Durability of inkjet prints, photo prints

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' 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

    ThomasH Guest

    Now that this book is online (but out of print, by the way)
    everybody can and *should* read it. For me this book and the
    Kodak and Agfa story told in it was a great eye opener.

    A real travesty of the judicial system in the US was that all
    attempts of bankrupt wedding photographers or consumers to
    litigate against Kodak were rejected by the courts.

    Not so later, as in a similar situation alerted by a press
    article photographers and consumers begun to litigate against
    Agfa!! Than suddenly courts took the cases and Agfa was forced
    to settle to an undisclosed amount of money. Agfa virtually
    completely (partly voluntary) vanished from the US market for
    a while. Outside of US Agfa always remained a major player, but
    in the US only Fuji emerged with force as a competitor to Kodak.
    To this day you can see Agfa logo and Agfa film all over the
    world in masses, except in the US. Since from the beginning
    Fuji's products set new standards in durability, they were
    able to enter the markets with great success and became the
    obvious number one choice for E6 film.

    Rightfully so, albeit now in the age of internet and
    independent information they are usually much more careful
    about spreading invalid news.

    ThomasH, Apr 24, 2004
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Bill Tuthill

    DM Guest

    I am yet to see an inkjet printer which makes long lasting prints. We have
    seen too many false claims from printer mfgrs, like Epson, whose 2000P
    prints in some circumstances didn't even last as long as their 1280's
    output. Only time will tell. Your photo prints may be dead long before
    DM, Apr 26, 2004
  14. Bill Tuthill

    Sebastian Po Guest

    Get a grip on the real world DigiGeek...
    It's not the ink that is the problem. It's the papers!
    Unless you use plain vanilla paper, the atmosphere will evaporate the ink
    from the paper. It's all about the ceramic particles used to get a glossy
    look and nothing at all about the ink. Sure Ink on plain woodpulp or rag
    based paper will got the distance but hey... who is willing to accept the
    dull, flat picture which results?

    Right now, there is no choice for serious photographers. Photographic prints
    is the only way to go. If the liars claiming 20 years life from a Canon
    print on photoglossy paper were willing to put a real photo beside their
    inkjet print and display it in a well lit area with plenty of ventilation...
    They'd pretty soon change their tune.

    You can't give out all this bullshit about the life of a print and then
    qualify it by requiring you to store it (not display it) in a sealed, dark
    place to get that life. Hell man the whole purpose of a photos is to look at

    Sebastian Po, Apr 26, 2004
  15. Bill Tuthill

    DigiGeek Guest

    Technology WILL find a way!

    How many ways can I say it - as long as the ORIGINAL bits are
    archived, my prints will last to the next and best hardcopy medium and
    printing process - whatever it is...
    DigiGeek, Apr 26, 2004
  16. Bill Tuthill

    Skip M Guest

    The printing technique may be obsolete, but the print still needs to be
    good, and intact. I may have a back up CD, but will my clients' children?
    Will it still work? In the final analysis, the print is what has to
    survive. I'm not saying that IJ prints won't survive for a while, 'though
    prints made with my old Epson 880 fade in a matter of a year or two,
    especially the greyscale ones. I fully expect prints made on my Canon
    printer on Ilford Gallerie paper to last for a while, but finding out how
    long is problematical. And how long is important.
    Skip M, Apr 26, 2004
  17. Bill Tuthill

    Lewis Lang Guest

    I love Fuji's products, but if durability means archival longevity, and if we
    are talking about E6 films (not prints) now, the Kodak materials (slide films)
    blow away the Fuji in terms of longevity:



    "...dark storage at 75 degrees F and 40-50% relative humidity.

    Fujichromes about 40 years
    E6 Ektachromes about120 years
    K14 Kodachromes about 200 years

    Fujicolor C41 Negative (various) films 20 years
    Fujicolor NPS 160 about 100 years" (the only Fuji film that rates an "archival"
    rating from me ;-)).

    Now I've found, at least in the case of old Kodacolor film from about '73 to
    last about 25 years with little change in color density (based on a print made
    at the end of those 25 years, not a scientific measurement of density/color
    changes) so my guess is that Wilhelms accelerated aging test figures may be at
    least doubled in real life dependant on storage conditions, at least for the
    old Kodacolor film if not all films (one can only hope that they'll (those
    other non-Kodacolor films mentioned above will) last 2x or more longer in real

    Fuji's greatest improvements in dye durability/longevity have been in its
    Crystal Archive papers which outdo even Ilfochrome/Cibachrome for longevity at
    about 60 or 65 years without significant fading (dark storage, if memory
    Lewis Lang, Apr 26, 2004
  18. Bill Tuthill

    Lewis Lang Guest

    To my eye...

    Looking at the same POP PHOTO article mentioned in my other previous post it
    seems that the Fuji Crystal Archive print films last at least 75 years with
    little visual change in color/density regardless of illumination (dark storage,
    150 lux, or 450 lux). Kodak Edge 7 paper (is this paper still available in
    2004?) looks great for dark storage in 75 years, very slightly to somewhat
    noicable faded at 150 lux illumination for 75 years and very faded at 450 lux
    (the image is still visible but its lighter and more cyan/greenish yellow) at
    75 years.
    Lewis Lang, Apr 26, 2004
  19. Bill Tuthill

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Which Fuji paper? The pro stuff or the other stuff?

    I think Edge is still made. It's an amatuer paper. The new Kodak pro paper
    claims 200 years in dark storage. I just checked. Looks like Edge is now up
    to version 9. Both it and the Endura line now claim 200 years in the dark.
    100 years on display.

    Nick Zentena, Apr 26, 2004
  20. Bill Tuthill

    Lewis Lang Guest

    Subject: Re: Durability of inkjet prints, photo prints
    Sometimes relatives throw out negatives either accidentally or on purpose, then
    you better have along lasting print in 2085! CDs will have long become coasters
    in about 80 years and so will several generations of its successors' media and
    the hardware to replay them will have all but disappeared. Therefore some knid
    of analog media that is long lasting and easily scanned (prints, slides, or
    negs) is absolutely a necessity to insure image permanence for future
    generations. Digital, without constant recopying (and even with it) is
    non-archival and totally self-obsolescing in technology, especially over an 80
    year period. For longevity analog (usually chemical) works best, digital prints
    are just rapidly fading eyecandy - great for the moment but forget about the
    longterm future. Supposedly there are inksets for inkjets that will last 200
    years but until 200 years passes this is just supposition. (Old) Kodachrome we
    know from fact/actual experience will last for at least half a century -
    pictures of my dad from 1952 are as bright and saturated and clear as ever.
    You are deluding yourself. Archival longevity always matters. Image restoration
    will work up to a point, are you willling to gamble that in 80 years there will
    be enough of an image left on an inkjet print to:

    a) warrant it being visible enough not to be thrown out as garbage

    b) not be so faint as to be beyond the best restoration attmepts

    Remember, old cracked black and white prints from century or so ago may be in
    bad condition ((tears, cracks, etc.) or not but at least the image hasn't
    faded. Even color photographic prints are not nearly as stable and inkjets much
    much less so.
    Lewis Lang, Apr 26, 2004
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