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Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Ctein, We (I) really want to hear about the new glasses, I am due, I have similiar problems to yours and your recent article sent me on a hunt for data, I like what i read, really looking forward to trying a pair of these glasses.
Please do not wait a week to let us know how they fit/feel/work. My wife say they look "dorky", my question is do they work, trying to keep up with three pairs of glasses is to much for me in my advanced age.

thanks, Bill

I hesitate to suggest this, because it almost seems like some kind of apostasy, but have you considered a Surface Pro? 128GB, 1920x1080, two thirds the weight of a Mac Air, usable either as a laptop or a tablet, decent screen (as far as I could tell.) I don't have one, but just as an experiment I bought a Lenovo for Windows 8, and I find the interface pretty interesting, once you get used to it. I'm still running Macs as my main machines, but I'm now thinking seriously of switching, which is why I took a look at the Surface.

Thanks for the updates, Ctein. Indeed just this past week I ordered a box of 13 x 19 "Ilford Gallerie Gold Fibre Silk", which is also my favorite paper, and was rather shocked at the price of the "new" "Prestige" brand. Ugh. Nothing good stays cheap for long. Whether in books or on sheets of hangable paper printing is so expensive.

Perhaps I'll have to give the Canson papers a try again.

Count me among the big fans of Canson papers. Beyond their appearance and manufacturing QC, I find their icc profiles to be very well done. I know that Ctein has a keener eye (especially with the new specs!) than I do for these things, so I hope he'll provide an update on this update.

I'm doing some prints on Canson Rag Photographique this week and couldn't be more pleased with the results I'm getting.

Is the Ilford "Galerie Prestige" really exactly the same paper as the old "Galerie Gold Fibre Silk" with nothing more than a name change? That would be welcome news as it would save me from having to make new profiles.

The price hike is certainly unwelcome but ditching the stupid "Gold Fibre Silk" name isn't.

Dear Mark,

No, the new name is “ILFORD Prestige Galerie Gold Fibre Silk," so it's gotten longer, not shorter. And, so far as I can tell it's exactly the same paper. If they made any changes, it's not going to require a new profile.


Dear John,

I haven't had a chance to look at one yet. Unless the screen has the tone and color fidelity of the iPad (or the MacBook retinas), I'm not interested. If it does, I'd give it a second look, although I'm really not thrilled with the prospect of having to support yet another operating system.


Dear Bill,

Oh come on, you can wait another week or two. It won't kill you. Do you REALLY want me to prematurely rush comments to print and possibly get something wrong on a purchase this expensive than significant? Nahhhh.

Only bit of consumer advice I'll give you is don't even consider buying their loss/damage policy. It's even more of a ripoff than most of them.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

I always get mixed up on the various Hahnemules, but I did run through a box of their Baryta FB Glossy FineArt. Not sure if it's the same one you describe, but I really liked it. Another other paper I found to be similar, and wonder if you've have given it a go, is Epson Exhibition Fiber paper. Love that stuff.

In Germany there is no price hike for the Ilford paper, it is about the same price as the Canson Baryta( A4 and A2). 50 sheets A3+ are even 25% cheaper than 50 sheets by Canson.

I found the Ilford Gold to be incompatible with my HP Z3200 (differential gloss problems), then discovered that HP Professional Satin has the most beautiful surface (with the HP printer) of any "gloss media" inkjet I've ever seen. Not shiny, but no visible texture. At 300gsm it's a little lighter than the Ilford, but plenty thick enough, and I've gone through many 50' rolls of the stuff with essentially zero defect rate. It's a genuine Best Buy at $90 with free shipping for a 24" roll from B&H. I don't know how it would react to the Epson inkset, but it seems worth a package of letter size sheets to find out.

I've only just started printing at home on an Epson 3880 and have already run into troubles. After doing a lot of testing for a folio and settling on a paper (Hahnemuhle Ultra Smooth Photo Rag) I found that it was no longer available in A2 (at least here in Australia) and I had to scramble to get one of the last two boxes in the country.

