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Accessories Reviews

Ilford Galerie Prestige

Ernesto Santos (esantos)


Keywords: paper, printer, non_nikon

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GOLD FIBRE SILK

Weight: 310 gsm

Opacity: 95%

gold_fibre_silk_001

Church - Riviera, Texas

As mentioned in my introduction Gold Fibre Silk (GFS) is a baryta type paper, best described as a paper using a natural fiber based substrate with a layer of barium-sulphate to enhance contrast by providing a highly reflective base and a top coating as an ink receptor. The result of this design is a luxurious paper that feels great in the hand and resembles the old classic black and white papers so popular in the middle twentieth century. While I tested this paper with both color and black and white images I chose to provide this image of a small church in gulf coast town of Riviera, Texas - USA because it so perfectly illustrates the quality of this paper when used with the right photographs. GFS is capable of outstanding contrast levels and the specs support this. With a rated D-max of about 2.3 you can create prints where the blacks and lower quarter tones are rich while the three-quarter tones stand out as bright accents while still holding detail the entire range. This church provides this range of contrast easily. I first tried GFS when it was initially released and there was a slight warm tone to this paper. With this latest sample under the Prestige line it seems that this has been reduced just a bit. Some people object to warm papers and others are not at all bothered by it. One thing that does seem to trigger strong opinions is the use of optical brightening agents (OBA's) to mitigate the naturally present warm tone of fiber papers. GFS does not seem to use OBA's. I'm not so concerned about OBA's with modern papers used with modern pigment inks and quality frame glass. I've stated my position on this in previous articles. If you want to use a bright paper with OBA's because the image at hand looks best with a bright white base then use it. If you like a warm toned paper then there is nothing to worry about, period.

GFS presents what I think is an almost perfect blend of weight, luster, and contrast. It is a great B&W paper while also performing well with color images. In my testing I could not find anything that did not print well on this paper. One of the things that I find objectionable with some inkjet baryta papers is what I call the stippling on the paper’s surface. It seems that they all have this to varying degrees and in many cases the stippling disappears after the print is laid down. GFS has a very fine stipple that is hardly noticeable when the paper is blank and totally disappears when ink is applied.

I consider Gold Fibre Silk to be the finest paper in the Galerie Prestige line. It is very versatile and is as good with B&W as with color. When framed, images on this paper really stand out and seem to jump off the paper.

 

SMOOTH FINE ART

Weight: 190 gsm

Opacity: 96%

smooth_fine_art_001

Texas Wildflowers - Goliad, Texas

When I first opened the package of 13x19 Smooth Fine Art I was immediately reminded of a watercolor paper. My personal experiences with other watercolor paper have not been stellar. I don’t use this type of paper because I never thought I could find a good use for this type of matte paper and I get such excellent results with other fine art papers that I just simply eliminated it from my stock. I was a little intrigued as to how this paper would perform. The finish on this paper is a rather textured “torchon” style that declares itself when in the hand. It’s a little bit jolting since the paper itself is very light and thin. There is definitely a tone to the paper as well. Because of these traits I was expecting to see that this paper would be fine for some images but probably not at all good for others. The examples I show here were chosen specifically to determine if this would be the case. The wildflowers image above has a very saturated palette and a lot of fine detail. The image below of the fort gate is almost Monotone with a lot of texture. I wanted to see if texture-on-texture would work here.

smooth_fine_art_002

Spanish Fort Gate - Goliad, Texas

SFA passed my tests with flying colors. I think I finally found a watercolor paper that I can live with. Aside from the light weight of the paper I was very impressed how well this paper holds detail for a textured finish and how well colors kept their saturation levels. The tone of the paper seems to almost fade into the background and doesn’t interfere with the presentation of the image.

 

(3 Votes )
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Originally written on April 3, 2012

Last updated on September 23, 2016

8 comments

Ronald J. Sacco (Priest) on September 17, 2014

A SUPER EXCELLENT REVIEW THAT WAS READABLE, HELD THE ATTENTION AND INCREASED THE KNOWLEDGE OF A RANK AMATEUR. I AM TRULY IMPRESSED AT THE INTENSITY TO DETAIL THAT CREATED THIS REVIEW. SOLD ME AND THANK YOU. RON

Allen R Stewart (cutupguy) on January 22, 2014

Thanks for an excellent review, Ernesto. I use Smooth High Gloss in my Epson R1900 but I find the printer tends to feed multiple sheets. Even if I fan the stack of 25 sheets extensively, the printer will sometimes grab up to 9 (Nine!) sheets at once. I never had the problem with Epson 5 star Premium Glossy, which is thicker and stiffer, but because of what I do with the prints, I much prefer the "plastic/film" paper of the Smooth High Gloss. Any ideas why this is happening? I would buy the Ilford Smooth High Gloss in a roll if they made one to fit my R1900 (13 inch). Do you know of other glossy film-like substrate that comes in a roll I could try? Thanks! Al

User on November 26, 2013

Thanks Ernesto. I wish I had seen this review a few months ago, but missed it somehow... I really enjoy and appreciate your comments. Pete

User on November 24, 2013

Thanks Ernesto great job. I have been printing on the High Gloss smooth with an Epson 1430 Claria dye ink set. All I can say is absolutely stunning! I ran the same image with this paper on my 3880,9900 and 1430 and the 1430 dye print just runs circles around my pigment prints. Not talking longevity we are talking the look. I would like to get Paul Roaek (MIS) or Jon Cone (Inkjet Mall) to put together a CL inkset with the greys for a wide format printer (Epson 7900)

Stephen W Burnes (in4apenny) on July 12, 2013

I appreciate the work and the info. Thanks Ernesto

Ken Hanson (kmh) on April 6, 2013

Ernesto, an excellent review. You have well conveyed your enthusiasm for the Ilford Galerie line. I have used Gold Fibre Silk for a while and love it. Your review makes me want to try several other Ilford papers.

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on April 16, 2012

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Hi James, You are welcome. I think you'll be impressed with GFS.

James Knighten (emi_fiend) on April 14, 2012

Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014

Thanks for the review. I will give the Gold Silk a try.

G