I tried some 3rd party pigment inks in a WF, black is Matt, doesnt look great, replace ink or look for new printer?

dunk

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So,
I decided I wanted to print some of my collection of photos which is mostly digital now, I used to have a darkroom years ago and used to find it a fun hobby, but digital has sort of killed that off.

I have a WF3520 office type printer. I have been using very cheap chinese ink carts, and a photo printed as a test looked ok, just very warm, but I figured it would fade fast. So I purchased a set of "resin encaspulated pigment inks for Epson Printers" from Ink Experts co uk. The shop states they are resin encapsulated and have a long life. I also bought a set of empty cartridges.

The WF3520 orininally used pigment inks and I use it for colour document printing so it made sense to try this out. I like the idea that prints will last for a long time.

Using Ilford Pearl paper (sort of stippled semi gloss), standard test prints looked ok for colour, bright reds yellows and blues, however the deep black is oviously matt, and therefore I think, not resin encasuplated. Am I right? A test with white > grey > black stripes shows the darkest 2 or 3 stripes actually looking different, maybe lighter, well just "different", not getting darker basically. The reflections of the colours are slightly glossy so at an angle any areas of deep black dont reflect and look odd. The prints on this paper look bad basically as the blacks seem to invert in brightness as they are meant to get darker.

On Matt paper the prints look good but the black level isnt that deep. Compared to a high end Canon printer the blacks are not far off, just slightly lighter, not bad. Its just that anything dark looks a bit like a blob, rather than having shadow detail (maybe a profile would help here?)

I have tons of semi gloss and gloss paper so it would be nice to be able to use it.

I have not had a profile done as I thought its going to be a waste of money if the inks are never going to work properly on the pearl paper.

So I'm looking for advice,
1st Have I been mis-sold as the shop stated resin encapsulated inks, and the black is matt so I dont think it is. I think the newer Epson ink Photo balck is encapsulated.

2nd If I purged the black cart and bought some genuine photo black, eg a large Epson cartidge of "Photo Black for Stylus Pro Ultrachrome HDR", refilled with that, would I get deeper blacks on Matt and have less problems with gloss differential on glossy papers?

3rd Although the prints look quite good on Matt paper, the WF3520 does have visible dots making up lighter areas, faces seem to suffer a bit, and with the current inks I cant do gloss photos, so should I just spend some money and get a dedicated photo printer?

If so what, what do people recomment. I'd like to get a printer that:
Prints better detail / smoother skin tones that the WF3520,
Is cheap to run, eg an inktank printer, or refillable carts topped up with branded ink bottles eg Epson or Canon.
That has long print life, so doesnt fade.

The canon G550 looks good except for the inks, I think they are maybe not that lightfast?

There are some older printers, like Epson photo printers, that seem cheap 2nd hand but I'd need to invest in refillable carts and ink.

My goal is to be able to sit and print photos taking time to do test prints and at least 10x8 prints with good quality results that justify the time spent and without spending a lot of money (for example £100 for a set of ink)

Any thoughts on all this I know its a lot of questions at once!
 
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dunk

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So,
I decided I wanted to print some of my collection of photos which is mostly digital now, I used to have a darkroom years ago and used to find it a fun hobby, but digital has sort of killed that off.

I have a WF3520 office type printer. I have been using very cheap chinese ink carts, and a photo printed as a test looked ok, just very warm, but I figured it would fade fast. So I purchased a set of "resin encaspulated pigment inks for Epson Printers" from Ink Experts co uk. The shop states they are resin encapsulated and have a long life. I also bought a set of empty cartridges.

The WF3520 orininally used pigment inks and I use it for colour document printing so it made sense to try this out. I like the idea that prints will last for a long time.

Using Ilford Pearl paper (sort of stippled semi gloss), standard test prints looked ok for colour, bright reds yellows and blues, however the deep black is oviously matt, and therefore I think, not resin encasuplated. Am I right? A test with white > grey > black stripes shows the darkest 2 or 3 stripes actually looking different, maybe lighter, well just "different", not getting darker basically. The reflections of the colours are slightly glossy so at an angle any areas of deep black dont reflect and look odd. The prints on this paper look bad basically as the blacks seem to invert in brightness as they are meant to get darker.

