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I received two packages of Epson's Colorlife Photo Paper today from Buy.com. Obviously, I have been waiting quite some time for this paper to arrive (as well as many others). So far, I can only offer some first impressions - only time will tell if it truly offers better light/gas fastness: My setup: Epson 1280, MIS Lightfast inks w/CIS, Canon G1 digital camera This paper is quite a bit different than the resin coated papers such as Premium Glossy, Semigloss, and Luster. The surface texture is very similar to Luster, but the paper attributes are different. First of all, the paper is not water resistant like the resin papers. I have not tried purposefully getting water on them, but another user on the Epson list said the ink washed off under running water. And on the back of the package, it lists the colorlife paper as having "low" water resistance. On the other hand, it is rated as having "high" lightfastness. Wilhelm has rated this paper at 25-27 yrs when stored behind glass. This puts it in line with Epson's excellent Matte-heavyweight paper. Remember, the Premium glossy papers were only rated at appx 10 yrs. Also, this paper supposedly allows us to keep our prints uncovered for a greater period of time before noticeable fading. This, of course, was the main purpose for the introduction of this paper in light of the now infamous "orange shift problem". Only time will tell if this will live up to our expectations... I plan to do some informal testing myself. Another interesting property is that this paper takes longer to dry. Directly out of the printer, the ink is wet and will smudge quite easily. If you view the paper at an angle, you can see that the darker areas of the prints are wetter (more ink, of course). After several minutes, you can touch them without smudging, but it still feels wet. I will check tomorrow to see how they have dried. Also, the instructions say to use the Glossy Film paper setting with this paper. Until now, I have been using the Photo paper setting with the MIS inks on the Semigloss or Luster papers. But I decided to go ahead and try their suggestion, using the Glossy Film setting. The first print was very nice, but the colors were not to my liking. Grays were magenta/purplish in tint quite similarly to the effects I noticed on the other papers. So I immediately switched back to my Photo paper settings (with slider adjustments) and the colors were excellent. In fact, I don't think I'll need to make any changes specifically for this paper. I cannot say how the Epson ink will fare, but the MIS inks look the same to me on this paper as they did on the Premium Semigloss & Luster papers.... with ONE exception. As another user on the mailing list noted, BLACKS look blacker. They already looked good on the other papers (more black than some competitors printers), but the black even looks richer on this paper. Another drawback is that you cannot (at least the instructions say so) use the borderless mode with this paper. Those of you with the borderless printers already know that the Glossy Film setting won't allow you to choose "no margins" anyway. But I think there is another reason (beyond mere driver restrictions) why you might not be able to use the borderless mode: the paper doesn't seem to be gripped as well when fed through the printer as the other Premium Glossy papers. The Colorlife paper feels a bit more slippier as opposed to the waxy, gripped feel of the other papers. To this effect, then, it would be difficult for the printer feed to accurately feed the printer at the edges (my theory anyway). I haven't actually tried using the "no margin" setting (since I can do so with the Photo paper setting), but I did get some black ink on the edge of the paper when I usd the "Maximum" margin setting. I have noticed this at times with other papers as well, so it may just be a limitation we'll have to deal with. I think I might try lifting the paper thickness lever to see if that makes a difference. All in all, I think the paper will work just fine for me if it actually does what it claims. If it offered no greater lightfastness or gasfastness, then I think I would stick with the Premium papers simply because they are more water resistant. But print quality seems to be on par, color is good, and the price is the same. So if this paper will allow my prints to last longer both in terms of lightfastness (which would be important in frames) and gasfastness (which would be important for unprotected prints), then I think the paper is a winner! Again, only time and testing will tell... Travis - Turn off HTML mail features. Keep quoted material short. Use accurate subject lines. http://www.leben.com/lists for list instructions.
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