A Close Look At 6 Moab Papers
Publishers Note: Mark has done an extensive review of selected Moab and Red River papers. This review will deal with Moab papers and the next review following this one will be focused on Red River papers.
A casual perusal of the offerings from Canon, Epson, Canson, Legion/Moab, Red River, Ilford, Hahnemuehle, Innova and others (at least in North America) indicate a very large variety of inkjet papers on the market. Some are minor variants of others – “similar but different” as one industry person advised me – while others are more unique. So how do we select what to review? There are usually three routes: (i) we try a paper we like and think we should bring it to readers’ attention; (ii) discussion of a paper has come up on the Forum and sparked interest; (iii) the brand owners of the papers approach us to review new or other products they think worthy of exposure.
Today’s batch springs mainly from (iii). Our “rules of engagement” for doing this are straightforward – they provide the paper, we do the work, they are available to be consulted on technical matters, but we remain in charge of what we say, based on a combination of formal testing and less formal “tasting”. We’ve been reviewing them in batches, as this enables comparisons that bring out different qualities in the different papers. When all is said and done, the look and feel of paper and its suitability for particular photos – is subjective, such that appreciation requires having the paper in hand and looking at the photographs. We can’t do that over the Internet, but we can provide guidance based on objective data and experienced observation.
I use quantitative indicative descriptors of characteristics such as gamut, paper tint, black point, white point, grayscale rendition, shadow detail rendition and accuracy of printed colors relative to color values in the image files, as these are objective and comparable, notwithstanding certain limitations that I’ve discussed before. Today’s exercise involving 9 papers, 3 printers, 2 sets of profiles (OEM and Custom), 4 target sheets per custom profile, 3~6 target sheets per profile evaluation and other relevant prints added up to over 250 printed sheets, plus related measurements producing over 900 TXT, JPEG and XLSX files. It then takes gobs of time to assess it and write it all up in a digestible manner. If you like this kind of info, you are getting your 12 bucks worth here. If you don’t…..well OK, you don’t. Let’s look at the papers.
Today we have on tap six papers from Moab (Legion Paper), two from Red River, plus one other late entrant from Red River that we considered quite interesting (in the next review). We also present a variant on profiling – polarized light filtering – that Red River used and has elicited Forum discussion; we think it deserves a close look.
The offerings from Moab include three “PK” (Photo Black ink) and three “MK” (Matte Black ink) papers:
- Moab Entrada Rag Natural 190gsm, coated both sides; MK;
- Moab Entrada Rag Textured (a new paper); MK;
- Moab Somerset Museum Rag; MK;
- Moab Lasal Dual Semigloss (a two-sided luster-type paper); PK;
- Moab Lasal Exhibition Luster; PK;
- Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl (last time we reviewed Metallic Silver); PK;
The offerings from Red River include: (see next review)
- Red River Palo Duro Softgloss; PK;
- Red River Palo Duro Etching (New); MK
The late entrant:
- Red River San Gabriel Baryta SG 2; PK.
As in previous paper reviews, the key items of interest are the papers’ physical characteristics (weight, substrate, coating, tint), colour gamut, amenability to accurate profiling, colour vibrancy, black and white printing characteristics (maximum white value, maximum black, neutrality, smoothness of tonal gradations), image definition.
I don’t discuss longevity because it’s not my specialty; but I do indicate whether the paper likely contains optical brightening agents (OBA/FBA), as these can affect the stability of image appearance over time. Other factors affect it as well.
I make only cursory reference to my testing methods in this article, as I have explained them in previous articles on this website.
Moab Entrada Rag Textured 300gsm
Epson P800 Printer
This offering is new from Legion Paper; it appeared on the market within the past several months. It’s a robust paper at 300 gsm, the substrate has a nice cotton rag feel and the printable side texture is noticeable but subtle – very pleasing for those not looking for a heavily textured paper but nonetheless want a bit of “tooth”. For those familiar with Moab Somerset Museum Rag, Entrada Rag Textured is slightly more textured and of slightly warmer tone. It is lignin and acid-free.