On Matt paper the prints look good but the black level isnt that deep. Compared to a high end Canon printer the blacks are not far off, just slightly lighter, not bad. Its just that anything dark looks a bit like a blob, rather than having shadow detail (maybe a profile would help here?)

I have tons of semi gloss and gloss paper so it would be nice to be able to use it.

I have not had a profile done as I thought its going to be a waste of money if the inks are never going to work properly on the pearl paper.

So I'm looking for advice,
1st Have I been mis-sold as the shop stated resin encapsulated inks, and the black is matt so I dont think it is. I think the newer Epson ink Photo balck is encapsulated.

2nd If I purged the black cart and bought some genuine photo black, eg a large Epson cartidge of "Photo Black for Stylus Pro Ultrachrome HDR", refilled with that, would I get deeper blacks on Matt and have less problems with gloss differential on glossy papers?

3rd Although the prints look quite good on Matt paper, the WF3520 does have visible dots making up lighter areas, faces seem to suffer a bit, and with the current inks I cant do gloss photos, so should I just spend some money and get a dedicated photo printer?

If so what, what do people recomment. I'd like to get a printer that:
Prints better detail / smoother skin tones that the WF3520,
Is cheap to run, eg an inktank printer, or refillable carts topped up with branded ink bottles eg Epson or Canon.
That has long print life, so doesnt fade.

The canon G550 looks good except for the inks, I think they are maybe not that lightfast?

There are some older printers, like Epson photo printers, that seem cheap 2nd hand but I'd need to invest in refillable carts and ink. Maybe there is some industry standard printer that is reliable and keeps on workin geven if old and I could get something like that? I'm not sure the budget but maybe £200 or more if it means I get something thats going to last and give good prints. G550 is £180.

My goal is to be able to sit and print photos taking time to do test prints and at least 10x8 prints with good quality results that justify the time spent and without spending a lot of money (for example £100 for a set of ink)

Any thoughts on all this I know its a lot of questions at once!
 

Ink stained Fingers

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You collected all possible negative effects with photo printing which you could get with this printer; the printer is targeted for office like usage - printing documents - as well with colors - mainly on copy or other matte papers. The printer uses 4 colors CMYK, and is printing with the black ink only on copy or matte/inkjet papers, and the black is turned off on glossy, silk, luster type papers and blacks are mixed witht the CMY inks.
'Encapsulated inks' - some 3rd party suppliers advertise this property as a sign for a high quality ink - just forget it.

And the same applies to statements about the longevity of inks - this is a pretty complex subject overall - general statements are just fake in this context, and your ink supplier most likely does not have any proof or test report for his statements. Yes, the pigment inks of your particular supplier may have a better longevity than the dye inks he is shipping, but this does not mean anything how these inks compare to genuine Epson inks - dye or pigment. It is a complex interaction between inks and papers, and a genuine dye ink may perform even better than another genuine pigment ink.

https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/do-pigment-inks-fade-slower-than-dye-inks.15466/

There are plenty fading tests done by forum members and discussed in great detail here - that 3rd party dye inks don't even come close to the fading performance of OEM inks - Claria or Ultrachrome by Epson - or Chromalife100 or Lcucia by Canon.

You have these options - switching over to a 'photo' printer like the mentioned Canon G550/650 or an Epson ET-8500/8550 or some Epson photo printer with cartridges like the XP-6100/7100 with a matte and a photo black ink.

or you switch over to dye inks in your WF-3520 - and use genuine Epson CMYK dye inks which you easily can get as bottled inks for the ET-7550 - 106 type inks - or inks for the ET-8500 - 114 type inks, there might be some pricing differences, get those at the lower price - the inks are practically the same. You can turn off the bottle top with some force.
When switching over to dye inks I recommend you to rinse the cartridges with the new ink - shake the cartridges and pull one ink load out with a syringe via the ink outlet - or use a clear ink like this one by octoink.co.uk
https://www.octoink.co.uk/products/Ink-Base-Component-%2d-Image-Specialists.html

And the 2nd step is to switch to the matte/inkjet paper driver setting even if you print on glossy, silk, lustre type papers, this is the only way to force the printer to use the black ink on glossy papers and not to mix black together. You have the color adjustment mode for color corrections if necessary.
 

dunk

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Hi,
thank you that is very helpful.

