Archival inksets for inkjet printers.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Conway Yee, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. Conway Yee

    JIM Guest

    Alrighty then. This is probably not too objective, third party, or
    jounalistic; however, I have a 4.5"x6" early (circa middle 1997) Epson
    inkjet print - archival inks from Epson not outta-da-think-tank yet at the
    time - that has not faded or turned orange, that I can see. The print is
    merely taped to the wall, no protection/coating of any kind. The room is lit
    mostly by a single, sometimes three, 60 watt incandescent bulbs with a
    nominal amount of daylight limited to one window. Additionally, there is
    usually a 52" ceiling fan running to help circulate air and cool the room,
    as the room contains all my computer gear.

    Should the print outlive me, my relatives, and/or my dogs, and it should
    ever need replacing, anyone left can reprint another copy using the current
    "archivable inks" and leave the thing in their will;) I mean, seriously, how
    many of those "consumers" out der wanna have some great work of 'their' art
    survive into the next whatever? I would also imagine that those digital
    printing consumers are doing the same with their prints that the majority of
    the film crowd does (o.k., the vast majority that rate their prints at less
    than 'art') - after viewing/showing, they either put them in albums or throw
    them in a drawer or shoebox for some relative to go through, after their
    demise, and wonder who/what that pic was all about...............

    Longevity, highly overrated, except perhaps in something like the great

    JIM, Jan 6, 2004
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  2. Conway Yee

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Not if you're the person looking into that shoebox.

    Nick Zentena, Jan 6, 2004
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  3. Conway Yee

    JIM Guest

    Conceded. My father was a prolific snapshooter duing his army career (30
    yrs). Some pics, from the '40's, are of unknown people and places; however,
    many are interesting because they show clothing, hair styles of the time and
    of people having a good time in uncertain times;) Nearly all of these are
    B&W, of course.

    JIM, Jan 7, 2004
  4. Conway Yee

    Steve House Guest

    Don't know of any 200 year old photographs either colour or B&W, mainly
    cause photography wasn't invented until the 1840's. But there are
    colour prints that are 100 years old and still looking good. Look up
    "Carbro Process" and "Autochrome."

    The Autochrome process produced prints before 1910 that are still
    vibrant today.

    Of course, for truly archival colour photography today one can take the
    camera original and from it create tri-colour separation B&W
    gelatin-silver negatives on glass plates processed and stored
    archivally. There are a number of top-ticket professional labs and
    museums that do exactly that.
    Steve House, Jan 23, 2004
  5. I believe one of Nicephore Niepce's photographs from about 1826 is still
    around, and he started work around 1816, and apparently got some results
    as early as 1819.

    That 1826 one will probably last "forever" as it is etched into a metal
    Jean-David Beyer, Jan 24, 2004
  6. Conway Yee

    Tom Phillips Guest

    1839 was the first "commercial" introduction of photography, not when
    photography was invented. The earliest extant permanant photograph dates
    from 1827 (Niepce.) Thomas Wedgwood actually made the first known
    photographic images about 1802, but didn't know how to fix the images.

    The first successful color experiements date from about 1861, and the
    earliest extant color prints (carbon) also date from the 1860s.
    Tom Phillips, Jan 24, 2004
  7. Conway Yee

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Have you actually seen any vibrant autochromes? I ask because the ones
    I've seen look pretty pastel to me.
    The life expectancy of the common lab print - 99% of all colour prints
    being made today - is 20 years and a lot look pretty bad in only one or two

    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    Tony Spadaro, Jan 24, 2004
  8. They have faded. It is the use of organic dyes I imagine. Any organic
    dye will fall prey to oxygen and UV given enough time.

    Metallic colorants are quite stable, silver for instance. If metal
    salts were used for coloring an Autochrome's starch grains then
    the colors should last a long time.

    Red ochre (rust), calcium white (chalk) and bone black (burnt bone)
    have demonstrated lifetimes greater than 10,000 years. Not in the
    slightest affected by UV.

    I remember having Prussian blue (Iron cyanide), cadmium orange (cadmium
    sulfide), cerulean blue (cobalt/tin), cobalt green (cobalt/zinc)
    and a whole host of others in a paint set when I was young.

    The old stable pigments were still available from Russian art supply
    houses last time I looked. Or you can scrape them off the floor at a
    metal plating plant.

    If you want stable ink-jet colors, I am afraid EPA America may not be
    the place to find them.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 24, 2004
  9. Conway Yee

    Steve House Guest

    Yep- sounds about right - date rounding error <grin>
    Steve House, Jan 24, 2004
  10. Conway Yee

    Steve House Guest

    Look around you at nature - mostly pastel as well, with notable
    exceptions. "Vibrant" does not necessarily mean the super-saturated
    colours of advertising photography and video game graphics. I think of
    it as meaning closer to "alive" and when applied to artwork as meaning
    "retaining the spirit of the creator as put into the work when
    originally created." A print by Weston or Cunningham is vibrant without
    any colour at all.
    Steve House, Jan 24, 2004
  11. Conway Yee

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Then let me make it plainer. Unless they were always much paler than
    reality, or the reproduction (in books that seem to get everything more
    recent correct) wis poor, there are a lot of really faded autochromes out
    there. Yes there are many pastel colours in nature, but there are many more
    in old colour photographs.

    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    Tony Spadaro, Jan 25, 2004
  12. Conway Yee

    Tom Phillips Guest

    At the professional lab I use the most common color print is now the digital
    Frontier. Color dye prints are generally rated a display life of 100 years
    today, not "20."

