Moab Moenkopi Washi Paper Review; Unryu and Kozo

When I first saw these papers online I was immediately captivated and wanted to print all kinds of photos using them.  I read some reviews and noticed most people commented on how these papers were “not for every photo”.  I figured that I could make it work though, and that I would soon be printing everything on these papers.

Well, that wasn’t the case, and I’ve come to agree with those reviews that call this a specialty paper.  The Unryu is my favorite because the very obvious and unique texture makes up for the lacking of “technical” quality.  The Kozo, on the other hand, is not that different at first look from a lightly textured matte paper like Canson BFK Rives or Hahnemuhle German Etching.  Yet, it produces much worse results, technically speaking.  I’ll start with the Unryu.

Here is the test image:

Macallen and his Quilt

Here is the initial scan.  It was done with my normal scan settings, and it came out pale, because of how translucent this paper is.  The scanners light was so bright it blasted away the saturation.  This transparent quality gives the paper a nice ethereal look, but it needs a white mat underneath to hold the saturation.

moab moekop unryu

To give you a closer idea to what it looks like in reality, I changed my scanners settings to prevent document see through:

moab moekop unryu2

This one better captures how warm this paper is how the saturation came through.  Be sure to check the full size images to see the texture, it is very, very unique and very strong.  I personally like it a lot if I want the texture to be a feature of the print.  I found that upping the ‘color density’ setting on my Epson 3880 by 10% compliments the paper well, although it doesn’t make the image more ‘accurate’ as shown on screen.  For such a unique paper, it actually is fairly sharp, but I’ll say that it isn’t anywhere near the sharpness of a smooth rag paper, and definitely not as sharp as a baryta or gloss paper.  I actually think this is a great paper if you have one of those ‘dreamy’ photos that is maybe a little out of focus or taken with a softer lens wide open.  Overall I’d say this paper is a winner, but definitely not suitable for frequent use unless your typical subject matter is light, warm and dreamy.

Now for the Kozo.  This one I haven’t yet found a good image for.  I started with this image:

The Quiet of Winter

Which got me this print:

moab moenkop kozo

The print actually looks better in the scan.  It is darker in real life, and it is definitely not sharp.  The colors look mushy.  Granted, the original shot was not super sharp, so I tested this shot, which is very sharp.

Winter-Pano

Which got another dull mushy print.

moan moenkopi kozo

I haven’t gotten a good image on the Kozo yet.  I’m not sure what type of shot this paper was meant for, but I sure don’t have one in my library.

By all means, definitely give a sample pack of these a try, there isn’t much else out there like it, but I have found that these papers live up to the term specialty.

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4 Canvas Shootout

I was having a hard time deciding on my favorite canvas, so I decided to run a head to head competition on my top 4;

Harman By Hahnemuhle Canvas

Hahnemuhle Daguerre Canvas

Hahnemuhle Monet Canvas

Moab Anasazi Canvas

I printed the below image on all of them, using the company provided profiles and perceptual rendering intent. I chose perceptual because it really helped maintain the transitions in the shadows, something that can get lost because these matte canvases have much less dynamic range than a screen or glossy paper.

2 Months Old!

After running this test I think that Hahnemuhle Monet Canvas is even more clearly the winner. Here is how the test turned out:

Harman By Hahnemuhle Canvas: This one was the coolest toned of the bunch, but maybe a little less bright than the Daguerre. It came off with good shadow detail but the deeper areas were not that deep compared to the Monet. The colors were the least saturated and the skin tones were the coolest. The texture and feel is great and I like the weight, but it didn’t work so well for me as a color portrait canvas, which is, in my opinion, the best use for canvas.

Hahnemuhle Daguerre Canvas: This one wasn’t that different from the Harman. It was slightly whiter, and as such was also a little less saturated compared to the Monet, but not any less saturated than the Harman. The details were great, but again, I didn’t see the skin tones as pleasing, making it less effective as a color portrait canvas, in my opinion.

Moab Anasazi Canvas: Once again the heavy and very mechanical looking texture was prevalent in this canvas. The colors were the most intense, and the skin tones actually came out too saturated, ever so slightly orange compared to the Monet. Not sure I really like this canvas at all.

Hahnemuhle Monet Canvas: Contrary to my initial review, this canvases contrast wasn’t at all because the whites were whiter. It is, in fact, the warmest and least white of all 4 canvases! For some reason though, maybe a great dmax, this canvas just “pops” the best, had the most pleasing natural skin tones, and had a texture that was neither overbearing nor absent, and it held good detail. A definite winner in my opinion, a roll of this canvas will be on the way to my house soon!