Printing Iceland Photo - PRO-4000

Breathing Color Signa Smooth 270 Fine Art Paper (Podcast 553)

I recently got hold of a roll of Signa Smooth 270, a new supple and smooth fine art paper, and today we're going to take a look at this beautiful new offering from my friends at Breathing Color. It seems like Breathing Color are releasing new paper on a very quick cycle...

Thank you for visiting!

Martin Bailey has been releasing weekly podcasts and blog posts since 2005! Almost all of the 760+ posts here contain a full text article with photographs and illustations, and take at least one day, sometimes three to four days to produce.

You are welcome to listen to the Podcast with the audio player and follow along with the images discussed below.

If you value what we do, please consider a Patreon contribution of $3 or more to unlock the full text of more than 760 posts and gain access to the exclusive MBP Community. There are also higher tiers with various benefits, some including one-to-one Mentorship.

Please visit our Patreon site for full details, and take your photography to a whole new level! Become a Patron!
Existing Patrons please login to access posts and benefits. Thanks for being awesome!

Image Gallery

If no images are displayed here, please refresh your browser.

To view this content, you must be a member of Martin's Patreon at $3 or more
Unlock with Patreon
Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • John Steadman
    Posted at 04:44h, 13 December Reply

    Hello Martin.
    A very interesting read about the Breathing Colour Paper I shall have to see if there are agents in the UK. I have been using Canson Baryta Photographique and Permajet on a Canon Pixma Pro 1. As I was going over to Capture One Pro I did cancel my subscription to Adobe, but ran into problems Adobe even stopped me using paid for and registered version’s of PS6 & LR5, which I thought was very naughty for them to do that, so I have had to sign up again for Adobe CC. to get things working again. I photograph mainly preserved steam locomotives and traction engines, 1940’s events and a few landscapes, the problem I have with Capture One is that I cannot get rid of the highlight’s with warning turned on. This shows up any ware on the loco and even on Sky between branches of tree’s etc. I use a Nikon D810 and with the Nikon software the problem is not really an issue, the problem is that the software is to slow but the colours are great.

    Best Wishes John.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 08:47h, 13 December Reply

      Hi John,

      Thanks for the comment.

      That isn’t great that Adobe stopped you using your old licenses. I assume you actually reentered the old licenses after you cancelled the CC subscription. Personally I’m keeping my Creative Cloud subscription, as I still use Photoshop and many of the other CC apps. I’m still going to be teaching Lightroom occasionally too, so I can’t even uninstall it. 🙂

      We communicated offline about the issue you mention with the highlights, and the last I heard from you was that the settings I sent helped to get rid of the highlight warnings, and that you closed the case with Phase One. If that issue is back even when using my settings, your images must be over exposed in those areas. How about exporting one of the images that you are seeing issues with as a EIP file, and share it with me via Dropbox or something. I’ll take a look and let you know what I think.

      If Capture One is too slow for you, there are a number of reasons that could be causing that, including not enough RAM, computer too old etc. If you’ve already decided not to use Capture One Pro, then don’t worry about sending me a file. I only want to help if this is a gating factor for you.


  • Thom
    Posted at 09:45h, 13 December Reply

    Hi Martin!

    I was just curious if you have ever used Moab paper…and your thoughts?

    They have a lot of different finishes to choose from, I’m currently using their “entrada” rag bright paper and their slick rock for more experimental and digital paintings (non photographic work). I am familiar with signa paper and have used them when I did print quality for a greating card company and will definitely try the smooth 270 (perhaps when I return from Japan and begin printing the shots I take there!)



    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:53h, 13 December Reply

      Hi Thom,

      I did try Moab many years ago, when I was still searching for my favorite paper. It was nice, and I’m sure they have improved their products since too, but at the time it wasn’t remarkable enough to lure me in.

      BTW, Signa is not a line of paper. It’s just one paper. The product name is Signa Smooth 270.


      • Thom
        Posted at 09:57h, 13 December Reply

        Thanks for the prompt reply. I must be mistaken on that particular papers name, they were testing quite a bit of stock…I’ll have to pull out my samples collection to see if I have any left. lol
        Thanks again Martin, have a great holiday.

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 10:03h, 13 December Reply

          You’re welcome Thom.

          Happy Holidays to you too!

  • John
    Posted at 00:34h, 08 October Reply

    Hey Martin,

    Thanks for the great review. Curious to know if you were able to figure out where Signa sits in your paper line-up especially in comparison to Pura.

