Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Saying good-bye to Epson Canvas

I've been printing on Epson canvas for as long as I've owned an Epson 9800. The first canvas I used was Epson Premium Satin that had a base weight of 350 gsm (grams/sq meter) and 19 mil thick. I was very pleased with the canvas in not only the image quality but how well (and easily) it stretched.

Sadly Epson discontinued the "Premium" line of canvas and introduced the "Exhibition" canvas.  Exhibition canvas has a base weight of 450 gsm and is much thicker at 23 mil.  The thickness is much like what you might find in sailcloth. Okay that might be an overstatement however it is thick.

I've tried to learn to love the new "improved" canvas; I failed to see any real improvement in image quality.  Likewise, stretching the images became a real chore.  The smaller images like 40x30 and 50x30 began taking up to twice the time as before.  This morning I attempted to stretch a 60x30 and after close to 3-hours I gave up.  The canvas is just too thick for my taste.

So what will I be replacing it with?  After talking over the list of gripes I have with the canvas with Ken Doo I took his suggestion and contacted Breathing Color.  After all, Epson from my understanding doesn't actually manufacture their canvas - someone else does.  That aside, I'll be using Breathing Color Lyve which is 19mil. 450 gsm poly-cotton canvas that is archival certified and OBA (optical brightener additive) free. 

I've seen images Ken has printed using Lyve and they are stunning.

So good-bye Epson canvas.


Update January 12th - Added a link to Breathing Color.  Also need to say just how impressed I am with the customer service there. 


  1. I too used Epson Premium Canvas for the last few years. However, I prefer the new Epson Presentation Canvas. For one thing it is less likely to crack on the edges of the stretcher bars if pulled tight. The other thing is that the "tooth" of the canvas is a bit more subtle.

    I also tried Breathing Color canvas but was not satisfied for a variety of reasons. One was the overly aggressive sales team. I felt like It was like talking to a used car salesman.

  2. I totally understand your thoughts of the aggressive sales team having went though the same several years ago with them; it got so bad that I finally dropped them as a supplier. That said I've used Glamour II to protect my canvas and it now appears I must go through them again. Add the fact of my total displeasure of the new Epson Exhibition canvas.

    I tried a test roll of the Lyve and was blown away at how closely it resembles the old premium satin. Comparing the test print on Lyve to the Exhibition showed more color and better detail on the Lyve. I didn't know what I was missing.

    Back to the overly aggressive sales team. I've made it clear to them that I have a strict policy of don't call me I'll call you. I don't have the time to answer the phone only to listen to the current sales pitch. If it happens, I'll drop them again as I did in 2007.

    Anyone using Exhibition Satin and frustrated with the inconsistency of printing and stretching should try a test roll of Lyve. I'm glad I listened to Ken and took his advice to try them again.

    Just my 2¢ worth...


  3. I guess I lucked out with my Breathing Color Representative, as I've never felt pressured to buy anything---they've simply answered my questions and filled my canvas and fine art orders. In fact, no one ever solicited me, I contacted them! I really don't need/want anyone selling me anything---I'm smart enough to figure out what I want and where to buy it. Don't call me---I'll call you!

    I do have to say when I had my back against the wall with an open studio show, Breathing Color really went overboard with the customer service to fill my order in time. I've been using Breathing Color products for years and have had nothing but good experiences with them.

    Glad the Lyve worked out for you Don! I can't wait to compare output from the 9800 and 9900...