I wrote last November on my first experiences on Canson Infinity papers. You can find the blog here. I promised to continue with three more papers. Now I have enough experience on them to write an opinion.
Baryta Photographique has a smoother surface (but has still some texture) than Platine Fibre Rag and it has also a slightly wider gamut. They both have the same weight, 310g, but Platine Fibre Rag feels rougher and more "cardboard-ish" when hold in hand. The base material in Baryta Photographique is alpha-cellulose and it has a barium sulphate coating, just like traditional black and white papers had. Over that there is of course a receiver coating for ink jet. Visually these two papers have practically the same degree of glossiness. It seems that Baryta Photographique shows scratches a bit easier than Baryta.
Baryta Photographique has earned very good comments in net blogs and it has became a favorite for many Fine Art printers. Maybe I am just imagining but I tend to see the images on Baryta more three dimensional than on Platine. On the other hand I also feel that Baryta has a lesser character as a material than Platine, because I seem to find more qualifiers for Platine´s material feel. Baryta simply shows the image brilliantly and remains more in the background as a material.
Also Baryta Photographique is buffered, acid free and has no optical brighteners. Black ink should be photo black. The image dries immediately and is water proof. It is available in all standard sizes from 8,5x11" / A4 up to 44" roll.
BFK Rives derives from printing graphics, and it has a history of more than 500 years behind. Made of 100% Rag, BFK Rives is mould-made. It is a slow technique where a cylinder mould fetches pulp from tank. Paper stock is transferred from mould to felt and then dried between cylinders. The choise of felt gives the paper its grain, defined by the felt’s structure. Mould-made paper is stronger than machine made because the bonding between paper fibres is the same in all directions. A paper like this is very good for embossing. BFK Rives in Infinity series gets of course a one sided ink jet coating. This printing side is very easily recognized by fingers from the other side.
BFK is naturally a matt paper. The mentioned structure makes this paper clearly different from the smooth Rag Photographique. Another difference is warmer paper tone. Obviously because of manufacturing method BFK Rives is a rigid material and as 310g paper it is very suitable even for cards. Its surface texture is sensitive for chafing, though.
I chose BFK Rives for images whose nature is more on the side of graphics than strictly photographic. This material promotes very well that style. Canson Infinity series has also materials with even more structure if you want to emphasize more painterly or water color styles.
Again with BFK Rives we can repeat all previously mentioned criteria for museum required longevity. You should use Matte Black with it. Also this one is available in all standard sizes from 8,5x11" / A4 up to 44" roll. BFK Rives is the most expensive of my five papers.
PhotoSatin Premium RC
PhotoSatin is the other alpha-cellulose based material of these five papers. Its base tone is also the whitest of these. It has a subdued satin shine, which is achieved by polyethylene coating. This satin surface has less gloss than Baryta Photographique. I consider PhotoSatin as a great paper for portfolios, books and as a material for first prints. It is the cheapest paper in Canson Infinity series. PhotoSatin is not easily stained and fingerprints can be wiped off easily. It is a lot thinner and more flexible than Baryta, and lighter also at 270g, which makes it good for books and portfolios. Really I don´t consider PhotoSatin to be any worse than the others. I just lacks the exquisite material feel which those non-RC papers have - for me.
And again I am repeating that PhotoSatin has no OBA´s and fulfills all museum criteria for longevity. And like with the others you can print with dyes or pigmented inks. Photo Satin is available in all standard sizes from 8,5x11" / A4 up to 44" roll.
Canson has two different trial or Discovery Packs. The other one has 10 and the other 11 different materials, two sheets of each. The difference between Packs is that the other one includes only matte papers and the other one has emphasis on glossy and semi-glossy papers. This image shows matte surfaces. These Discovery Packs are an easy way to learn differnt printing materials because you can get ICC-profiles for each of them from Canson Infinity web site.
Canson Infinity range and support
I have found that Canson has done a few important things right.
First is the width of high quality materials and surfaces. They have everything from high gloss to baryta surfaces. From smooth mattes to textured watercolor papers and canvases. All in all 20 different products of which I have introduced only five. For me the choise among these is more a question of taste than quality. The structure of surface, glossiness (or lack of) and base tone all work together when choosing a paper for each image. All materials are suited for pigmented and dye inks.
Second, Canson has taken time and effort to make excellent ICC profiles. When you change from one paper into another, you only need to change the profile (and printer settings) and the result is very predictable and consistent. This consistency makes printing a lot easier and cheaper without any compromise in quality. As I noted above, any high quality paper is not perfect for every image. Canson makes it easier to choose the best paper for every image.
And third, Canson Infinity has good instructions on their website for choosing right inks and paper settings for various printers which include over 40 printer models from Epson, Canon and HP. Paper range, product PDFs, ICC profiles and lots of information and tips on printing can be found at cansoninfinity.com