dye v. pigment and glossy v. mat?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by David Ellis, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. David Ellis

    David Ellis Guest

    Is there any truth to the claim that a pigment-based ink will not
    print on glossy paper so well as a dye-based ink? Also, does a
    pigment-based ink print better on mat paper than does a dye-based ink?

    Ihad read dye-based ink soaks through the gloss surface, leaving it
    intact and glossy. Whereas a pigment-based ink remains on the surface,
    thereby reducing the gloss.

    Any truth to any of this? I'm trying to decide which larger-format
    printer to buy and it seems dye v. pigment is a significant decision,
    all else being equal.

    David Ellis, Oct 13, 2003
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  2. David Ellis

    Steve B Guest

    You are basically correct. Pigment also generally has a smaller colour gamut
    than dye and I have heard that although longevity is generally better, there is
    a risk of the ink flaking off the paper after many years, but I've never
    actually heard of anyone experiencing it.
    Steve B, Oct 13, 2003
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  3. David Ellis

    Ohaya Guest


    As Steve has also indicated in an earlier post, my impression is that
    you are right. I just got an Epson C64, which uses the Durabrite
    pigment ink, and have been experimenting with some (mostly Epson)
    different papers.

    This (Epson Durabrite - pigment) ink is not recommended for use with
    Epson's "Premium Glossy" paper, because it will not stick to the glossy
    surface. I had some of this paper, but returned it without trying it,
    so I can't report whether this is true or not from personal experience.

    I've used (and am mainly using) Epson's "Glossy Photo" paper (as opposed
    to "PREMIUM Glossy"), and am having no problems with smearing/smudging.

    When the prints come out of the printer initially, you can see some
    surface areas "in relief" (my description - some others have referred to
    it as "sheen") if you look at the print surface at an angle, but I've
    noticed that if you leave them out for awhile (overnight), the surface
    seems to level out, but what you end up with is more of a "semi-glossy"
    as opposed to a glossy surface like I've gotten from some store-printed
    (on Fuji Crystal Archive) prints.

    I tried the Durabrite Glossy paper sample that came with the printer,
    and to me, it doesn't look that much different (bad eyes?) than what I
    got with the "Glossy Photo" paper.

    I have a pack of Epson's "Heavy Matte" paper, which I haven't tried yet,
    but I've heard (both from postings and from Epson tech support) that
    this should be fine, with no smudging/smearing.

    The tradeoff seems to be that if you want really glossy prints, go with
    a dye ink, but if you don't mind not-so-glossy prints (or like matte)
    and want longer-lasting prints, go with pigment ink.

    Ohaya, Oct 14, 2003
  4. David Ellis

    gsum Guest

    The pigment based inks exhibit a small amount of
    bronzing on gloss paper but this is not significant
    to my eyes and only affects black.

    The roll matte paper, which is used with the Epson
    7600, is much denser and more finely woven than the
    sheet paper used with the 1290. Epson provide gloss and matte black
    cartridges for the 7600. An image
    printed on matte using a gloss cartridge does not have
    really black blacks. (I haven't tried using a matte black
    cartridge with gloss paper). It is therefore necessary
    to swap the black cartridges if you want to change
    between gloss and matte papers. Swapping the
    cartridges causes the ink lines to be cleared for
    -all- colours, wasting about 1 to 2% of ink in each
    cartridge - so don't swap too often if you go for the
    7600! Ink and paper costs are however much lower
    for the 7600 than the desktop printers.

    Pigment based inks remain on the surface and are
    immediately dry so there is no colour shifting as
    the inks 'cure'.

    gsum, Oct 14, 2003
  5. This link reviews the Epson 2100. Doesn't do too well on glossy paper
    at all (suffers from "bronzing")...


    But it seems to be ideal for matt paper printing.

    Kulvinder Singh Matharu
    Contact details : http://www.metalvortex.com/form/form.htm
    Website : http://www.metalvortex.com/

    "It ain't Coca Cola, it's rice" - The Clash
    Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Oct 14, 2003
  6. David Ellis

    RobbH Guest

    On Mon, 13 Oct 2003 20:22:53 -0400, Ohaya wrote:

    Jim, I hope you'll share your experience with matte paper and your C64.
    I'm even more interested in hearing about the performance of the Epson C84
    with matte paper, if anybody has any information to share.

    My background is that I do like matte and currently use Epson Matte Paper
    Heavyweight for most prints with a six-color Epson printer (Stylus Photo
    875DC) and sometimes with a four-color Canon (i320). I'm accustomed to the
    accuracy and detail I get with the Epson, but I also find that the Canon
    produces very acceptable prints. The Canon's results are neither as
    predictable nor as accurate as the Epson's, but the prints are usually
    almost as good, and I'm often happy with them when I need a lot of prints
    in a hurry. (I think the i320's performance is remarkable, considering
    that it's an entry-level inkjet, not even marketed as a photo printer.)

    I'm increasingly interested improving the longevity of my prints, which
    brings me around to the C84, which appears to be the only affordable
    pigment-ink solution right now. (The 2X00 family is out of my reach.) Can
    anyone compare the performance of the C84 -- on matte paper -- with that of
    the 870/1270 family? Or with 4 color/5 pL Canons?

    RobbH, Oct 15, 2003
  7. David Ellis

    Ohaya Guest


    I think that the C84 uses the same (Durabrite) pigment inks as the C64.
    Everything that I've read seems to indicate that these do very well with the
    matte paper. I'll have to get out this weekend and give it a "shot" :)...

    Ohaya, Oct 15, 2003
  8. Epson is seriously insistent that (up to now, see below) their pigment inks
    don't work on glossy paper. Some people who have tried glossy paper report
    being happy with it.