The sheet is quite neutral (neutral is a*, b* =0)), as seen in the Column N data in Figure 1. It is a bit less neutral in the green-magenta channel than it is in the blue-yellow channel, but at these low non-neutral values, stand-alone it looks neutral.
The gamut volume in the Epson P800 is in the range of 510~516K, not the highest, but within the normal range for a matte paper. Columns F, G, and H show the L*a*b* gamut boundaries of the R, G, B primaries.
The paper can be profiled quite accurately as seen in Column “I”, the custom profile (“Mark”) showing greater average accuracy than the OEM profile, as expected. The difference is within the expected range for OEM profiles, given the likely differences in equipment and other relevant conditions between the profiling and its evaluation.
I remind, the accuracy data helps to predict whether the printed values will look as we think they should relative to what we see in soft-proof on a well-calibrated and well-profiled display; profiles and Media Types have a major influence on accuracy, and the colors in the evaluation target need to be in gamut.
Figure 2 shows comparable data for the same paper in the Canon Pro-1000 printer:
Canon Pro-1000 Printer
The main differences of this paper’s performance between the two printers are that the Pro-1000 produces slightly larger gamut and slightly weaker printed maximum Black. Other differences showing in the above tables are unremarkable.
Taking a closer look at accuracy per color patch, Figure 3 graphs each of the 24 colors for the OEM and Custom profiles in the Epson P800. Note the difference of the left-side scale for each graph. I remind in general, while we like dE values to be very low, inaccuracies of specific colors only become “quite obvious” in prints once they exceed 2~ 3 dE, and the lower the average dE for a set, the lower the maximum dE for any one color patch is likely to be. For this set, the primary issue is the dE of the Blue rendition, which seems a bit higher than we would like it in both profiles, more so in the OEM profile. Whenever apparent outliers turn-up, I do additional readings of the same patch to make sure the reading is representative of the overall printed value for the patch.
Figure 4 is a similar representation for the Canon Pro-1000 printer.
The pattern of the dE differences between the colors is not the same between the two printers, nor necessarily between the OEM and Custom profiles. The best results for this paper were obtained with the Custom profile for the P800, but the others are acceptable, save for those few colors where the dE value approaches or exceeds 3.0. In that range, one may more easily, but not necessarily, notice a bit of a departure from the expected color.
I implemented the expanded grayscale tests I described in my article on this subject and show the results in Figures 5/6 for the 21 neutrals test (full luminance scale from L*0 ~ L*100), and Figures 7~11 for the 30 neutrals test (L*1~L*30).
Using the 21 Neutrals test (fidelity of reproduction for the full luminance scale), for matte papers, only the results from about L*15 upward make sense to take into account, because these papers don’t reflect Blacks deeper than some range around L*15. Nor does it make sense to focus on L*100, because paper white typically tops out in the range of L*95 to L*98 or so. Therefore, I focus on the Luminance range L*15~L*95 for matte papers throughout the article.
In Figure 5 (and others like it), the scale on the left situates dE. The optimum dE value for L*, a* and b* is 0 (that is, ideally all the lines on the graphs should crawl along the bottom – no dE variances). For the OEM profile, the average Total dE is 1.53, and for L* (Luminance scale) alone it is 0.58. L* is a bit peaky at L*75 (dE 1.4), while the Chroma dE peaks at a level of 1.6 dE in the L*45 range. These departures from dE 0 are not large enough to show obvious departures from neutral in a tone ramp over this range. Nor do they necessarily portend jarring discontinuity – e.g. a dE change of say 0.5 from point to point in these diagrams occurs over a 5 L* interval. The tone ramp in the Atkinson test image looks correct.
For the Custom profile, the average total dE over L*15~95 is 0.96, and 0.29 for L* alone. Most of the L* values are below dE 0.5 and only two of the Chroma values moderately exceed dE 1.0. This data indicates that on the whole grayscale neutrality and adherence to the Luminance scale is very satisfactory for the Custom profile.
