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Tuesday, 11 October 2016


For my B&W prints, I've been using Epson Hot Press Bright 13x19 for about a year now. Love it. Feels like a hefty rag paper, but is very smooth, so retains image sharpness. Excellent tonal range too.

I've been using Epson's Exhibition Fiber paper for my good prints. But I find it doesn't do a good job with black and white so I've been using Epson's Premium Luster for those. I'm looking for a better paper for the black and white prints and plan to order a sample pack of Epson's new Legacy papers to see if there's something new that does the job. I'll be watching with great interest to see what you decide about papers.

My favorites:
Luster: Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl
Matte: Moab Entrada Rag Bright 190

I've used these for years and have never been disappointed.

Mike, I'm currently preparing for a showing of about 12 of my bw and color prints, so your recent posts have been timely for me. I'm currently using Canson's Baryta and Platine for my show prints. I like the image quality and depth of these prints compared to other papers I've used. Comparatively, the Baryta seems more subtle, while the Platine looks a bit more contrasty and saturated. I've printed with Red River's Baryta, which I like for some prints and find too warm for others.

I'm not a veteran inkjet printer, though I've often played one on TV. Regardless, I settled on Canson's Baryta Photographique paper a few years ago, mostly for B&W prints. But color prints look great on it, too.

Don't know which "Consensus...seems to be coalescing around the Canson brand", but I am using (for my B&W-prints) their Baryta Photographic 320g for many years now (with an Epson Pro 3880) and I am very satisfied with it...

What's your favourite breathe of air?

It's so subjective, it's quite un-reviewable territory, apart from evident problems like the late Ilford Gold Fibre Silk (I don't know either if the recent batches, after the 2013 bankruptcy, are the same) being incompatible with dye inks.
You can at least add another premium brand, Hahnemuhle.

Canson Baryta Photographique. Done.

Good to see you're not overlooking Epson's better papers. And glad to see I'm not the only person in the world who knows of the existence of Red River Paper.

Paper preference is highly idiosyncratic, and some people care hugely more about physical feel than others. (My rational position is that, if I can get it safely matted and framed without damage, the physical feel ceases to matter much! But my own interactions with printing papers almost always expose me to the physical sensations.)

This way madness lies, Mike. Epson papers and Epson inks are a good combination. If you really want to spend more than you need, check out their "signature worthy" range.

However... Hahnemuhle are into a good thing, I think, with their Photo Rag and Photo Rag Baryta papers. But, if available in the US, the humble Permajet range can give these high-priced papers a run for their money (Fibre Base Distinction 360 is a nice one).


Papers are one of the few places in modern photography where you can really indulge in your GAS! It's sort of like film in that it's cheap to try and they all look different, so that makes them a lot of fun. The only problem is that if you build profiles for your papers, then the profiling process can be a giant PITA: my B&W profiling workflow takes at least 3 days, mostly due to drying time, so it's kind of slow.

A good resource for lots of papers (and alternative processes) is Freestyle Photo, BTW. They have a chart where they (very) subjectively rank various papers from many manufacturers that people might find interesting: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/Inkjet/Paper-Ratings

Anyway, here are my favorite papers:

Canon Pro-10 (pigment ink): Canson Platine for semigloss, Canson Rag Photographique for matte. Canon Luster for working drafts, mostly because it's cheap. The Platine is just flat out amazing. I don't like gloss papers. Note that Canons have interesting issues with matte papers which people can search for, so I don't tend to do much matte printing on my Canon.

Epson Artisan 1430 loaded with 5 matte B&W inks and a cyan-blue neutralizing toner in the 6th channel based on Paul Roark's work. Paul has a new formula that will work on either glossy or matte papers, but I haven't tried that yet, so these comments are just for his matte inks. BTW, Canson Platine is so good that I'd almost switch inks just to use it.

Canson Rag Photographique 210gms: neutral leaning to cool, and the highest white point for a paper without OBAs. It also has the greatest range of tonality in the mid to highlight tones. The heavier 310gms version has a slightly lower white point though I probably couldn't tell the difference outside of a side-by-side comparison. Nice feel, but not obviously so, and not too expensive. It's a pretty self-effacing paper. My desert island paper.

Epson Hot Press Natural: slightly warmer paper, and just a feel good paper. It has a bit more personality than the Canson, but is not as technically good. A bit thicker than the Canson. No OBAs.

Epson Cold Press Natural: the textured version of the hot press. I like the texture when I print from an enlarged 35mm film frame since the grain complements the texture. Textured papers can flake and give off little white bits and pieces, so be aware of that.

Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Matte: it's cheap, and that's about it. Otherwise a pretty nasty-feeling and -looking paper that reminds me of a cheap postcard. I print 2 photos per letter-sized page, and cut the paper in half to sort portfolios.

Speaking of sorting portfolios, if someone doesn't want to go full-hog with a printing system, I know some photographers who get the little Epson PictureMate printer and print out little 4x6 prints. It's amazing how different the feel of sorting a portfolio is physically compared to shuffling things around in Lightroom.

I've pretty much settled on those papers, but have tried (and measured) many others. Most papers today from the major manufacturers are good, and it mostly depends on your personal preferences which ones you use. For example, I don't like super thick papers like many of the Ilford Golds because they tend to cause head strikes on my printer even with the thick paper setting on, and they feel like greeting card stock to me, which doesn't fit with my personal concept of a fine art paper.

I'm currently evaluating Moab Entrada Natural 190gms because it's double-sided, and I'm preparing to make a self-bound book. As a standalone paper, it does have a very nice, velvet-like feel. Canson also has a double-sided version of Rag Photographique which I'll be looking at too. The unique problem with bookbinding is that the pages should be bound with the grain of the paper perpendicular to the spine so the pages turn more easily, and only Hahnemühle specifies a grain direction for one of their papers though others like Moab give general notes about paper grain, and so one has to test every batch of paper to determine the grain direction (it's not hard, just one more thing to do).

I'm not a "veteran" or an expert printer, but I spent years experimenting with paper from Epson, Canon, Red River, Kirkland, Ilford, Berger, Inkpress and others.

I settled on Canson several years ago and I'm happy. They've been making well-regarded fine art papers forever. Their quality, consistency and profiles (at least for my Canon 9500mkII) are as good as or better than any, and their prices are relatively low for what you get (which makes sense--they produce their own paper, serve other markets as well, and have been selling worldwide for over a century).