    FWIW, Epson's current top-of-the-line A4 photo inkjet* in Japan is a new
    pigment-ink printer using a new ink system that claims to do glossy. This
    printer has the smallest droplet size (1.5 pl) of any Epson printer,
    although they've retreated from the 2880x2880 resolution of the 970 and 980
    (the 960 is the top of the line in the US, but the 970 and 980 follow-on
    models were released in Japan (these are all dye-based ink printers)) to the
    2880x1440 of their other high end inkjets.

    *: http://www.i-love-epson.co.jp/products/printer/inkjet/pxg900/pxg9001.htm

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Oct 15, 2003
  9. David Ellis

    RobbH Guest

    That's exactly right, Jim. The C84 uses smaller droplets than the C64, so
    in theory it should be able to smoother gradations of tone, especially in
    light areas. It appears that Epson markets it as a photo printer in
    Europe, but not in the USA.

    Everything I've seen suggests that Durbrite inks work well on matte paper,
    but I'm very curious to know just how well, and how C64/C84 prints compare
    to what my current printers do with matte paper.

    Please do report on your experiments!

    RobbH, Oct 16, 2003
  10. David Ellis

    Ohaya Guest

    Hi Robb et al,

    Ok, I had a chance to do some printing on the Epson Heavy Matte paper
    this weekend. I did several prints, printing on the same pictures on
    both Heavy Matte, and Epson Glossy Photo paper.

    My initial impression is that, with the Heavy Matte paper, the colors
    seem a bit brighter than the same image printed on the Glossy Photo
    paper. I noticed this especially on skin tones. For pictures with no
    people in them, I don't notice this so much.

    [BTW, with the Heavy Matte paper, you need to be sure to use the correct
    side of the paper, the whiter side. On my initial attempt, I didn't
    notice that, and the prints that I got had this awful greenish/yellowish
    tint :).]

    There was no smudging/smearing with either paper, but I did note that
    with both papers, prints are much more prone to surface scratching (the
    kind you can see when you look at the surface at an angle) than some
    glossy prints that I got from Ritz.

    BTW, as I've seen reported on some websites, at least with the Glossy
    Photo paper, I think that you really need to set the C64 properties to
    disable "high-speed". When I forgot to do that on one set of prints, I
    got "banding".

    Overall, I'm still kind of undecided between the Heavy Matte and the
    Glossy Photo.

    Although the Glossy Photo is definitely not as glossy as what I got from
    Ritz, I don't particular like the surface that I get with the Heavy
    Matte paper (it's NOT the same as what you get with matte surface from a
    regular lab).
    Ohaya, Oct 19, 2003
  11. David Ellis

    Rafe B. Guest

    It's a damned hard decision, and you are basically
    correct on all counts.

    I've been thinking of buying an Epson 7600 for a year
    or more, but can't decide if I should buy it with dye inks
    or the pigments ("Ultrachromes.") Since I can't decide,
    I'm not buying.

    It's almost as if there were some law of physics or
    optics that dictates an inverse relationship between
    gamut and contrast on one hand, vs. print longevity
    on the other.

    For example, adding optical brighteners to the paper
    surface reduces longevity. The brighteners can fade
    or discolor eventually. Various coatings (kaolin,
    microceramics, etc.) improve gamut and image
    sharpness by reducing dot gain but the coatings
    flake off easily, leaving a white speck in the image.
    Since the coating keeps the pigments/dyes near
    the surface, it reduces image longevity.

    Cotton rag papers give the very best longevity but
    absolutely suck for most photographic images, without
    some form of coating.

    Because they sit on the surface, pigments are also
    susceptible to scuffing, smudging and long drying times,
    though again that problem varies with the paper type.
    Pigments also have issues with "gloss differential" when
    used on luster or glossy surfaces.

    There are a few "archival dye" inks but even these
    have their own problems. The best of these (so far)
    give around 25 years of longevity on the matching
    media and under controlled testing by Wilhelm.

    rafe b.
    Rafe B., Oct 19, 2003
  12. David Ellis

    Bill Hilton Guest

    From: Rafe B.
    I hear almost everyone who buys the 7600/9600 gets it with Ultrachrome inks,
    around 99% according to one source I know personally who sells them. Dye inks
    in this printer don't make much sense.
    The gamut of the Ultrachrome inks is pretty much as wide as the Epson dye inks
    (and on par with LightJet 5000 prints). The 7th color really helps out. You
    can plot the gamuts if you have a simple ICC profile editor/viewer and have
    downloaded the profiles to verify this, as I have. 7600 prints are pretty much
    on par with LJ prints in every way.
    I just read an interview with Wilhelm where he states the new HP printer has
    dye inks that tested to 73 years, so your info is out of date.

    Bill Hilton, Oct 19, 2003
  13. David Ellis

    RobbH Guest

    On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 11:24:44 -0400, Ohaya wrote:

    As I understand it, this is the biggest drawback to pigment-ink prints.
    Because the image sits on the surface of the paper, it is inherently more
    vulnerable to many types of physical damage, even though it is less likely
    to fade.

    Thanks for reporting your results! Can anyone else comment on the
    performance of C64/C84 inks on Epson Matte Paper Heavyweight?

    RobbH, Oct 20, 2003
  14. I bought a C84 last week, and just got some of the "Epson Matte Heavyweight
    Paper". The results look excellent to me. I don't see any loss of sharpness
    compared to the same print I made on the "Durabrite Ink Glossy Photo Paper"
    sample I got with the printer. If anything, the print on the matte paper
    looks sharper. The colors look great. And I can't get the slightest glare
    from the matte paper - very impressive. I twisted that print around every
    which way trying to make it reflect - no dice. It is MATTE baby.

    I like it. I'll start using the matte paper, mainly because it's so much
    cheaper than the glossy photo paper.
    Tony Whitaker, Oct 24, 2003
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