Figure 6 shows the same kind of information for the Canon Pro-1000 printer. For the OEM profile the Total dE (L*15~95) is 1.51 and for L* alone 0.73, indicating overall good neutrality, save for a Chroma dE bump-up at L*25. As it is roughly within 1 dE of its neighbors, it would not show readily obvious chroma discontinuity in a print.
For the custom profile, the Total dE (same range) is 1.09 and L* alone 0.34, indicating overall very good neutrality, save for an L* bump-up at level 35, also within about 1 dE of its neighbors and therefore unlikely to jar.
The 30 neutrals test is a more detailed dive into the darkest 30 L* values of the luminance scale to test for separation of shadow detail, also described in the Expanded Neutrals article.
Figures 7 and 8 show the results for the Epson P800, OEM and Custom profiles respectively.
I remind that the Black line is the ideal – a perfectly linear (1 for 1) relationship between the Luminance values for each level in the image file; the red line shows the measured printed values; ideally Red and Black should merge; but in reality this will not maintain throughout the range. The objective of the test is to discern where Maximum Black in print begins on the luminance scale, and whether from there upward the slope of the red line adheres close enough to that of the black line such that optimum separation of shadow detail in print will be preserved.
Where you see a horizontal red line lodged, for example, at luminance levels 14~15 as in Figures 7 and 8, it means that the printer/paper/profile combination cannot print darker than that level, such that an increasing slope (shadow separation) of the red line will only begin from that input level upward. This is in Absolute Rendering Intent, which simply reproduces file values to the extent feasible. The remapping done by Relative Colorimetric Rendering Intent with Black Point Compensation remaps these flat values, giving them a slope such that distinction of shadow detail occurs, but at weaker levels of Black (Figure 9, green box).
Comparing Figures 7 and 8, the OEM profile produces 1 level lighter maximum Black than the custom profile. From their printable Black points upward, both profiles produce a quite linear output of Luminance values, the Custom profile running slightly below the linear benchmark and the OEM profile slightly above.
Figure 9 shows how using Relative Rendering Intent with Black Point Compensation will improve shadow detail separation between Levels 1 and 15 (the slope of the red curve indicates the presence of tonal separation between those levels), but at weaker Black tones than achievable from luster/gloss papers (to be shown later). This pattern of the difference of rendition between ABSCOL and RELCOL is similar for all the matte papers under review here, so I shall not repeat Figure 9 for the other papers discussed below.
Figures 10 and 11 (Absolute Rendering Intent) show pretty much the same picture for the same paper in the Canon Pro-1000, the main difference being that for the Custom Profile, the P800 achieved one level darker Maximum Black.
The print of the Atkinson printer test image looks fine on this paper. It’s definitely at the high-end of photographic print quality in the fine art matte papers category.
Moab Somerset Museum Rag
The most visible difference from Textured Rag is that Somerset Museum has slightly less tooth and its appearance is slightly whiter. It would seem to have a low level of OBA content (Figure 12, Magenta curves in the 400 range).
Its gamut volume and related data are shown for the Epson P800 and Canon Pro-1000 papers in Figures 13 and 14.
Paper White (Figure 13, Column N) is at the relatively bright end of matte papers, and very slightly warm at b*1.9. It’s a pleasing bright, near neutral paper with a barely perceptible warm temperature.
Gamut volume falls well within the normal range for matte papers, it being about 5% ~10% greater with the Pro-1000 printer than with the P-800, depending on whether one is comparing the OEM or Custom profiles. For the P800, profile gamut volume is very close for the OEM and Custom profiles. The widest gamut volume at 552.7K is achieved with the OEM profile in the Pro-1000.
The highest profile accuracy I achieved with this paper is a very good average dE of 0.72 with the Custom profile for the P800 printer. The others range from dE 1.25 (my profile Canon Pro-1000) to dE 1.98 (OEM profile, Epson P800). Figures 15 and 16 show the graphs of the dE variances by color by profile.
