The Truth about Canon Pigment vs Dye Black Ink

ghwellsjr

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
3,645
Reaction score
85
Points
233
Location
La Verne, California
Printer Model
Epson WP-4530
There have been many statements in this and other printer forums about when a Canon printer uses the black pigment ink and when it uses the black dye ink. Most of these statements are half-truths and some are absolutely false. I'm not going to bother reiterating the false or half true statements, just the truth.

The truth is that the black pigment ink is [almost] always used on plain paper--never on photo paper and the dye black ink is always used on photo paper--[almost] never on plain paper.

[NOTE: I just learned that I needed to add the word "almost" twice in the above maxim, thanks to stratman pointing this out in this post:

http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=15097#p15097

The exception is when doing borderless printing which is not recommended on plain paper, but if you do it, the printer will use the dye black ink instead of the pigment black ink.]

Pretty simple, but there is a complication involving duplex printing. When doing duplex printing, the black pigment ink is cut to about one half of the intensity that it would normally print. Then, to make up for this decrease, the magenta and cyan inks are printed in the same area as the pigment black. The yellow and dye black are never added to the pigment black to make up the difference. NOTE: Recent tests have shown that this last statement is only true for 100% black. In fact, yellow, along with magenta and cyan, is blended for some shades of grey. Also, it doesn't matter whether the duplex printing is done automatically or manually, or whether you are doing booklet printing. And, in all cases, we are talking about duplex printing on plain paper.


Now for some background. On this forum, the main discussion can be seen by searching for "duplex pigment". One of these threads contains a reference to some very lengthy discussions on comp.periphs.printers newsgroup. Reading these will make you appreciate this forum--what a nightmare!

The printers I tested were the Canon MP760 and the iP4000, both of which use the same print head with five cartridges: the larger BCI-3e pigment black, and the smaller BCI-6 dye inks including black, yellow, cyan and magenta. I presume the same results would apply to many other Canon printers that include both types of black ink.

In order to perform the tests, I cleaned five Canon cartridges and filled them with cleaning solvent from inkjetsaver.com. After a sufficient purge, these cartridges print nothing visible on the paper which is necessary to draw correct conclusions. I then replaced one of the cartridges with a regular ink cartridge and, after a sufficient purge, printed in various modes to see if that particular ink was involved in that mode and repeated for each cartridge.
 

websnail

Printer VIP
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Messages
3,518
Reaction score
1,141
Points
337
Location
South Yorks, UK
Printer Model
Epson, Canon, HP... A "few"
Now that is useful information and helps settle a very old debate... and boy do I agree about that newsgroup (trolls ahoy or what!).

Just a small note for clarity, you might want to edit your post in this bit to avoid any confusion..

The yellow and black are never added to the pigment black
.. perhaps to..
The yellow and dye black are never added to the pigment black
Minor quibble but something that could get folks scratching heads ;)
 

ghwellsjr

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
3,645
Reaction score
85
Points
233
Location
La Verne, California
Printer Model
Epson WP-4530
I have run some more tests to see how my five-cartridge MP760 printer behaves when doing a nozzle check and when printing in "Fast-print all-black text" (Greyscale Printing) which, of course, doesn't have to be just text, you can also print pictures in this mode.

First, a nozzle check prints exactly the same, independent of the paper type. This is the one exception to the rule that the dye black prints only on photo paper and the pigment black prints only on plain paper.

The pigment black ink is used only and exclusively on the top 3eBK part of the nozzle check pattern (as you would expect).

Each of the dye inks is used only and exclusively for their respective wide rectangular patterns but their labels and upright rectangles on either side of the labels are printed by a combination of colors and dye black.

The three colors are used to print all of the labels (except the one for 3eBK) and all of the upright rectangles for colors. They are not used in printing any of the upright rectangles for both black inks.

The dye black does not print any labels and it only prints the darker of the upright rectangles (except for the ones for 3eBK). This means that the dye black is the only ink used for the 6BK upright rectangles (but not for the 6BK label).

Some other ways of stating the above are:

The 3eBK label is printed by the pigment black. All the other labels are printed by a combination of all three colors and no blacks.

All the upright dark color rectangles are printed by a combination of all four dye inks.

All the upright light color rectangles are printed by a combination of the three color inks.

The 6BK upright rectangles are printed by the dye black ink.


Now for greyscale printing on plain paper:

For non-duplex greyscale printing, only the pigment black ink is used. This can be selected from the Print Advisor using "Fast-print all-black text" but you have to make sure the Duplex Printing is unchecked on the Page Setup tab. The main reason why it is fast is that it is using only the wider pigment black set of nozzles.

For duplex greyscale printing, the pigment black is printed at a lower intensity and all three colors (including yellow) are added to make up the difference. This is slightly different from the color duplex printing where only the magenta and cyan are added to the pigment black.

