Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/10/22

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Subject: [Leica] RE: Inkjet Print Longevity
From: jonathan at (Jonathan Borden)
Date: Sat Oct 22 06:43:59 2005
References: <>

Jim Christie wrote:

> Thanks to everyone for the feedback on this subject. You've helped  
> form and
> solidify my opinion and advice that I am going to give to my  
> friend. That
> is, the top manufactures, e.g. Epson, HP and Canon all have high  
> quality
> printing equipment that basically do a good job for most amateur and
> advanced amateur photographers as long as you follow mfg  
> instructions and
> use quality papers and inks recommended by the mfg. Using lesser  
> quality
> will be a "crap shoot" and most likely will not have the same  
> quality or
> life. Also, many professionals use the same equipment and high quality
> papers and inks, but probably use a much more refined process.

A few points:

There are vast differences in inkjet print (as well as C41 print for  
that matter) longevity between different "major" vendors.

Epson *pigment* as opposed to dye based inks (i.e. 2200, 2400 ...)  
have vastly better longevity than dye based inks.

For B/W printing, pure carbon based inks printed on 100% rag paper  
(i.e. no optical brighteners) offer the most archival printing  
techniques ... indeed should last longer than traditional silver/ 
gelatin prints.

(I use both Epson pigment inks as well as the MIS "EZW" inks (these  
are pure carbon and have the slightly warm color of pure carbon (i.e  
graphite), so you don't need to use a "major vendor" if you research  
this carefully).

You still need to protect against both UV light and atmospheric  

I mount my prints using "Alphamat" which contains well tested  
substances that actually absorb pollutants.

It is also recommended to coat the print with a barrier (e.g.  
PremierArt). These techniques have all been very well tested by  
(professional) conservationists).

And use either UV absorbing glass or UV absorbing plexiglas for the  
final framing.

> As Ted suggested, we can always replace the print if need be, so  
> just get
> out there and enjoy your photography.

Actually not. The longevity of CD/DVD is not terribly great, neither  
is there any guarantee that in 50 years the new generation of  
computers will be able to read the old DVD formats or old file  
formats. These things have already tended to change rather rapidly as  
computers are swapped out every couple of years or so. I personally  
have stacks of old tape drives that I have a very hard time finding  
hardware which can read them.


In reply to: Message from jim.christie at (Jim Christie) ([Leica] RE: Inkjet Print Longevity)