The printable Maximum Blacks are slightly darker for the P800 than for the Pro-1000 (L*14.3/14.8 versus L*16.2/16.3).
Please notice the left-side scale differences of the dE values between the OEM and Custom profiles. The heights of the bars have different numerical values between the graphs. Sometimes, unexplainable outliers occur and they don’t change much as a function of more readings of the same patches. Such was the case for Blue in the P800 OEM profile, and at much lower dE levels – Blue and Yellow in the P800 Custom profile. For this latter profile, only three values exceeded dE 1.0, the highest dE being one value mildly exceeded dE 2.0. For the OEM profile, 6 of the 24 values were dE 1.0 or less, while the other 18 varied between a little over dE 1 to about dE 5.5.
For the Pro-1000 printer, the Custom profile has 11 values at dE 1.0 or less, the remaining 13 values varying up to a maximum of dE 2.35. The OEM profile for the Pro-1000 shows 5 values at or below dE 1.0, the remainder varying up to a maximum of about 3.6.
To remind, from the viewpoint of what one sees in a photographic print, dE values only begin to become concerning upward from about dE 2.0 ~ dE 3.0, depending on the color and the context.
Turning to the 21 Neutral scale, Figures 17 and 18 show the dE behavior of the tone scale for the P800 and Pro-1000 printers respectively.
Using the Epson P800 printer, considering that we prefer flat lines crawling along the bottom of the dE scale, we can look casually at these wavy graphs and become concerned, until we relate them to the scales on the left and see that most of the dE variances occur within a fairly narrow band of dE values, that for the L*15~95 range would not be unduly problematic in prints. So, for the OEM profile, the Average total dE over the L*15~95 range is 1.84, L* alone Average dE 0.5. The Chroma-driven dE up-tick from L*75 is somewhat concerning. For the Custom profile the Average total dE over the same range is 0.9 and for L* alone 0.37, with no L* or Chroma values greater than dE1.
For the Canon Pro-1000 printer, over the L*15~95 range, OEM profile, the total Average dE is 1.36, the L* alone dE 0.74. Save for the bump-up at Level 25 caused more by Chroma than by Luminance and which doesn’t show as a hue shift in a printed gray ramp, these results are OK. For the custom profile, the comparable dE values are 1.13 (Total) and 0.38 (L*), the worst variance being level 15 at about dE 1.25 for each of Luminance and Chroma, again not generating undesirable visual feedback in the printed gray ramp.
Turning to the 30 Neutrals test for the distinction of shadow detail, Figures 19~22 inclusive show the Absolute Rendering L* performance for the two printers with OEM and Custom profiles. (These graphs track performance absent Rendering Intent correctives to produce more pleasing effects, just to show the unaided characteristics of the paper/printer/profile combinations. The general recommendation for printing is to use Relative Rendering Intent for better separation of shadow detail in the lower quartertones.)
In all cases, a Relative R.I. would perform the function shown in Figure 9, to differentiate shadow tones at lighter Black values in the zone from L*1 ~L*16/17.
Based on Absolute Intent (not the one we would use for making prints), the Custom profile for the P800 started to produce tonal differentiation from L*14, converging with the optimum path from several levels higher. The OEM profile for the P800 tracks the optimum path quite closely from L*15 upward. For the Pro-1000 printer, the OEM profile would produce slightly more differentiated detail between Levels 15~20, after which both the OEM and Custom profiles track the optimum path reasonably closely. This set of graphs indicates that both profiles in both printers would produce a good tracking of appropriate tonal separation from somewhere in the L*15~20 range onward, as well as from L*1 to L*15/20 when using Relative R.I., but at the cost of brightening gray tones throughout the L*1~30 tonal range and possibly beyond, pretty much as shown in Figure 9. This is normal.
