Durability of inkjet prints, photo prints

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bill Tuthill, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Tuthill Guest


    "A Canon S900 printer with their own branded
    paper produces a print that will last for 38 years; with
    Staples Office supplies paper this is dramatically reduced to
    three years. Again with HP printers and their own paper, the
    life of a print is rated at 73 years, with the same office
    paper this is reduced down to 2 years. These are tests on
    the papers alone; put in a third party refill cartridge and the
    lifespan of the print will reduce by a comparable amount."

    "Perhaps the biggest shock for most people comes from
    Kodak themselves. Kodak is a brand name that all
    photographers have grown up with and come to trust. Kodak
    launched a range of Photo Quality paper called the Ultima
    inkjet paper which is being marketed as Brilliant Colour
    photographs that will last for 100 years on any printer
    platform, on any ink set. This claim is based on a distortion
    of the test method. Based on Kodak's testing the new EPSON
    Picture Mate would have a print life of 500 or possibly 800
    years. Kodak states that a 100 year lifespan is available for
    any printer and lists the printers on the back, including the
    Lexmark printers. According to Mr Wilhelm, that even using
    Kodak's own testing method, there is no Lexmark printer
    that could even come close to that. Kodak's claim is simply
    false and there is no disclaimer for that."
    Bill Tuthill, Apr 23, 2004
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  2. In view of that company's (shocking) history over the longevity of its
    colour material in the 60s and 70s, this should not come as a surprise.
    David Littlewood, Apr 23, 2004
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  3. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: Bill Tuthill
    Someone pointed out the 100 year claim for this Kodak paper last fall and I
    went to the Kodak site to see how they were testing it. They had quite a bit
    of info on the site, enough to figure out their assumptions and extrapolate to
    Wilhelm's conditions as well.

    Basically they are testing for consumer display conditions while Wilhelm is
    testing for much more rigorous museum and fine art display situations. If you
    apply the Wilhelm test criteria to Kodak's own data then 100 years for Kodak
    dropped down pretty quickly to 18-20 years for Wilhelm, and the Epson
    Ultrachrome tests producing 50-90 years with Wilhelm's criteria would become
    250-450 years with Kodak's conditions :).

    This was mainly due to two reasons. Kodak assumed a much lower viewing light
    intensity, I think around 200 lux instead of 450 lux the Wilhelm assumes. This
    would cut the 100 years to 50 right away.

    Second, Wilhelm's "fade criteria" was the minimum amount of fading that would
    be noticeable to a skilled observer and for most color patches this was around
    7 % loss of density. Kodak said fade was acceptable so long as the consumer
    would still enjoy the pictures (go figure that one out!) and said 18-30%
    density loss was acceptable to this criteria. They gave a chart showing how
    much longer it took to get to 30% compared to 5-7% and it was substantial,
    accounting for most of the reset of the difference (Kodak also assumes lower
    humidity than Wilhelm, which also extends print life).

    Also, Kodak assumes that after a "generation" or two the prints would be kept
    in dark storage (ie, locked away in an album) rather than being displayed under

    So using the same accelerated test data you can argue 100 years or you can
    argue 18-20 years, depending on the display environment conditions.

    That's why I like Wilhelm's numbers, everything from digital prints to
    Ilfochromes are tested the same way, but manufacturers tend to test to less
    stringent conditions that make their products seem longer lasting than they
    would under Wilhelm's tests.

    Bill Hilton, Apr 23, 2004
  4. Bill Tuthill

    Sebastian Po Guest

    Canon and all the others... They all lie!
    At the end of it all we have a benchmark and none of the inkjet's can equal
    it... A conventional photograph. When they all stop postulating and trying
    to fool us into accepting their idea that the world really is flat...

    We might get some clear indications. As it is now, all inkjet papers and
    inks are inferior to photographic prints. Measure their life against that
    benchmark, and I'll be willing to look at inkjet prints for sale. Unitl
    then... They are all liars and fraudsters, Kodak being the worst.

