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BetterSense
31-Oct-2015, 12:17
I am typically non-digital, so I am not very up to date on the state of the art at all.

My wife bought a wireless ink jet so she can print from her phone easily. She pays HP a flat fee for enough ink cartridges by mail for X pages per month. Near the end of the month she prints out photos on cheap ink jet paper to use up the quota. Some of these end up on the wall or in albums.

Several questions : 1, how archival is this, 2) is the image quality of more expensive printers actually better or more archival than this consumer stuff? I am happy with the image quality when the source file comes from a cell phone, but concerned about whether we should get C-prints made of the images we want to last for decades.

IanG
31-Oct-2015, 13:24
From experience of the first half decent Epson Inkjet prints have lasted far better than expected, as well as 60's Kodak colour prints if not a lot better after about 20 years. My sister has a print I did from a scanned print of her twins on the wall for over 15 years that I printed with an Epson Colour Stylus Pro when they'd just come out, it doesn't appear to have faded, I think they were about 10 or 11 at the time, they are 30 next month..

If you want archival the you get a higher end Inkjet printer that can use Pigment inks rather than Dye, that'll be more archival than RA-4 prints.

Ian

Darko Pozar
31-Oct-2015, 14:02
It all also depends on the paper stock you use. Pigment inks rather than dyes are more archival on paper made with cotton or bamboo rag. In my opinion avoid the brighter white papers as they contain phosphors which in turn become yellow over time.

Leonardo da Vinci used inks in his time...

BetterSense
31-Oct-2015, 21:01
So, among LF practicioners of color who print with inkjet, do most of them use pigment inks,or is that just a high-end rare thing?

I am trying to figure out how close I am to printing LF color. I have a V500 somewhere, I am having evil thoughts of scanning or DSLR-copying some of my color negatives. What is not attractive to me before becomes attractive if it's free...

Sal Santamaura
31-Oct-2015, 23:10
I'd suggest spending some time here:


http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/index.html

Tyler Boley
31-Oct-2015, 23:28
Actually C prints may or may not last for decades, depending a variety of factors, display conditions, storage method, etc etc.. most of the fine art prints I and other artists made in the 80s and 90s, even for collectors or museums, are considerably different than when they were made and the artist's intentions. The longevity of your HP prints depends on the particular inkset your printer uses, and the paper being used. There are no quick convenient answers. The more expensive photo printers tend to have finer resolution and gradations for photography. Whether or not they have more gamut and maximum density depends on what you are using now. Pigment inks are the norm in these models, Epson, Canon, and the fine art photo HP printers, and offer longevity far greater than dye inks, and type C materials, with the majority of quality papers designed for them. As Sal said, Aardenburg is THE source for longevity information.

and oh.. none of this is free

philipus
1-Nov-2015, 01:22
I can't add to the OP's question but found the info on the Aardenburg site regarding the SC P400 interesting. I wonder how much more cost-effective it will be.

tjvitale
1-Nov-2015, 07:35
Look at the reports on WIR. Henry Wilhelm has been evaluating imaging materials since the 1970s. WIR has amassed the most comprehensive array of answers to your seemingly simple question.

The model for making money in printing is to give away the printer and make mounds of money selling the ink. Billions have been made. I think HP survived the 2000-crash, and Carly Fiorina, because they had a good-sized chunk of the printer market.

Inks are the primary issue, while the paper is of secondary paper importance. Dye based inks fad quickly. Some within days of going on display. Pigment-based inks tend to have greater longevity. Dye-based inks are very inexpensive to manufacture and distribute. In the case of pigment-based inks, the paper tends to be the mode of failure. Most imaging papers include OBA, when these papers looses optical brightener intensity they yellow. OBA, optical brightener agents, are a cost effective way to add brightness, a blue fluorescent output, to the base color of many papers, which is yellow. Eventually, the materials that the paper is made of will begin to degrade and yellow on their own; a second type of paper yellowing. The best example of the latter would be copy paper, the lowest end of the market. There are professional imaging papers made without OBAs, but they tend to have a natural tone and not to be bright white. Many professionals demand the whitest possible base tone, this is very difficult and expensive. The photographic world solved this by adding the Baryta layer to photographic papers in the 1920s.

Mark McCormick-Goodhart (I worked with many years ago) left the government and went off to build a digital imaging portal at Old Town Imaging in the 1990s. Later he worked with Henry Wilhelm for a few years on cold storage. Recently he developed his own ink and paper longevity evaluation protocol (I* Metric) and a website at <http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/cgi-bin/mrk/_4777c2hvd19kb2NfbGlzdC80> called Aardenburg Imaging & Archives. His work is less accessible than WIRs. He doesn't produce digested data in technical reports, but rather he reports results on the fading of individual ink and paper combinations. Mark's results are superior because his measurement and evaluation technology are modern and superior.