Familiarity with their drawing and watercolor papers was comforting.

But my choice also has to do with Canon not making their own fine art papers and me not rolling my own profiles. Based on personal experience, if I owned an Epson printer I'd be leaning toward Epson papers (if they had the surface and thickness I liked). I reluctantly came to the conclusion that staying in-brand is the next best thing to custom profiles. If I made my own profiles, I might have gone a different way (though not likely).

I stick with the "straight" papers: Rag Photographique for warm texture; Edition Etching Rag for a smoother, brighter matte; Baryta for gloss (thanks to your (?) and Michael Reichmann's recommendations.)

A lot written already, so short and sweet...

For b/w, Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique, Canson Platine (for warmer tones), and occasionally Innova FibaPrint Warmtone Gloss (for really warm tones).

For color, Ilford Gold Fibre Silk (now under Prestige line). It's very similar to Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique, but I got used to it years ago and am reluctant to switch.

I used to use the Hahnemuhle line (Photo Rag Baryta and Photo Rag Pearl), still very good papers, but found Canson to work as well or better, with easier printer feed (less curl, etc).

Canson Baryta Photographique. Epson has a new Legacy Baryta paper that is essentially the same. An excellent alternative for an OBA free paper is the Canson Platine.

I used to like Museo Silver Rag but found out that it tended to curl with storage, and that made it difficult to load into my printer (Epson 2880). Then I discovered Epson Exhibition Fiber which has the same texture and finish—and its cheaper. Love it!

I second the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta and Fine Art Baryta papers. The former has a really nice warm tone, and the latter is a brilliant white. Both have gorgeous semi-gloss surfaces that will take you back to your darkroom days and those fibre-based papers, except now there's no washing.

Once I found those Hahnemuhle baryta papers I just stopped looking. That said, I did try the Canson sample pack; most of the papers in there are odd novelty papers and aren't much interest to me. The Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique sample was very nice however, and had I not fallen for the Hahnemuhles I'd probably have swung that way entirely.

Strangely, my notes from early 2015 say that I tried the Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Mono Silk, and that I liked it except that the cut of the edges seemed a bit ragged and it left little bits of paper drifting around in the box and on the sheets, which had to be carefully brushed or blown off before printing. What's strange is that I don't seem to have any samples in my drawer, nor any evidence that I ever actually bought a pack of this paper. Hmmm...

I agree with the positive comments about Canson's Baryta Photographique and its Platine Fibre Rag, the latter including no optical brightening agents (OBAs) and having a natural, understated white that appears slightly warm when you hold it up against a brilliant-white paper that's more reliant on brighteners. I know there has been controversy about this subject here on TOP but I do find Lightroom's (or Photoshop's) soft proofing useful to deal with the slight difference in overall white balance you get with different papers. (I still use custom or paper-manufacters' ICC profiles.)

I also love the Hahnemühle FineArt Gloss Baryta, which is a stiffer, more card-like paper than either of the Cansons, and which does include OBAs.

For tests and work prints, I also like several of the fibre based Permajet papers but I'm not sure how widely available they are outside the UK.

I never quite got on with Ilford Gold Fibre Silk – it seemed a little too like semi-gloss or lustre to me; a visit to Salgado's touring Genesis exhibition when it was in London a few years ago reinforced that feeling – it was apparently printed entirely on GFS. Apparently, GFS is back but when it became unavailable for a while, there was a rush by other manufacturers, including Permajet, to duplicate it. That must be an indication of its popularity—a bit baffling to me.

Lots of factors to consider: tonal range, base color, surface, thickness, flatness or curl, permanence, flaking and scratching, ink spreading and capacity, cost, availability....

I print mainly on matte papers, which these days can give surprisingly good technical results (sharpness, tonal range) along with satisfying physical properties. I proof first on good old Epson Enhanced Matte (now called Ultra Premium Presentation Matte). I do final prints on Epson Hot Press (Bright or Natural), which has some tooth but still takes ink beautifully and maintains sharpness.

The profiles supplied by Epson for both these papers are quite good at this point, and the proofing-to-final print process is therefore painless and cost-effective.

I will also give an additional recommendation for Ilford's Gold Fibre Silk. It's become a semi-matte standard for good reasons. My wife uses it extensively, and it is reminiscent of good color darkroom papers.

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth

I am quite happy with a couple of Canson papers.

I am printing a color series on Baryta Photographique, and a b/w series on Edition Etching Rag. I like in particular the touch of the Etching paper - it just feels like paper and is a pleasure to hold. Yet it seems very robust, no need to handle the prints in an overly delicate way. Oh, and the prints look good, with for me deep enough blacks on the P800.

I also tried Platine Fibre Rag. Its looks are similar to Baryta Photographique, on the positive side it feels less plasticky and more papery, and the prints may even lie a little flatter. However, I had the problem that the corners of the sheet got smudged with (black?) ink when printing. As a remedy I started to bend them before inserting them into the printer, but it turned out not be reliable, and it was not worth the hassle in the end. So I am sticking to Baryta Photographique, which just has been working without a problem (well I had head strikes - but that is another issue).

In the end, the cost of printing does not just come down to the price of ink and paper. It depends even more how many iterations I need before I am happy with the result ...

One consideration that often gets overlooked is availability. Up here in Canada, it can be hard to get great papers that are easily available in the US. It's also difficult to get certain sizes. For example, for black and white, I like to print on 100% cotton rag paper with no optical brighteners, using Eboni Variable Tone ink. Also, I shoot 3:2 format images. On my Epson 3880, I can print 17" wide -- so to get the largest, fullest print I need 17" x 25" paper. Epson Hot Press Natural is beautiful paper, but only comes in 17" x 22". Thankfully Premier Art Smooth Fine Art 320 gsm comes in that size by special order and they'll ship to Canada -- so that's what I've standardized on for fine art printing.

After trying lots of other papers, I've come to appreciate the consistency of using one outstanding paper and then adjusting tone through Quadtone RIP and my variable tone inkset.

Premier Premium Luster (12 mil) is an extremely cost-effective paper. It can use the Epson Premium Luster profile and has a noticeably whiter (brightners?) base. I used it for years printing on Large-format Epsons, since I've retired I use it on my Canon Pro-100 where it does equally well. The finish is very neutral, it won't match the fancy papers that emulate silver-gelatin emulsions, but will give you maximum dynamic range.

