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Big Bend Baryta vs. San Gabriel Baryta 2.0

As many will recall, Red River Paper discontinued San Gabriel Baryta 2.0 2019. After a long delay, it was replaced by Big Bend Baryta 310.  

Give me a quick summary

Big Bend is the next generation of San Gabriel. In effect, they are almost identical, with some minor exceptions we will discuss below.

Why not call it San Gabriel 3.0? 

While version numbers serve a purpose, we feel that it is time to retire the San Gabriel name and start fresh.

What are the differences?

Surface texture - Big Bend is smoother than San Gabriel, which has a slight satin texture.  You can see the difference when holding the paper at an angle to bright light.  At viewing distance, it is difficult to tell the papers apart.

Tone - Big Bend is slightly cooler white compared to San Gabriel.  When holding the papers side-by-side, the difference is evident though not radically different.

How are they the same?

Both papers are high-performance photo papers - alpha-cellulose base,  whitened with barium sulfate (baryta), microporous inkjet coated. Maximum black density and overall color gamut are very similar. Weight and thickness, as well as feel, are almost identical. 

Tech Specs

Big Bend Baryta 310San Gabriel Baryta 2.0
Weight310 gsm

315 gsm

Thickness11.8 mil12 mil
Base100% alpha-cellulose100% alpha-cellulose
CoatingMicroporous inkjetMicroporous inkjet
OBA contentVery low

Very low

SurfaceSmooth semi-glossSatin semi-gloss

Surface Comparisons

Big Bend Baryta is smoother than San Gabriel. The difference is subtle.  The best way to describe San Gabriel's surface is satin textured. Big Bend lacks that e-surface look.  It is smoother though not flat.  The look is more like air-dried darkroom paper from the old days. The photos below attempt to capture the difference. Any photographer will understand how hard it is to represent a flat white surface accurately.  The third image is from directly above and is perhaps the best at representing the satin texture of San Gabriel versus the more dappled look of Big Bend Baryta.

Big Bend Baryta surface
Big Bend Baryta surface
San Gabriel Baryta surface
San Gabriel Baryta 2.0 surface
Big Bend Baryta vs. San Gabriel Baryta surface comparison
Big Bend Baryta vs. San Gabriel Baryta 2.0 surface comparison

Why did you call it Bend Bend Baryta?

Because we're from Texas! Big Bend National Park is located in far southwest Texas. From the website:

"There is a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. Here, at the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend..."

At 801,163 acres, Big Bend is the 15th largest national park. It is adjacent to the 311,000 Big Bend Ranch State Park. In short, it is a vast place with stunning landscapes, vistas, mountains, animals, and dark skies. It has the least light pollution of any other national park unit in the lower 48 states. Trust us - if you want to see something unique, come to the Big Bend.

Last updated: August 19, 2021

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