In conclusion, Somerset Museum Rag is a very high-quality printing paper. The Blacks look strong, the paper white is vibrant with only a low OBA presence and the color reproduction is about as good as it gets for this category of “fine art” matte papers. It’s a lovely paper and one of the best matte options that I’ve reviewed.
Moab Entrada Rag (190 GSM)
This well-known paper from years back is an acid-free, lignin-free, OBA-free matte product, available in different weights and configurations. I review here the 190 GSM dual-sided version. Because it is relatively thin and flexible, it is ideal, say, for those wishing to bind photos printed on both sides of the pages into books. For printing on both sides, despite there being no obvious wetness as the paper comes out of these printers, it’s perhaps best to let the first printed side dry-down for a while before printing the other. There is no show-through of printing from one side to the other, save for a very faint – and I mean very faint – sighting if the deepest blacks are printed on one side where there is paper white on the other side. Otherwise, each side is opaque.
My measurement of Paper White (Figure 23, Col. N) is a respectable L*97.2, with a very slight warm cast that is hardly perceptible from neutral, stand-alone. It’s minimum printable Black is in the range of L*16.7 to 18.8 depending on the profile and printer, as shown in Figures 23 and 24. In both printers, this puts it at a very slightly weaker level of maximum Black compared with the previous two papers.
Turning to the remainder of the basic color data for this paper:
Gamut volume in the range of about 475~500K is on the whole somewhat narrower than for the previous two papers, but the range of difference is not likely large enough to be a decision variable for paper choice unless one has photos with colors that are considerably far from this paper’s gamut boundaries. If you don’t have ColorThink Pro for creating and graphing colour worksheets, you can check for approximate gamut coherence with Photoshop’s gamut warning using the appropriate profile, or for numerically accurate spot checking you can work between Photoshop’s color info panel and the gamut boundary data in columns F, G and H above (Figure 25).
For example, the indicated (white arrow) sample spot of red on those gorgeous red strawberries in Figure 25 has a L*a*b* reading of 32.55/64/51. Let’s say I’m using the OEM profile in the Canon Pro-1000. I see in Column F (Figure 24, OEM set) that the Red gamut boundary is L*a*b* 55/71/55, hence no problem – all three L*a*b* dimensions for this profile exceed the file color values of that spot on the strawberry. So yes, all that data isn’t just a bunch of numbers (I ask myself sometimes J!); it can actually come in handy.
The profiling accuracy Moab and I derived for this paper isn’t bad, but I would have preferred and expected slightly better results from the custom profile. The Average dE results are 1.06 (Custom P800) and dE 1.65 (OEM P800), with the Canon results falling in-between at dE 1.20/1.23. The results per color are in Figures 26 and 27.
For the P800 printer, there are several strange outliers: Blue in the OEM profile at dE 3.25, and Red in the Custom profile at dE 2.86. For the Pro-1000 profiles, none of the values reach the levels of those two, however, seven values exceed dE 2 for the OEM profile, and two likewise for the Custom profile. While not an excellent outcome, the printed results using all those profiles look satisfactory.
Turning to the grayscale evaluation, data for the 21 Neutrals test is shown in Figures 28 and 29 for the Epson P800 and Canon Pro-1000 printers respectively.
For the OEM profile, the behavior of the Luminance scale is very good over the L*15~95 range, the dE Average being 0.59. The performance of the Chroma scale shows dE average as 1.25, the maximum value dE 3.2 at the L*20 level. Looking at these patches on the print, they do look gray. To observe mild hue bias, neutrality would need to be closely compared between different prints.
For the custom profile, Total Average dE over the same range is 0.85, of which 0.43 Luminance and 0.42 Chroma. The highest dE results are at the L*15 point, with Chroma at dE 1.08 and Luminance dE 2.16. All the other the L* and Chroma variances are contained below 1 dE, indicating that the paper is amenable to good grayscale performance.
