|Konica Silky Inkjet Paper
by Jim McGee
When I look at the quality of inkjet prints from just a few years ago and compare them to today's prints I'm amazed at the differences.
These rapid advances in technology are both a blessing and a curse. A three year old printer looks like a remnant from another age, and technology that was ground breaking last year is blasé today.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the paper shelf above my photo printer. When photo printers first came on the market a few years ago your choices were pretty limited - Photo paper from the printer's manufacturer or Kodak's heavyweight photo paper.
Today I have a range of printer papers from Epson, Kodak, Konica, Lumijet, and Great White. They have a variety of textures including: photo, matte, inkjet, gloss inkjet, ultra gloss, pearl, postcard, letterhead, and glossy. They range in size from 4x6 to 13x19 to 8x23 inches. And each has it's own special application. So what could I possibly be missing on my shelf with this plethora of paper?
Konica thinks they know the answer and it's their silky inkjet paper. So what the hell is silky paper you ask? That was the question I asked at the Konica booth at PMA earlier this year. The answer is simple. Look at your kids school photos, your wedding pictures, or most anything printed by a photo studio. Those photos have a textured rather than a glossy finish. Traditional photo papers are typically available in three surfaces, E - a textured surface, sometimes called a luster surface, F - glossy, and N - matte finish. Portrait studios use E series papers for that textured look.
I tried Konica's silky paper with some of the images from Chuck's portrait shoot - printing them side by side with images printed on Epson's Photo Paper on an Epson 1270.
Konica recommends: "When using the Epson Stylus Photo 870 or 1270, set the Media Type to Premium Glossy Photo Paper. When using any other Epson printer, media type should be set to Photo Glossy Film. When using the Epson Stylus Photo 870 or 1270, set the Media Type to Premium Glossy Photo Paper. When using any other Epson printer, media type should be set to Photo Glossy Film."
Like any new paper I had to do some slight tweaking in the printer driver to get exactly the result I wanted. Both sets of prints were then set out to dry overnight. I always wait 24 hours when comparing new papers as there are sometimes slight color shifts during drying.
The results of the Konica paper compared favorably with the Epson prints but had less surface glare and a softer look due to the surface texture, providing a nice look for portraits.
Konica recommends laminating mounted prints to prevent the surface from becoming wavy and cautions against putting prints on this paper into photo albums.
Photo Silky paper is available in resealable packs in 4x6 and 8½x11 sizes.
If you've been itching for that textured finish on your portrait prints Konica has scratched your itch. Hmm, I think my shelf is starting to sag...
What could I possibly be missing with this plethora of paper?
Photos from portrait studios are printed on textured paper...
text and photography copyright © 2001 Vivid Light Publishing