My favorite papers are llford Gold Fibre Gloss and Epson Exhibition Fiber, printed on my P800 using the Epson Legacy Baryta profile.

My favorite everyday paper is Ilford Pearl or Hahnemuhle Photo Pearl. Both are bit heavier than Epson Luster and don't have their name stamped all over the back. Ilford Pearl is also available in 100 and 250 sheet boxes, so is very economical.

No one has yet mentioned the first decisions, matte or glossy as well as black and white or color. These decisions can change one's objectives in choosing a paper. Most of the papers mentioned above are variably glossy ones. While I agree that this topic is basically hard to formally review, Mark D Segal has done some impressive objective measurement based reviews over on LULA. They are worth reading as are all of his articles.
A few years ago I showed my warm toned (Quadtone RIP), black and white images printed on matte paper to a well know and highly respected photographer who found them to be "not photographic." My point is remind all of us that this is "art," and its worth lies in the eye of the beholder. When I do a color print with which I am happy, friends and photographers (sometimes the same people, sometimes different) say it is "painterly." While I do not specifically try for that aesthetic, I'm usually happy to hear it.
FWIW, I have printed for many years on Moab Entrada Natural, mostly because I like it's characteristics but also because it is printable on both sides. The cost of work prints then goes down a bit. For the occasional image that seems to work better with a gloss paper, I like Canson Platine or Baryta, though the Hahnemuhle papers can be lovely as well. Once behind glass or plexi, the differences seem less.
Play with a few papers, matte and gloss, get some sample packs and print a personally typical image. It will be worth the ink.
And, I hope your medical issue is both minor and resolved.

I've tried all the papers on my Epson 3880! Well, almost all.

I've been printing on Epson printers for about ten years and I've collected a big folder of test prints on every luster or semigloss paper I could find: Canson, Epson, Red River, Hahnemuhle, Ilford, Lexjet, Lumijet, Harman, and a few I completely forget.

And I always come back to Museo Silver Rag.

First, of course it's a 100% cotton paper, but it contains no brighteners so it's not going to change characteristics over the years. Second, it's got a terrific dmax and color. Third, I love the weight and the surface -- not a semigloss but just a touch of pebbly. And the paper seems to be in the middle of the pack in terms of cost -- not as cheap as Red River but not as pricey as the best Epson (and if I remember Hahnemuhle). It's the only non-matte paper I exhibit with.

The only trouble is that the manufacturing became inconsistent for a few years before they finally got it together again (and the manufacturing was sold to Crane at some point in there, too.) They seem to be back to consistent quality now.

My only complaint is the paper sometimes curls slightly in the box, so I have to do a bit of uncurling before printing. No big hassle.

Close second quality-wise: the new Epson Legacy papers are amazing, especially the Platine which is the equal of the Museo. But pricier.

And if you ever print on matte paper, my choice is Moab Estrada Rag Natural, which prints gorgeously but has one great advantage over the other matte papers I've tried: it's double-sided, so you can proof on both sides which is equivalent to half price!

One other note: I've found that ordering a custom color profile for each paper can make a huge difference. Night and day. I used to order my profiles from Adobe's Eric Chan, but he quit doing that service some time ago, so I don't have a recommendation.

Imagescience.com.au have good recommendations on their site.

I'm with Kenneth. When I printed myself I tried different papers and samples and liked Gold Fibre Silk best. Now a friend prints my photo's and I keep him stocked on GFS.
Besides what Kenneth describes it is also very durable. I have a picture on it pinned to my bathroom wall without frame or glass and it's been hot and cold, moist and dry every day for 8 years and it looks like the day I pinned it on that wall.

I agree completely with Kenneth Tanaka's statement, "And it takes time and much waste to learn to adapt to many papers' characteristics." Unless your pockets are deep, that is another good reason to find a single or very limited range of papers to standardize on.

Something I didn't mention in my earlier post, is the importance of knowing your printer software. When I had an epson printer, I used Image Print and it was wonderful. Now, with the the Canon printers, I use Canon's Photoshop Print Export Plugin. It is a separate piece of downloadable software that is very sophisticated and resembles a RIP (raster image processor) like Image Print.

Frankly, I'm lost trying to use Photoshop to print, so I'm glad to have this plugin. It allows for a great deal of tweaking of color, contrast, print density and even shifting the graytones in a color photo. It has a special B&W driver which allows for much experimentation as well. I was amazed to discover that more than one of my Canon printing friends didn't even know this plugin existed!

So between the two papers I like to use, I have separate settings within the plugin for each in addition to having separate paper profiles.

Another vote for Canson Platine Fibre Rag! It doesn't have optical brighteners, so it is a tad warm, which I like. I currently use it as my standard paper. Canson Rag Photographique is a similar matte paper which I found quite appealing, too, though I didn't use it that often (problem is that annoying black ink switch in my Epson). Canson papers also handle quite well in that they don't curl that much.
The Photo Rag papers from Hahnemühle come very close, but are a bit more expensive.

Best, Thomas

From my perspective, you've just opened the mother of all cans of worms.

@Mark, RR Aurora and San Gabriel are both ones I use, and RR carries traditional sizes like 11x14 which I like for 9x12 from 4/3s format. However, Canson baryta photographique has a slight edge over San Gabriel and doesn't cost much more in the sizes available. That's for Epson. WIth my HP Z3200 there's nothing like their Pro Satin. It definitely makes a difference which printer you use: compatibility is a real issue.

I used to use an HP B9180 and more recently use an Epson 3880. When I switched from the HP to the Epson, I found that papers that worked well on the HP didn't necessarily work well on the Epson (the HP was very picky about glossy papers while the Epson seems to be very picky about Matte papers). The first thing to know when reading paper recommendations is which printer is being used!

Good paper is expensive. I make a lot of works prints and I like having a good but inexpensive paper for these. Cheap paper does not tend to be archival so I want something different for final prints.

I tested too many papers (I also used to test a bunch of darkroom papers as well). At first, I thought it was interesting and bought a bunch of sample packs, but eventually found the differences pretty subtle and far less than the controls available in Photoshop or Lightroom (unlike in the darkroom where changing paper was a powerful control).

I like smooth papers. I find them less distracting and more transparent.

