Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Canon Fine Art Bright White 330gsm Paper Review and How To Walkthrough

When I started my printing series I didn’t really care for matte paper, but I’ll admit that at that time I honestly didn’t know the difference between what I traditionally knew as matte paper and a true fine art matte paper. I know now, and I am quite pleased to say that I love it. I especially enjoy using the  Canon Fine Art Bright White 330gsm on my Canon iPF6300  printer because the end result is a hearty thick, yet smooth paper that looks fantastic and feels like it belongs in a museum with a high price tag.

Favorite Prints with this Paper

Oddly enough I found myself preferring to print people on this paper, which I never thought I’d doe with matte papers. Here’s a few of my favorite images printed on this paper:


The colors just pop on this paper for this one

The details in the blacks were faithfully reproduced

The detail in the white was brilliant every
detail was just as I remembered in real life.
This is by far my favorite print on this paper.


Web browsers ruin this photo, but when it is printed on this paper you see it as
I see it on my wide gamut display and it is good!

This is very durable paper

Now one concern I always had with matte papers was that they didn’t feel as durable as luster or glossy papers because the ink just feels exposed. Well the truth is that this is very durable paper and beginning with my test on October 9th, until late December 2010 I’ve let (mis)prints using this paper sit out in the weather elements and in my garage and the paper has held up very well. Now inks play the biggest role in durability and I’m using Canon Lucia EX pigment inks which are known for their durability, so your mileage may vary if you are using a different ink set. I also am only looking for flaking, chipping, and discoloration in my testing, and thus far I’ve seen none of those. However the paper will naturally distort in the rain, but it can be flattened again.

Specifications

Here are the key facts that I have gathered about this paper:

Basis Weight 330 g/m²

Thickness

20 mil
ISO Brightness 115
Base Material 100% Acid-Free Cotton
Surface Finish Matte

Canon’s full PDF on this paper can be found here.

Paper Profiles

Color Gamut Graph of Canon Fine Art Bright White 330 gsm
This paper has an excellent color gamut  with the Canon paper profile
Graph via ColorThink Pro 

For this printer I only used the profiles that Canon provides with my Canon iPF6300 printer and I was pleased enough with the results that I didn’t feel compelled to generate my own paper profile. I also did not try to use this with a RIP

As  you’ll see later in the walkthrough I also found that when using the Canon plug-in that if you have the media type listed (in this case Fine Art Bright White 330g) that choosing Auto for the Output Profile is acceptable because the software is intelligent enough to choose the proper ICC profile based on the settings you choose in the dialog (i.e., highest max passes versus highest require different ICC profiles). Based on advice from Eddie Tapp I tested this feature and found it to work enough that I trust it now.

The names of the profiles I used outside of the plug-in are as follows:

  • CNN63936E.icc – Highest Print Mode (Max Pass is 16-bit only)
  • CNN63963F.icc – High Print Mode
  • CNN63963G.icc – Standard Print Mode (8-bit only)

Custom rendering intents are unavailable outside of the plug-in so sometimes the best results are only possible with the print module which can be used from Photoshop or for free with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) product.

Tips

I preferred Canon’s Export Module’s “Perceptual (People & Dark Areas)” rendering intent the most for my people shots. When doing my black and white prints I found Auto Mono Neutral to be my preferred choice (much more so than printing in color – but for color printing of black and white images Relative Colormetric was better).

When soft proofing in Photoshop I found that the Relative Colormetric rendering intent most closely resembles the result I see when printing using the Perceptual (People, Dark Areas) rendering intent. However, I didn’t like like the Relative Color metric rendering intent for actual printing.

Walkthrough on Canon

Since Canon provides an excellent Print Plug-in for Photoshop (which I refer to as the export module) the printing is very straightforward in 32-bit Photoshop (and identical on Mac and OS platforms). Here are some screen shots of my some of my print settings for images featured in this article:


I always do Max Passes and 16-bit even though I haven’t been able to prove
that it is better than 8-bit and Highest print mode


The preview window is your friend here as what you see is what you get


For completeness I’ve included a Mac Page setup dialog to show that they are
identical to the PC – the same is true of the Main tab as well.


I choose Auto (Monochrome Photo) for my output profile


I prefer the Pure Neutral Black setting for my B&W prints on this paper
NOTE: These settings are only available on the Color Settings Tab
when you choose Auto Monochrome

 

Lightroom 

Lightroom is a little more tricky as the export module is not available, but it is an experience that is closer to what you would find if you skipped the Canon plug-in and went straight to Photoshop (not recommended). I was unable to produce results as good in Lightroom or Photoshop directly as I am able to produce using DPP or Photoshop with Canon’s Export Module so this method of printing isn’t recommended at this time.

It is my understanding that Canon will be releasing an update for Lightroom soon so I will postpone doing a Lightroom walkthrough until that happens. In the meantime I recommend using Photoshop or Canon’s DPP software and print using the settings shown above in the plug-in.

Prices & Sizes

As of December 29th, 2010 you can purchase Canon Fine Art Bright White 330gsm at B&H or local print shops like JVH (tell them I sent you) from as little as $14.73 for a 50 sheet pack of letter size paper up to $204.95 for a 60” roll with 50’ of paper. It’s offered in all of the paper roll sizes Canon printers support plus the standard letter, 13”x19” (Super-B) and 17x22” sizes.

Additional sizing information can be found here as well.

Conclusion

I like this paper quite a bit. I find it to be very comparable to Epson’s excellent Hot Press Bright paper but much thicker along with the added benefit that it seemed to work fine no matter which side I printed on (at least in my short term testing). This is a hearty and substantial paper that is worthy of your portfolio prints, and I didn’t find it to be to rough (i.e., it’s not a Cold Press paper). It is very bright white so if you don’t like OBA’s, then you’ll probably not care for this paper, but for me I thought it looked great. I did find that my blacks suffered a bit on this paper so adding a little black boost in your image before printing on this paper probably isn’t a bad idea.

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