Best acrylic face mount options

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Best acrylic face mount options

Hi I'd like thoughts on the best acrylic face mount out-sourcing options for large (20 x 30 +) prints. The photos I want to print are low resolution and low gamut. Shadow detail and color accuracy are important for these images. So far I'm trying to compare these:

Nevada Art Printers Lumachrome' - "Details appear to emerge in 3D from the depths of the image with the Lumachrome process thanks to the transparency layer that is infused with iridium particles" etc etc

White Wall 'Ultra HD' - "In the Fuji Crystal Professional Archive Maxima photo paper, the visual maximum density is increased another 10%. Now even finer details can be reproduced, even in dark, shadowy parts of your photo" "Massive luminosity and light-resistance" etc etc

Chromasheen - "World class acrylic face mounts guaranteed to captivate the viewer"

Bumblejax - "Our guarantee is 100% happiness on every print"

Scale Up Art - "We are proud to offer the best acrylic face-mounts available"

I've read lots of reviews and forums and waded through screeds of marketing BS and still feel like its a stab in the dark...

Has anyone compared any of these? How do the papers differ - Fuji Crystal Pearl, Fuji Crystal Professional Archive Maxima, Fujiflex, Hahnemuhle Photo Gloss Paper (specifically for face mount acrylic)? Best printer - inkjet vs chromogenic lightjet vs chromogenic LED?

Scale up are the only ones I can find offering 1/4" Trulife acrylic, would there be much difference from 1/8"?

Thank-you in advance.

SonyA7rII_Boy New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

nzsky wrote:

Hi I'd like thoughts on the best acrylic face mount out-sourcing options for large (20 x 30 +) prints. The photos I want to print are low resolution and low gamut. Shadow detail and color accuracy are important for these images. So far I'm trying to compare these:

Nevada Art Printers Lumachrome' - "Details appear to emerge in 3D from the depths of the image with the Lumachrome process thanks to the transparency layer that is infused with iridium particles" etc etc

White Wall 'Ultra HD' - "In the Fuji Crystal Professional Archive Maxima photo paper, the visual maximum density is increased another 10%. Now even finer details can be reproduced, even in dark, shadowy parts of your photo" "Massive luminosity and light-resistance" etc etc

Chromasheen - "World class acrylic face mounts guaranteed to captivate the viewer"

Bumblejax - "Our guarantee is 100% happiness on every print"

Scale Up Art - "We are proud to offer the best acrylic face-mounts available"

I've read lots of reviews and forums and waded through screeds of marketing BS and still feel like its a stab in the dark...

Has anyone compared any of these? How do the papers differ - Fuji Crystal Pearl, Fuji Crystal Professional Archive Maxima, Fujiflex, Hahnemuhle Photo Gloss Paper (specifically for face mount acrylic)? Best printer - inkjet vs chromogenic lightjet vs chromogenic LED?

Scale up are the only ones I can find offering 1/4" Trulife acrylic, would there be much difference from 1/8"?

Thank-you in advance.

I would only use the Diasec process for acrylic mounting... especially with archival prints.

AFAIK the only US supplier is Reed Photo... https://www.reedphoto.com/services/finishing/acrylic-face-mount-prints-to-plex/

I have also heard that inkjet prints are not suited for acrylic mounting due to gas release overtime which reacts with the adhesive used to mount onto the acrylic.

FujiFlex mounts really well with acrylic though.

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

Thanks SonyA7rii_Boy,

I have asked Nevada Art Printers what adhesive system they use. As far as I can tell Whitewall uses chromogenic laser, Bublejax and Nevada Art Printers use inkjet.

Whitewall advertises "enormous color gamut" but asks for files to have sRGB embeded in the files, am I missing something or does that not make sense? They also don't specify what type of acrylic they use.

What would the best paper type for landscapes be in your opinions?

I think I'll just have to get hard proofs done $$$

mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,171
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

nzsky wrote:

Thanks SonyA7rii_Boy,

I have asked Nevada Art Printers what adhesive system they use. As far as I can tell Whitewall uses chromogenic laser, Bublejax and Nevada Art Printers use inkjet.

Whitewall advertises "enormous color gamut" but asks for files to have sRGB embeded in the files, am I missing something or does that not make sense? They also don't specify what type of acrylic they use.

What would the best paper type for landscapes be in your opinions?

I think I'll just have to get hard proofs done $$$

Inkjet far surpasses RA-4 wet chemistry (i.e. chromogenic) in resolution, DR and color gamut.

The best paper for color punch is metallic.

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

Thanks Mike,

So far I've found out Whitewall uses diasec, does not use trulife, and did not name the acrlylic they use. They do accept larger colour spaces than sRGB - their website is a bit ambiguous.