I forgot to say that I was printing on Semi Gloss paper using the Matt Photo Paper setting, to make the printer uses all the inks. The problem is the black ink is matt.

I almost bought Dye ink but I thought that it would not be good for the office printing that I also do.

Do you have any thoughts about using a "Photo Black" pigment ink, so just swapping the black ink? Some Epson printers have 2 blacks, Photo Black and Matt Black.

For example on ebay there is a 200ml Cartridge of genuine Epson Ultrachrome HDR, T6531 PHOTO BLACK / for STYLUS PRO 4900. The cost is £20.
Maybe that would give me better blacks and allow printing on semi-gloss?

Maybe there is no point, I want to use the printer for office documents and photos, but maybe thats not possible.

Also the WF3520 has some issues with very think paper, its just about ok but i have lots of 290g Pearl paper to use and it doesnt like it in 6x4" size, its fine with A5 though. The WF3520 has done 20,000 prints too which means maybe its going to die soon!

You are also correct that I do not know how long the inks last, in years, the shop I bought them from says 80 years, but there is no independent test to prove it.

So perhaps the best option is to keep using the WF3520 for office documents (they now look very good with the new inks vs the cheap chinese dye ink cartridges I had before), and buy a seperate photo printer.

Looking at prices

ET-8500 £550
ET-8550 £680 (both very expensive)

G550 £180 (Good price and also it has extra Grey and Red colours), uses Chromalife 100 not Chromalife 100 +

Cheap WF2010 , 3pl, Printer - £55
Set of refillable cartridges for WF2010 printer, about £15
Set of CMYK 106 ink - £10 + £10 + £10 + £15 = £45
Total = £115

I also costed these as examples:

Epson XP1500 £250
Set of refillable cartridges with Auto Reset Chip - £60
Set of CMYK 106 ink - £10 + £10 + £10 + £15 = £45
Light C + Light M, not sure where to find these, maybe not possible.. (£20 if they did exist)
Total £375 (overbudget)
Issue here is that Epson do not seem to make a light cyan Claria in bottles, I can see why, it's to stop people like me doing this!

Canon PIXMA iX6850 A3+ Photo Printer £180
Cartridge set CMYK + Pigment Black £20
Set of CMYK 106 ink - £10 + £10 + £10 + £15 = £45
Pigment Black ( I have some already £0)
Total - £245

Canon PIXMA iP7250 A4 Uses same carts as above, 1pl Droplet size £60
Refillable Cartridge set CMYK + Pigment Black £20
Set of CMYK 106 ink - £10 + £10 + £10 + £15 = £45
Pigment Black ( I have some already £0)
Total - £125

Looking at these prices it seems the Canon G550 is good value, total cost is £65 more than a WF2010, the only thing is it uses the Chromalife 100 inks, not the 100+. When I research this I find posts on forums saying the Chromalife 100 (not +) is low quality and fades as fast as cheap 3rd party ink. I hope this is incorrect, but I need to find some evidence.

Another option is the Canon iP7250 with a 1pl droplet size, probably good for photos, but again theres an issue which is that Canon do not sell the Chromalife 100+ in bottles, so would have to use Epson ink.

Looking for the equivelent Epson to the iP7250 I find these:

for example:
XP900 A3 Photo Printer CMYK + Pigment Black £120 2nd hand ebay
Refillable Cartridge set CMYK + Pigment Black £20
Set of CMYK 106 ink - £10 + £10 + £10 + £15 = £45
Pigment Black ( I have some already £0)
Total - £185

XP540 A4 Photo Printer, 1.5 pl, CMYK + Pigment Black £90 2nd hand ebay
Refillable Cartridge set CMYK + Pigment Black £20
Set of CMYK 106 ink - £10 + £10 + £10 + £15 = £45
Pigment Black ( I have some already £0)
Total - £155

Maybe the XP line could be ideal? They have 1.5pl drop size vs 3pl for the WF line.

