Canson Baryta vs. Etching Rag vs. Epson Premium Luster
I've just had a few of test shots printed with various paper and am comparing Canson Baryta photographique to Canson Etching Rag. To me the Baryta seems to give very smooth and even results while the Etching Rag looks more like a paper version of a canvas -nice structure, but not the smooth appearance of Baryta. Finally, I compare both to Epson Premium Luster and find the Baryta very similar.
So what are the various uses of these paper types -what are they meant for and best for?
Paper choice is a very personal thing. It is based on your conception of how you want the final print to look, and is often very image specific. And if they are going under glass, some of the differences are moot.
Canson Baryta Photographique is 310 g/m², Epson Premium Lustre is 260 g/m², the baryta is a more substantial paper. The Canson is a baryta paper, it gets its whiteness from the barium sulphate layer, the Epson paper gets its whiteness from optical brightening agents (OBAs), and OBAs fade quickly over time and look less white under UV protective glass because the whiteness they produce comes from pushing the spectrum around the 230 nanometer mark, which is close to the UV area of the spectrum. The Canson paper is acid and lignin free, the Epson may be too, but I don't know.
In short, the Canson paper is of archival quality, the Epson is not. That isn't to say that Epson Premium Lustre is a bad paper, I use a lot of both these two papers
I don't use Edition Etching, but I use a similar paper from Hahnemühle, German Etching. The Canson paper is cotton rag, the Hahnemühle is made from wood pulp. It holds detail better than most textured papers but still retains its texture and feel in the white areas.
The smooth cotton rag papers are more popular with photographers than textured ones. Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308 is probably the most widely used, but I have a preference for Canson Rag Photographique 310. The Hahnemühle paper contains a small amount of OBAs, the Canson has none. The Canson paper is a little smoother, although Hahnemühle do make an 'ultra smooth' version of their rag.
Howard Moftich wrote:
Have you compared Rag Photographique vs. Platine? If so, thoughts?
The Canson Platine is more comparable with other cotton rag barytas, such as Museo Silver Rag, Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl, and Hahnemühle Photo Rag Satin, than with pulp based papers like Baryta Photographique and Ilford Gold Fibre Silk.
The rag based papers tend to be glossier and more textured than the pulp based papers; but I haven't had a good look at the Hahnemühle Satin.
They are generally more expensive, but the fact they are cotton is a selling point with some customers. It is difficult to describe the differences, because they are subtle, but not as subtle as the differences between Baryta Photographique and GFS, which appear to have the same barium sulphate layer (maybe applied by the same company) and the slight surface differences seem to be from the different underlying paper bases.
I went to Platine when there were production problems with Silver Rag, and I haven't regretted it. But I do regret not stocking a US made paper anymore. Silver Rag prices really dropped after their problems, and I may consider it again when I need to restock. They claim the production problem are gone, and to have admitted they had a problem is a good sign.
You really need to get samples and try them for yourself. I know, yet another couple of sample packs, most of which won't get used, but it is really the only way.
Note: Hahnemühle do two different fine art sample packs: one glossy and canvas, the other matte.