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Canson Infinity Rag Photographique

3rd January 2009 | Papers

This is the first in a series of short guides to some of the papers available from Macquarie Editions for the printing of your images. These papers have been selected because of their outstanding and unique qualities. Matching the paper to the image can have a significant impact on the success or otherwise of the print.

The Infinity range from Canson is a new series of papers and supersedes other inkjet offerings from this French manufacturer (such as those previously marketed under just the Canson or Arches name, or Arches Infinity). Canson are trumpeting the fact that all papers in this range are OBA free and instead use added natural minerals to achieve their class leading whiteness. 

OBAs (Optical Brightener Agents) are fluorescing agents which react with UV in the viewing light to counter the natural yellowness of the paper base. Not only is the effect variable (it depends on the amount of UV light and mounting) it can also impart a coldness to the image that is generally unattractive. OBAs will also fade over time which makes their use in papers intended for long term display or museum collections unwelcome. Most (but not all) of the papers in use by Macquarie Editions are OBA free and for these reasons.

Rag Photographique is a 100% cotton paper with a very smooth surface, somewhat akin to the warmer Museo Portfolio Rag. It comes in weights of 210gsm and 310gsm, plus a DUO 220gsm double-sided option (the last ideal for albums etc). The immediate impression is one of outstanding creamy whiteness, confirmed by a CIE L*a*b* measurement of 97.8, 0.2, 0.7 at D50 (for those unfamiliar with L*a*b*, zeros for the last two values represents neutrality). This places Rag Photographique as a serious contender to Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm, a paper traditionally chosen for its whiteness (along with surface texture and gamut), albeit achieved by the addition of modest amounts of OBAs. In my testing, prints on Rag Photographique with Ultrachrome HDR inks have been superb for colour with a gamut essentially identical to that of Photo Rag 308gsm. (It’s also significant to note that the gamut easily exceeds that of even Epson’s own branded matte/fine art papers, something that will probably be rectified by Cold Press and Hot Press coming later in the year.) Whilst Rag Photographique can be used for neutral B&W prints, I feel it works best with warmer tones. To date I’ve been able to achieve a Dmax of 1.65 with this paper.

Because of its smooth surface, Rag Photographique is probably best suited to high resolution images and those with smooth tonality. Arches Velin Museum Rag (another new paper in the Canson Infinity range) is no less excellent but perhaps not as demanding a paper.

As always, Macquarie Editions would be pleased to show printed samples of this and other papers and discuss suitability for your images.


Wilsons Promontory - Stephen Best

Wilsons Promontory - Stephen Best


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