You can also print non-duplex greyscale on photo paper which always uses all four dye inks. This mode is not available under the Print Advisor but can be selected by checking the Greyscale Printing box. You cannot do duplex printing on any kind of photo paper, just plain paper.

I sure wish I knew what the logic was behind all these strange ink combinations.
 

Music Image

Getting Fingers Dirty
Joined
May 1, 2005
Messages
92
Reaction score
2
Points
31
ghwellsjr
Thankyou for your great post !!! Very interesting.

Cheers Music Image.
 

digitalartist71

Getting Fingers Dirty
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
73
Reaction score
0
Points
29
on professional wide-format printers....DYE inks are for DYE medias; they have brighter colors, larger color gamut, indoor short-term.

PIGMENT inks are for PIGMENT medias; smaller color gamut; not as bright, more for long-term. But not NEARLY as long as true outdoor inks like HOT SOLVENT inks and UV cured inks (which can print on UNCOATED medias such as vinyl and plastics. Can't do this with WATER based inks....but have heard u can try using hairspray on vinyl decal material first, then try to print on it? sure it wouldn't last long...but maybe it would work????

AN example of a wideformat printer is a HP 5000. If you use pigment inks in it and try to print on DYE media, the PIGMENT cannot penetrate the media and merely sits on top of the surface, takes forever to dry and even when it does, can be wiped off.

The Canon uses pigment BLACK for one-pass fast printing of copy and cripser prints. DYE inks are not as black.. would alos require the printer to use more passes to mix the other colors to make that print which si SLOWER. Canons when set in PHOTO paper mode, do not use PIGMENT black, since the PIGMENT ink isn't compatible with the DYE based photo papers.
 

flashdudette

Newbie to Printing
Joined
Sep 11, 2009
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Points
7
one question - I have a lot of black dye - can i refill the black pigment cartridge with it or will it mess up my printer?
 

ghwellsjr

Printer Master
Platinum Printer Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Messages
3,645
Reaction score
85
Points
233
Location
La Verne, California
Printer Model
Epson WP-4530
There have been reports of dye ink leaking out the pigment nozzles because it is too thin. See this link:
http://www.printerknowledge.com/threads/g-g-3e-black-cart-problem.1396/

Not only would I not put dye ink in the pigment cartridge, it defeats the purpose of having two black cartridges. If you have a good pigment black ink, it will not smear on the printed page if it gets wet. If you want to use up your dye black ink, just put it in your thin black cartridge and tell your printer that you are printing on matte paper (instead of plain paper) and it will use the dye black ink instead of the pigment black ink.
 

mrk1986

Newbie to Printing
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1
Reaction score
1
Points
6
Location
Japan
ghwellsjr said:
There have been many statements in this and other printer forums about when a Canon printer uses the black pigment ink and when it uses the black dye ink. Most of these statements are half-truths and some are absolutely false. I'm not going to bother reiterating the false or half true statements, just the truth.

The truth is that the black pigment ink is [almost] always used on plain paper--never on photo paper and the dye black ink is always used on photo paper--[almost] never on plain paper.

[NOTE: I just learned that I needed to add the word "almost" twice in the above maxim, thanks to stratman pointing this out in this post:

http://www.nifty-stuff.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=15097#p15097

The exception is when doing borderless printing which is not recommended on plain paper, but if you do it, the printer will use the dye black ink instead of the pigment black ink.]

Pretty simple, but there is a complication involving duplex printing. When doing duplex printing, the black pigment ink is cut to about one half of the intensity that it would normally print. Then, to make up for this decrease, the magenta and cyan inks are printed in the same area as the pigment black. The yellow and dye black are never added to the pigment black to make up the difference. NOTE: Recent tests have shown that this last statement is only true for 100% black. In fact, yellow, along with magenta and cyan, is blended for some shades of grey. Also, it doesn't matter whether the duplex printing is done automatically or manually, or whether you are doing booklet printing. And, in all cases, we are talking about duplex printing on plain paper.


Now for some background. On this forum, the main discussion can be seen by searching for "duplex pigment". One of these threads contains a reference to some very lengthy discussions on comp.periphs.printers newsgroup. Reading these will make you appreciate this forum--what a nightmare!

The printers I tested were the Canon MP760 and the iP4000, both of which use the same print head with five cartridges: the larger BCI-3e pigment black, and the smaller BCI-6 dye inks including black, yellow, cyan and magenta. I presume the same results would apply to many other Canon printers that include both types of black ink.

In order to perform the tests, I cleaned five Canon cartridges and filled them with cleaning solvent from inkjetsaver.com. After a sufficient purge, these cartridges print nothing visible on the paper which is necessary to draw correct conclusions. I then replaced one of the cartridges with a regular ink cartridge and, after a sufficient purge, printed in various modes to see if that particular ink was involved in that mode and repeated for each cartridge.
It is not possible to use to type ink in one printer. Which type of ink is good for both plain paper and photo paper?
 
Top