Cheap / expensive printing paper

I just bought Canon Pro-300 printer and has been made to make a pretty nice looking prints but when I’ve used only a few brands of the cheapest satin-coated paper I wonder if those fine branded papers are of any practical use or are superior only in my own imagination a bit the same as they would be photographed at Leica. The papers I tested weren’t different if you put them side by side, maybe there may be some differences in the profiles in the dark head drawing.
My friend’s pro-printer said there aren’t big differences between those papers so the same goes for saving money on inks. I have some pictures of Canon really cheap matte bulk paper on the wall and they look pretty good

The longest part of my life I worked in R&D in the printing industry, the last couple of years at Canon (after they bought the company that I worked for).
In general, “generic” media and inks are not always worse than the “original” ones or recommended brands, but they are definitely different. Whether that is important to you depends on the purpose of the print. If you aim at the best possible longevity of the print, you better stick to the recommended papers and inks. If you hang your print on the wall, without direct sunlight, behind glass, and remove it after a couple of months, this is of no importance at all.
If you desire the best possible color reproduction, you will find out that you have to make a profile for the printer/paper/ink combination yourself when you use third party media and ink (you will need professional equipment, or outsource it to a professional print shop and lose the advantage of cheap ink/media in both cases), as the supplied ICC profile is only valid for the intended combination. When you buy a new batch of paper, or ink, you need to profile again, for there isn’t any guarantee that the “pirate” used the same ink/media as the previous time. If you don’t mind a small color cast, you will be satisfied without a valid profile.

Thank you Han: We do not get any pirated products from Finland. I order inks from the Netherlands directly from Canon’s online store because it will be significantly cheaper. Fine papers are also expensive, over 50% more than in the US. When 25 papers costing almost $ 200, don’t bother acquiring them for practice or experimentation. Maybe one package for Christmas. You just have to try to play as best you can with the cards that are available

Ink and papers are extremely expensive, I know. That’s the business model. Before my retirement, I had the opportunity to print large (nice fringe benefits), without any significant cost. Now I stopped using the inkjet printer for images and send the files to a professional lab that prints on traditional light sensitive photo paper, which is less expensive than printing at home. And no more prints of a square meter or so.

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