In the beginning, I was mostly printing using photo black (so luster or glossy papers). On the Epson, my work prints were on an RC luster or satin paper (I eventually settled on Epson Premium Luster) and final prints were on Canson Baryta Photographique. The 3880 seems to work well with almost all RC and Baryta papers. I just like the surface on the Baryta Photographique best (pretty subjective).

More recently, I've been putting my work prints up on the wall to live with and find the reflections from glossy or luster papers distracting and have switched to matte. Dmax suffers on matte and I have had the best results with papers with the best Dmax I can find. For work prints, I use Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Matte, no inexpensive matter paper comes close to this on Dmax. For final prints I use Epson Hot Press Bright or Natural depending on the print. No other matte papers I've tried really come close to the matte paper performance of the B9180. The P600/P800 are supposed to be much better on matte paper and may not be so picky, but I'm not ready to get rid of a perfectly working 3880 to find out.

At this year's Photokina, I looked at several inkjet photo papers—and fell in love with the delicate Awagami A.I.J.P. range of inkjet papers (www.awagami.com). The samples they had on display at their booth looked just lovely.

I bought a couple of A4 format sample packs but haven't tried them yet. On their website, they provide ICC profiles for just a few out-dated Epson printers. No current printers yet, unfortunately. So I guess I'll have to make my own profiles (so tedious). By the way, due to increasing demand, they are developing a small range of Pt/Pd printing papers based on natural Japanese vegetable fibers.

I always value the comments of those more experienced than I, however my recommendation after reading such comments here and elsewhere, I find that selecting a small number of recommended papers and getting to know them well is best for me.

Another comment about "feel." Most of the time, my good prints are matted and framed, never to be touched by the hand of man. However, there is the lovely way of presenting small prints in a folio, such as those from Dane Creek (just a customer, not otherwise involved with the company). When presented in this manner, to be held, examined and hopefully admired, the weight and texture of the paper become more important. My folios of 8-10 images are the most often praised form of my work. Intimacy, small size, (8.5x11 paper) and encouraging the viewer to handle the prints adds to the value.

I can tell you one paper that I deem worthless, it's Canon's Matt. I recently purchased two 20 packs of it 13 by 19 so I could basically get the Canon Pixma Pro 100 for free.

I tried a mix of prints and could never get a true black. The Dmax is horrible. I was able to return the unopened pack and replaced it with Canon's Luster which is much better.

Like everyone else, I tried a lot of papers, especially in the beginning.
That's probably a good thing, because when you narrow it down, you do so with the knowledge gained by shopping around.
There are indeed many beautiful papers, and , like all other things about photography, it is ultimately a personal choice.
In my case I have settled on a single paper, the same way I did in the darkroom. I learned about it several years ago from Michael Reichmann's article 'Battle of the Barytas'
I settled on Ilford's Gold Fiber Silk (Canson's Baryta Photographique is nearly identical)
Both Papers have the Look and feel of photographic prints made on F surface & Air dried.
I also like that all my pictures, no matter the size or subject have a similar look. I even like the way it smells.

I suppose that there's no one "best" paper as everyone's tastes vary and many papers are more than good enough for serious exhibition use.

I've printed a fair number of exhibits on a variety of HP and Epson dye-based and pigment printers and have developed some preferences that are probably a carry-over from the days of cool-white base, selenium-toned F surface papers.

On older wide-carriage HP dye-based printers, prints that I made on HP Premium Plus Satin evoked many surprised, positive comments from well-known fine art photographers. I happened to come across some of those ten-year old prints an hour ago and they're holding up well to current pigment-based prints on baryta paper, both in terms of comparative quality as well as durability and life.

On my more recent Epson 3880 and 7900 printers, Red River's Arctic Polar 75 lb premium satin finish paper really does work very well for general exhibition use and it's not outrageously expensive.

For top quality, though, Epson's Exhibition
Fiber really does have those deep blacks and bright, crisp highlights that depict an image to best advantage. It's hard to beat. That said, Ilford's baryta fiber paper seems just as good in my limited use.

Most or all of these papers include at least some optical brighteners to add sparkle to the highlights, even the Epson Exhibition Fiber.

On a recent flight out of Portland, I happened to sit next to a chemist who consulted with photo paper makes about optical brighteners and he told me that the OBs do slowly deteriorate over time, dulling the print a bit.

However, it's a reasonable choice to make a more sparkling print for exhibit now even though it may dull down in a few decades and resemble photos made on non-OB paper. 300-year archival permanence is important, but so is immediate presentation.

I stopped using Hahnemuhle papers, which were my matte paper of choice for a few years, because of the OBAs and have tried quite a few papers since. One exception though, and relatively unknown, is Hahnemuhle Bamboo for warm toned prints on the most environmentally friendly paper available. Depending upon the intended use and type of print needed, I have for a few years now, settled on either Museo Portfolio Rag and Canson Platine Fibre Rag for most finished work, with occasional use of Canson Baryta Photographique. For book making I use Canson Rag Photographique Duo. A bonus with the Canson papers is that the canned profiles from their website are outstanding, negating the necessity, expense or hassle of custom profiles.

For more artistic and less photographic purposes I have also used Awagami papers, based on traditional Japanese papers, that are superb for times when the tactile qualities are important.

I use Ilford Gold Fibre Silk and Canson Baryta Photographique for the most part. I find very little difference between the two. The Ilford paper used to be an unbelievably good deal, but since their return from bankruptcy they're pretty much on a par with Canson.

I like to print panoramas on my 3880 and one of my standard sizes is 10" x 30". I use Museo Siver Rag for those prints, cutting 24" x 36" sheets in half lengthwise. The cotton rag papers are very luxurious, but I have a problem with them staying flat. So I also plan to try the Moab Juniper Baryta, which is also available in 24" x 36" cut sheets.

I used to use only Epson papers with my Epson printers but then I bought some Artic White from Red River for printing note cards. I appreciated that it was pre-scored for folding and they have envelopes to fit. As it turns out I like the paper so much I'm switching to it for my larger prints as well (I like mat surface papers). I recently bought some of their "metallic" paper which is interesting but not suitable for most of my images. I also got a 5 sheet sampler of their Palo Duro SoftGloss Rag that I haven't tried yet. By all means, try the Red River papers. No, I don't own stock or get kick backs. I just like their paper.

