Galerie Prestige Pearl Papers

New Smooth Pearl and Smooth Gloss

ILFORD has added new versions of Smooth Pearl and Smooth Gloss to their high-end Galerie Prestige paper line. These new papers have the same professional coating as the previous versions of Galerie Smooth Pearl and Smooth Gloss; however, the weight has increased from 290 to 310 gsm. The extra weight gives the new products the substantial feel of traditional darkroom papers. Both are 12 mil thick and, according to ILFORD, capable of registering a Dmax of up to 2.5, giving the papers their rich blacks. ILFORD confirmed that both contain a negligible amount of OBAs (optical brightener additives—a controversial additive that brightens the paper white but will fade over time). The papers are resin-coated, can be used with both dye and pigment ink printers, and dry immediately upon exiting the printer. Each is available in rolls and in the following sheet sizes: 4×6, 5×7, 8.5×11, 11×17, 13×19, and 17×22.

I printed a standard reference target that contained a variety of subjects, including several skin tones, landscapes, and grayscale ramp and color patches. ILFORD's website provides ICC paper profiles; however, I made custom profiles using X-Rite's i1PhotoPro 2 software, which resulted in a wider color gamut. I immediately liked the semigloss Smooth Pearl, which has a fine surface texture similar to Epson's luster paper. It has a soft white that works well with portraits and accurately reproduced a wide range of colors with plenty of detail. The Smooth Gloss has a high-gloss finish and is reflective when held at the wrong angle. It has a similar wide color gamut, with rich blacks and sharpness that give prints a nice dimensionality.

In the end, the choice of any paper is personal and the main criterion is that it helps to deliver the picture you envisioned.

Company:  ILFORD Imaging Switzerland GmbH
Price: Based on size/amount
Rating: 4 (for both)
Hot:  Wide dynamic range; rich blacks
Not:  OBAs