ChromaLuxe MetalPrints – Product Review

Picture does not represent actual print quality

I’m probably the worst customer for most consumer products. I’m really tough on them and there are so few products or companies that I really think get things right and I just glow about their products.

  • When I had my big houses, I loved Casablanca fans, hate noisy inefficient fans to death and Casablanca always got it right.
  •  Loved my 1989 Toyota pickup. NEVER broke, Got me out of any slick location I got myself into and looked as good the day I sold it with 14 years and 200,000 miles on it as the day I bought it.
  • Even though they have gotten a lot of flack over the years, Loved my Dell computers in fact I am still using 3 – 8 year old Dells that I bought before people decided they wanted $400 PC and ruined an industry. I’m typing on one now.
  • My Canon 5D still amazes me even if it is old…I’m old, sometimes I’m amazing too.
  • I kinda like my iPhone even if I swore I would never have one. It actually is pretty cool and gets me hot babes…OK well lets just say it’s a cool phone.
Other than that, I’m not easily impressed.
So a couple weeks ago the nice folks over at ChromaLuxe asked if I would like some review samples of their – direct to metal prints – to take a look at and see if I liked their product and how it would be for my reader’s HDR Images.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them, I was already in love.
I guess I should tell you what ChromaLuxe HD Metal Panels are or maybe I should just let them tell you.

About ChromaLuxe & HD Metal Photo Panels

ChromaLuxe is the world’s leading brand manufacturer of high definition sublimatable photo panels. Through the dye sublimation process, images are infused directly into specially coated metal, wood and table top photo panels turning any image into a vibrant decorative focal point for your home. Manufacturer of the highest-quality metal photo panels in the industry, ChromaLuxe is the preferred supplier for professional photographic labs and digital print providers and the choice of professional photographers looking for the most vibrant display options for their artwork. A full list of ChromaLuxe lab partners can be found here: 

With their exceptional durability and image detail, ChromaLuxe HD metal photo panels are ideal for unique deliverables demanded by professional photographers looking for individualized, customizable client offerings or gallery displays, interior designers seeking one-of-a-kind decorative installations, or decorators of high-traffic locations such as restaurants, hotels and arenas. All ChromaLuxe HD Metal Photo Panels present an archival-quality, highly scratch-resistant surface that is waterproof and resistant to UV rays and other damaging elements that would easily destroy standard paper prints. 

For more information on the ChromaLuxe complete product line, visit


Simply put, ChromaLuxe HD metal photo panels are your images printed directly onto aluminum. 

I already have 2 in my home including a 45″ x 45″  Cluster 5- panel which you can see on the wall in this post about shooting HDR Interiors and I’ve given them as gifts too. They look absolutely outstanding 

But getting the review samples was the right thing to do, I wanted to try a really tough image that isn’t big and poppy like a lot of HDRs. It was a very subtlety toned image that really is tough to get right. I also wanted to see how it looked in all of their 4 Finishes
  • White Gloss Aluminum Photo Panel
  • White Matte Aluminum Photo Panel
  • Clear Gloss Aluminum Photo Panel
  • Clear Matte Aluminum Photo Panel
Earlier this week I received the sample panels and was not disappointed in any way. They were just as I expected, fantastic. The subtle tones of the image came out beautifully. The color were spot on (with the white substrate, more on this later) Detail was excellent. Finish impeccable. The nice thing about already having some made at one of their associate labs (Bay Photo Labs) is that I know these were not just spiffed up review samples. In real life they are just as good.
My favorite style was the White Gloss, It just does it for me and I like glossy images even though most photographers don’t. The matte image’s color was exactly the same except of course for the finish. The two Clear panels which are direct to the aluminum without white first, were less saturated in color so for me not as appealing but I like fairly high saturation in my images. However I really wonder how the clear panels would be with a Black and White Photo. I wish  had one to see.
For comparison I printed the same exact image I sent for the review samples on my Canon Pro 9000 Printer. This is a 8 Ink Dye InkJet Photo Printer. The ChromaLuxe uses a Dye Sublimation process. I printed on Canon Pro Platinum Paper at best image quality.
On first look, the Canon print was a little more saturated and the colors looked a little more like my screen Than the ChromaLuxe Not bad different just different different. But you have to bear in mind that I have gone through extensive work to get my printer to match my screen. This is something you really are not able to do with any commercial lab even with their soft proofing ICC profiles. You can get close but not as exact.
At a usual viewing distance, the Canon appeared to be a bit more sharp. Because of how Dye Sublimation works  there can be a little softness due to the process. But upon using a 10X Loupe ( how many of you have one or maybe even know what they are anymore?) and close examination. The Chromaluxe was a much more pleasing image as the added sharpness of the canon also added detail to the noise in the image. Granted no one really looks at a print this way and they really shouldn’t but to me it was interesting
I wish I would have had time to get some True Photographic process (Digital C) sample prints from Bay Labs done on both Kodak Eudura and Fuji Crystal for comparison. But there just wasn’t time plus I’m really a cheap bastard cuz I don’t get paid to do this LOL. But having compared other images done on those papers and process to what I get at home. I don’t think any one of them would have been a clear winner.
But beyond IQ, there are other things that just make ChromaLuxe images so fantastic. The variety of options that their associate labs have as far as styles and edges, frames if you desire one, Shapes even so called Luxe shapes. Different hanging options and even Cluster and Split  styles of multiple prints that fit together to form a wall of images. They are just amazing and fit into so many different Home Interior styles.
And then there is  the durability without have glass over them. Both of  the images on my wall get a LOT of sun, especially here in Southern California. They both have been up over a year and there is no sign of fading. Cleaning is easy, I use a mild window cleaning solution to get some off the dust and household cooking smoke off of them without any worry about damaging the print.
OK, I talked enough about them, you get it.
But I could see a lot of real demand for a product like this to all the HDR shooters out there. You already know I am the biggest fan of printing your work and this is just a  great way to display it. From “as the eye sees” variety of HDRs to a total grunge out, they would look great. How about this for a great Idea for those of you that shoot automotive or motorcycle  HDR images? Think of that; Metal on Metal…how cool would that be?
Anyway, Yeah I love this stuff. The people at ChromaLuxe couldn’t be any nicer or more helpful when I had some technical questions so you gotta love that. Remember though that the ChromaLuxe Metal Panels are available through their associate labs so look  at their list to find one  that you either already deal with or maybe someone you would like to. Like I said I use and am a BIG fan of Bay Photo Labs but they are for professionals only. Consumers can purchase some of the metal prints through SmugMug
OK, I’m off to write complaint letters about all the other products in the world I don’t like…but not ChromaLuxe…I love you


  1. Chris July 6, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    You printed my favorite! Glad it came out beautifully. Still love, love, love this one…

  2. Marcia July 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    While using LR 4.1 and aNik Efx Pro 2, my tif images are not showing in LR. I am using the latest version on a Mac running Lion 10.7.4.

    How did you see yours?

    • Peter July 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm #


      Are you talking about the temporary Tiff files that LR makes prior to
      Processing in HDR Efex Pro 2? or are you talking about the final HDR Tiff
      images out of HDR Efex Pro2?

      If you are talking about the initial ones, they are temporary files and
      never actually saved in LR

      If you are talking about The Final HDR Images. In HDR Efex Pro 2, make sure
      you have it set to “Re-import to Lightroom (settings, lower left panal in
      HDR Exex Pro 2) and also DO NOT have them stacked with the original unless
      you want that.

      Also In Lightroom, make sure that you are looking at “All Photographs” in
      the library or you won’t see images that are re-imported

      Hope that helps