For about the last 4 years or so, I've been using matte surface papers exclusively. While most photographers seem to like the "air-dried F-surface" look, I'm totally in love with the look and velvety depth found in matte surfaces. I've fairly well settled on four papers--Epson Hot Press Natural for a natural whites and smooth surface, Epson Velvet Fine Art for brighter whites and a little more texture, Epson Cold Press Natural for a palpable texture and natural whites and Hahnemuhle Museum Etching for a heavy texture and ivory whites. All of the Epson papers are relatively economical and very consistent, in my experience. The Museum Etching is, of course, expensive like all Hahnemuhle papers but it's a unique and special paper in a class to itself.

I must agree about Canson papers. I've used several Canson's matte papers--Arches, BFK Rives, Rag Photographique, etc.--and found them to be superb. They're a little on the expensive side, however. My choices in Epson papers all seem to offer about the same characteristics at a lower price.

Check out http://www.pigment-print.com/spectralplots/spectrumviz_1.htm from Ernst Dinkla. It's a Java program with a huge number of spectral plots for different papers. What's interesting is that many of the different brands seem to be essentially the same paper. For example Red River's Palo Duro SoftGloss is a perfect match for Epson's Legacy Platine. My prints on both are indistinguishable. I highly recommend both papers, along which Canson Platine which also to my eye (but not the spectral readings) is probably made on the same paper line.

A few of my favorite papers:

  • Epson Legacy Platine / Red River Palo Duro SoftGloss

  • Harman by Hahnemuhle Gloss Baryta Warmtone (as close as I've seen to may favorite darkroom papers)

  • Epson Legacy Fiber Rag

  • Epson Hot Press Natural (coated on back side so is cost effective for proofing)

  • Epson Luster for proofs and prints which will be handled. Many other luster papers seem identical

  • Kirkland Professional Glossy for really cheap proofs (my most used paper because it's so inexpensive). Rumor is it's an Ilford product.

My wife likes Epson Signature Worthy line. I kind of like Red River San Gabriel and their Aurora fine art line. Their sample pack doesn't cost much, and contains a generous helping.

Inkjet papers! A can of the proverbial worms! The problem is that the maker of the paper is not necessarily the brand on the box. Moreover, placing the ink-receiving coating on the base is a very specialised task and not many firms do it, so many papers are the product of several firms. It's my understanding that none of the big three printer makers make their own paper - they either buy and rebrand or outsource to specification.

For example, Epson have recently released some "Legacy" papers and the general view is that these are just the Canson equivalents rebranded, e.g. Canson Platine Fibre Rag vs Epson Legacy Platine. There has been some controversy recently surrounding Epson Exhibition Fibre, as recent batches are producing markedly different prints and the strong suspicion is that Epson have changed either specification or supplier or both. The point of all this is beware of comments that say "use brand X papers with brand X printers". You simply need reputable papers and a good matching profile to print and soft-proof with (intentionally ignoring C'tein's view on printer managed colour).

To answer your question, at present I mainly use Canson for the good stuff, either Canson Rag Photographique or Canson Platine Fibre Rag. Sometimes I use Ilford Gold Fibre Silk in place of CPFR, as they seem to have very similar coatings and produce similar prints, but with a different surface textures. Hahnemuehle Photo Rag is an alternative to CRP, and has a slighly more neutral tone and blacker blacks (higher dMax). If you want value for money papers, then the Ilford Galerie series are reasonably priced in larger boxes. Epson Enhanced Matte (now sold as Epson Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte) is an inexpensive good matte paper, although thinner that the rag papers I mentioned, and whiter & brighter because it has optical brighteners and so not as archival.

I evaluate my Epson 3880 prints against my traditional darkroom B&W prints, for which I still use Oriental Seagull paper. I find Canson Baryta Photographique matches up well. But I really enjoy Canson's Rag Photographique for anything that departs a bit from straight photo realism and has a graphic look I can explore more fully that I care to in my 19th Century darkroom. (never printed much matte surface paper for darkroom prints)

I recently tried Epson's Legacy sample pack and liked them very much as well. But as a holdover from the darkroom days, keeping too many papers on hand leads to waste, confusion, madness, etc. So happy to stick with Canson as a standard. But I find the baryta papers are quite fragile before and after going through my 3880, and I will likely continue cautious experiments with Epson Signature baryta to see if Epson paper and printer match up in a more durable fashion.

I can't justify three or four dollars for a sheet, so I'm now using Red River Ultra Satin Pro. I like the finish better than Epson's luster. It's quite a bit cheaper and they offer more sizes, including squares, 11 x 14, and 17 x 25. BTW, I took your P800 write-up to heart and got in hours under the rebate expiration. -John

Still looking for a good Luster but for matte the Canson PrintMaKing Rag (formerly BFK Rives) is really amazing.

Hi Mike -

I have done a lot of experimentation with papers. The answer depends on what you want to do with the prints.

For prints that are handled and not put behind glass (for example small prints, folios, or prints in a portfolio box) I prefer Ilford Gold Fibre Silk and its copy, Simply Elegant Gold Fibre Silk from Atlex. Not only does it print very well, but it looks the best from non-ideal angles. I hate the papers that have so much reflection and sheen that the image disappears when the print is turned on an angle. This doesn't happen with IGFS. Also, it lays completely flat after printing. Another aesthetic thing important to me for prints that are handled. And it has a very nice weight.

This paper (IGFS) also used to be the paper I used for prints under glass and in mattes. But after getting the Epson P800 and needing 17x25 paper to do big prints I found Red River Arctic Polar Satin. It is thinner/lighter than IGFS so I don't like it for handheld prints. But under glass I really like it. So now I use it for all prints under glass. Red River is the only paper supplier I know of with 17x25 cut sheets rather than 17x22. And you need 17x25 if you want to print a 16x24 and preserve full frame aspect ratio.

The Ilford paper was discontinued for awhile. Atlex offers Simply Elegant as a true copy of that paper and it absolutely is. And it is less expensive. The IGFS paper is available again but I have stayed with Simply Elegant Gold Fibre Silk.

Finally, for those days when I decide matte fine art paper is better, I have found Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Bright White and Epson Velvet Fine Art (more texture) and Epson Hot Press Bright White to be the best. They print very well well on the Epson P800, have nice weight to them, and lay flat after printing.

Finally, the new Epson Legacy papers like Legacy Baryta are very nice.