They claim this about their Fuji Crystal Professional Archive Maxima system "Over 10% more maximum density for deeper black with finer details, 21% more color space volume for more vivid and saturated colors, Markedly improved light resistance for longer-lasting luminosity" so I don't know how that would compare to inkjet other than what you have stated.

The frieght price quoted from Nevada Art printers to New Zealand is a killer. The reason I'm taking this time is I intend to hold my first exhibition and will need a lot of prints done and want the best results.

mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,171
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

nzsky wrote:

Thanks Mike,

So far I've found out Whitewall uses diasec, does not use trulife, and did not name the acrlylic they use. They do accept larger colour spaces than sRGB - their website is a bit ambiguous.

They claim this about their Fuji Crystal Professional Archive Maxima system "Over 10% more maximum density for deeper black with finer details, 21% more color space volume for more vivid and saturated colors, Markedly improved light resistance for longer-lasting luminosity" so I don't know how that would compare to inkjet other than what you have stated.

The frieght price quoted from Nevada Art printers to New Zealand is a killer. The reason I'm taking this time is I intend to hold my first exhibition and will need a lot of prints done and want the best results.

Is there no one in NZ that can do this for you? Also know that RA-4 has a display life 1/4 that of the best inkjet.

I made these for myself but it is a PITA if you don't have a professional powered laminator (I used a manual one and had a 50% failure rate). But if you're having to ship these in from the U.S. it might be worth it to you to spend the money for a powered laminator and just make them yourself.

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

There are a hand-full offering acrylic face mounts here (New Zealand) but they are more in the sign-writer / add on service category, ie probably not gallery quality. There are some bespoke printers but none that I can find that do face mounting. There are some in Australia which would save a bundle in freight but I would probably still be faced with import duties, customs fees, and gst (goods and services tax) payable on imports. The freight price to get a 20 x 30" AFM from Nevada is nearly the cost of the print (and I want bigger than that), add that to the print cost will be more than the average kiwi earns in a week in NZ dollars. And that's just for one. I do like the look of Lumachrome though. Local would definitely be easier. I don't want to start laminating myself, the cost of getting one here would probably be even more costly than the prints and I couldn't afford failures on Trulife acrylic. Good thought though. I have requested a freight price from Whitewall (Germany). I don't know if Whitewalls process is RA-4, and I would prefer to know what their acrylic is, which they have not disclosed to me even though I asked.

mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,171
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

nzsky wrote:

There are a hand-full offering acrylic face mounts here (New Zealand) but they are more in the sign-writer / add on service category, ie probably not gallery quality. There are some bespoke printers but none that I can find that do face mounting. There are some in Australia which would save a bundle in freight but I would probably still be faced with import duties, customs fees, and gst (goods and services tax) payable on imports. The freight price to get a 20 x 30" AFM from Nevada is nearly the cost of the print (and I want bigger than that), add that to the print cost will be more than the average kiwi earns in a week in NZ dollars. And that's just for one. I do like the look of Lumachrome though. Local would definitely be easier. I don't want to start laminating myself, the cost of getting one here would probably be even more costly than the prints and I couldn't afford failures on Trulife acrylic. Good thought though. I have requested a freight price from Whitewall (Germany). I don't know if Whitewalls process is RA-4, and I would prefer to know what their acrylic is, which they have not disclosed to me even though I asked.

Have you considered metal prints? They look just as good and the cost of the print is about the same as acrylic face mount but the weight is much less saving you a lot on shipping costs.

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

Mike yes I've considered metal prints. Lots of camera stores are offering them but turns out they are drop shipping. The few printers doing dye sublimation that I can find here are only doing small formats. There is a gap in our market. I think I'd rather pay the extra shipping cost for acrylic, all the other costs will be the same anyway.

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

Good news, finally found a NZ company that does gallery quality face mounts. Had to wade through loads of bogus websites, drop shipping sites claiming to supply, and low quality sign-writing type companies. Thanks for everyones input

A Owens Veteran Member • Posts: 3,401
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

nzsky wrote:

Good news, finally found a NZ company that does gallery quality face mounts. Had to wade through loads of bogus websites, drop shipping sites claiming to supply, and low quality sign-writing type companies. Thanks for everyones input

That is good news. Who in NZ is going to print them for you and what is the price for that size? Are you exhibiting in Auckland?, I would love to come along and see how the prints turn out!

Do you know what adhesive they are laminating with and what layers are in the sandwich?

