Top positive review
165 of 173 people found this helpful
on April 22, 2009
I got a Canon Pro9000 printer over a year ago, and ever since then I've been experimenting with different papers. I order sample packs from paper companies such as Red River, Hahnemuhle, Ilford, and of course the native Canon paper. Since I was a total beginner when it comes to printing, I kept detailed notes in OneNote, compared the same image on different papers, calibrated my monitor, used soft proofing, etc. My goal was to find a paper that I love and that had predictable results from monitor to print.
After much toil and compromise with the 3rd party brands, I realized that Canon's Photo Paper Pro was a high-quality, consistent paper. It wasn't an exciting discovery - using the expensive paper from the printer manufacturer instead of discovering some money-saving yet exotic specialty paper - but at least my prints were looking good.
Then as I was restocking on ink, I noticed that Canon updated their product line, releasing Photo Paper Pro II and Photo Paper Pro Platinum. Intrigued, I ordered a 20-pack of letter sized Platinum. Sure enough, soon I had a chance to shoot a portrait of a friend of mine that had many vivid colors, high dynamic range, and a great level of detail. I did a small shoot-out between some Red River paper, Photo Paper Pro (the original), and the Platinum. I won't labor you with the details, but when I printed on Photo Paper Pro after a few Red River misses, I sighed with relief - the colors were rich and faithful, and the image looked great. I then pushed the envelope and printed with Platinum. Wow!!! It got even better! The differences were subtle, but perceptible. The Platinum seemed to have a bit more "pop", probably owing to its higher brightness.
For a recent gallery showing, I printed a couple dozen more prints on this Platinum paper, and got a good feel for its performance. I found that soft proofing wasn't really necessary with this paper - it looked very faithful to the screen without having to bring anything back into the gamut. Despite being a brighter base paper, the prints came out a bit darker than some of the other papers I was messing around with. A bump of 5% to brightness in Qimage did the trick. The colors also seemed a bit less saturated. This is a tough one to make a call on - I'm used to Canon's idea of colors (whether camera-processed JPG or their super-glossy paper) being a bit too much on the Disney side, so I was actually appreciative of a more subdued default. A saturation boost of 2% or 3% did the trick. Note that the "unsaturated" colors were still plenty deep and rich, just not quite as punchy.
I'm going to try the Photo Paper Pro II next to see if it's a good middle point between the (already good) Photo Paper Pro and this beautiful but expensive Platinum. This paper definitely earns its name - it's the top of the line with a price to match. I didn't see a world of difference between this and the old Photo Paper Pro in terms of visuals, but Canon claims that the archival qualities in this paper are state of the art, and I believe them. So for prints I really care about, I'm all about the Pro Plat!