Recently I found out about Breathing Color papers (https://www.breathingcolor.com/?gclid=CJLb3ceN1M8CFYNGXgod-aMOhA) but haven't yet had a chance to try any. They do look interesting. If you start doing some comparisons of a wide range of papers (I hope you do and write about what you find out!) this looks like a source of papers out worth checking.

I love this comment thread, because it perfectly embodies my favorite advice from the judges on "The Next Food Network Star", which, paraphrasing, is "don't just tell the audience what the ingredients are; describe how it tastes".

Almost every one of the commenters here describes what their favorite paper "tastes like": "quite low contrast and poor D-max, but nonetheless provides a unique subtle surface sheen"; "Feels like a hefty rag paper, but is very smooth"; "a smooth, durable and non-reflective paper"; "heavy 100% cotton rag papers with fabulous 'hand feel' and subtly differing surface gloss".

I can see and feel these papers in my mind. What a wonderfully specific and descriptive bunch TOP readers are...

I already mentioned Innova FibaPrint Warmtone Gloss as an alternative. This forum post from Jack Flesher provides further commentary, and a sample...


In addition to making fine papers, Canson's ICC profiles and customer service are also top notch. I'm a satisfied customer who's glad to recommend their products. For the record, I print on a Canon ipf6400 so you may want to confirm what I said about their profiles with someone who uses your printer of choice.

If you have a large format printer I highly recommend trying some of the specialized HP papers. I'fe found that some of the cheap drafting papers look pretty good and are great for doing book mockups and test printing. I think there are some in the $15 range for 100 feet of 24 inch wide paper that look pretty good. I've been using that to test print some "wallpaper" prints that come out to 12 x 18 feet without feeling like I'm making a big investment. Also I've been giving out some 2x30 foot prints as gifts, and the thin paper is actually more durable than the heavy paper.

The Tyvek and vellum papers are sort of interesting too.

I highly recommend finding a paper that is cheap enough to do lots of printing because there is nothing like just doing a lot of prints to get to be a good printer. Also if you get good at printing on so-so paper you will be really good on good paper.

For what it's worth the canon large format printers seem to be able to print on a pretty wide assortment of stuff

And yeah, Hahnemuhle photo rag is good stuff. I print for someone who used to do platinum printing and I can get her "look" on the Hahnemuhle.

Mike there is a review of papers recently on the Luminous Landscape, but behind the paywall of course. They are doing a whole series called 'Back to the Print', with very interesting reviews, video's and articles.

Since the majority of visitors are likely from the US, this may not be of interest, but I've been buying papers from here for some years: https://imagescience.com.au/.

The information and articles; however, may be of interest to anyone, as Jeremy is utterly dedicated to producing the best prints possible.

My regular paper is Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl, along with Ilford Gold Fibre Silk and Museo Rag.

I have tried several different brands (but not Canson) but always go back to Hahnemuhle. Beautiful paper that never lets me down.

For a good Matt paper, you could try Fotospeed High White Smooth 315g.

If you are seeking the look of a glossy B/W silver print I would recommend Harman Glossy Baryta, though be warned this paper has a tendency to curl. The warmtone version has just been discontinued due to Harman been unable to get anymore from Hahnemuhle. Alternatives to the Harman papers are Canson's Baryta and Platine. I'm looking forward to using these four papers with the soon to be released Piezography Pro inks, which may push glossy B/W inkjet prints to the next level. http://piezography.com/piezography-pro/

What is the life of these inkjet papers?

I don't mean how long a print will last without fading. What I mean is, how long are these papers available from these manufacturers, many of them seemingly small outfits?

In the old days (sounds of groans), Afga, Ilford and Kodak had been around for almost a century, and their papers were available for decades. True, near the end, some cadmium based papers became unavailable or changed their formula, and paper emulsions were not as 'silver rich' as they used to be. But by and large, if you picked, say Agfa Portriga, you could stick with it for decades.

We've had digital inkjet papers now for a decade and a half.

What is the longest period that any single product/paper type has been available?

I have an assortment of Red River papers in useful sizes, including square. I find their Arctic Polar Luster looks quite good. I haven't tried their higher end products yet, like the San Gabriel. I have the Canson paper, also good, and Epson Exhibition Fiber paper, which was my paper I used when I wanted ultimate brightness and sharpness. They all work well. I have good memories of a box of Hahnamuhle Byarta, but I haven't hit the buy button for more since it's so expensive. I also have a box of Red River's folding 5x7 card paper, glossy, that I always use for holiday cards. They have a Lightroom and Photoshop printing preset that makes it easy. After reading this thread I might have to try the Ilford Gold Fibre silk, especially since I have a 3:2 ratio camera now and I can fill 13 x 19 well.

You could capitalize on this discussion if you would have a link for each paper mentioned here. I am sure others are as interested as I am about trying to find the paper that works best for them. No reason not to help out the TOP while doing it.

Brooks Jensen recommend Harman by Hahnemuhle a couple of years ago, so I tried it. I've kept it as my standard since.
It's slightly warmer than the Epson premium and holds good detail into the blacks.The finish looks like a wet process print. At 320gsm, you may need to play with your feed a bit.

Framing / glazing makes a huge difference (as Ken Tanaka mentions above). I've printed to plain paper using an HP LaserJet. The resulting print looks pretty darned good if you stick it behind a piece of museum glass. If you plan to glaze your finished prints, it's worth getting a piece of your preferred glass that you can set on top of a print to judge its look.


Hope you are doing well with medical situation and come back strong enough to wade through all the printing papers that have been recommended. I've been a fan of IGFS and Canson's Baryta Photographique. I also use Epson's Premium Luster for proofing and for 4"x6"hand out prints (be sure to totally allow this paper to off gas before putting behind glass).

"... for matte the Canson PrintMaKing Rag (formerly BFK Rives) is really amazing." Agreed, from subtle antique-style images to prints of Fuji X camera Classic Chrome simulations. Canson also renamed its Arches Velin Museum Rag by removing the "Arches." Apparently, the two changes are a result of Canson's modified business relation with another company. Regardless, these are two wonderful matte papers.

