If you want your inkjet prints to have the look and feel of a classic, fiber-based silver halide photo, you’ll want to choose a baryta-type inkjet paper. And if you seek the very best of the baryta paper stocks out there right now, I’d recommend Baryta Photographique II from Canson Infinity. It’s that simple.
I’ve been testing Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique II papers in both the A3+ (13 x 19 inches) and 8.5 x 1-inch cut sheet sizes for a few months now and can say that this is, by far, one of my favorite inkjet papers you can buy. (But to be honest, I felt the same way about the previous version of this paper as well.)
Canson Infinity, a company that was founded in 1557 (yes, it’s that old), labels Baryta Photographique II as both a Fine Art and Photo paper and while that seems like double dipping, it actually speaks to the versatility of this paper. Yes, it can be used to make fine art prints of your very best landscapes to hang in a gallery or sell on your website, but it’s also suited for event or wedding photography since the darkroom print look and feel is still familiar to many people (or at least to anyone over the age of 30).
Baryta papers are coated with barium sulfate which is a paper brightener that increases the reflectiveness of the print. It was first used on photographic papers in Germany in the late 1800s and quickly became a sought-after effect for how it smoothed out the emulsion to create more consistent blacks and better contrast.
In the case of Baryta Photographique II, you are getting a true 100% barium sulphate layer on the paper, which results in superb inkjet photos that do remind me of fiber-based silver gelatin prints. I printed on Baryta Photographique II using a 13-inch, 10-ink Epson SureColor P700 photo printer and my prints displayed a wide color gamut with smooth transitions between dark and light areas.
I tested the Canson Baryta paper alongside a semi-gloss fine art paper from a rival brand and was pleasantly surprised with how satiny the finish of the Baryta was versus the shininess of the semi-gloss, which was a bit too reflective in bright light. The D-Max (aka black point) was also far better in the Baryta Photographique II compared to the semi-gloss paper making this an excellent choice for printing black-and-white shots. I could see tons of detail in the shadow areas of my monochrome landscape and street photos.
For color photography, Canson’s Baryta paper produced just the right amount of vibrancy without oversaturating the colors as was occasionally the case on the semi-gloss paper. In some ways, this Baryta Photographique II does a good job of straddling the line between the flatter effect of a fine art matte paper and the more mainstream photographic appeal of glossy papers. Like I said, it’s suited for a wide range of photos.
Meanwhile, with an impressive 310b gsm weight and 305 um of thickness (which is slightly thinner than the previous version), Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique II feels good in your hand and will give your prints some added perceived value so you can price them accordingly. The heavy weight also makes them ideal for framing for your next gallery show.
Canson Infinity Baryta Photographique II photo paper doesn’t just mimic the look and feel of a traditional silver halide darkroom print, it improves on it, creating one of the best inkjet photo papers you can buy right now.