Dye ink fade test; OCP vs IS vs IR vs fotorite

costadinos

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I decided to run a comparative dye ink sunlight fade test a few weeks ago. I had been looking around for similar tests, couldn't find much, so I thought I should share the results for those interested.

I printed the same test image and some Black, Yellow, Cyan and Magenta patches using 4 different dye inksets on 5 different papers.
Printed with either the 1400 or the P50, both using 6-colour inks.
OCP, Image Specialists, Ink Republic and the ink sold by CityInkExpress (which they call "fotorite") were tested.
I used the following five papers:
1) Epson Premium Glossy 250gsm
2) Epson Archival Matte
3) Sihl Premium Glossy 280gsm
4) A very cheap paper sold on ebay under the name Sumvision Premium Glossy 260gsm
5) Another very cheap 260gsm paper sold on Amazon.

Custom profiles were used for most combinations (for those I didn't make a profile I used one that gave similar results, the original prints were virtually indistinguishable regarding colors, shadow details etc).

One set of prints was scanned after printing and stored in a dark place, the other set was placed indoors on the back of a window. Those were exposed to direct sunlight for over 8 hours a day. After one month the test prints were scanned again using the same scanner exposure settings.

And here are the results:

Sumvision Premium Glossy 260gsm:



Cheap Amazon 260gsm:



Epson Premium Glossy:



Epson Archival Matte:



Sihl Premium 280gsm:





And here is a print made with OEM Claria inks and one with OCP/IS pigment inks:





What is clearly obvious is that none of the above paper/ink combinations were acceptable after only one month in the sun.
Also, the paper did make a difference on the fade resistance of the ink. Both the very cheap papers faded horribly in comparison with those from Epson.
Overall, the best combination was the OCP ink on the Epson Premium Glossy paper.
One observation; the OCP dyes fade very similarly to the IR dyes, with the magentas apparently being the weakest color.
Fotorite's and IS's magentas seem stronger than the rest. Black and Cyan is the best overall in the OCP and IR inksets. Yellows are similar between the four. Fotorite black is very weak, with strong color shifts towards red on all papers.

As for the OEM Claria ink, although the print does show noticeable fade, this is much much less than the third party inks. In fact, that was the only print I would consider acceptable.
Lastly, the print made with the pigment inks showed no detectable signs of fading whatsoever.
 

pharmacist

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Thanks for the exhaustive testing: this is the reason all my printers are using pigment ink.
 

ThrillaMozilla

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Congratulations, well done. While a lot of people are content just to test different kinds of paper, these also shows that every kind of ink is different. It takes considerably more effort to compare different inks, but that is exactly what people need to do.

I have also found that my own (unshared) results differ considerably from what other people have found for other printers. I think that is because manufacturers use different dyes for different printers, or it could mean that they change their formulations over time. In any case, I think it means that users need to test for themselves.
 

The Hat

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costadinos
I decided to run a comparative dye ink sunlight fade test a few weeks ago. I had been looking around for similar tests, couldn't find much,
so I thought I should share the results for those interested.
ThrillaMozilla wrote: Congratulations, well done.
I too have to say well done with your tests, its common knowledge that dye inks fade when exposed to sun light
but that has become an acceptable risk because of their price.
pharmacist said:
Thanks for the exhaustive testing:
this is the reason all my printers are using pigment ink.
Dye inks are still preferred and loved by most guys for home and school projects despite their tendency to fade,
there are some whom will even moan at the price of 3rd party bulk dye ink as it is,
longevity costs that bit more and they are not willing to pay one cent extra than they have too.

I use dye ink extensively and it works great where it doesnt get the chance to fade
and only use pigment ink for any long term stuff used for outdoors..
 

Fenrir Enterprises

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I have a dye and a pigment 1400, both with IS ink. I only have the dye for glossy printing, especially on papers like Red River's metallic paper. Kind of disappointed in the IS dye results vs Claria. Room fluorescent lighting has a decent amount of UV in it so unless it's under archival glass, it's probably going to fade noticeably. When I get around to selling prints I'll probably only use the pigment printer on satin or duller. Too expensive to run with Claria though.

