Epson unveils OBA-free, bright new canvas


posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 12:42 PM EST


Epson introduced three new canvases today, which it will show at PhotoPlus Expo. The Signature Worthy canvases are available in three finishes, like the company's previous offerings, but are much lighter weight, do not use optical brighteners and yet are still quite bright.

The big news is that the Exhibition canvas with Gloss Natural, Satin Natural and Matte Natural surfaces maintain a bright, near-white surface in the mid-90s without using optical brightening agents. We've got a few rolls here for testing on the Epson R3000 and even without ICC profiles (they're still in testing), the results are impressive, as our screen shot below shows.


Satin Natural (below) with Ilford Galerie Smooth Gloss (above

The Satin Natural print you see, printed on the R3000 is sitting below an Ilford Galerie Smooth Gloss print of the same image printed on a Canon Pro-100 (not visible in the detail above). The image was color corrected using a WhiBal target. You can see there is no cream-color cast, typical of non-OBA surfaces, to the canvas.

In lieu of a profile, we used driver settings recommended by Epson for either the Gloss or Satin finishes: Ultra Premium Photo Paper Lusture media setting, Photo RPM quality setting and AdobeRGB (or Epson Standar sRGB) color setting, letting the printer manage color.

Jeff Smith, product manager for Epson America, explained, "Our media engineers went through a rigorous process to develop an OBA-free canvas that maintains bright whites, deep blacks and a wide color gamut that meets the demanding requirements of a Signature Worthy media."

How does it compare to the old canvas with brightners? Very close. The Lab color space values for the old gloss-surface canvas are 96.31, -0.96, 1.6 while the new gloss surface without brightners measures 94.4 -0.9 -3.2.

The new canvas is also significantly lighter than the previous offering, making it easier to wrap it for stretching over a gallery wrap for framing and saving shipping costs as well.

We were impressed enough with the brightness of the new surface that we had to wonder if this OBA-free technology might not make an appearance on Epson papers, too. Epson doesn't have any plans to do so but you heard it first here.

The new canvas products will ship through Epson Authorized Resellers in roll widths of 13, 17, 24, 44-inches in November. Sixty-inch roll widths and 17x22-inch cut sheets will be available in December.