I had ended up with that paper because my default paper, Ilford Smooth Pearl, wasn't available in A2 at the time, only 17x22 which is a poor fit for a 3:2 image. After I had printed the folio it suddenly became available but was ridiculously expensive. The 25 sheet A2 box was about the same price as the 50 sheet 17x22 box. It was also more than four times the cost of a 25 sheet A3 box. That made it the most expensive mainstream inkjet paper available rather than one of the cheapest. The store selling it just shrugged their shoulders so I rang the distributor who blamed Ilford but didn't seem to be in any hurry to get the situation fixed. It seems to be sorted now since while the first store still has it listed at $250 a box one of their competitors now lists it at $105 a box.

They didn't even ditch the old name, they just added "Prestige" to it. So now it's "Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fibre Silk". In addition to the ridiculous price hike, they've stopped enclosing the paper in the plastic bag liner, which often results in damage to the top couple of sheets.

I'm still working through my old stock of IGGFS, but I've been using the Canson Baryta in 11 x 17, a size that wasn't available from Ilford. The Canson is very similar to the Ilford, and now MUCH less expensive.

It's too bad. The Gold Fibre Silk was a good paper at a pretty good price. Now it's lost a lot of its appeal.

First I own two 750GB Seagate Momentus XT 7200RPM/SSD Hybrid 2.5 which I use with my netbook. In my experience they don't come close to SSD performance.

Second, I suspected something was up when Ilford was giving away free 5 sheet samples of GFS last year. I was able to get 20 packets of the 5 sheet samples and I purchased another 100 sheets.

Thanks for the tip about the Canson and Platine. I'll give them a go.

Finally though, how many times have paper changes given the dedicated printer/enthusiast heartburn. And I'm referring to sensitized products back in the old days, art papers used for alt. processes and digital inkjet papers. I guess these problems never cease.

Dear Ctein,

Also being in the Bay Area and strongly considering a pair of Superfocus glasses would you share the name of your optometrist?

I own an Epson 7900 and regularly make large prints to hang in my home. I invariably use Epson paper. I find it very consistent and trouble free.

As to all these fancy papers, I got one thing to say.

At the PhotoPlus Expo at Jacob Javits in New York, Epson always has two walls of prints, usually about 24x36 in size, beautiful pics. There are usually the same pic printed on four or five different papers. I swear for life of me I can barely tell a difference between the prints.

Wait. Who am I kidding? I can't tell a difference.

As to the iPad, I bought the iPad 3 a week before the newer one came out. Didn't even bother returning it. Then I bought the iPad mini. I like them both.

I too will wait a while until the next version comes out to see a difference. I understand one major difference will be lighter weight in the full size iPad. That will be a big deal to me.

I really like the platine for B&W printing on my canon ipf 5000. I've got a roll of Canson baryta waiting in the wings to try as well.

Another paper worth considering (although it has OBAs, and some say it may have more than most papers) is Epson's Exhibition Fiber. When it was first released it was among the most expensive of all inkjet papers, but it has come down in price to the point where it's quite a bit cheaper than most of the competition. During Epson's recent spate of rebates, I bought quite a bit of it for less than the Calumet house brand baryta paper...

I've been impressed with the Canson papers I've tried. The Platine Fibre Rag looks better to me than Epson's Exhibition Fiber and appears to have better results in accelerated aging tests as well. I bought a box of the Baryta Photographique but I haven't tried it yet because I fell in love with the look of matte finish papers, particularly Canson Rag Photographique. The Arches Velin Museum Rag is also nice. Despite liking the look of Rag Photographique better than anything else I've seen thus far, I continue to use a lot of Epson Hot Press Natural due to price. Last time I looked, the 13x19 Epson HPN paper was the same price as the 11x17 Rag Photographique.

