Digital negative creation plays a critical role in achieving a finely crafted platinum print in the 21st Century, as such identifying the best transparency film for ones negative output device is important. I was recently asked to test Permajet’s new formulation transparency film and compare it to the market leader and widely respected Pictorico transparency film that I have used in the past for creating large format digital negatives. One of the issues consumers have had in the past with Pictorico film is there is currently no supplier in the U.K for the film, as such one has to source it from the U.S incurring the additional related import and delivery charges.
As previously reported I had been disappointed with earlier formulations of Permajet sheet film with ink flooding, head strikes and film curl being some of the nagging problems I encounted. Having conducted detailed tests it is possible to confirm that these issues have now been addressed. The Permajet film lies flat thus stopping head strikes and the latest Epson large format printer models are able to identify the correct paper size when the film is sheet fed, a problem I have encountered with some films. The film is surprisingly clear when compared Agfa copyjet film and does in fact has a lower base fog value when compared to the Pictorico film. The specification sheet for the Permjet film mentions that it has ‘an improved ink receiving layer’ and this would account for the fact that I did not experience any ink flooding this time around.
In terms of how the film compares in the real world to Pictorico film they are almost identical. The platinum palladium test chart prints below shows the Permajet film having just a touch more contrast; however with further refinement to the digital negative creation software profiles it would be possible to make them almost identical. In relation to absolute resolution and the rendition of fine detail again there is very little between the two films.
Overall I have been impressed with the Permajet film and believe it to be a viable alternative to Pictorico film for those photographers who are based in the U.K and European markets.
(The tests were carried out using linearized profiles with both Qtr rip and Precision digital negatives (PDN) software and printed using Epson Large format printers.)
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