Paper Chase - Somerset Photo Paper - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

by Mike McNamee Published


Despite having made paper for over 500 years, the Swiss firm Sihl is relatively unknown in the photographic market. That is about to change as they have decided to promote their product range more vigorously into our sector and the two papers reviewed here are the vanguard of a number of surfaces. The Sihl catalogue is extensive, indeed the swatch book is 45mm thick and they have experience of supplying papers in roll form for quite some time. The range they make includes several types of gloss and lustre inkjet surfaces as well as vinyl and canvases. How many will eventually find their way into the deep red boxes of the P3 Studio range is not yet confirmed.


4800 High Gloss 330gsm

As you would expect from its weight, this is a big beefy paper with a calliper of 300 microns. It is moderate to high gloss, not quite as shiny as the Ilford material, reviewed last issue. It has a micro-porous, instant-dry coating, and is quite heavily laden with optical brightening agents (OBAs) to give it a bright, cool appearance.

As the material was new to us we initially tested it for basic properties and needed to see how long it took to dry down. In this test we printed a full black swatch and started a stopwatch running as soon as the ink was set on the paper. We then measured the reflectance of this full black (the highest ink loading) at regular intervals to monitor any changes. The Dmax took us by surprise as the deepest we have ever measured at 2.55, falling to 2.50 after drying fully. When measuring dry-down, a difference of less than 1 ΔE Lab is considered stable and, in fact, this media, with the Epson UltraChrome K3 ink, was stable within the first minute. We stopped our test at 40 minutes.

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