60% cheaper? When I check the Amazon link the Canson is only $2 cheaper. The letter sized IGGFS is $58 for 50 sheets, and Canson $26.14 for 25 sheets.
I've experienced HHGB flaking quite frequently, too bad

Thank you for this post Ctein. I purchased 50 sheets of 17x22 IGS for $200 (before rebate) in Feb. 2012; current price for the same is $280. An amazing marketing mistake. I now use Harmon and Canson.

A word in favor of Hahnemuhle/Harman Gloss Baryta: I've just made a couple of hundred prints on this in sheets, and had very few with surface problems (less than my colleagues have had with Exhibition Fiber). I dido have some trouble with strong curl that causes the edge of the paper to hit the print heads, but I now de-roll the sheets in advance.

What I've found impossible to work with, though, is their rolls: these curl so tightly that even if I cut them into sheets and de-roll them ahead of time, I get a puckered sheet with 'valleys' where the ink is dark. I asked my dealer what was wrong, and his tech person testified to the same problem They gave me new sheets, but they're no longer available in 17x25, just 17x22.

I'll keep using the sheets but will never buy a roll again.

The price difference for the Ilford paper is definitely much more prevalent at larger sizes. As pointed out, letter size isn't far off, but B&H currently has :

Ilford - 17x22, 25 sheets - $139.64
Canson - 17x22, 25 sheets - $82.50

I wonder why the larger sheets show so much more price differential? Worse quality control and more rejects at that size at Ilford compared to Canson?

My mistake.. that works out $6 cheaper.. now the whole photographic community know I suck at math.. LoL

Dear John K,

Baryta FB Glossy FineArt Is a different paper, and both it and Epson Exhibition Fiber have too much surface texture for my taste.


Dear John,

You need to read my previous article on the SSD before you'll understand my remark about performance. I'm talking about in my system, with its performance limitations, not in a much newer one.

What you said about photographic product changes––it's been crazy-making since day one, probably.


Dear Chan,

I do my paper shopping at Atlex and a 25 sheet box of 17 x 22" Canson runs about $82 while a 25 sheet box of the Ilford runs about $140. So, yes, about 60% of the price (not 60% cheaper). I can't speak to other vendors and other sizes.

pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

I assume when you finally get SSD, you will check out the Trim status (as non-Apple drive require a bit hacking and need to keep on hacking for each OS upgrade, at least true for mountain lion) and quite a bit others (move home directory, ... etc). It seems a two drive setup (which I do now) is essential using non-Apple drive.

Not sure about your hybrid.

So, a few weeks ago I dropped my iPad2 face down on a tile floor. The unit worked but the glass cracked.

In less than an hour I was using a brand new iPad3 and it was a perfect clone of the damaged tablet.

I ordered and paid for a new iPad for pickup at the Apple store about 5 miles away.

I initiated a manual backup of the broken iPad to my HD (even though there was a recent back up in iCloud).

I showed Apple my ID and credit card and a minute later they handed me the iPad and I drove home.

I pluged the new unit in and did a restore. About 15 minutes later the new iPad was a perfect copy of the broken one.

Later that day I sent the damaged unit off for a $140 OEM replacement screen. The repaired iPad was eventually gifted to a family member.

It's hard to imagine a quicker, simpler process. If I drove the ATT, Radio Shack or Verizon store I would have saved a few minutes.

I has planned to wait until the next generation to upgrade. And it is true that the growth of competition has affected the predictability Apple's product releases.

I've been using the Hahnemühle (nee Harman) Gloss Baryta for several years now in both 17x22" and 17x25" sizes. Love it. Reminds me of my old F papers from my darkroom days. Other than the few packages with minor bent edges (when packaged by Harman) I haven't found any quality control problems since Hahnemühle took over. But then you obviously are more demanding than I.

Recently I have given up on the 25" size, which is almost perfect for (35mm) 3:2 proportions, for the dumb reason that while I can find lovely archival storage boxes for 17x22" there are none that I can find for 17x25". If you can tell me where I can find such I would be much obliged.