    In any case, pragmatically there's no difference between a "common" print
    (whatever nondescript assertion is meant by that...) made in a lab and the C,
    Type R, or Ciba prints I've made myself. Color prints I have on my wall (some
    made longer than 30 years ago) look like the day they were printed. I even
    have boxes of machine color prints from the 60's that are 40 years old and in
    good condition.
    Tom Phillips, Jan 25, 2004
  13. Conway Yee

    Tom Monego Guest

    If you want autochromes figure out how to make them, there is a reason they
    don't exist anymore. The process was killed by Ciba, and died with the Lumiere
    brothers. It was still a difficult process, which the Lumieres never pattened
    because they were afraid of someone copying them. I'm surprised that potoato
    starch lasts as long as it does. As for metallic pigments most do not react
    well with light sensitizing chemicals, this is true of silver compounds as well
    as chromium ones used in gum bichromate printing. So you can paint these
    pigments on a wall but not make a light sensitive emulsion out of them.

    Tom Monego, Jan 25, 2004
  14. Conway Yee

    Tom Monego Guest

    Frontier prints advertise 65 year life expectancy. That relys on a well kept
    chemical line, not something drug stores, mass marketing printers are known for
    ,and a very low ambient light. When Fontier prints were subject to Wilhelm's
    standards (light almost 4x of what Fuji specifies the print life was more in
    the 20-30 year range. Under Wilhelm's specs inkjet pigment inks do much better.
    Is this the final answer, probably not. But right now, according to accelerated
    testing pigmented inkjet inks have a slight advantage. Don't knock accelerated
    testing too much, it has been the standard for testing fabric dyes for most of
    this century.

    Tom Monego, Jan 25, 2004
  15. An autochrome is made by attaching tiny red, green and blue filters to
    the surface of black and white film, reversal processing the film (leaving
    the filters in place) and projecting the resulting colored slide.

    Polacolor (Polaroids instant color slide film) is a lenticular Autochrome
    process and is still in production.

    US patent 822,532
    French industrial patent 339,223
    EPO classification G03C7/08

    describe Lumiere's original technology. Though they are rather vague
    on the fine points of sprinkling potato starch on pitch, as the
    manufacturing process had not been worked out when the patent was
    filed, what one man can do, so can another. As the process existed
    until the '30's it should be possible to find factory workers who
    still remember the details of the manufacturing process.

    The Lumiere company stopped making Autochrome in the 1930's. Lumiere
    was acquired by Ilford's parent company of the time, Ciba - of
    Cibachrome fame, in the 60's and merged with Ilford, long
    after Autochrome production ceased.

    Since the pigments in an autochrome are only used for filtering the light,
    any color absorbing material can be used, and the process is not limited
    to (generally) organic dyes that can couple with silver grains.

    There are many other color processes that do not rely on dye couplers,
    the most common being 4 color lithography; another common method is
    ink jet printing.

    There is no technical reason that metallic pigments can not be used in
    an ink-jet printer. OTOH, the color gamut of metallic compounds is fixed
    and the accuracy of color reproduction will be reduced -- but this
    limited color gamut serves painters very well.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 25, 2004
  16. Conway Yee

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    By common lab prints I meant the Kodak and Fuji photo paper (chemical)
    enlargements churned out by those one hour labs at about the rate of 2
    million a day. Ciba and Forntier prints do indeed have a longer life, but
    while Froutier and other digital printing methods are on the rise, they are
    usually found only in custom labs at this point where they are replacing
    Ciba, which never was a process found in the great majority of labs.

    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
    The Improved Links Pages are at
    A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
    Tony Spadaro, Jan 25, 2004
  17. Conway Yee

    Tom Phillips Guest

    hard to interrupt a discussion that already died weeks ago.
    Apples and oranges.
    Tom Phillips, Jan 25, 2004
  18. Conway Yee

    Tom Phillips Guest

    Those are machine prints. I don't know there's any difference between the
    emulsion and dyes in the paper used for machine prints and the emulsion and
    dyes in the paper used for C prints at custom labs.

    I'm looking at a machine print as I write from a 35mm negative I took well over
    20 years ago. It's in perfect condition with no fading. I have albums full of
    these, all in excellent condition.
    Tom Phillips, Jan 25, 2004
  19. Conway Yee

    Tom Monego Guest

    Not what i had heard, thought Ciba bought Lumiere in the 30's and trashed their
    factory, eliminating pototo starch Autochromes. If the Polaroid instant 35 is
    any example of Autochrome technology it is a good thing it died. Though I doubt
    Polaroid would use potato starch. I had also heard that they had not patented
    the full process out of fear a larger company would copy the process. The
    patent was for the whole process or some fraction of the process.
    It seems that the Lumieres made a machine that did most of the process and had
    very few employees, again distrust bordering on paranoia. I still don't think
    that this is a process that is worth doing again other than for the educational
    In regards to metallic pigments, I was just stating that they cannot be used
    with basic photosenitizers, probably as you said could be used in pigmented ink
    for inkjets or 4 color printing.

    Tom Monego, Jan 25, 2004
  20. Conway Yee

    Tom Phillips Guest

    Of course you have actually measured the Status A Reflection densities of my
    prints, right?

    Hey Tony, I guarantee the sun is losing mass as we speak. But still has lots of
    energy left and hasn't changed color yet. So, check back in another 50 years.
    Meaning what escapes you is just a little fading on an inkjet is catastrophic ,
    since the whole idea behind inkjet spraying technology is to lay down as little
    ink as possible. But photographic dye layers are quite thick in comparison not
    to mention have the aditional protection of an actual binder.

    BTW, it's an established fact photographic dye layer fading can be permanantly
    stopped, if preservational storage is that important.
    Tom Phillips, Jan 25, 2004
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