I really should get an R2000 eventually but even then, gloss coated or not, pigment is not going to look good on specialized papers. Also I still see mixed reviews on gloss prints out of Epson's higher end pigment printers, with both Ultrachrome or aftermarket inks (bronzing even with GLOP, less vibrant colors (probably due to pigment blocking paper fluorescence), etc).
 

rodbam

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What a great test Costadinos, thanks mate. The good quality papers do a much better job as you said & these tests are very extreme showing how well the pigments inks hold up. I think people get too hung up on the longevity of prints especially if the prints are for our own walls. I have dye ink prints hanging up for many years behind glass with no fading at all & quite a few get changed out for newer better prints. I have no interest in prints lasting 100 years & even if I sold a print will the purchaser feel cheated if it shows signs of fading in 20 years time, at least the print outlasted their curtains.
 

cls

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I really like Costas efford he put into this huge project! Thank you very much for that!

I am printing alot of stuff with Inktec and OCP (claria style) 6 Color inks on my Epson 1400 and an Epson PX720WD but I dont charge for the prints its all volunatry egg. > Photos from a Kindgarten-festivity / various events at the church near by / photos for friend and so on

I print on cheap paper http://www.ebay.de/itm/150765745946 equals 0,027 per 10x15cm plus approx 0,0067 ink cost per postcard rounded up its like 4 -CENTs per photo.... I dont charge for the costs but I do get some money for the good will that I donate to the kindergarden and church...

What I am planing next is getting rid of all my "dye" based printers and replacing them with native pigment based Epson Printers. I have right now two perfect R1800 and an R1900 sitting here. I have a massive amount of OEM inks since I payed only 4 per cartrige it was "ok".

Since I cant print borderless "small" sheets on my Epson Stylus Pro 4000 I am bound to a desktop printer

Q:

What size borderless prints can I produce on the Stylus Pro 4000?
A:

You can make borderless prints on these roll media widths using the Auto Expand or Retain Size features:

8*, 10, 12*, 14*, 16, and 17 inches

I guess I will sell the R1800 units and maybe the R1900 too and purchase one or even two R2000 OR R2880/R3000 units
I will start with 3rd party inks right away on them. The R3000 has really nice featurers that I like...
 

costadinos

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cls said:
Q:

What size borderless prints can I produce on the Stylus Pro 4000?
A:

You can make borderless prints on these roll media widths using the Auto Expand or Retain Size features:

8*, 10, 12*, 14*, 16, and 17 inches
Well, you could print 4 4x6" photos on one 8x12" piece of paper, or 5x7" on 14" paper and so on, and then trim to size. With a good quality precision trimmer it's not really that hard. You can use software like Qimage, Lightroom or FotoSlate to automatically arrange the pics in 2x2 grids.

cls said:
I print on cheap paper http://www.ebay.de/itm/150765745946 equals 0,027 per 10x15cm plus approx 0,0067 ink cost per postcard rounded up its like 4 -CENTs per photo.
I found that the most economical way to print using pigment inks sums up to less than 0.06, which, although a bit more expensive than what you achieved with dyes is still lower than what even the cheapest pro minilab prints cost.
I buy rolls of paper that are used in the digital minilabs, they come in 6", 8" and 10" rolls, or large format rolls and cut to size. That way, the paper costs around 0.04 per 10x15cm. Pigment ink bought at 500ml or 1L quantities costs less than 0.02 per 10x15cm.
 

Tin Ho

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I am not too surprised by the poor fade resistance of the Image Specialists dye based ink. There were similar reports on the forum before. It looks that OCP is not any better either. I am glad that I get to print on Epson R2880 these days. Much higher image quality from Pigment based photo inks.
 

ThrillaMozilla

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Tin Ho said:
It looks that OCP is not any better either.
For this printer, yes, but my results for a different printer show quite different results. Also, I find that some inks are dramatically more stable than others, even among major brands. The only universal constant here is that there are very few good third-party black dye inks.
 
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