    Sebastian Po, Apr 23, 2004
  5. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: David Littlewood
    There's a chapter in Wilhelm's book that describes how Kodak convinced many
    professional wedding and portrait photographers in the 1960's and 70's to
    switch from b/w to Kodak color with promises the prints would last "a
    lifetime". When Kodak prints began fading and cracking after 2-3 years and
    people's wedding, graduation and family portraits were lost many people sued
    and several of these businesses went bankrupt. Kodak had to agree to cease
    such false advertising with the FTC but still continued to push their products.

    You can now download a free PDF with this chapter in it ... Ch 8 "Color Print
    Fading and the Professional Portrait and Wedding Photographer -- What to Do
    About a Troubling Situation" ... http://www.wilhelm-research.com/book_toc.html
    and click the download link for this chapter.

    After reading this several years I lost a lot of respect for Kodak and now I
    always take uncorroborated manufacturer's numbers with a bit of skepticism.

    Bill Hilton, Apr 23, 2004
  6. Bill Tuthill

    SteveJ Guest

    I have newer seen a report on the Dye Sub printers life time. One thing
    about them the overcoating put on the prints is tough and very hard to tare
    SteveJ, Apr 24, 2004
  7. Bill Tuthill

    Sebastian Po Guest

    All my event work is output on the spot via Olympus dye-sub and it is as
    permenant as a real photo. I have some images on dye-sub (the old Sony
    printers) which are nearly 10 years old and although slight fading is
    evident, no colour shift has taken place. The only drawback is the cost!.
    Sebastian Po, Apr 24, 2004
  8. Bill Tuthill

    DigiGeek Guest

    OK folks - I used to be a big dye sub fan when inkjet was in it's
    infancy. It is my opinion that all this garbage about 38 years vs 50
    to 80 years is TOTALLY absurd!

    Let's see - right now, I can print my digicam prints on high quality
    paper at less than 15 cents per sheet using software at less than $30
    (PC Photo Kiosk for example). By the way, I have put my prints under
    running water to check for moisture problems. I can also archive my
    photos to CD's, tape, stone tablets, DNA strips etc. and now I'm
    supposed to worry about prints fading when my grand kids try to look
    at them?? Has ANYONE thought about the fact that unlike analog film,
    if and when the time comes to worry about that, the photo can simply
    be REPRINTED! By the time it matters in 2085, we'll be able to bring
    back the DEAD from digiprints - just kidding!

    Bottom line, dye sub, coating and other forms of "extending life" of
    prints will be as relevant as FORTRAN by the time it matters....
    DigiGeek, Apr 25, 2004
  9. Bill Tuthill

    nixjunk Guest

    Has ANYONE thought about the fact that unlike analog film,
    Do you actually want to go through the process and hassle of having to reprint
    possibly hundreds or even thousands of pictures?

    The safest methodI think is printing to Fuji Crystal Archive paper at a
    photolab and then forgeting about it.
    nixjunk, Apr 25, 2004
  10. Bill Tuthill

    DigiGeek Guest

    Hmmm - you seemed to miss the main point! The relative difference in
    archival storage of dye sub vs. coated inkjet is already not
    significant. The advantage in digital is that at least if I need to
    reprint I CAN! What will you do when your precious paper is damaged or
    LOST - DREAM about what you used to have??? Get real...
    DigiGeek, Apr 25, 2004
  11. Bill Tuthill

    nixjunk Guest

    Hmmm - you seemed to miss the main point! The relative difference in
    That would be a minor reprinting process but what you are saying is no worries
    when it comes to all my printing because I can always reprint. Losing or
    damaging a print here and there is much different than having to reprint
    possibly hundreds or thousands of pics. Why not get it right the first time and
    save yourself the headache, worry, and time lost due to mass reprinting.
    nixjunk, Apr 25, 2004
  12. Bill Tuthill

    Larry Guest

    There really is no available way to affordably "get it right the first time"

    Nothing we are using currently has the built in ability to last like the old
    silver halide B&W prints did.

