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Keith Dotson | Catching Shadows

THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHER KEITH DOTSON

Digital Silver Gelatin Fiber Based Papers Compared: Glossy vs New Matte

Digital Silver Gelatin Fiber Based Papers Compared: Glossy vs New Matte

Ilford has released a matte surface silver gelatin paper for digital silver prints

Watch a comparison of the glossy vs. matte digital silver gelatin paper surfaces, along with Canson Platine Fiber Rag and Moab Entrada inkjet papers,

I’m a long-time fan of Ilford’s glossy digital silver gelatin fiber based baryta paper. I’ve been selling these silver gelatin prints on my website for years and they are stunning. In case you aren’t familiar, these are real fiber-based silver gelatin prints like would have been made in the traditional darkroom, but made from a digital file. A digital printer exposes the light sensitive paper, which is then processed in the same wet chemistry as a darkroom.

And up until recently, there has been only one surface to choose from: glossy.

While I (and my clients) have loved these prints, I have wished many times that there was a matte offering. The new matte surface paper has zero shine. I mean none!

The reason I have a preference for matte papers is because I don’t like a shiny paper in the picture frame. Depending on how the client hangs the print, it can add unsightly reflections, in addition to the reflections already happening on the glass.

In the video we compare two 8x10s side-by-side, one printed on Ilford’s digital silver gelatin glossy and the other on the new matte surface paper. We compare them for their contrasts, sharpness, surface quality, and richness of tones.

As is usually the case with matte papers, there’s less contrast on the extremes. The blacks aren’t as dense and dark as they are on the glossy print. The glossy print also seems to present more detail . . . it’s sharper. This is pretty much the same outcome I would expect, based on experience with inkjet papers, which offer the same results.

After comparing the two ilford papers, we then compare them to two inkjet papers, Canson Platine Fiber Rag and Moab Entrada Rag.

Even though I like the matte paper, I think I’ll continue to offer the glossy surface on my website for now.

Black and white print on Ilford digital silver gelatin glossy paper. This is a real silver gelatin print on baryta surface fiber-base paper.
Black and white print on Ilford digital silver gelatin glossy paper. This is a real silver gelatin print on baryta surface fiber-base paper.
Black and white print on Ilford digital silver gelatin matte surface paper. This is a silver gelatin print on baryta surface fiber-base paper too, but with a very matte finish.
Black and white print on Ilford digital silver gelatin matte surface paper. This is a silver gelatin print on baryta surface fiber-base paper too, but with a very matte finish.
Inkjet pigment print on Canson Platine Fiber Rag paper. This paper has a 100-percent cotton base with a baryta-like surface coating for printing.
Inkjet pigment print on Canson Platine Fiber Rag paper. This paper has a 100-percent cotton base with a baryta-like surface coating for printing.
Pigment inkjet print on Moab Entrada Rag, which is a bright white paper made of 100-percent cotton and a matte surface.
Pigment inkjet print on Moab Entrada Rag, which is a bright white paper made of 100-percent cotton and a matte surface.

What do you think? Do you prefer the richer and sharper gloss? Or the softer, subtler, and less shiny matte?

Thanks for reading!

Be sure to visit me on FacebookGoogle+ or Pinterest, or on my website at keithdotson.com.

~ Keith

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