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Archive 2009 · luster vs matte difference?
  
 
csebasti
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · luster vs matte difference?


I searched here and google, but couldn't really find the answer I was looking for.

I haven't really had any of my photos printed, but would like to start printing. At this point I have no intention of buying a large format photo printer, so I'm only going to be using online labs (maybe something local). But I'm a bit confused by the paper options.

Is there a difference between luster and matte? I see some labs have both, some have one or the other. What's the difference?

I'll be printing mostly landscape/nature type photos at around 11x14 and larger. In the past I've noticed at some pro galleries that they don't seem to use gloss paper if the image is framed. I think I like this as it cuts down on the glare/reflections. On the other hand, gloss gives a little more contrast. Is this the "normal" trend for this type of print?

I realize that some will just say its personal preference. But I was hoping to get some opinions, before I started running test prints at several labs, as well as an answer to the difference between luster and matte.

Thanks for the help.

Chris



May 12, 2009 at 08:57 PM
colinm
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · luster vs matte difference?


Wet lab on RC papers: Matte is kind of a less glossy, less textured luster. Some labs use luster and matte (more accurately "semi-matte") interchangeably, so the only way to know is really to ask what specifically they're using. And hope whomever answers knows what they're talking about.

If you've ever done B&W darkroom printing, pearl surface is the closest analog I can think of for a color semimatte paper.

Lab on inkjet paper: Matte is typically true matte, unless they're labeling it photomatte, semimatte, or RC. Think printmaking papers or watercolor paper—no gloss or sheen at all. Epson UFA, Moab Entrada, Crane Museo, and the various Somerset variants are matte papers. Most of Hahnemühle's papers are matte as well.


If you're framing traditionally with glazing, there's little tangible difference between glossy and matte of either flavor. The glazing both cuts down reflections on the paper's surface and gives a kick in the pants to the apparent tonal range. Gloss is rare within the art world as it screams commercial or cheap to a lot of people, so it's common to lean away from gloss/f-type RC surfaces. (Fiber glossy, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game.)



May 12, 2009 at 11:20 PM
JimboCin
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · luster vs matte difference?


Chris

In general, photographic paper goes glossy, luster (lustre), matte. Kodak Endura paper (used by professional labs) are graded this way. Fuji has supergloss, gloss, and matte. Supergloss is a special paper - more like a sheet of shiny plastic - and few labs process it.

Fuji Crystal Archive Matte (used by professional labs) is pretty similar to Kodak Endura Lustre. These papers look like what you have seen from typical wedding photographers. The pebble texture is a little finer on the Fuji - so you may prefer one over the other.

Both Kodak and Fuji (the papers most labs use) make different grades of papers - lower grades for commercial photo labs. The gloss levels may vary somewhat between the grades but I would expect they would keep the same naming convention.

Fuji also offers Pearl, an interesting paper for some applications, and Kodak has Metallic (good for the right application too). The look of Metallic and Pearl are quite different, so you may like one but hate the other for any given scene.

Jim



May 13, 2009 at 12:25 AM
csebasti
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · luster vs matte difference?


Thanks for all the great info there, guys.

I'm planning on trying out some prints from WHCC, West Coast Imaging, and Bay Photo. I think the info you've given will help me in deciding what to print on.

colinm: I have done some B&W darkroom printing using type f RC paper. That's the only kind I have any experience with. I did like the prints I made, but don't think I want the glossy stuff for my color landscapes.

One more question after looking through WHCC's info... What's the difference between luster paper and luster coating? I have samples from WHCC, and the coating appears slightly finer texture than the luster paper, but otherwise I can't tell a difference. I'm assuming that luster coating is over a glossy print. Is this correct? If so, what's the point?

Chris



May 13, 2009 at 04:57 AM
 

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JimboCin
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · luster vs matte difference?


Not sure how they do lustre coating but I can tell you what it looks like. It has finer pebbles than Kodak lustre, is less reflective than Kodak Lustre. Very close to Fuji Crystal Archive Matt.

I am going to e-mail to you an Excel spreadsheet I have started working on that has this type of information on it.

Jim



May 13, 2009 at 11:39 AM
Beni
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · luster vs matte difference?


colinm wrote:
If you're framing traditionally with glazing, there's little tangible difference between glossy and matte of either flavor. The glazing both cuts down reflections on the paper's surface and gives a kick in the pants to the apparent tonal range. Gloss is rare within the art world as it screams commercial or cheap to a lot of people, so it's common to lean away from gloss/f-type RC surfaces. (Fiber glossy, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game.)


How soon they forget. Never heard of Cibachrome? You don't get glossier and until the digital age it was the only way to print a slide...



May 14, 2009 at 01:03 PM
joezasada
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · luster vs matte difference?


then you get into the metallic papers... you can have fun with those (for certain things)


May 14, 2009 at 06:04 PM
Blue Cube
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · luster vs matte difference?


Each paper manufacturer has slightly different variations of each style of paper.

It should also be mentioned that minilabs and pro labs use different papers for different needs and name their products (and surfaces) for what the consumer or professioanl desires. For example matte paper run through my consumer lab is actually lustre (which does not fingerprint), while matte in the pro lab is a true matte.

In my prolab I print only on Fuji Crystal Archive Professional Papers so I'll address those specifically.

Glossy (type C): Medium gloss; higher color saturation and contrast than most other surfaces.

Matte (type C): Flat surface with a slight sheen, because this is a commercial paper it has a higher level of color saturation and sharpness than consumer matte papers.

Lustre (type PD): Slightly pebbled finish resists finger prints; slightly lower in saturation and contrast, ideal for portraits and softly lit landscapes.

Pearl (Fuji's name for metallic): Medium high gloss; High color saturation, contrast and refraction. The addition if reflective "mica" beads in the surface add an pearlescient effect (hence the name). Great for brightly colored scenes, cars, motorcycles and fashion shots.

Fujiflex (for me, special order only as it cost nearly $1000 a roll): Super high gloss, similiar to the old Cibachrome A surface paper. Super saturated and vibrant. Use for commercial displays where the ultimate in "pop" is desired.

Deep Matte (coming June 2009, again special order only because it is $800 a roll): A very flat surface. Slightly lower contrast because the surface absorbs and scatters light. Hard to describe this one still, from the samples I have played with it is like a very expensive heavy bond printed book.

Each of the labs you have mentioned plus myself also offer paper/printer profiles for use in softproofing to get more accurate results.

Also, each lab is tied to a type of printer to best meet the needs of their clientelles.

Millers, Mpix, WHCC use Durst Theta printers for their larger format printers (WHCC uses Noritsu Commercial Minilabs for prints smaller than 12x18, this is important as they might be set up as sRGB printers rather that Adobe 1998 RGB which has a wider gamut). Bay Photo Labs (not sure of thier printers but I believe it is a mix of Durst, Fuji and Noritsu) has set up their printers for sRGB.The durst printers are exceptionally well suited to portrait output (weddings, etc.).

Most art labs such as West Coast Imaging, The Slide Printers and myself use Chromira printers which are better suited to commercial (and fine art) output. Chromira's are also by default wide gamut Adobe RGB printers.

When your ready to get going drop me a line and I'll send you a paper sample packet.







May 16, 2009 at 05:19 AM





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