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PAPER CHASE The full technical review by

Mike McNamee, Imagemaker Magazine PERMAJET’S NEW

ILFORD GALERIE

SMOOTH PEARL Vs. SMOOTH PEARL 280gsm 290gsm

www.permajet.com 01789 739200 info@permajet.com


O

n 29 November 2013 Ilford Imaging Switzerland announced another round of liquidity issues and filed for insolvency at the courts in Friboug. This followed the pulling out of one of the key investors. The future therefore looks grim for all concerned and it is sad to see the demise of yet another big name from the past. This demise is also a little surprising as the company had previously boasted about coating 80% of the market's papers. Had that been the case we might have expected a great outcry about security of supply. Ilford Imaging Switzerland are owned by the Ojii Paper company of Japan and the Swiss factory at Marly made the Ilford range of papers which were reviewed in Professional Imagemaker in June 2013. The range also included the highly regarded Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, baryta media.

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As one door closes another opens. PermaJet were off the mark within a couple of days with a tweak to an existing product to make a near perfect mimic of the popular Ilford Smooth Pearl. Testing (including our own) shows the product to be extremely similar, so close in fact that you can use either an old Ilford work flow or a new one, with no change in the print outcome. As you will see as you read on, we actually found the new PermaJet Smooth Pearl 280 to be a significant improvement on the Ilford Smooth Pearl while retaining all the external similarities and workflows.

PAPERCHASE: Part 49


Parameter

Weight sgm

Caliper microns

Dmax Colour

Dmax ABW

CII

Avg Error ∆E00

Gamut Lab3 units

Permajet

280

270

2.31

2.56

1.17

2.94

1,056,786

Ilford

290

290

2.36

NR

1.41

1.83

1,069,034

BELOW: The difference in OBA activity shows in both the UV booth and in the spectral data.

ON TEST Visual Visually (in normal daylight) the two surfaces are indistinguishable. The surface finish is a very subtle satin pearl and is very attractive as a 'photographic' finish, suitable for exhibition, album or print work. The surface is very tough as it has a supercoating; dragging a fingernail across the print produced a barely perceptible mark. The papers are of similar weight, 290gsm for the Ilford and 280gsm for the PermaJet. The thickness reflects this difference. The PermaJet is very slightly stiffer under the (highly scientific!) test of dangling both papers over the desk-edge to see which deflected the most.

Ilford Smooth Pearl 310

0.7 0.65 0.6 400

450

500

550

600

650

700

750

Wavelength - nm

MACBETH CC 24

ΔE00 ERRORS BY COMPONENT

PermaJet Smooth Pearl 25.0

20.0

15.0

Hue Saturation Lightness

10.0

MACBETH CC 24

black

neutral 5

neutral 3.5

neutral 8

neutral 6.5

cyan

white

magenta

red

yellow

blue

green

orange yellow

purple

yellow green

moderate red

orange

purplish blue

bluish green

0.0

foliage

5.0

blue flower

Overall then a top-notch performance. We also tested results printed at PermaJet using the same profile and set-up. The difference between the two prints averaged a little over 1.5 Lab points, in other words, near-identical response. The gamut volumes of our bespoke profiles were close, the PermaJet was an insignificant 1% smaller. The metamerism of the PermaJet media was lower than Ilford although both recorded low values. The Dmaxes were identical.

PermaJet Smooth Pearl 285

blue sky

Although there is no need to do so, we bespoke profiled both surfaces and then audited the output. Gratifyingly the new PermaJet product out-performed the Ilford on 29 of the 30 parameters we normally table, indeed the overall error, at 1.84ΔE₀₀ was one of the lowest that we have measured. Thus the PermaJet performed flawlessly – by way of example the errors in chroma and hue were nine hundredths of a percentage point where a difference of 1% is the visual detection limit!

0.8 0.75

light skin

Colour Audit

0.9

dark skin

The difference in the UV booth is backed up by the spectral data and the 'whiteness' measurements. The lift at 440nm was 4% higher for the Ilford media and this is confirmed by the Fluorescence values of 2.4 for PermaJet and 4.3 for the Ilford media. Despite this the Brightness of the PermaJet media is higher, 96% playing off 93.7%. The Lab coordinates of the media show the Ilford to be cooler by about 1 Lab unit. Overall then the surfaces of the paper are very similar and for all practical purposes may be considered identical.

Spectral Trace

0.85

Reflectance

It was immediately obvious when the test sample were viewed in the UV booth that there are differences in the coating. The Ilford product had a higher OBA activity and was easily identified. This did not translate to an easily detectable difference when viewing prints in daylight.