I know we're talking mainly about home-based printing here. But it's worth mentioning that advancements in lab technologies have made other alternatives more accessible to more people. I'm thinking, in particular, of digital C-prints and digital BW printing on panchromatic paper (basically similar technologies). I have never used the latter but I have made digital C-prints, mainly for larger prints. They've each been wonderful, presenting warmish palette shifts hard to reproduce in pigments. Yes, you have to set aside some of that archival anxiety that's been baked into the photo hobby world to promote home pigment printing. No, today's digital C-prints are not nearly as fugitive as you might fear. In fact it's become a more popular medium than you might realize, accounting for the majority of large color prints I see in exhibitions at galleries and museums. C-prints offer unique inflective characteristics well worth exploring.

My point: Although home printing is great fun don't exclude service-based special techniques as you explore alternatives. You'll be short-changing your toolkit, especially if you do prints for exhibition or commercial displays.

I do 99% b/w, and the Baryata from Canson is the best I have seen. I never use matte, if I need that look I go to canvas, and that would be a glossy canvas. Keeping in mind I don't do color.
Check the Luminous Landscape forum. There are some really good printers who post a lot there, and they know whereof they speak as the do it for a living.


I've been using Ilford GFS exclusively for years now, through 3 printers. First the Epson 2200, then the R3000 and now an P800. I've got 3 B&W prints up in a show at the local Art Center and 7 color prints up at a local gallery/salon and all are on GFS.

In looking at cameras and photo products through the years, my experience is that a high percentage of the time I'll think 'Well, this is a fine thing, but it's not for me or the work I do.' Less frequently, it'll be 'Hmmm... maybe I could work with this.' Rarely, it's 'Oh, yeah. This is it.'

That's the way it was with GFS. Love at first try and it's still working for me. Lays flat and frames perfectly with just a couple of pieces of hinge tape.

Fair warning, though. I stocked up when Ilford's business troubles happened, so all my paper is old stock - I haven't purchased any recently.

Oh, by the way, I am using Printer Managed Color with the P800 and my 27" older iMac.

My wife and I usually have one exhibition a year locally (30 or so framed prints) and print inventory once a year for a local Studio Tour (50-75 prints) plus 300 or so photo cards.
For the photo cards, we like Red River Paper Canvas, RR Natural, RR White and RR premium Mat.
Our go to paper for fine art prints used to be Hahnemuhle German Etching. ( expensive). We now use exclusively Epson Hot Press Bright and Epson Cold Press Natural. Rarely when we need a luster paper, we use Gold Fibre Silk. For special textured scenarios, Hahnemuhle William Turner and Torchon gives a lovely result.

I rather enjoy printing on non-photo papers, especially hand made ones. I've also ink jetted onto silver halide paper. Then again, I'm from New Zealand.

I can't resist adding to the flood! I find that the Epson Ultra Premium Luster is good for pictures I need to send off to family members after Christmas, or for those I need to put up on the Church notice board. For more serious work I round up all the usual suspects: Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, Canson Baryta and Platine Fibre Rag, Hahnemuhle silk Baryta, Epson Legacy Platine, and Legacy Baryta.

I think it's a good idea to try the sample packs and find what works best for you, but once you know that, I think you will find that for a given type of paper, the different manufacturers offerings are very very similar. So for the paper types I like, I try to buy on price as it can vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

As others have said, trying different papers in the hope that the "one paper to rule them all" is out there waiting to be found, is a path to madness!

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta is my favorite premium paper. I buy it in sheets and in rolls. I think a box of 25 sheets of 8.5" X 11" goes for $45 US. This paper has a finish similar to Agfa Brovira of yore. It renders black and white and color equally well.

Mike: you can't find your Canon sample pack. Stop looking.

I found my Hahnemühle pack; I had entirely forgotten I had one. Until you wrote about your pack.

So I opened my pack and started printing. Some of the papers were glossy and some were satin or similar. I have printed nothing but glossy for the last 18 month so I had to switch ink cartridges on my Epson R3000. From photo black to matte black.

Clogged it was, the matte black nozzle. I cleaned it, cleaned it and cleaned it again. Clogged it remains. Forever, I guess. I am back to printing glossy. Only glossy.

Anyway, I found the Canson papers I have been using much better than Hahnemühle.

AGFA Portriga Rapid > Yeah!

I'm fortunate to have the services of a custom printer. He does all of my printing -- personal, client and exhibits. It took about a year of experimenting with different papers, but I decided to exclusively use Hahnemuhle Baryta FB for prints on photo paper. In fact, my printer this week will complete prints for an upcoming solo exhibit in Tokyo. All of the 14 photo paper prints (36" x 25") will be on the Hahnemuhle Baryta FB. The opening image, which will be 98" wide by 56" tall, is being printed on photo canvas.

I've chosen Canson's Platine Fibre Rag as my general use paper. Works very well I think for most of my images.

Frank Sauer mentions getting black ink marks on the edges of his Canson Platine above. With the Epson Artisan 1430, I saw a tip somewhere on the Internet that helped me get rid of the black marks on my prints: make sure the print comes out of the printer parallel to its print path. The tray that catches the print tends to be lower than the slot that the print is coming out from, so the print will bend downwards as it comes out, and this increases the possibility of the printhead nicking the corners of the print right at the very end.

The fix is pretty simple: just put something on the catch tray so the print doesn't droop down as much and is supported parallel to its print path as it's coming out. For me, it was a couple of books stacked to get the right height. After I did this, no more black marks! Make sure your catch tray can support the weight of the books though.

I don't think there is anything that can be rated BEST printing paper. To really achieve the BEST, one needs best digital color management (especially the pesky skin tones that really have no absolute standards), best inkjet printer with best archival quality ink, and finally what is considered BEST paper.

So until everything is BEST - BEST - BEST all the way down the line, we folks should enjoy capturing moments and memories and just use what is available.

A previous writer mentioned Freestyle Photo in Hollywood where I have worked with their “paper guru”. He has advised and helped me to settle on one or two semi-glossy papers and likewise for matte papers. Using a calibrated monitor, soft-proofing and custom profiles the paper choices I made, with his consultation, abundantly cover my needs for color and B+W printing. As others have mentioned, I, too, have been surprised how well B+W looks on matte papers and have eschewed papers with OBAs. After looking at about 15 different papers I chose:
*Canson Platine Fibre Rag
*Innova Fibaprint Warm Cotton Gloss

*Hahnemuhle Matte FineArt “William Turner” (textured)
*Canson Edition Etching Rag (smooth)

Canson Infinity PrintMaKing Rag (BFK Rives).

