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What is Resin Coated RC Photo Paper

Resin coated (RC) photo paper is the most popular type of photo paper.  It is available as a wet chemistry (darkroom) paper and inkjet paper.  RC papers have a core of tree based paper coated on both sides with polyethylene resin, which is plastic.

RC papers were developed in the later 1960's and became the dominant type of photo paper used in the 1970's and onward. They are able to withstand handling and the environment well. 

RC papers can have glossy, satin, luster, and rarely a semi-matte surface.

RC papers come in different weights and thickness.  The typical RC paper is 10.4 mil. A mil is a thousandth of an inch.  You will also find them as 7 mil, 8 mil, and 12 mil variants. Weights run from 170 gsm up to 310 gsm, which stands for grams per square meter.

RC papers can be coated for printing on one or both sides. 

With papers that are coated on one side for printing, the back side cannot be printed.  Ink will not dry and will run.

RC papers have the following structure, starting from the top surface:

  • Protective layer - Not present on all RC papers
  • Inkjet receptive layer - chemicals that trap inkjet ink and hold it in place
  • Polyethylene layer 
  • Paper core - alpha-cellulose / tree based paper
  • Polyethylene layer 
  • Anti-static coating - Not present on all RC papers

Last updated: June 28, 2023