So after all this very long post (apologies), it seems the Canon G550 would be perfect IF it had stable inks, theres a Review at Northlightimages which states that the inks are not good enough for him to use on work to sell other than postcards where it doesnt mater if they fade, however I have yet to find a test for this ink (i'm going through the forum searching now).

Basic Canon photo printers look good too but I would have to fill them with Epson 106 ink, would this work?

Or the other option that looks good is the Epson XP line, which I would have to buy used but they have a smaller droplet size which might help with photos, then I could use Epson Ink in an Epson printer.

All the higher end Photo printers seem to use Light Cyan Light Magenta / Grey / Red etc and I'm not sure these are available in bottles.

So it seems that if I'm on a budget and want prints to last and want a "photo" printer, the options are new Canon with Epson ink or used Epson XP series.

Any thoughts on all this?
 
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dunk

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Aha! I just found this post

https://www.printerknowledge.com/th...ife100-fading-test-update-18-june-2021.14742/

Seems like inkstainedfingers said, say the Chromalife 100 ink in the G550 is ok! This is excellent news.

So now the choice is,

Buy a G550 £180, positives, dedicated photo printer so I think it takes thick paper ok, Grey + Red inks.
or:
Canon PIXMA iP7250 £60
Refillable Cartridge set CMYK + Pigment Black £20
GI 53 Inks at £13 each, CMYK, £52
Pigment Black ( I have some already £0)
Total - £132

For £48 more it seems to make sense to get the G550, also Northlightimages are offering free profiles.
 

Ink stained Fingers

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You did quite some extensive investigations and covered lots of subjects - let me address various of those - I hope I can cover them all.

Changing inks in the WF3520 is a matter of a compromise - you cannot have both a decent photo and an office printer at the same time with its configuration, you could use 2 sets of inks and swapping them - with quite some cleaning efforts in between, but you are addressing the option for a 2nd dedicated photo printer already. I consider the G550 a good choice in this situation, the ET-8500 is more expensive as an A4 printer and does not really offer much more.
I cannot support Keith Cooper's statement about the weak longevity of inks of the G550, this printer is using the genuine Chromalife 100 inks, and a + sign for inks of the Pro-200 does not make a difference for longevity - I have done various tests and other forum members as well about 18 months ago - the + sign just indicates for me an extension of the original Chromalife CMYK inkset introduced about 15 years ago in all the CLI... cartridges. Epson Claria and Canon Chromalife 100 inks are about on par in this respect, and please do not believe the tale that pigment inks last longer than dye inks although frequently repeated, just have a look here, I have pulled various information together to debunk that myth

https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/do-pigment-inks-fade-slower-than-dye-inks.15466/

Some of the Wilhelm Research reports may not be easy to read if you are not used to their mode of presenting their test results.

There are wide variations of the longevity performance of pigments - between Canon or Epson - even between different generations of the Lucia or Ultrachrome inks, and the Epson Claria dye inks perform very well in comparison, better than some pigment ink versions . This all deals with OEM inks - forget 3rd party inks in this respect - no data is available - you just can assume that some 3rd party pigment inks perform better than a dye ink of that supplier but that's about all . And please accept that the paper plays an important role as well - you cannot judge an ink without mentioning the paper on which it was printed. So much for the story that pigment inks last longer than dye inks.

You may have a look to another test by @The Hat

https://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/canon-black-ink-fade-test.15442/

Yes, you could use a glossy pigment black in the WF3520, but that is not available bottled for an Ecotank printer, don't look for alternatives if you are concerned and not happy with particular pigment ink effects like bronzing and gloss differentials , these effects are there, and lesser to an extend if you stay with OEM inks and papers, the combination of inks and papers is more critical than with dye inks. Canon nor Epson offer an A4 pigment ink photo printer, only A3 models like the P700 or Pro-300.

