Printing photos with an ink jet can become very expensive very quickly. One 8x10 means basically 100 per cent of the page covered with ink, and that means frequent replacement of expensive ink cartridges. Paper is the other part of the cost equation. Epson used to sell paper which was so expensive that one 8x10 print cost more than a print from a $80,000 dye-sublimation printer. There are lower-cost alternatives in papers from third-party manufacturers. I tend to be demanding as far as what my printer produces, and look for quality in paper. A few months ago, for comparison purposes, I got hold of packets of cheaper glossy paper from Polaroid, Mitsubishi and Kodak and tried them on my printer, as well as several printers I had acquired for test reports. My printer is an Epson, and I have tried all of Epson's own papers as well as an early incarnation of Kodak's paper. From these experiences, I know how temperamental printers can be about what they eat (at these prices, the eating metaphor seems appropriate). However, I pulled a sheet out of each manufacturer's packet and was quite impressed with the quality of the papers. All three were a far heavier weight than what I was used to from Epson, and all of them felt more like photographic paper. Also, when it came to making prints, I found that none of them wrinkled as Epson's paper does when the ink is still wet. They also have noticeable texture, which is most obvious on the Polaroid paper. As to whether or not these papers will work for you, well, that depends on how finicky you are about quality. One thing I expected from them was problems printing photos with Epson's 1440 dpi printers. I had looked at Kodak's first attempt at ink-jet papers and found that the ink clotted when using a 720 dpi Epson. Surely with a 1440 dpi model the results would be worse. I tested these papers on two 1440 dpi Epsons and found the clotting was there, but not too noticeable. I definitely could not get the shadow detail that I saw with Epson's paper. Surprisingly, detail also turned out to be quite variable with lower resolution printers from Hewlett-Packard and Canon. Some paper showed smoother tonal transitions than others. What was much more noticeable was colour shift. The change in the colour balance of photos from one paper to another, no matter which printer I was using, was dramatic. Laying prints side by side, it was hard to believe they all had been made from the same scan. Looking at a blank sheet of each of these papers, one can see why. Polaroid's paper tends to be slightly yellow, while Mitsubishi's is ultra-white and Kodak is somewhere in the middle. HP's paper is actually Kodak paper. Epson's paper was most like the Kodak in colour. Canon, unfortunately, failed to provide a sample of theirs. On all printers I tested, I found the Mitsubishi paper the least appealing. The colour balance tended to be quite blue. Also there was a fair amount of posterisation. Polaroid is more of a love-it or hate-it thing. Most prints looked a bit green in the highlights, but mid-tones were richer than with other papers. Polaroid was the most colour accurate with the Epson Stylus Color 3000 printer. Kodak was most colour accurate with the Epson Photo 700, although definitely not as accurate as Epson's own paper, which tended to give a less yellow colour balance. If you want a heavier paper for your Epson Photo, Kodak is your best bet, although you will need to set up some colour correction. Kodak also was the best paper for the Canon and HP printers I tried. The colour balance with HP's 720c was much too yellow - an odd thing when you considered the fact that this is HP's native paper - but it was still the best of the lot. All of these papers tend to take a long time to dry and it is best to leave them out in an air-conditioned room, preferably on something warm, such as your computer, for at least 30 minutes before you lay anything on top of them.