by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2015
As part of our season on landscape and nature we have pulled together some stuff on panorama papers, greeting cards and board materials. All have their place in making a crust from the genres of landscape and nature. It is difficult to make a living at this but cards can be a nice little earner because of their low price but high margin, pans always sell because they are unusual. Boards are a bit on a limb but because they can go directly into a frame they have advantages for wall images.
We last tested boards in a very early Paper Chase (no. 8 April 2005!). At that time there were 20 boards to choose from including some lovely fine art boards (examples of which we still show in lectures). Sadly there does not seem enough business for the suppliers to keep their shelves stocked and today we are aware if just three, Epson, Fujifilm and Focal Point (distributor for Joseph Cropper). We do, I suppose, get what we deserve, we just never bought enough of them when they were available!
At first glance these 1.2mm boards seem expensive. However, compared with the cost of a print, a backing board and cold-mounting tissue the total becomes very competitive or even favourable. Today the choice though is limited to double-sided matt, semi-gloss and gloss finishes. We looked in detail at the new range launched by Croppers which is distributed through Focal Point Photographic (www.focalpointphotogrpahic.co.uk). It consists of the three listed above. We ran a full set of tests on gloss and semi-gloss on a number of different printers (we should declare an interest here as we were profiling for Croppers). For brevity and consistency with other testing we will concentrate on the Epson 4900 results.
RC Semi Gloss Board
This is a semi-gloss board with practically no optical brighteners and so delivers very good audit statistics along with a high Dmax, high gamut volume and low metamerism. All round it is a premium-grade performer and the stats are essentially flawless. It made good black and whites and the absence of OBAs would find favour with the mono enthusiasts.
The board also performed well on the Epson R3000, the 3880 and the 7700.
RC Gloss Board
This is a cool bright board that is about six points cool and has a Fluorescence value of 8.8. It delivered good statistics with a bit of drift towards the blue of the base but the Dmax was high at 2.4, the gamut volume was again over the one million mark and the metamerism was low
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