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Ilford Multigrade paper: gloss, satin or pearl?

Tuomo Johannes Saarikko , Nov 30, 2005; 08:50 a.m.


I have been using now only satin paper until I tried gloss paper yesterday. I was very pleased with the glossy paper but I wonder how it differs from the pearly paper? Is it possible to see an example picture on the internet?

Thank you very much! Tuomo


Tony Terlecki , Nov 30, 2005; 09:04 a.m.

Pearl is in between satin and gloss - call it semi-gloss. The Pearl paper has a slight texture to it which is different from the smoothness of the other two papers. There is absolutely no way these surface differences can be adequately shown by images on the Internet. Get a small pack of Pearl paper and see for yourself.

Randall Ellis , Nov 30, 2005; 10:01 a.m.

Pick up a 25 sheet pack of each, print the same image using the same settings, enlarger height, filter, etc. and then compare the results. As the previous poster stated, there is no way to adequately show paper textures on the internet.

Back in the day, paper manufacturers offered "sampler packs" of their papers with 5 or so sheets of each type of paper in one package, but now only Berger offers this. Kentmere and Foma have swatch books, similar to what was in the old Kodak B+W Dataguides, where they have done the printing for you and then bound the results into a book so you can see each paper compared to the others, but there is not anything currently available for Ilford papers unless you do it your self.

Small packs are cheap (~$15 USD) and you can always find a use for any extra paper you might have left after your tests. I keep a small variety of papers on hand for different needs. There are times when the tactility of the paper can benefit the print and if you have a small selection of paper on hand you can try differnt papers out and see which surface gives the feeling you want.

- Randy

Stuart Moxham - Finland , Nov 30, 2005; 02:04 p.m.

I am probably in a minority but I use pearl paper quite a lot. I find it to be a good comprimise for resin coated paper. I don't really want the hassel of fibre based all the time because of the long wash cycle and having to wash my prints in the bath room. I find that glossy RC is just to glossy so I went with pearl RC for most of what I. It has a slight sheen to it and a light texture but you can easily see the picture instead of just a relfection. It is kind of like the lustre paper you see color portraits printed on ut it still looks different in B&W if you get what I mean.

Colin Jackson , Nov 30, 2005; 03:38 p.m.

I find the glossy gives deeper blacks like you see when pearl or satin is still wet. The non glossy blacks "dry down" to a more muted black. Also depending on how they are being displayed, the glossies can have annoying reflections and are viewable from a narrower range of angles.

Chris Waller , Nov 30, 2005; 04:36 p.m.

Satin paper is my particualr favourite. It has just the merest hint of sheen to it. It's not quite matt but less textured than pearl.

Graham Hughes , Nov 30, 2005; 06:06 p.m.

I quite like both satin and pearl, but for different things. Satin is almost matte in some ways. I found the best way was to go to one of the local photo stores and ask if they have a samples book; that tells you the difference pretty quickly.

Tommi Pirnes , Dec 01, 2005; 06:49 a.m.

M䠯len ainakin n䨮yt esim. Rajalassa mallikuvia printattuna eri papereille ja nimenomaan Ilfordille...

Jacob Erickson , Dec 01, 2005; 12:32 p.m.

Ilford RC glossy looks way too plastic to me. Pearl is slightly textured and less reflective, but still renders good blacks. It also seems to resist scratches and fingerprints better than Ilford's glossy RC. Pearl is the RC finish I use most often.

Scott Walton , Dec 05, 2005; 02:35 p.m.

I really like the Matte paper, I think it is the .5 vs the .44 pearl. Printed right you will get all the tones and absolutely no reflections to get in the way.

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