    Also, you mentioned creating your own profile: any insights on how it compares to the one provided by BC? What media type did you use on the PRO-4000?


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 11:49h, 08 October Reply

      Hi John,

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

      I am using Signa for most of my personal printing, i.e. when I just want to print something for my own enjoyment, and have provided a few prints for friends etc. with Signa, when the archival certificate isn’t necessary. For archival fine art prints, I’m still using either Pura Smooth or Pura Bagasse.

      I actually created the ICC profiles that you get from Breathing Color for the PRO-4000, so in this case, they are identical. Usually though, if you can get a profile from the media manufacturer, it’s going to be pretty good. In my opinion, the most important thing is specifying your profile, rather than letting the printer handle color management because there is too much processing that we can’t see that happens when we leave it up to the printer.

      The base paper I use for SIgna and for most of the matte media I use is Fine Art Smooth.

      I hope that helps!


  • Mike W
    Posted at 12:54h, 12 November Reply


    I just went to the Breathing Color website and two notes for you:

    1) Signa 17″ 50′ rolls are currently on sale for 32% off (US$49). I know it’s not your preferred size, but I just ordered 3 rolls at that price.

    2) Your coupon code seems to no longer work.

    Keep up the good work.


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 18:40h, 12 November Reply

      Hi Mike,

      That’s great. You’ll love Signa if you haven’t already tried it.

      I’ll ask about the code, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was disabled for discounted products. I’ll let you know what BC says.


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:30h, 14 November Reply

      Hi again Mike,

      My friend’s at Breathing Color say they needed to tweak the settings for my code, but it’s done now. Sorry you missed it with your purchase.


      • Mike W
        Posted at 11:48h, 14 November Reply

        Thanks Martin, I appreciate the follow-up. No worries about the discount; I did let them know that I heard about them from you.


  • X
    Posted at 15:33h, 20 December Reply

    Thanks for the review.

    How do you find the smoothness, white point, colour neutrality and gamut of Signa to be in comparison to Pura Smooth (my current paper)? Is it smoother and whiter, or around the same?

    Have you tried applying Timeless to it? I’ve had a good experience with Timeless on Pura Smooth/Velvet – using various dilutions and multiple coats, you can create anything from a flat matte to a mirror gloss, while leaving a very tough surface that actually soaks into the paper base, encapsulating and reinforcing the image layer. Presumably Signa, with its greater thickness and lower weight implying a less dense/more porous paper structure, would soak up the Timeless even more than Pura. But i was wondering if you had tried it already.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 17:14h, 20 December Reply

      Thanks for the question. Too bad you couldn’t leave your name so that I can address you properly.

      I’ve answered your questions about the white point, color neutrality, and gamut in a video that I’ll embed at the bottom of the post, so please check that out. As for smoothness, Signa does feel slightly smoother to me.

      I haven’t tried applying Timeless to Signa. I think the last time I tried that I was still using Optica One, so I can’t help you there.

      • X
        Posted at 18:42h, 20 December Reply

        Thanks – very informative. I’ll have to give it a try.

        No clear data on what the print longevity is like (no data on Aardenburg for this or Pura Smooth/Velvet), but, looking at the data for other Breathing Color paper and canvas products (excellent for the OBA-free products, and with most of the deterioration in the OBA-containing papers seemingly due to OBA burnout rather than ink fade), and with the safe assumption that Signa’s coating will be similar, I’m expecting it to rank very highly in that regard among currently-available papers.

  • Sterling J Haidt
    Posted at 09:10h, 13 April Reply

    Does BC Signa have an AM1X to add to the Canon Studio Pro software? Do you use Canon Studio Pro software to print?

    I look forward to reading about your work around “my review of the PRO-4000 I mentioned that printing on matte media did not produce as good results as my old iPF6350, during these tests, I’ve figured out how to work around that.”


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:27h, 13 April Reply

      Hi Sterling,

      There is an AM1X file on the Breathing Color website I believe, but it’s not specific to Canon Studio Pro. You just need to add the custom media type via the Media Configuration Tool. I actually just create my own Media Types based on the fine art paper types.

      The workaround for the issues I was seeing with the PRO-4000 is here:

      You basically have to embed (associate) your custom ICC profile in the media type, or don’t use the Print Preview, but I prefer associating the profile and continuing to use the Preview.


Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.