Ilford has just refined its line of Galerie inkjet photo printing papers and incorporated a number of improvements for achieving an overall better-looking print. Among other changes, the Prestige Smooth Gloss and Smooth Pearl papers have been upgraded to a 310gsm paper weight, giving them more substantial presence and exhibition quality. Other paper choices are maintaining the consistently high quality Ilford is known for, and continue to offer a wealth of characteristics, no matter what the intended purpose of your prints happens to be.
The Gold Fibre Silk paper is a fiber-based paper featuring a true baryta layer for enhanced brightness, definition and pure-looking white and black tones. The 310gsm weight, paired with the traditional feel and look of a fiber-based paper, gives this paper similar qualities to traditional black-and-white silver halide printing papers. The silky surface texture also resembles that of a traditional glossy FB paper, but is a bit softer in the way it reflects light.
This paper is ideal for creating exhibition-quality prints, as it is capable of containing a very wide gamut of colors, resulting in smooth tones and rich image quality. Its archival properties are also enhanced, thanks in part to the baryta layer, which is placed beneath the ink receiving layer. Also capitalizing on the physical properties of this paper, it responds especially well to digital toning, a process designed to mimic the look of sepia, selenium, gold or other chemical-toning processes.
Gold Fibre Silk responds best to pigment-based inks, but is compatible with dye-based inks as well. It is available in sheet sizes from 8.5 x 11” to 17 x 22” and roll sizes up to 50 x 39”.
The Smooth Pearl (available in 5 x 7” sheets and roll sizes) and Smooth Gloss (available in sheets up to 17 x 22” and roll sizes) papers are impressive all-around printing papers that serve general needs while resulting in high image quality and clarity. Both of these papers have been improved upon from their past versions by increasing the weight from 290 to 310gsm. This added heft gives a more traditional feel to your prints and more stability for framing or mounting. The top surface of the paper features an optically clear nanoporous coating for an extended dynamic printing range and instantaneous drying times.
The Smooth Pearl finish gives bright results while reducing print glare or visible fingerprints. The slight tooth of the surface does offer some brilliance compared to matte papers, but does dampen reflections more than a glossy paper. The Smooth Gloss paper is shinier, resulting in deeper appearing blacks and richer contrast, but does give off greater surface reflections. Both paper types' resin coated paper base is able to accept either dye or pigment-based inks with equally fine results.
The only double-sided offering, Smooth Lustre Duo is similar to the Smooth Pearl in surface texture but has a slightly finer tooth. The surface helps to reduce glare and visible fingerprints, which is ideal for prints that will be handled or viewed from different angles. This paper is ideal for constructing an album or book, or for making high-end cards or invitations.
In addition to its functionality, the Smooth Lustre Duo also exhibits the same enhanced color gamut possibilities and range of dark and light tones as the other Galerie Prestige Smooth papers. This paper accepts both dye and pigment-based inks equally well—just ensure that your prints have adequate drying time before printing on the flip side. It is available in 13 x 19” sheets.
The Smooth Fine Art paper is the lightest-weight paper in the Prestige Smooth line and features a textured matte surface, ideal for artistic applications. This traditional-looking paper features a 100% cotton rag acid-free surface for increased archivability and instant dry times. The textured appearance of this paper resembles the qualities of a watercolor paper or other uncoated matte papers. It is only available in 13 x 19” sheets and is compatible with both dye- and pigment-based inks.
For even greater tactility and texture, the Smooth Fine Art Canvas is a heavyweight cotton/polyester blended surface designed for fine art photo printing. This 375gsm canvas is stretchable and highly resistant to cracking, making it ideal for framing and other creative applications. On top of the canvas base is an inkjet-receiving layer, which provides increased sharpness and color saturation while not disguising the physicality of the canvas itself. The texture also lends itself to a high level of consistency while printing as well as smudge and water resistance. This canvas is only available in roll form, in sizes from 17 x 39” to 44 x 39”.
Ilford’s Galerie Premium line of papers, available in Gloss and Lustre, are more value-oriented papers, ideal for work prints and other times when an exhibition-quality print is not required. This is not to say that these papers do not offer a full range of tones and exceptional color saturation; their surfaces offer high image quality that is well suited to any style of photography. They both have a 270gsm weight and are compatible with both dye- and pigment-based inks. The gloss surface provides deep blacks and sharpness that is well suited to high-key imagery. The lustre surface displays more accurate colors and has a higher resistance to fingerprints and smudging.