Handling and good looks are equally important in a paper I think, if a paper is too fragile and scratches or scuffs easily whats the point in using it? For prints I am framing myself Moab Metallic Pearl is fantastic, if I am shipping a print Permajet Titanium Lustre is almost as good looking but handles much better. I love RC papers, they snap, cotton papers are too soft for most of my work, the exception are baryta papers which are so gorgeous, Moab Juniper is my favourite.

For what? is the question you need to precise the answers. There are surfaces that are more related to B&W images and others for color. Matte papers are a class apart and accord the image you want to print you will be more inclined to smooth or textured surfaces. If you need tack sharp and contrasty reproductions you will need some brilliant or semi matte paper. For other kind of images that mimic old process and tones probably a textured paper would fit better. Or no if you want to go crazy and mix the logical choices. I would like to know a good matte paper that print good contrasty images and bold colours.
I think that for aged photographers that experimented chemical process some kind of papers are almost a natural choice, for example barite papers to print B&W. For my part of what I experimented, for exhibition, I liked a lot Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper and Canson's Baryta and Platine. But wasn't completely pleased with matte papers yet.
And a marginal question, what about double side print papers? I was thinking to make a photo book proof and I was curious if someone have a favourite paper for that? equal I think there are not a lot of choices.

I love and highly recommend:

- Canson Baryta - For a natural glossy paper, with no OBAs - on the warm side
- Canson Etching Rag - For matte, with no OBAs - on the cool side
- Ilford Mono or Gold Silk - Glossy, very neutral - some OBAs

Best Regards,


One camera, one lens, one film, etc...

Started using Hahnemuhle 308 GSM Photo Rag Matte ten years ago - haven't felt the need for anything else.

Epson Archival Matte/Enhanced Matte (same paper) is good for work prints first.

If you're heading to the PDN photo show in NYC you can get all sorts of test packs to try out. I usually go around twice because the test packs don't give enough samples to even begin to test. As far as what I like, I loved Hahnemuhle, everything about spelling that is wrong to me, Photo rag. I used it extensively when I first started around 2003 until flaking problems started. I next used Canson Rag Photographic which is very similar and finally Moab Entrada Rag natural.

I think it might be possible to design an algorithm to help readers pick papers that match their taste. You could ask questions to determine the importance of factors like longevity, price, surface texture, mounting intent (behind glass or not), importance of feel, high d-max, resemblance to traditional silver gelatin prints, B&W/colour etc. Based on the answers, you could come up with a short list of papers that match the reader's needs.

For example, someone who expressed a taste for a high d-max, reasonable price, decent longevity, traditional fibre look & feel and intent to mount under glass would probably be very happy with Ilford Gold Gallerie Silk. If price is a big concern, then Epson Premium Lustre or Inkpress Lustre might be a good match. Someone who places a high importance on feel and texture, who wants a rag-based paper might be happy with something like Canson Rag Photographique.

The beauty of all this choice is that there are papers out there for every purpose. Even photographers who mount their photos on canvas (no matter how misguided) can find several "papers" to choose from.

In the absence of this magic algorithm, I think you still have to go through a process of evaluation of your own style and taste to narrow the field down somewhat. Otherwise, you'll spend a lot of time and money going through sample packs looking for something you like.

Oddly enough, here in Japan, the place of origin for many of the best and most common inkjet photo printers, I've always struggled to find good printing paper of the kind I often read about.

Hard to find, and then there's the cost. Ken's "Reasonable cost for a good weight" Ilford paper at 13 x 19 inches in a 50 sheet box is around $150 in the US. Here in Japan I find it comes in at around the equiv. of US$450. Zoinks!

It's not all bad though, 25 sheets of Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique Fine Art Paper in 11" x 17" is only twice the price...

I second the subjectivity above, with one variation: it probably depends what you're printing.

I recently had a photographer's wet-dream of an order (completely out the blue - "Hello, I'd like prints of 19 of your works to decorate my new house with"). Took a couple of years stewing.
Came time to print and I had a proper print company run-off ~7 prints - one full-size on cheap gloss so I could check resolution of the largest print-to-be, 6 on various papers.

Now, bearing in mind that the project was defined as warm-toned black&white work (a subtle sepia/warm with an even subtler hint of pink in), it was amazing what a variety there was, some papers outright cold, one too warm...
My client mooted the idea of Canson at one stage so I had extra test prints made. One of them wasn't so much "fibre" as velvetty bog-roll crossed with wallpaper. The other had an annoying way of fighting the warm tone - came out sepia without the pink hint.

Sure the final conclusion was Hahnemuehle Photo Rag. No real surprises there.

Obviously it'll be right at the top of the pile if I ever have to print anything again - but I'd recommend the exercise to anyone thinking of a print run, based on the image(s) in question. Goodness knows how it'd react in full colour.

BTW: Lumix GH2 + Pentacon 50mm => 38" print. Thank flip I learned about stacking + superresolution.

In general I prefer matt papers but have experimented widely - Canson, Hahnemuehle, llford, Harman . . . semi-gloss and lustre as well as matt. But I was always disappointed by how absolutely tiny the differences were between prints made on these rather expensive papers, and prints made on my longtime favourites - the inexpensive and deeply unfashionable Epson Archival Matt and Enhanced Matt.

I recently again did a series of comparative tests with Canson Infinity and the two Epson papers. I liked the Canson prints very much, but the Epson prints just as much.

I respect the fact that there is a long and honourable tradition of fine print-making in the US, but as I once tried to argue with a print-guru, formerly not entirely unknown on this blog, ultimately it's not about the print, it's about the image.

So many papers... Could it be that most of them are good enough? As long as you follow the advice of Kenneth Tanaka in the Featured Comments: Standardize and master!

I printed for 7 years with an Epson 3880 and recently moved up to a P800. I use Image Print as my printing software. Most of my color work has been with Epson Hot Press Natural or Hot Press Bright, but for B&W, I love Museo Portfolio Rag, a matte paper that yields gorgeous tones and deep blacks.

I have recently been using more Canson Platine, which is my favorite glossy paper. However, when I compared it to Epson Legacy Platine, the Legacy paper definitely produced more vivid colors. Hence, I do not believe that the Legacy Platine is merely a re-branded Canson Platine. Legacy papers are quite expensive, but if you look hard enough (hint: IT Supplies), you can find them for only slightly more than other premium papers.

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