gradually develop a modest stock of Canon Photo Paper Pro and 2 or more varieties of Red River paper so that I have varied resources to optimize for different kinds of pictures. And I'll probably use the less expensive RR grades (still offering decent results) for giving away run-of-the-mill pics to family members who won't generally cast a critical eye nor view the pics often.

Just my observations and opinions. As the metaphor goes, your mileage will probably vary.
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Old Feb 8, 2005, 1:39 AM   #2
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If you have enough time and energy I've got a coupleof papers thatyou'llprobably want to tryalso. (I wouldn't even ask if I didn't think they werecontenders) Please send me your address and I'll send you some of our paper to test.

Thanks in advance,

Rick

Contact me at rick@freephotopaper.com

Free professional quality samples areavailable at
freephotopaper.com - http://www.freephotopaper.com/freeoffer.htm
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 5:04 PM   #3
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KCDoug

Thanks for the little test that you did. I have done a similar one for my Canon I9100 printer. I used the Canon Photo Pro as my base line, then compared the others to that. I found that formy printer, the best prints were made on Pictorico Photo Gallery Glossy Paper. They were the most consistant, best color accuracy, fastest drying, and best looking prints. I tried many more types of paper, and this one won hands down. Second was the Pictorico Premium Photo Glossy paper, followed by the Canon Photo Pro. For matte papers, I have had the best luck with Epson Enhanced Matte paper.

My test included sitting the prints in sunlight for about 2 months. I wanted to see what faded the worst. Well, the ones mentioned above were the best there too. Very little fade was observed on the Pictorico prints. The Red River papers were bad in this area, at least for me. I also had a second set of prints made and put into a folder, in the dark, so they would be safe to compare to the ones in the sun.

All that I use now is the Pictorico papers for glossy work, and the Epson Enhanced Matte for my matte paper.

Here is Pictorico's site:

http://www.pictorico.com/

Give them a try, you might be very pleased with the output that you get.

Bill
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 9:33 PM   #4
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freephotopaper wrote:
Quote:
If you have enough time and energy I've got a couple of papers that you'll probably want to try also. (I wouldn't even ask if I didn't think they were contenders) Please send me your address and I'll send you some of our paper to test.

Thanks in advance,

Rick

Contact me at rick@freephotopaper.com
Thanks for the offer, Rick. I already acquired some of your 2nd heaviest weight paper via one of your eBay auctions. When I inquired about any differences between it and your heaviest, top grade paper, your reply was only the slight weight difference.

I hope to do a comparison using your paper within a few weeks and I'll post my observational opinion here.

-Doug
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Old Feb 9, 2005, 9:42 PM   #5
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Speedie wrote:
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KCDoug

...I have done a similar one for my Canon I9100 printer. I used the Canon Photo Pro as my base line, then compared the others to that. I found that for my printer, the best prints were made on Pictorico Photo Gallery Glossy Paper...

Here is Pictorico's site:
http://www.pictorico.com/

Give them a try, you might be very pleased with the output that you get.

Bill
Appreciate your evaluation and suggestion, Bill. Perhaps I'll get around to trying the Pictorico paper sometime.

-Doug
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Old Mar 13, 2005, 5:50 PM   #6
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KCDoug wrote:
Quote:
freephotopaper wrote:
Quote:
If you have enough time and energy I've got a couple of papers that you'll probably want to try also. (I wouldn't even ask if I didn't think they were contenders) Please send me your address and I'll send you some of our paper to test.

Thanks in advance,

Rick
Thanks for the offer, Rick. I already acquired some of your 2nd heaviest weight paper via one of your eBay auctions. When I inquired about any differences between it and your heaviest, top grade paper, your reply was only the slight weight difference.

I hope to do a comparison using your paper within a few weeks and I'll post my observational opinion here.

-Doug
Okay -- a few weeks have past and I finally got a chance to print my 4 sample pics on Rick's paper. To re-clarify, this is the second heaviest stock he offers that I acquired through eBay.

As stated earlier, the most difficult picture was the indoor shot of my wife and I where our skintone is pinkish/reddish from being in the sun and contrasted against dark formal wear (and a white shirt). By a narrow margin, the Red River Polar Gloss & R.R. Satin samples yielded the most natural looking skin tone. Runner up is tied between the Canon and freepaper.com's.

In the other 3 photos, outdoor shots w/bright sunlight, it was a tie between the Canon and freephotopaper.com samples. The Red River Polar Satin and Polar gloss were a very close second.

It would seem for me at this time that freephotopaper.com (what's free about it?) Red River Polar, and Canon would be my optimal paper, and that price (assuming no degradation in product) will be a primary factor when I am stocking up. Good to know with my daughter's wedding coming up next fall. :-)

-Doug
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Old Mar 18, 2005, 12:00 PM   #7
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can you post the driver settings you used and what program to print using the freephotopaper.com paper
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Old Mar 20, 2005, 5:28 PM   #8
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I used Canon EZ Photoprint software. Rick/freephotopaper recommended the Canon photo paper pro settings, as did many of the red river paper varieties. I used Kodak's suggested settings for their paper.

-Doug
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Old Mar 26, 2005, 3:35 AM   #9
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Doug, Thanks again for including my paper for comparison. I'm glad youwere able to see the resultsfirst hand. Now you can see why Steve and100's of professionals along with1000's of customers are happy torecommend us and continue to buy.

You asked "what's free about it?"

> FREE Samples of all ourpapers

> FREE Sheets are included with every order

> FREEPrinting Tips Newsletter

> FREE Shipping on all Ink orders and

> FREE is very easy to remember

If anybody has questions?? Contact me at rick@freephotopaper.com

Take care, Rick

Free professional quality samples are now available at
freephotopaper.com- http://www.freephotopaper.com/freeoffer.htm



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Old Apr 3, 2005, 3:10 PM   #10
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Hello Rick,
After struggling a lot with Fujifilm Premium Glossy paper on my newly purchased Canon PIXMA ip5000, I came across here and I've already ordered Sample packs from you and will be very eagerly waiting to get it and experiment on it.
I will post the result as soon I get them and I try them.
Thanks Rick.
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