REVIEW - Permajet Photo paper (PART II)

Hi,

I recently had the pleasure of testing and reviewing some fine art printing paper from Permajet. After my last review, which had a very positive response from a number of circles, I've been sent some more samples to test out from the wonderful people at Adeal/Permajet. I was very impressed with the first batch of samples that I saw, not only with the feel and quality of the paper in my hands but the all important print quality to. Given how happy I was with the first batch, I was pretty excited to receive the second, this time with different paper types and sizes. This has now allowed me to get a good idea of how each of the papers respond to printing in the larger format that I usually offer to my customers. 

 If you haven't read my original review then I urge you to check it out before continuing as this review picks up where I left off before. You can find it here: http://www.theotherjamespartridge.com/new-blog/review-permajet-photographic-inkjet-paper-20140914

UPDATES

As you may have previously read in the last review, or remembered, you will have noted that during printing I discovered an issue with regards to matching the Permajet paper with the Epson paper types in the print dialogue. I received an email from Permajet's MD Robin Whetton (via John at Adeal) shortly after publishing the post which cleared this issue up. 

“In every ICC profile the name shows, Printer Name, Paper Name Ink type and Media Setting, these media settings are set out in initials ie. Archival Matt Paper = AMP or Water Colour Radiant White = WCRW take a look at the profile attached, the last four letters are PGPP = Premium Glossy Photo Paper in the driver.”
— Robin Whetton, Permajet MD

I'm actually not sure how I didn't figure this out but thanks Robin for providing that info! I'm sure you'll agree that it's great that Permajet's MD took the time to read through the review and help clarify issues such as that. Little things like this make a huge difference in a companies image and perception so kudos to Permajet!

PRINTING

For this round of prints I used almost exactly the same setup as described in the last review. I like to print through Lightroom using my custom templates as it makes for a quick and painless workflow. This time all prints were made on A3 paper. Again I used the ICC profiles which I downloaded from the Permajet website. 

For the record, I actually created my own ICC profiles for each paper type with my X-Rite calibration device to see if there would be any difference in print quality as often every individual printer is slightly different and generic profiles can sometimes not provide the best results. However when I compared these with Permajet's official profiles, there was basically no difference at all. This is why I chose to continue using their profiles for this review.

Another slight deviation from last time around was the temperature and humidity. I chose to print on the hottest day of the spring so far in Brisbane! Great idea James... It topped 39oC with 90% humidity which, for those of you who don't know, can cause havoc with fine art paper and printing. I'm happy to say that I had no issues at all and both the prints and I survived with no damage at all. 

Again for my printing session I was ably assisted by Wolf, my dog!

Printing is hard work for Wolf

Printing is hard work for Wolf

RESULTS

SMOOTH PEARL - 'The Edge of Light'

The Edge of Light

Smooth Pearl is a paper that feels quite thin but a strong paper at the same time. I was impressed by the luxurious satin finish and the beautiful clear detail that could be seen on the print. The colour reproduction was stunning throughout the dynamic range of the print. I liked the nice bright, reflective surface. Sometimes reflective papers can be troublesome when mounted and framed but I put this one under some glass and it looked excellent. 

The reflective surface on the print

The reflective surface on the print

ULTRA PEARL - 'Under the Bay'

Under the Bay

Ultra Pearl is probably my least favourite of the Permajet range so far. The tone and dynamic range of the paper is great, no issues there. The photograph looks very sharp and handles the fine detail on the horizon perfectly. It’s a thin paper but feels really tough, tearing it would be difficult. I don’t like the finish though. It feels to me like vinyl and has a very slight texture that reminds me too much of vinyl floor coverings. That’s just me though, for the record my wife liked it!  

EDIT: 

The Ultra Pearl paper is actually designed with a specific coating that ensures it is scratch and scuff resistant but more importantly the coating surface is special in that it does not allow the printed image to copied by a scanner or phone , the image pixelates as you can see in the photograph below. The beauty of this paper is that it offers copyright protection to pro photographers handing their work around to customer(s) for review etc. With this in mind I think it's a very cleverly designed product from Permajet and certainly will be useful to many photographers out there. Thanks to John for the correction here!

The vinyl like surface of Ultra Pearl

The vinyl like surface of Ultra Pearl

FB GOLD SILK - 'The road to nowhere'

The road to nowhere

FB Gold Silk paper is a heavy, glossy stock with a slightly smooth texture and a beautiful shine across the page. It has excellent reproduction of detail with lovely sharp blacks in particular. FB Gold Silk also has a slightly warm white base which I feel really enhances the darker tones. Those blacks are so deep you could lose yourself in them! The smooth texture of this paper feels and looks lovely. It's exactly what you would expect in a high end paper type.

The lovely surface of this paper can be seen here

The lovely surface of this paper can be seen here

FB DISTINCTION - 'Fallen Skies'

Fallen Skies

One of my new favourite papers, FB Distinction has a very thick stock with a really nice sheen across the page. It feels like a high quality paper should. There is a slight texture, almost like a leather effect that I really love. The detail is excellent and tonal range is absolutely superb. It’s beautiful; it has a bright white base and makes a real statement when you hold the print in your hand. Simply beautiful! 'Fallen Skies' is one of my most recent photographs and one that I really love, especially with this combination of paper. I'll be framing this print and hanging it in my office for sure.

The gorgeous texture surface of FB Gold Distinction

The gorgeous texture surface of FB Gold Distinction

PORTRAIT WHITE - 'The last kiss of light'

The last kiss of light

Portrait White has a warm yellowish white base but provides excellent colour clarity and detail. I pushed the sharpening on this photograph purposely to see how the paper would respond and it looks really impressive. The colours are really bright without being offensive and the dynamic range displayed looks as good, if not better, than any paper that I’ve used in the past. This is exactly the type of paper that I would compare directly with "Pura Smooth" by Breathing Color and it doesn't disappoint! I've found yet another favourite to add to my growing collection of paper stock.

The beautiful crisp detail looks great on this print

The beautiful crisp detail looks great on this print

FINAL THOUGHTS

Again I've been truly impressed by what I've seen and experienced with Permajet paper. I'm not surprised though given the paper types that I saw in the first review. This round of printing was something I'd been looking forward to for a while. The first papers that I tested impressed me so much that I didn't think I would be feeling the same after reviewing this round of papers but yet again I've been blown away with what I've seen. So much so that I've added Permajet to my preferred paper stock and you can also see them recommended under the 'My Gear" section here on my website.

Permajet offers real quality, great customer service and feedback. If you print your own work then I urge you to give them a try. If you use external print labs then please get them to check out the Permajet range as I really don't think they will be disappointed with what they find.

It was excellent to see how my photographs looked in print on Permajet's paper, especially at sizes that I provide to my clients. In fact some of my most recent shipped prints have been made with Permajet paper so I look forward to hearing the thoughts of those of you that receive those prints in the post.

Thanks for your time and attention yet again. I hope you have enjoyed what you've read and as always, I’m very appreciative of any feedback that so many of you submit via my social media and website.

Take care,

James