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Old Dec 6, 2006, 11:30 AM   #1
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I suppose like most, we all hit that phase of wanting to tryout different photo paper, thinking we'll save a few dollars...but I've quickly learned that using the paper and ink that was manufactered for your printer really does give the best results overall.

I did a simple comparison between:

Inland Pro Glossy Photo Paper (found at Fry's Electronics)
Kodak Ultra Premium Photo Paper
Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper
Epson Glossy Photo Paper

I use an Epson R260 printer, and used the exact same printing parameters (as a constant) for the four different papers.

The first noticable thing here is that all the papers are of different colors of white. If you were to have only one brand of photo paper to look at...you'd think that it was white. It's only when you have more than one that you can actually see there is a very obvious difference in the actual white color of the papers.

With that being said: (and remember this is all subjective observation)

The Kodak Ultra Premium paper has a slight grey-ish look to it in comparison.

The Epson Premium Glossy paper looks more white than the Kodak, with a slight grey-ish look to it in comparison.

The Epson Glossy Photo paper looks even more white, with no hint of grey-ishness, but has a very slight off-white or better said, a very, very slight yellow-ish cream color to it.

The Inland Pro Glossy paper looks the most white, about as white as you could get with no hint of anythihg other than just white.

Now...as for the test printing results.

The Kodak paper just didn't have the vividness of color as the other three papers. There was less contrast and all the colors were slightly off color in comparison. In fact, the overall look of the picture is as if though someone placed a very, very, very light grey-ish colored filter over the image surface. My thoughts are that the actual white color of the paper itself plays greatly into the final image.

The Epson Premium Glossy paper looks the absolute best. Very vivid colors, plenty of contrast, skin tones look very natural and even. And the print matches what I see on my LCD monitor colorwise.

The Epson Glossy Photo paper (which has a much more coarse surface than the above-mentioned Premium Glossy), looks very good as well, but still noticably different than the Epson Premium Glossy. The colors are not quite as vivid, but are very close indeed.

The Inland Pro Glossy paper really suprised me (because it's cheap paper), but it looks almost as good as both Epson papers mentioned, and better than the Kodak paper. The colors are more vivid than the Epson Glossy Photo paper, and come really close to those of the Epson Premium Glossy. The skin tones still looks natural, but not quite as natural as the Epson papers. And something worth noting, the Inland paper has a surface that is in-between the Epson papers...it is not as glossy and smooth as the Epson Premium paper, but it has a far more smoother surface (with almost no coarseness) than the Epson Glossy paper.

So what does this all mean to anyone...well, to me it just goes to prove that my Epson printer really does print best with Epson paper, and that the better photo paper from Epson's line really does print better (and more accurate) than their less expensive papers...but it's all subjective I suppose. )

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Old Mar 27, 2007, 9:05 AM   #2
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Thanks for providing your finding.

I will take your advice, and see if I can find a place selling those paper cheap.
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Old Mar 30, 2007, 8:34 AM   #3
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I have a bit of background knowledge that may help you with this or just give you something to read about. There are two different kinds of printing methods out there for inkjets.

The first method of printing puts the ink on the paper and it dries on top of the paper. In the second method the ink printed on the paper and the paper absorbs the ink.

Different manufacturers can use either. But if you mix a non absorbing paper with a printer that was designed for an absorbing paper you will get a pixelated look and the color will be off. This mismatch can also lead to pictures that never seem to dry or that lack sharpness. That is why it is a good idea to use the same brand printer, ink, and paper; they were designed around each other.

Most manufacturers aren't real helpful in determining what they use, but my father determined all of this after six or eight months of research and testing with his setup. Using paper from manufacturers different from your printers can work well, you just have to experiment with it. Hope this helps.

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Old Jul 25, 2007, 3:28 PM   #4
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You might check out the paper at http://www.redrivercatalog.com/index.htm. They also have some good information at this siteregarding the technical details of different kinds of paper/ink, and downloadable profiles. A reasonably-priced paper that is receiving good reviews is the Costco photo paper. I can see virtually no difference between the Costco paper and Canon Photo Paper Pro printing on a Canon i960.
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