Choosing a paper for your photo quality inkjet printer is always a difficult task. It’s even worse because tests tend to require a lot of expensive paper, expensive ink and annoying time.
Today, I look into an Ilford paper supposed to combine quality and price: Printasia Premium Photo Glossy Paper.
Ilford has long been THE reference for black and white traditional photo paper (those who practiced the dark room only lit by the red inactinic light certainly remember this leading manufacturer) but on the market of photo quality papers, competition is even worse than it was for argentic papers and the manufacturer of the printer has a significant marketing advantage to convince the users at buying time.
Before opening the box, I could notice that it is a “consumer” paper ever more so than the Ilford Galerie Smooth High Gloss Media previously tested here. Obviously, from the minimal recommendations and the only advice given (for all Epson printers, you are invited to use the auto setting for print quality) you can infer that the user is not expected to play with driver settings and other techical subtleties. But the good surprise was that the result is not only good, but as good as from the more expensive Galerie.
Even better, the white quality of the paper, very bright as could have been epxected is nicer than the slighty rose/red coloration of the Galerie Smooth High Gloss Media and has a more neutral (or even slightly blue depending on the external light). It has a nice look indeed. But be warned that this may go slightly against some black and white or sepia prints (that would take a better advantage of an Ilford Galerie Smooth High Gloss Media sheet of paper). What I could appreciate specially is the hand of the paper that is exactly right for the announced 255g/mÂ². You get very rigid sheets without the noisy creaking feature of some other sheets less to my taste.
At print time, the result is very satisfying without fiddling with the driver settings (very good if you are a normal user, but also if you are a prosumer or quality-conscious photo user). The gloss is superb, the print fineness is very faithful and results from a very low dispersion of the ink in the paper.
In the end
The price of this paper is the good surprise associated with this test. While it should have indicated a rather cheap quality (but we’re still speaking of photo quality), you will find very good sheets of a paper able to take shots at Ilford’s own Galerie brand.