A case for matte paper and PK ink

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
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Beholdclarity New Member • Posts: 16
A case for matte paper and PK ink

There were numerous threads on this site and others discussing the possibility of using Matte paper in conjunction with PK ink.

Now, as you are aware, matte papers usually call for matte ink (MK). But sometimes, MK is not available. In my case, I did not want to risk switching between MK and PK on my P600. Others don't want to waste precious ink every time. So, is it possible to use matte papers with glossy black (PK)?

The discussions seemed to be confusingly controversial. Let me offer my observations:

  1. Not alle matte papers are made equal.
    There are as many matte varieties as there are glossy and in my experience, not all of them are suitable for PK use.
  2. Matte papers with coating-like surfaces work best.
    Matte papers with a closed surface that does not permit the PK to penetrate the paper deeply will offer the best experience.

It seems that your success in using PK with matte papers is very much dependant on which kind of matte paper you are using. Papers I have tested with unacceptable washed out results:

  • Awagami Washi Papers
  • Canson Rag Photographique

Papers which may work for you:

  • Tecco PM 230 matte
  • Canson Photographique II matte

The last paper is one that I can actually recommend. It is *fully* matte and absolutely without structure. There is no sheen, no texture, no stiple, no reflection at all.

It has a chalky feel to the touch and its dense alpha cellulose base makes it feel a little artificial and certainly not "arty", but if matte is what you want. This is it.

It has a very exact white white-point, slightly brighter and whiter that Photographique II baryta and significantly whiter than OBA-free cotton papers like Canson Platine Fiber Rag. But nowhere near over-white, like Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta. I would call it dead white.

It is a very thin but dense paper with good stiffness but a plastic like feel. On my A4 test sheets I did not find more curl than on other papers.

It seems the Baryta coating on the surface does exactly as advertised and prevents ink from dissipating into the paper. The result is a nice matte print with no issues. There may be a hint less contrast but otherwise I can recommend it.

Here is a comparison with a norma glossy type paper.

Take note:

  1. DO NOT compare Colors on these images. My printer still is dealing with a serious color shift. Therefore, I de-saturated the images before upload.
  2. Both images were printed using the "Premium Semigloss" media type in ABW mode (no ICC profile).

Top: Canson Photographique II matte (printed with PK), Bottom: Hahnemühle Rag Pearl 320 g/m

Canson matte (printed with PK)

HN Rag Pearl 320 (note the reflection on top)


The Canson Photographique II matte is something you can actually use with PK without much trouble. It still exhibits the smooth transitions and reflection-less surface you expect from matte paper as well as a slight loss of contrast and sharpness.

Compared to the next best thing I have to a matte-like glossy paper, the Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl 320 (which I also highly recommend) it looks pretty good.

Nikon Coolpix P600
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