Friday, March 4, 2016

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

Epson Legacy Baryta Paper
Epson Legacy Baryta Paper

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

  • 100% Alpha Cellulose
  • Image Permanence: 200 years color / 400 years B&W (when used with Epson HD and Epson HDX Ink)
  • 12 mil / 305 Mu caliper
  • Acid and lignin free / pH buffered
  • Minimal levels of Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs)
  • Smooth surface / Satin finish

Unlike the other Legacy Papers, this is the one and only paper that does actually have OBA’s, but my sources at Epson tell me it only a trace amount. If this is an issue for you, then I’d strongly urge you to consider using the fabulous Legacy Platine instead.

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 about this paper, continue reading.

Geeky Comparison

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

When comparing Baryta next to a variety of other Epson papers you’ll see that its color gamut is outstanding even against Exhibition Fiber Paper which was my previous favorite:

Epson Legacy Baryta vs Platine, Exhibition Fiber Paper (EFP) and Metallic

Click  for a larger view

If you compare the color gamut as a 2d chart (from ColorThink Pro) against Exhibition Fiber, Platine and Luster papers then you’ll see that Legacy Baryta is by far the best with Platine coming in a very close second followed by Exhibition Fiber (EFP) and Luster coming in last:

Epson Legacy Baryta vs Cold Press Natural Color Gamut
Epson Legacy Baryta vs Legacy Platine vs  Exhibition Fiber vs Luster Color Gamut
on a Epson SureColor P800

In The Hands Analysis

This paper is rigid enough not to flex when you hold the edge, but it is 1 mil less than Exhibition Fiber (EFP) yet its 2 mil thicker than Luster. Surprisingly, Platine is statistically thicker at 17 mil (vs 12 mil), but it doesn’t feel that way in your hands.

The texture is super smooth without the teeth that you feel on the non-print side of Platine. In fact, it feels almost identical to EFP, but under the light box it seems even smoother with less texture than EFP and significantly less than Platine. If you are the type who finds Luster to have too much texture for your taste on the print side, then you’ll be very happy with this paper. It’s smooth, but without having a cheap glossy look and feel.

The colors are simply jaw dropping, and better than any paper I’ve seen before it. The blacks are incredibly deep with its nearly 2.8 Dmax and the colors just pop off the page better than most displays can render the color. I was so thrilled when I saw the results that I wanted to stop everything and start reprinting all of my favorite prints over again on this paper – it’s that good!

Does that last statement seem familiar? Yeah, I said the same thing about Platine too – because they are both phenomenally good. For images where I want a little texture – because the image content has texture, I’d probably choose Platine as my first choice. For images where I want the smoothest paper possible that isn’t going to gather light from its texture, then I’d probably use Legacy Baryta.

I wasn’t able to try rolls with this paper, but I suspect it would perform about the same as EFP in roll format so I’d probably choose Platine over Baryta for jobs that required rolls over sheets (i.e., panos, 16x24”, etc…).

Real World Print Analysis

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

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

The photo below is a scan of a print made using this paper, but even the scan is so vivid that it looks like the original photo (just like Platine did too)! The following photo was used by permission of National Geographic photographer, Jim Richardson and the colors and detail in the scarf just leap off the print in an almost 3D-like experience for the viewer:

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

The scan simply can’t do it justice as too much of the real world experience is lost (and I’ve not altered the scan in any way). Here’s another one by me which is available as a full resolution 24MB TIFF scan, which again doesn’t do it justice because the blacks are so much deeper in real life:

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

using Epson Advanced Black & White Mode

On a scale of 1 (worse) to 10 (the best I’ve ever seen), I’d give it a 9.9 whereas I’d give the Exhibition Fiber Signature Worthy papers a 9.4. It’s outstanding and extremely pleasing to the eye with everything I love about EFP, but only better.

Compared to Other Favorites

Scan of a color print from a Canon PRO-1 on Canon Pro Platinum paper
Original image was sepia, so this is a faithful rendition vs the ABW versions

I’m a big fan of Ilford GALERIE Prestige Gold Fibre Silk Paper (also a Baryta) and when using my PRO-1 printer, Canon Pro Platinum (more info) and Canon Fine Art Photo Rag are my go to papers on my Canon printers. All of these papers are excellent, but Ilford Gold is a bit too warm for my taste, the Pro Platinum has a bit more of a traditional glossy sheen, and the Photo Rag suffers the same thick and stiff challenges that encourage scuffing that EFP suffers from.

When comparing the papers together, and after a lot of scrutiny, I found myself favoring the Epson Legacy Baryta the most – especially when printing color using a good ICC profile.

Tutorial Video

This video teaches you how to print on this paper in both Photoshop CC 2015 and Lightroom CC 2015 on Windows 10 using both color ICC profiles as well as Advanced Black & White mode. See my first two Legacy paper reviews for ones that were done on OS X El Capitan:

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> LegacyBaryta_PK_<version>.icc (or sometimes icm) so for the Epson SureColor P800 you’d choose SC-P800_Series LegacyBaryta_PK_v1.icc


I’ve saved the best for last, because this really is the best of the Legacy papers and the best paper I’ve ever personally printed on. If there’s a better paper out there, I’d like to try it, because my eyes haven’t seen anything that outperforms this paper.

For this and the Platine reviews, I almost didn’t even include the scanned images because I feared they might give people a false impression of the quality. Simply put, my scanner can’t capture the detail and fidelity that you experience in real life with either of these papers, even when viewing the scans on my NEC PA322UHD 4k display! To truly understand how good they are you you have to see it for real life, so your best bet is to find a friend who has it or pick up the Legacy sample pack or get free print samples here and see for yourself!

I highly recommend this paper as the best paper I’ve ever put through any of my Epson printers, and thanks to a great ICC paper profile – you should be able to get phenomenal results too!

Yes, even with legacy printers like the 3880 (profiles link). 

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order at Adorama or order at B&H here.

Just want to try it out first? Try picking up the Legacy sample pack (also at Adorama) that I used for testing!

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