For the Canon printer, Grayscale performance with the OEM profile is very good, the total Average dE over the L*15~95 range being 0.96, of which Luminance is 0.52 and Chroma 0.44. For the Custom profile, over the same range average dE is 1.07, of which 0.49 is Luminance and .058 Chroma. Hence, for the Canon printer, one can expect good grayscale performance with this paper, whether using the OEM or a high-quality custom profile.
Turning to the 30 Neutrals test, Figures 30 to 33 show the results for the two printers and two profiling options (OEM, Custom).
As the above four figures are all in Absolute Rendering Intent, they show the limits of Black rendition absent the help of Relative Rendering Intent, which would boost the shadow detail over L*1~17 by weakening the Blacks and separating the levels such that the above curves would be sloped rather than flat in that range (ref Figure 9). From the graphs above, we see that Maximum Black begins at Level 16 in the P800 printer and Level 17 in the Pro-1000 printer. Both printers start separating the Black tones from Levels 16/17 upward. The curve for the Custom profile in the P800 is particularly pleasing, insofar as it graduates smoothly into linear shape starting at L*16 and becoming very linear from about L*22 upward.
These graphs track performance absent Rendering Intent adjustments, just to show the unaided characteristics of the paper/printer/profile combinations. The general recommendation for printing is to use Relative Rendering Intent (or perhaps Perceptual) for better separation of shadow detail in the lower quartertones.
Summarizing, Moab Entrada Rag Natural 190 Dual remains a high-quality matte paper, particularly useful for those who wish to print on matte and create two-sided page photo books.
Moab Lasal Dual Semigloss:
Turning from the Moab matte papers to the Luster-type papers, I begin with Lasal Dual Semigloss. It is a heavyweight (330gsm), double-sided luster paper, and could be unique for this combination of characteristics.
The measured paper white is less bright than usual for a gloss/luster paper, at L*93.1. It is also very slightly cool-toned at -0.4a* and -0.5b* (negative values are cool, positive values are warm – in this case very slight on the cool side of 0).
Gamut volumes could also be somewhat greater for this class of paper in these printers. In principle, one prefers more gamut than less, but whether it matters much within a certain range is case-specific. The widest gamut volume shows for the Custom profile in the Canon Pro-1000.
The printed Maximum Black point is a respectable 2.5/2.7 in the Epson P800, and a very slightly brighter 3.2 for the Custom profile in the Pro-1000.
Profiling accuracy varies, as usual, being 1.86 for the OEM profile in the P800, and 0.92 for the Custom profile in both printers. The dE readings for the 24 patches in the four profiles appear in Figures 36 and 37.
While one would have preferred somewhat greater accuracy, none of these outcomes will be troublesome for all photographs where precise color rendition is not vital. For the OEM profile in the P800, 11 of 24 patches have dE 2 or greater, but none exceeding 3. For the Custom profile, only one value (white) exceeds dE 2 (the print isn’t quite as bright as the reference value for the patch because the paper is limited to L*93, while the patch value is L*95 – i.e. a mild “out-of-gamut” problem). For this profile, 17 of the 24 values are below dE 1, hence, on the whole, the accuracy readings for the Custom profile in the P800 are very good.
For the OEM profile in the Canon Pro-1000, 7 of the 24 values show dE below 1.0. Orange is an outlier. For the custom profile, same printer, 16 of the 24 values show dE below 1, Red is slightly above 2.0 and White is slightly below 2.0 (same reason as above). On the whole, the accuracy readings for the Custom profile in the Pro-1000 are very good.
Turning to the rendition of the grayscale, Figures 38 and 39 show the curves for the Epson P800 and Canon Pro1000 printers respectively.
As this is a Photo Black ink Luster paper, the range worth measuring is from L*5 to 95 (rather than L*15 to 95 as for matte). Over this range, the Total average dE is 1.09 for the OEM profile and 0.8 for the custom profile. Looking at the Luminance dE alone, it is 0.49 for the OEM profile and 0.33 for the custom profile. In the OEM profile, the Chroma dE spikes a bit over 1.0 in the L*40 and L*55 ranges and the Luminance dE spikes a bit over 1.0 in the L*50 and L*75 ranges. For the custom profile, none of the Luminance or Chroma values exceed dE 0.75, until L*90 where the Chroma bumps up to a bit over dE 1.00. On the whole, all of this is very good.