I have been using the Canson Rag Photographique for a couple years. I went to Glazer's Camera in Seattle and pawed through all of the sample books. The other I settled on was the Platine Fiber Rag. They lack optical brighteners and I was concerned about that for long term color stability. Another paper you might take a look at is the Fujufilm 470 gsm board stock. It is the stuff that Costco uses. It is about 1/16th inch thick, so kinking the paper is not an issue. It is smooth with a semi-gloss finish. B&H stocks it. The largest board size, for lovers of large prints, is 24x36. It is great for panoramics.

Dear David B,

There's a very sharp price jump between Gold Fibre's 13" widths and 17" and larger widths (in both sheets and rolls). This doesn't exist for other brands, which have a price per square meter that stays pretty constant or else drops modestly for larger packages. Combined with the name change, my uninformed but cynical opinion is that Ilford saw an opportunity to gouge "professionals."


Dear Dennis,

It's not likely I'll be putting an SSD in this laptop. Certainly not unless OWC and I can figure out exactly why it didn't like it in my tests, and in any case not within the next year. At which point this laptop is approaching seven years old.

Truth is, I don't project my upgrade paths that far ahead, and with the interesting convergence going on between tablets and laptops, it's even harder to predict.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Interestingly enough, Canson makes some of the worst watercolor art paper in the world. Seriously, the stuff is a bad joke.

http:// www.amazon.com/Pro-Art-12-Inch-Watercolor-30-Sheet-X-Large/product- reviews/B004M59O4C/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm? ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

Dear Ctein:

I like the Western Digital Caviar 2 tb Black hard drive. Read some reviews. It has some very trick components, and it comes with a five year warranty. It's faster than my WD 300 GB VelociRaptor, which runs at 10,000 rpm. I use 4 WD Black drives, with noooooo problems. It's $150 at B&H. Offer ends Feb 23rd.

Dear Barry,

WD makes some nice platters, but it would be difficult fitting this one in my laptop ((s)).

pax / Ctein


I bought several 17x25 museum cases a few years ago on a group buy on a photo forum. I don't remember what I paid. Another forumer did the buying; I paid the forumer. I just checked the label on one of the cases:

Archival Methods LLC
Museum Case, acid & lignin free
Item No. 12-036

Hope this helps.


I've gone through so many papers over the years. Here's my experience:

Museo Silver Rag: I keep coming back to it. All cotton, slightly off white, fine surface, no OBAs, okay price. Cons: they went through a period of poor quality control. I think they're back, though.

Canson Platine: I thought this would replace the Museo when the Museo had QC problems -- very similar qualities. But for some reason, the Canson warps when I print on my 3880 at the 2880 dpi setting and high speed turned off. And the warps caused head strikes in the middle of the image.

Epson Exhibition Fiber: Incredible detail and dmax, maybe the best every, and no need for custom color profile -- Epson's canned profile is perfect. Cons: bright bright white, OBAs make long-term archival qualities a question, still fairly expensive if not as bad as the early days.

I don't care for the feel, surface, dmax, etc. of other coated papers I've tried.

Yet to try: San Gabriel Semigloss Fiber. It's the only Red River paper that's not too light and thin for me to sell to clients, but I haven't yet tried it.

(Favorite matte papers: Museo Portfolio Rag is terrific, but the Moab Entrada Rag takes the cake because it's double-sided -- proofing costs half as much!)

I recently converted my mid-2010 15" MacBook Pro (2.66 GHz Core i7, 8 GB RAM) to have a DIY Fusion Drive. I replaced the optical drive with a WD Scorpio Black 750 GB drive mounted in an OWC Data Doubler frame, and replaced the 7200 RPM 512 GB Seagate Momentus drive with a 240 GB OCZ Vertex Plus R2 (the machine only has a SATA II interface, so no need to buy a faster drive); this gives a 1 TB fusion drive, 25% of which is SSD. I did the magic invocations detailed on:


with the exception that I formatted both drives as jhfs+ and then used /dev/disk0s2 and /dev/disk1s2 rather than disk0 and disk1 in creating the fusion drive. The result simply screams! If you want, I can write an article describing how to do this.

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