Please be aware as well that other Canon Megatank printer models with dye inks don't use the Chromalife 100 inks but inks like the GI-50 or GI-51, and these are dye inks with a poor longevity performance - no better than arbitrary 3rd party inks like InkTec and such.

You are right with your observation that the WF3520 may not feed particular papers - no wonder since it is not designed for it.

You mention as well the WF2010W - that printer is slow , I use it for various ink tests dye or pigment - and I use several different cartridge sets. It prints fine with dye inks but is very slow in high quality mode - the number of nozzles is very limited, but the rear paper feed takes about all paper type so far.
Don't put too much attention on the droplet size - you won't see a difference between 1.5 or 2pl.
 
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dunk

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Thank you so much, that is all very helpful!

I have got some profiles from Keith at Northlightimages, a very helpful chap.

So after getting the profiles and your suggestions I have ordered a G550, the price seems good £183 from ebuyer in the UK, the G650 with the scanner is more like £250, so the G550 is good value I think.

The test by @The Hat is just what I needed to see, it shows that the inks will last.

I also found a test here https://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/light-fade-test-results/


Canon Pro9000Canon OEM Chromalife 100Ilford Galerie Classic Pearlno coating or laminate22-27 Megalux hours

I have found this test which is the exact same paper I have just bought in bulk on eBay, its lucky. This seems to be firmly in the range of the better inks, not as high as the very best which are maybe 80 ML/h, but much much better than most cheap 3rd party inks and comparable to the Epson Claria.

I have a Lux meter and have just been going round the house checking light levels, its a sunny day and a south facing room is between 220 lux in a corner and 500 lux on the wall that gets light (not direct sun). The North facing rooms the light level is only 40 Lux, very low!

I need to take an average reading from walls that might have photos on, but a estimate is.

8 hours a day at 200lux = 1,600 Lux Hours. (Its not always sunny in England so this is a good guess)
+ 4 hours a day at 30 lux = 120 lux hours. (I think it really is this low as the bulbs are not bright)

1 day = 1,720 lux hours

So if the prints show no fading at 24,000,000 lux hours that is 38 years.

Also what I found interesting was the limit at which fading is defined, looking at the photos of the samples, I cannot see much difference at even the 40MLH mark with the Chromalife 100 inks, it seems the limits of what is a "fade" are quite low.

I think I will abandon the WF3520 for Glossy media, and continue to experiment with it on Matt as it looks good on Matt paper.

Thanks again for your help.

I can finally stop spending so many hours researching and actually make some prints!
 

dunk

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Just to add, I just checked the main room of the house, and where I have a painting on the wall, even on a sunny day it is only 50lux.

Using the 24MLH as an example that is
50lux x 12hours = 600LuxH
600 x 365days = 219,000 LuxH a year
24,000,000 / 219,000 = 110 years.

I now understand why people do tests in direct sunlight as the direct light in my window is 35,000 lux!

At that strength the print would only last 85 days..
 

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I use an old a3 brother mfc5895cw printer with epson 673 inks and icc profile. Gamut is the same as 10ink 1200eur epson p900 with oem inks on epson photo glossy premium paper. I know my inks are dye inks but like you read in this forum oem dye inks are really better in longevity concerns. No bronzing gloss issues with dye inks on my brother printer is slower then dedicated photo printer but resolution is stil 6000dpi
 

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I think you captured the complexity of longevity testing very well, and you are using the results. But please be aware that there are more substances accelerating the fading - it depends on your residence location - downtown in a city or in a rural environment - vicinity to highways or local emanations - all these nitro-oxides - ozone - formaldehydes - solvents of paintings - adhesives - and if somebody in the family is smoking - and more - even if these agents are at such a low level that they are most likely not harmful to your health - it is the long term exposure to it. The Aardenburg or Wilhelm Rresearch tests show wide variations between different ink and paper combinations - simple and general statements just cannot be made.
 
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