In the Canon Pro-1000, OEM profile relevant range, the Total Average dE is 1.05 and for L* alone 0.87. This compares favorably with the results for the Custom profile Toral Average dE 1.47, L* alone 0.81. This is the first instance I’ve seen where the OEM profile outperforms the custom profile for accuracy. While the result with the P800 shows greater accuracy, the one for the Pro-1000 remains within the acceptable range – though I would have preferred a flatter result over L*15 to 35.
Turning to the 30 neutrals test, Figures 40~43 show native quartertone detail rendition capability absent RelCol adjustments.
Compared with the curves for the matte papers – and this is typical – the depth and overall accuracy of deep quartertone detail is far superior. From about L*2~3 upward the measured curve (red) follows the linear reference curve (black) quite closely, whether for the OEM or Custom profiles. The levels of the custom profile for the Canon Pro-1000 tended to wander a bit below the reference values (Figure 43) upwards of L*7, but the slope is generally good enough to assure good tonal separation.
Summing up for Lasal Semigloss, if I wanted to make good vibrant, wide-gamut prints on both sides of this page, this would be a decent choice of paper. I do find its paper-white a bit lower and grayer than I would prefer, but that’s just a matter of personal taste. As well, it does feel a bit “plastic” to the touch compared with a cotton rag paper, but if it’s coating on both sides we’re after, this is inevitable. The printed photos look crisp and vibrant.
Moab Lasal Exhibition Luster:
This is a 300 GSM, coated one-side luster paper with OBA content (Figure 44; note the pronounced magenta/violet spike in the 400nm range). The substrate is alpha-cellulose.
The basic profiling and color data is in Figures 45 and 46.
Measured paper white is a bright L*95.7, the native hue of the paper being very slightly on the cool side of neutral at a*-0.4 and b*-0.3. The printable maximum Black ranges from L*2.3 (OEM profile, P800 printer) to L*2.7 (Custom profile, P800 printer), with the Canon Pro-1000 very close at L*2.6. These are good rich Blacks.
Gamut volume is in the range of 746.6K (P800 printer, custom profile) to 777.6K (Pro-1000 printer, custom profile) – normal for luster papers in these printers.
Profiling accuracy ranged from a high accuracy of dE 0.87 (Custom profile, Pro-1000 printer) to a lower accuracy of dE 1.67 (OEM profile, Pro-1000 printer) – all decent outcomes. The detailed dE values per color per profile are shown in the graphs of Figures 47 and 48.
In the P800 print, Bluish–Green is a bit of a stubborn outlier in the OEM profile, as is Blue in the custom profile. In the custom profile, 17 of 24 values are below dE 1. For the OEM profile, 5 values are below dE 1.
In the Canon Pro-1000 printer, the OEM profile shows three colors reproducing at about 3.5 dE; however, 14 other colors are below dE 1.5, the average being dE 1.67, which is not bad. The custom profile shows 17 colors below 1 dE, the most inaccurate being Yellow, approaching dE 2, the average being 0.87, which is quite good. It may be useful context to know that the lowest Average dE results I’ve achieved with this test on any printer/paper I’ve tested is 0.44.
Turning to grayscale rendition, Figures 49 and 50 show the results for the two printers.
For the Epson P800 printer (Figure 49), the average total dE and L* dE over L*5~95 are 1.05 and 0.47 respectively for the OEM profile, which is good. For the custom profile, average Total dE is 0.72 over the same range, while that for L* alone is 0.3. Only two Chroma dE values exceed dE 1.0 for the OEM profile and only 1 value exceeds dE 1.0 for the custom profile. For the latter, I would have preferred lower Chroma dE at L*85, but otherwise, these are fine results. Grayscale ramps look fine.