Henry's (WIR) work has more breadth because he began to develop it in the 1970s when he was evaluating photographic material and dogging Kodak to improve their longevity. Kodak did improve longevity because Wilhelm was there evaluating their products and reporting results in the trade press. WIR continues to use the same methodology today developed 40+ years ago. This make all the results relevant to each other, but not as technically reliable as those made using the I* Metric.

However, the bottom line is the same: consumer products bad, with professional pigment-based-inks better.

Nothing is as good as one would want, but then these are real world products meeting the needs of consumers and professionals. Consumers want quick and cheap, professionals want control and superior images no matter the complexity. There are products that bridge the gap, but they tend to be at the outer reaches of the consumer comfort zone in both cost and complexity.

Wilhelm's massive book on all his early work, printed in 1993, can be downloaded from the WIR site <http://wilhelm-research.com/book_toc.html>. This has all the relevant data on the "C Print." They have quite bad longevity, although they were the "consumer" standard for many, many years.

Digitally produced images made using professional grade equipment and materials are far superior in both dark storage (sitting in a drawer) and on display, when compared to any dye-base photographic imaging materials. There is one exception.

The Dye Transfer Print can have a very long life (500 years it is rumored) if made properly using the standard (best grade) of materials. They usually fail due to yellowing. Testing of actual samples and "examples on the wall" have shown this to be their point of failure. They are not made anymore because the master printmakers have all retired or passed away. In addition, the materials are all but non-existent. You may have been thinking of the Dye Transfer Print when your wrote C Print.

Tim Vitale
Art Conservator & Digital Imaging
Oakland, CA
510-594-8277
Follow the history of imaging using:
http://www.vitaleartconservation.com/PDF/Brief_History_of_Imaging_Technology_v28.pdf

BetterSense
1-Nov-2015, 10:39
I find it interesting that dye transfers have good longevity even though they are made with dyes.

Sal Santamaura
1-Nov-2015, 13:33
...Wilhelm's massive book on all his early work, printed in 1993, can be downloaded from the WIR site <http://wilhelm-research.com/book_toc.html>. This has all the relevant data on the "C Print." They have quite bad longevity, although they were the "consumer" standard for many, many years.

Digitally produced images made using professional grade equipment and materials are far superior in both dark storage (sitting in a drawer) and on display, when compared to any dye-base photographic imaging materials. There is one exception.

The Dye Transfer Print can have a very long life (500 years it is rumored) if made properly using the standard (best grade) of materials. They usually fail due to yellowing. Testing of actual samples and "examples on the wall" have shown this to be their point of failure. They are not made anymore because the master printmakers have all retired or passed away. In addition, the materials are all but non-existent. You may have been thinking of the Dye Transfer Print when your wrote C Print...


I find it interesting that dye transfers have good longevity even though they are made with dyes.The cited Wilhelm book was written before he started taking funding from manufacturers, so it can actualy be relied on for useful information :) If you read it, the notable superiority o Fuji Crystal Archive C-prints (even way back in the early 1990s) to dye transfer prints when displayed becomes evident. It's only if kept in the dark that dye transfer prints are stable. And Fuji C-prints are pretty darn good under those conditions too.

Willie
2-Nov-2015, 03:11
Talking with Canon tech folks they are saying the newer dye ink printers will make prints that should last as long as pigment printers.

tjvitale
2-Nov-2015, 06:36
I had forgotten about Fuji Crystal Archive. I used it way back, but it had only a small share of the market because Kodak had the market locked up.

I have a colleague (in Aptos, CA) who used FCA in a Chromira digital to photographic [paper] printer. Prints had the photographic look (thick gelatin top coat and blurry image components) with good storage and display properties, all with the benefits of a digital work flow. Sublime, back then.

The Dye Transfer process, transferred the image from the fugitive dyes in the original photographic materials to highly stable [print, CMYK] dyes in individual layers that had to be registered on each other by a specialist. Presumably those very stable dyes could not be chemically configured (dye coupled) for use in the [Kodak] print technology of the era. In independent tests, those Dye Transfer dyes were shown to be stable for 500+ years, even on display. The problem, as I said, was the gelatin layer yellowed (or was it the white Baryta layer) well before the dyes showed fading, so that is how they failed.

Henry would be pleased to know his book is still be read outside the preservation world.

The other mode of failure I forgot to mention was ozone-induced cracking of the polyethylene coating on photographic and digital prints. The so called "resin coating" sped up processing, but ultimately failed due to pollutant vulnerability. Glazing helps, but in the office environment, especially those with copiers of the era showed high ozone levels. Gallery spaces had significantly less ozone pollutants, but people work in offices.

