Luster and Pearl Photo Papers

Recently, Finestra sent us their Premium Luster, Premium Pearl, and a sampling of their unique, metallic-coated papers. When testing a new paper, I usually download the paper profile from the manufacturer's website and make a customized profile using X-Rite's i1Pro; however, Finestra's website had only lists of paper profiles by printer, nothing to download. It did show a chart recommending using other manufacturer's profiles for their papers; for instance, Epson Luster profile for Finestra's Luster. So, I applied Epson's Premium Luster profile to Finestra's Luster and Pearl papers, and compared it to my two custom profiles. (The sample of metallic paper was too small for testing.)

I made all prints on an Epson 7900 using the Premium Luster media setting. The results for the Finestra Luster and Pearl papers were quite acceptable. Both papers showed a wide color gamut, good contrast, and the ability to reproduce most colors accurately. My custom profiles, however, were visibly superior; specifically, they had more shadow detail and contained accurate, vibrant, saturated colors. The custom and Epson profiles produced neutral gray tones. Both papers reproduced shadow and highlight detail—with the edge going to the Finestra Luster—and worked particularly well printing black-and-white images, with good tonal gradation and deep blacks. According to Finestra, both papers have a Dmax of 2.3-2.47, depending on which inks and printer you're using.

Finestra's Premium Luster has a relatively smooth, reflective surface with fine stippled texture, producing a nice sheen. By comparison, the Pearl surface has a pronounced, evenly textured tooth, which has an appealing glimmer when reflecting light. Both papers have a resin-coated base and use Optical Brightening Agents, which give a bright appearance, but deteriorate over time. Available in various sizes for roll and sheet, the Luster and Pearl papers have a thickness of 10.5 and 11.5 ml, respectively, and weigh 260 and 300 gsm.

Company: Finestra Art
Price: Varies by size and amount
Rating: 4
Hot:  Dmax and color gamut
Not: No website-accessible ICC profiles