For the Canon Pro-1000 (Figure 50), OEM profile, Average Total and L* dE are 0.96 and 0.32 respectively, a tad better than my custom profile at 1.02 and 0.42 respectively. For the OEM profile, only two Chroma values exceed dE 1.0. For my custom profile, only 2 Chroma values show a dE moderately over 1.0; the remainder of the individual Luminance and Chroma dE values are well below 1.0.
Turning to the 30 Neutrals test for quartertone shadow detail, Figures 51~54 show the results for the two printers, using Absolute Rendering Intent.
Linearity and separation of shadow detail is on the whole very well maintained, the results for the P800 being slightly more linear than for the Pro-1000.
Summing up for this paper, photos look good on it. If you’ve done everything right, colors are vibrant, the definition of detail is fine, gray ramps are smooth, accuracy is pretty good and the paper handles well in the printers.
Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl
This is a specialty paper with very high reflectivity and a creamy/metallic appearance. Obviously, it’s better suited to some photos than others, and not a product one would recommend for general printing. Nor is it a product for which dwelling on accuracy numbers makes much sense, so I’ll just reflect that data in the tables, but not dwell on it. One isn’t using it for the accuracy of color reproduction; it’s best used for “effect”. In a previous article, I reviewed its sibling – Metallic Silver. That one is even more specialized. I sense that there would be a broader range of photos compatible with the Pearl version because it does have a closer appearance to normal photographic paper, save for the characteristics just mentioned.
The “paper white” is lower than usual for a PK paper – at L*88.2. The measured paper hue is a very slightly off-neutral mix of weak magenta and weak blue (a*0.6, b*-1.2 respectively). The printable maximum Black in the P800 is a rich L*2.3/2.4, and even blacker in the Pro-1000 at L*1.7, which is quite extraordinary. Gamut volume ranges between about 636K~650K, depending on the profile. This is narrower than usual for a glossy PK paper, but recall, we are dealing here with a specialty paper. I find the accuracy range reported above, whether for the Canon or Epson printers or the OEM or Custom profiles, to be quite satisfactory given the nature of the product. I’m skipping comment on the dE of individual colors.
Turning to Grayscale rendition (21 Neutrals test), I’m reducing the presentation relative to that for the other papers, because the overall profile accuracy for all cases is within quite a narrow range and we are less pre-occupied with accuracy for this paper. For the P800 (Figure 57), the average total dE for the L*5~95 range is 1.21, and for L* alone 0.78 over the same range. This result is partly influenced by the fact that the paper/profile gamut is limited to L*88 at the bright end of the range, while the values in the reference file for the usually relevant portion of the luster/gloss class include L*90 and L*95. Excluding those two out of gamut values from the test, brings the average total dE down to a very good average total dE of 0.73, and average L* dE 0.35. So grayscale neutrality and correctness of the tonal range are well rendered for this metallic product.
The results for the Canon Pro-1000 are good. Average Total dE over the L*5~95 range is 0.95, and for L*alone 0.64.
Figures 59 and 60 show the 30 Neutral test for shadow detail:
The outcome with the P800 printer is excellent – very close adherence to the linear curve. While there is a mild departure from the reference curve with the Pro-1000 printer, the slope of the curve indicates a satisfactory separation of shadow detail (and reasonably accurate) from L*2 upward.
Summing up for this paper, compared with its sibling paper, Metallic Silver, there’s probably a broader range of images that would look good printed on it. In Figure 61 I try to replicate how it prints in the Canon Pro-1000 with a scan of the print of the Atkinson Printer Test Page, using SilverFast Ai8 Studio in my Epson V850 to derive as close as a match to the print that I could. It shows well enough how the colors and grayscale get rendered, but it can’t show the shimmery metallic look of the actual print.
If you want a not too heavily tinted metallic look for a photo, this would be a choice paper to use for that purpose, and it is amenable to reasonably accurate outcomes.