BTW, Mark's funding has fallen off and he has cut back on the free testing he did for members; he has a self-funded base. You can criticize Wilhelm for accepting industry funding and becoming a more corporate entity, but he is still active and collecting data. [[People need to survive.]]

Tim Vitale
Oakland, CA

Sal Santamaura
2-Nov-2015, 08:52
I had forgotten about Fuji Crystal Archive...I have a colleague (in Aptos, CA) who used FCA in a Chromira digital to photographic [paper] printer. Prints had the photographic look (thick gelatin top coat and blurry image components)...Perhaps the Chromira decreased image sharpness, but Fuji Crystal Archive paper is vastly sharper than dye transfer. In fact, what always turned me off about dye transfer, despite the incredible color and color control it offered, was its blurriness. There's no point starting with large format originals if a printing process makes the final product look like it was shot on 35mm.


...In independent tests, those Dye Transfer dyes were shown to be stable for 500+ years, even on display. The problem, as I said, was the gelatin layer yellowed (or was it the white Baryta layer) well before the dyes showed fading, so that is how they failed...Please cite a reference for those "independent tests." In Wilhelm's book, where he documents the light fading of dye transfer, there are test results which contradict display life anywhere close to 500 years.

Table 3.11 on page 131 shows that, for then-current Fuji RA-4 papers, display life when displayed under glass was projected to be 54.4 years. Test updates of later improved versions, published by Wilhelm in general interest photography magazines if memory serves, increased that to at least 60 years, possibly more.

Table 3.2 on page 135 indicates a projected display life of 32* years for dye transfer prints under the same conditions. Dye transfer prints are not only blurrier than Fuji Crystal Archive prints, they fade far faster on display.

* CORRECTION: I incorrectly cited from a table entry with the footnote "High-Stability Kodak MX-1372 yellow dye and paper with UV-absorbing coating trade tested in 1988-89. The paper and yellow dye proved difficult to work with and Kodak decided not to market the materials." The correct number is 32, not 50 as I originally posted.


...The problem, as I said, was the gelatin layer yellowed (or was it the white Baryta layer) well before the dyes showed fading, so that is how they failed...On display, dye transfer prints fade long before yellowing of any component. Perhaps you're referring to the dominant deterioration mechanism in dark storage?


...Henry would be pleased to know his book is still be read outside the preservation world...It's been on my bookshelf since I purchased it directly from him when it was first released. I still refer to it as necessary to obtain real data.


...BTW, Mark's funding has fallen off and he has cut back on the free testing he did for members; he has a self-funded base...Mark's testing is the most advanced and useful there is. He's surpassed the methods Wilhelm employs. That's why I made a substantial (for me) contribution to it and encourage others to do the same.


..You can criticize Wilhelm for accepting industry funding and becoming a more corporate entity, but he is still active and collecting data. [[People need to survive.]]Survival and engaging in business relationships that cast doubt on the usefulness of one's work are two different things. I don't rely on any information source other than Consumer Reports for automotive reliability data. I'll continue to consult Wilhelm's pre-corporate-era book for trustworthy data about the products it covered, but don't consider WIR's current output any more valuable than an (insert name of printer/ink manufacturer here) advertisement or a report from a fossil fuel-funded "scientist" that denies anthropogenic climate change.

MHMG
19-Mar-2016, 19:09
Epson now claiming 2x improvement on new HD and HDX inksets compared to older K3 ink set. Testing at Aardenburg Imaging in progress, but looks like the 2x improvement is valid. Alternatively, Epson is declaring 200+ years of light fade resistance for color prints and 400+ for B#W on select media while Canon is only claiming a very generalized 45-60 years.. All of this is a much more problematic declaration of print longevity than ever before because choice of media will now have a huge impact. In fact, as the new pigmented ink sets get better, the battleground for optimal print longevity turns more toward the role of the media choice.

Meanwhile, Canon's latest pigmented ink set (the new "Lucia Pro" ink set) has not been tested with any independent lab, and Canon's "in house" testing claims are more modest on longevity ratings than their previous ink set claims that Canon tested with Wilhelm Imaging Research. Canon is only claiming 45-60 year light fade resistance on two of it's own RC media with its newest ink set. As such, this represents a decline in print permanence compared to past claims on earlier Canon pigmented ink sets and Canon RC media. A strange turn of events. How does one properly assess Epson's latest 200+ year claims against Canons 45-60 year claims? Is there really that big of a difference?

One would think by now, we'd be having some real consensus on modern media and pigmented inkjet stability, and yet the situation seems to be more confusing than ever!

cheers,
Mark
http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com