BTW, our factory in Albany is equipped to sublimate large format metal but we do not have the time or capacity at the moment. Too busy with other products. I have been meaning to develop it as a product too but other priorities are in the way!

Another method to consider for VERY large prints that are viewed at a distance is back-lit textile. This is a sublimated product and looks exceptional for the right image in the right space.

Good luck with the exhibition!

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

Hi A Owens, the printer is Corin Walker Bain, he is featured in "Nikons I am New Zealand", very inspiring work. His website is agreatbackyard.co.nz . To be honest I overlooked him initially because that website name didn't stand out among the many bogus sites and sign-writing businesses advertising face mounts. He uses Shinkolite acrylic, not sure about adhesive but if I remember the conversation correctly not diasec and not sure yet about the backing but sounded like dibond. I still fancy Trulife (uv blocking, anti-glare etc) and because he is a boutique printer and the number of prints would utilize a whole sheet I'm sure he could use that at an extra cost. Seemed like a great guy to work with. I was given a bulk rate which was a bit less than Nevada Art dealers (in NZD) but the shipping, customs and GST was going to be very expensive from either the US or Germany. Back-lit textile sounds intriguing, three of the prints will be of lightning bolts hitting Tga countryside, might be a good fit. I'm exhibiting in Tauranga, you are welcome to come.

A Owens Veteran Member • Posts: 3,401
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

nzsky wrote:

Hi A Owens, the printer is Corin Walker Bain, he is featured in "Nikons I am New Zealand", very inspiring work. His website is agreatbackyard.co.nz . To be honest I overlooked him initially because that website name didn't stand out among the many bogus sites and sign-writing businesses advertising face mounts. He uses Shinkolite acrylic, not sure about adhesive but if I remember the conversation correctly not diasec and not sure yet about the backing but sounded like dibond. I still fancy Trulife (uv blocking, anti-glare etc) and because he is a boutique printer and the number of prints would utilize a whole sheet I'm sure he could use that at an extra cost. Seemed like a great guy to work with. I was given a bulk rate which was a bit less than Nevada Art dealers (in NZD) but the shipping, customs and GST was going to be very expensive from either the US or Germany. Back-lit textile sounds intriguing, three of the prints will be of lightning bolts hitting Tga countryside, might be a good fit. I'm exhibiting in Tauranga, you are welcome to come.

Ok, if you are in Tauranga then Textiles Alive may be worth a call. They are local to you. Like us, they mainly deal at a trade level but because you are local and probably not a potential customer of their customers then they may be happy to talk. Either that or they can refer you to one of their customers.

https://www.textilesalive.co.nz/articles/see-the-light

You can see the backlit textile prints in the image in that link. They are more of a commercial  product for shops etc. but I feel that they are great for any image that suits that particular media. I am not sure how small TA will go, They have a big EFI printer (3m or 5m wide, cant recall but they may have a couple of smaller ones too).  They will no doubt have good colour management but will probably only be printing with 4 or 6 colours. However that is not really a problem with dye sub as the colour gamut is much wider than pigment prints.

We have recently added a little 1,6m 8 colour dye sub printer that would be great for a metal and a textiles retail offering but it is a case of finding the time and suitable distributors to take it to market.

Good luck with the exhibition. Post a link here when it is on!

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

Thanks, I'll let you know the date

Jeremygphotography New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Best acrylic face mount options
1

I've spent the last 4 years printing almost exclusively in Fujiflex Crystal Archive from ArtisanHD. Overall I have been very happy with the product and would recommend for any color images. Be prepared for blacks to be very dark and almost muddy. I've also found that warmer images need to adjust when printing on a warmer paper like Fujiflex. IMHO Fujiflex Crystal Archive lends itself to certain colors: blue, magenta, green, purple all render beautifully. Recently, I reluctantly ordered my first Lumachrome from Nevada Art. I was very hesitant due to the increased time and cost. Just for some reference, 32x48 Lumachrome cost $933 and 32x48 Fujiflex cost me $600. Both prints are identical in nature and the only difference is the paper. Trulife Non-Glare Acrylic, 3mm backer(encapsulation), and floating museum wall mount. There also a two-week turnaround from ArtisanHD and 4-6 weeks from Nevada Art Printers. That all being said, the Lumachrome print I ordered is absolutely stunning. Due to the backlit nature of Lumachrome, it is very easy to get lost in the photo. The depth, dimensionality, details, and colors are mesmerizing. I also prefer the color neutrality that Lumachrome offers. I would never ever print a B&W on Fujiflex, but Lumachrome can produce incredible B&Ws.

OP nzsky Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Best acrylic face mount options

Thanks Jeremy, man that is definitely expensive. In our money add about 50% plus huge freight!

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