1 0.95

ΔE00 ERRORS BY COMPONENT

Ilford Smooth Pearl 25.0

20.0

15.0

Hue Saturation Lightness

10.0

black

neutral 5

neutral 3.5

neutral 8

neutral 6.5

white

cyan

magenta

red

yellow

green

blue

orange yellow

yellow green

purple

moderate red

purplish blue

orange

bluish green

blue flower

foliage

blue sky

0.0

dark skin

"…the new PermaJet product outperformed the Ilford on 29 of the 30 parameters we normally table…"

light skin

5.0

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Statistics

Statistics

Weighted Component Errors

Weighted Component Errors

Patch Set

Avg ΔE00

MEDIAN

ΔL/w

ΔC/w

ΔH/w

Patch Set

Avg ΔE00

MEDIAN

ΔL/w

ΔC/w

ΔH/w

All 216

1.83

1.79

-0.95

-0.09

-0.09

All 216

2.94

2.89

-1.78

0.15

-0.05

-0.06

Fogra V3

2.23

1.98

-0.81

0.92

0.20

3.13

2.73

-2.04

-0.07

-0.62

Fogra V3

1.18

0.98

-0.01

0.73

CC 24

1.84

1.70

-1.09

-0.56

-0.16

CC 24

HiGAM

2.85

2.31

-2.28

-0.67

-0.43

HiGAM

3.55

2.94

-3.06

-0.64

-0.24

Skin Tones

2.34

2.49

-1.67

-1.48

-0.55

Skin Tones

3.63

3.94

-2.59

-1.57

-1.96

Greys

2.31

2.29

-1.13

1.59

0.41

Greys

4.03

3.85

-1.99

3.00

1.16

MMcN4900_IlfordSmth Pearl_PLPP250_Qual#1_SDA.xlsx Gamut Volume

2.31

1.17

1,056,786

2.36

1.41

1,069,034

Tint

Fluorescence

87.3

2.6

2.4

96

L 96.7

a -0.73

b -2.82

Brightness

CII

Fluorescence

Dmax

Tint

Gamut Volume

Whiteness

CII

Brightness

Dmax

Whiteness

Copy of MMcN49ooPk_PjetSmooth Pearl_PLPP250Qual_SDA.xlsx

L

92.1

2.01

4.3

93.7

95.5

a

b

-0.15

-3.28

ABOVE: Summary data from both Ilford and PermaJet Smooth Pearls. In almost every parameter the PermaJet product is out-performing the Ilford. LEFT: The monochrome audit prints were made using the Epson ABW driver. On our system the tone setting 'Dark' produced the closest values for the 50% grey but a user might prefer a lighter or darker print depending upon the subject. The base paper of PermaJet Smooth Pearl is almost neutral resulting in a very neutral tone to the monochrome. The Dmax was particularly high.

W

Monochrome Performance

e printed monochrome test images using the Epson ABW driver on an Epson 4900, using PK HDR ink. Initially we used Neutral/Normal as our tone settings and this delivered a print in which the 50% grey tone was about 4% too light. We then printed using the Dark setting for tone and the resulting image came in at 50.7% Lab lightness for the 50% swatch. The monochrome was almost a perfect neutral with Lab values of 50.7 L; -0.03 a; -0.71 b. The metamerism was slightly higher than the full colour shot at 1.95 (CII on 50% grey D65 to Tungsten A) but still a low value. Dmax rose to a very high 2.55. The hue of the grey scale wavered very slightly along the tone scale but was never more than 3 Lab points from pure neutral.

"Overall then the surfaces of the papers are very similar and for all practical purposes may be considered identical."

Overall then the monochrome performance joined the colour data in the 'excellent' category, indeed we could find no fault with it.

Overall

"The new PermaJet media is a superior replacement for the Ilford…" Imagemaker professional

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The new PermaJet media is a superior replacement for the Ilford although it remains a very close mimic of it which you can use without any change to your workflow. The extra performance we squeezed out with a bespoke profile was measurable, but by no means justified changing the workflow for the vast majority of users. Many will regard the reduced OBA activity of the new material as a bonus. PermaJet have launched the new product at an extremely competitive price point of £15 for 50 sheets for A4 and £30 for 50 sheets of A3 so it is a winner on both cost and performance. It is available in sheet and roll.

PAPERCHASE: Part 49

PermaJet Smooth Pearl - Paper Chase  
PermaJet Smooth Pearl - Paper Chase  

Full independent technical review by Professional Imagemaker magazine editor and technical expert Mike McNamee. "The new PermaJet media is...

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