    Its really that simple.

    Unless you are willing to pay BIG BUCKS for a lab to use the very best photo
    paper known to exist, your photos will last for a few years then fade away...

    The advantage of digital is the digital file.

    If enough of them are kept stored away, (and changed to new medium as
    apropriate) they wont fade away like most color negatives and positives do,
    and will be available for re-printing when needed.
    Larry, Apr 25, 2004
  13. Bill Tuthill

    Skip M Guest

    I does matter to those of us who sell the actual print to clients, art
    photographers and wedding photographers, for instance. Our clients won't be
    pleased to see that a print they paid $$$ for fade in a short length of
    time, or any length of time for that matter.
    Skip M, Apr 25, 2004
  14. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: DigiGeek
    Why? Wilhelm is running the accelerated tests exactly the same way for digital
    prints as he is for conventional prints so why do you think the results are
    invalid for digital prints but valid for conventional ones?

    Many of the conventional print processes have been in existence long enough for
    him to verify the accelerated light numbers with lower light intensity for much
    longer times, basically indicating that the test methodology works, with a
    small reciprocity failure adjustment.

    Are you just anti-digital?
    For family snapshots, sure you can do this (if you can find the file). But
    Wilhelm is concerned mostly about mounted and framed fine art collections in
    museums or private collections that people have purchased. Getting one of
    those prints reprinted is a different story. If you are selling your work you
    need to be aware of these issues.
    Different world than what Wilhelm's testing for. Somehow I doubt you're
    selling many copies of your work at the art shows.

    Bill Hilton, Apr 25, 2004
  15. Bill Tuthill

    Savidge4 Guest

    Savidge4, Apr 25, 2004
  16. IMHO, it's a good point that you can reprint from digital sources but
    the longevity even of these is not established. CD-R and especially
    CD-RW have finite lifetimes as do magnetic storage methods. The
    plastic base of magnetic tape does not last for ever either. I think
    the only way you could stand some chance of really keeping digital
    sources would be to copy them to the currently best known media on a,
    possibly conservative, regular schedule.
    James Silverton, Apr 25, 2004
  17. Bill Tuthill

    DigiGeek Guest

    Good point! This is what I've been doing for over a decade! I am
    saying that doing this is far better than relying on some form of
    paper archive!

    As for my customers, I offer the following guarentee - "..if my prints
    fade or become discolored while BOTH of us are alive - I'll gladly
    give you a free reprint!"
    DigiGeek, Apr 25, 2004
  18. Bill Tuthill

    DigiGeek Guest

    Todays inkjet inks will NOT fade in a short time! I suggest you do
    some reading on modern inkjet formulas and coating techniques. Numbers
    like 50 to 80 years are becomming more common. Besides, if you have a
    backup CD or DVD, you can always have your body thawed after death to
    handle reprints for your clients grand children.

    Who knows what NEW printing techniques will exist 50 to 100 years from
    now. This whole discussion may be moot as BOTH dye sub and inkjet
    printing may be OBSOLETE!
    DigiGeek, Apr 25, 2004
  19. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Some will fade quickly, some won't fade for a long time, depending on the paper
    and ink. Two examples ... with the new HP dye ink printer Wilhelm projects 73
    year print life for one paper, 2 year print life for a second paper, which
    shows the importance of picking the right paper. And Epson's PGPP paper is
    projected to last around 5 years with ink from the 1280 and over 50 years using
    the 2200's pigmented inks, which shows you have to pick the right ink.

    Saying "Todays inkjet inks will NOT fade in a short time!" is just too broad a
    Bill Hilton, Apr 25, 2004
  20. Bill Tuthill

    Tom Guest

    I'm glad my grandmother's portrait photographer did not give this inane

    Tom, Apr 25, 2004
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