Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Harman Gloss FB Al

My pack of the new Harman glossy dried matte paper arrived today and I have had a chance to make several prints. This is by way of a first impressions report, realizing that with further experience I might run into troubles, but so far, wow!

Remember too that this is a test performed on the Canon 5000 and Uwe Steinmuller who is far ahead of me in the testing, says that the new 6100 does blacks a lot better and he also has Epson and HP printers for comparison, as well as samples of the other new papers from Epson and Hahnemuhle.

Anyway, do check out Outbackphoto for his comments on paper but in the mean time and for what it's worth, on the 5000, here's what I'm seeing:

The paper comes in a substantial traditional paper box. There is an inner polythene open ended bag containing the paper. In this box the paper had no dings in the corner and the surface on all sheets so far is flawless - a big improvement over my tests with the first generation papers.

There is a very slight texture to the surface. The paper looks like real darkroom paper. it has a reasonable heft to it. The paper is slightly curved from one end to the other but not across the width (which was a problem with crane museo because it made lining up the paper perfectly in the 5000 problematic and every third sheet had to be reloaded (and this was after the firmware upgrade for the printer). No false loads so far.

The surface is shinier than previous papers exc. the latest innova (which I found gray in colour). The white of the Harman paper is neutral but not the blue white of Entrada which can make matting a problem (few mattes are that blue white). I don't think the Harman will be a problem.

OK, enough talk about what it looks like before it goes through the printer, how well does it perform?

On the 5000 here's what I notice. By far this has the least gloss differential of any of the papers I have used (Innova, Hahnemuhle pearl, Crane Silver Rag). Because the paper is smoother and shinier, the uninked areas of the print aren't as noticeably different - you can see it if you hold the print at an angle, but it isn't obvious or objectionable like it was with the previous papers. The rest of the image has the same reflectivity except for absolute black which is just a hair less shiny than the rest of the image. This really is minimal and quite hard to see and frankly isn't an issue. I think I would be quite comfortable selling prints on this surface (first time I can say that about anything other than matte paper).

The blacks are plenty deep, the shadows show lovely depth, the tonality is excellent either printed as neutral black or as warm tone with the canon driver driver for photoshop. I have not been doing output sharpening and it doesn't seem to be an issue so I suspect dot gain (the spread of ink as it hits the paper) is sig. less than with matte papers.

The images do look quite close to wet darkroom glossy dried matte - a bit shinier than the darkroom prints, overall very nice.

I will continue to experiment but it's looking good.


John Santana said...

I, too, have had fine initial results with this paper, using an Epson 2200 with Epson ink.

What really excited me is what happened when I sprayed the prints with Lyson Print Guard: They looked even better, with a significant darkening of the blackest areas, and more important, the adding of a beautiful depth.

The best way I can describe the effect is that it closely resembles the depth of the "old" Portriga paper. Without the spray, the image seems to sit on the paper, but with it, it almost seems like part of the paper.

BTW, the increase in depth adds separation in the lower values that I've never before obtained with an inkjet print.

Like you, I'm continuing my evaluation, but for the first time since I started printing digital prints, I'm actually excited about the potential.

John Santana

George Barr said...


I'm curious about your experience with the spray - are you using a can or an air brush? If a can, do you have difficulty with the can clogging between uses, does the spray get more uneven with interval use?