Wednesday, February 17, 2016

REVIEW: Epson Legacy Fibre & Video Tutorial (Legacy Series 2 of 5)

Epson Legacy Fibre Paper
Epson Legacy Fibre Paper

Epson Legacy Fibre paper is a cotton fiber substrate that uses matte black ink to create archival quality fine art prints. Here are a few important facts about this paper:

  • 100% cotton fiber
  • Image Permanence: 200 years color / 400 years B&W (when used with Epson HD and Epson HDX Ink)
  • 19 mil / 483 Mu caliper
  • Acid and lignin free / pH buffered
  • No Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs)
  • Smooth surface / Matte finish

Check out the Print Your Legacy landing page with videos here to see what some well respected photographers think of this and all of the Legacy papers.

For more on my thoughts, continue reading.

Geeky Comparison

If you aren’t a geek you might want to skip this section.

When comparing Fibre next to a variety of other Epson papers you’ll see that its color gamut isn’t quite as large as some of the others:

Epson Legacy Fibre vs Legacy Etching,
Cold Press Bright & Natural, and Hot Press Bright and Natural

Click  for a larger view

However, in practice the differences don’t feel that large. In fact, if you compare the color gamut as a 2d chart (from ColorThink Pro) against Cold Press Natural then you’ll see they are fairly similar:

Epson Legacy Fibre vs Cold Press Natural Color Gamut
Epson Legacy Fibre vs Cold Press Natural Color Gamut
on a Epson SureColor P800

In The Hands Analysis

When holding the paper in my hand I observed that it is slightly brighter than Epson Velvet and much brighter than Hot Press Natural, despite the absence of OBA’s. This makes it more aesthetically pleasing paper with whites, yet it still retains the archival longevity of papers that do not have OBA’s.

The texture and thickness of my sample paper felt much like Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte in that it is very flexible. If you hold it at the edge it will flex down unlike Hot or Cold Press papers that stay rigid. However, the sample provided by Epson using Vincent Versace’s print felt more solid like a 19 mil paper should. As a result, I think might have received a sample that was closer to 10 mil vs the final paper that is 19 mil.

UPDATE: I did confirm that two of the three sample packs I had contained 10 mil Fibre Etching whereas the third contained 19 mil – which fills like the hot and cold press papers. I confirmed that the print results didn’t change, but the feel in the hand was significantly better without the flexing.

The texture is extremely smooth with no hint of any texture, so I really liked that. While there are times that I like texture, and appreciate papers like Etching, there’s also certain subjects that can be ruined if the paper has too much texture (i.e., a smooth vegetable or fruit). As a result those who are looking for a super smooth paper that isn’t going to have annoying reflections like RC papers, will find this to be an excellent choice.

In terms of durability, it’s like all matte papers with matte ink – you have to be careful as it’s easy to scratch or smudge so using gloves is recommended and protect as soon as possible.

Real World Print Analysis

Epson V850 scan of Legacy Fibre on a Mac (16-bit)

(Click for Original Mac Version above or Windows Version Here)

While the colors look a bit washed out in the scan, in real life it isn’t quite so faded looking. In fact the prints vibrant and the blacks look deep, but it’s not like Baryta bright and deep. As a matte paper, I found it to be very good. In fact, unless you have it next to better color gamut papers you’ll most likely find that feels exceptionally vibrant for a matte paper. This is definitely true of this photo (included by permission of Vincent Versace author of Welcome to Oz 2 and Oz to Kansas: Black & White Conversion Techniques):

Actual Epson V850 Scan of a Print from SureColor P9000 on Legacy Fibre

as well as this one which is available as a full resolution 24MB TIFF scan:

Full Resolution Tiff V850 Scan of a SureColor P800 Legacy Fibre Print

On a scale of 1 (worse) to 10 (the best I’ve ever seen), I’d give it a 7 whereas I’d give the Hot Press Signature Worthy papers a 8.5. It’s very good and pleasing to both the eye and hand.

Tutorial Video

This video teaches you how to print on this paper in both Photoshop CC 2015 and Lightroom CC 2015 on OS X El Capitan, but future reviews will also cover Windows 10:

If you’d like visual instructions, including Advanced Black & White, then be sure to check out the visual tutorial in the Epson Legacy Papers Reviews & Tutorials video which covers both Windows and Mac.

The printer paper profile you use will be in the format <printer> LegacyFibre_MK_<version>.icc (or sometimes icm) so for the Epson SureColor P800 you’d choose SC-P800_Series LegacyFibre_MK_v1.icc


Of the four Legacy papers I tested, this was my least favorite. While I did like it and found it to be very good, I honestly would go for Hot Press Bright (despite the OBA’s) if I wanted a bright smooth paper and if I wanted no OBA’s I’d reach for Hot Press Natural. If I wanted texture, I’d go for Legacy Etching, so this paper is left in a category where I’d use it if I had it but I probably wouldn’t buy it or chose it over the others for an important fine art print. 

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order at Adorama

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Unknown said...

I used moab entrada fine art (mate paper) and i really didn't liked the results. I have plans to buy epson hot press bright. I will better colours than legacy fibre paper? said...


If you don't mind the OBA's, Hot Press Bright is the better paper in my opinion. Fibre is very good, but I still prefer HPB.


Chris said...

Ron- great review, thanks for the heads up on photo black. I am using a 3800 with legacy fiber. When set up normally-- the "intuitive way"-- the photo black ink notice is greyed out. I can force the matte ink choice by using your workaround (with slight variations of nomenclature since I am on El Capitan 10.11.6 and a 3800 rather than the p800.) I have not tested yet but wonder if the greyed out photo black ink notice indicates that I should not worry about it.

And yes, the photo black legacy papers are stunning.

One question- is the p800 noticeably better than the 3800 for these legacy papers and B&W printing?

Chris said...

Chris - I love the P800 because it has a lot of great usability features but I can't detect any visible improvements with B&W.

Michael D said...

Hello Rob,

I'm wondering if you and your readers are having the following results with Legacy Fibre. The colors on Legacy Fibre are somewhat muted when compared to the same test image printed on both Hot Press Bright and Hot Press Natural. In the event I was printing the Legacy Fibre upside down I tried again and had the same duller results (and a bad color shift, so I know my original orientation was correct!). Have you noticed the same results when you compare these papers? (BTW, I am printing on a P800.)

And while I'm here, I'd like to say Thank You for providing the rest of us with this excellent series of articles. It's been a great help while navigating through these papers. I'll be sure to click on your links when ordering more supplies.