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Old Aug 11, 2003, 7:00 PM   #1
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Default How long to expect high quality digital prints to last?

Does anyone have any data or pointers to information on how long professionals expect high quality printed digital images to last?

Basically - would digital photos printed on the best paper last as long as traditional prints (50+ years)? This is especially important for expensive prints like sets of wedding photographs. Does the printed ink hold up? How do professionals print commercial items like wedding photographs?

I get these questions a lot...

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Old Aug 11, 2003, 7:38 PM   #2
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The life of inkjet prints depends on the ink and paper used as well as how the print is treated. Epson was an early adapter of the attempt to maximize print life and claim times on the order of 20 or 30 years with the best life being prints on matte paper kept under glass. There is a series of papers aimed at long life prints and new inks are being developed all the time.

There has been a lot of improvement in this area and other printer manufacturers are joining in the pursuit of longer life prints. I guess if your pictures fade after 50 years, you should just bring them back :P
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 7:42 PM   #3
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a few parameters there to look at:
1-dyes do not last as long as pigments at this point in time. there working on it though
2- the ones that will last have the addendum stating that the print must be under glass and out of direct sunlight. which is good advice for any print.

just ask for a reprint warranty.

i use an epson 2200 which under parameter 2 is claimed to last in excess of 50+yrs using their premium papers. i'll say one thing i doo like the way it prints.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 7:43 PM   #4
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Do commercial photographers using digital technology use ink jet printers to print sets of photographs costing hundreds of dollars?

I assumed that ink jets were for home users - not commercial businesses, like wedding photographers. The real concern is that if you purchase digital photo's, you expect them to last - usually hard to replace after many years.

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Old Aug 11, 2003, 7:47 PM   #5
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i sell my prints from the 2200 and give a warranty for reprint as long as that #2 parameter is followed.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 10:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
last as long as traditional prints (50+ years)?
Normal C prints do not last anywhere as long as that.

Fade resistance ratings are/were(I haven't checked in a while)

Standard machine c -prints Less than 20 years
pro c-prints up to 29 years
Ilfochrome 29 years
Fuji Crystal archive 60 years.

Standard dye based inkjets 1-10 years.
All manfacturers have their own ratings for prints produced on their photo printers on their own paper.

For instance the epson c80/c82 and 2200 range from 30 to 90 years depending on the paper. The older epson 2000 was rated up to 200 years.

The mostly defunct wilhelm research site
http://www.wilhelm-research.com/ used to publish fade tests for many printer brands/inks and papers. But the site has been static for a very long time now, only change seems to be the next promissed release date of new info, they move it ahead a month or two every time they miss a promissed date.

Print life varies greatly depending on the conditions it is kept under,
biggest things affecting print life are UV, humidity, ozone, and air born polutants.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 10:37 PM   #7
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Nobody has even mentioned that digital photos can be printed in regular photographic paper. Those would last the same as pictures printed from negatives.

I would assume that professionals either use dye-sublimation or photo paper for their work.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 11:10 PM   #8
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no that wouldn't work. the paper used in chemical based photo work is not just paper. in B/W contains silver halides just as the B/W films. in color the paper contains the dyes in layers.

it is mentioned about the lifespan of the print from conventional chemical processes. the one thing most people forget about is the negative or chrome lifespan. since ekta and fuji E6 based filmsare dye based subtractive processes the lifespan is also relatively short. the color shifts depending on enviornment fairly easy and in some cases quickly. kodachrome on the other hand retains a much higher archival quality being silver based additive process. this is why you can see WW2 films in color today still.
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Old Aug 12, 2003, 12:14 AM   #9
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If you are getting digital pictures taken, then why not just ask them to burn uncompressed copies onto a cd for you. If they'll do this, then you will easily be able to make new prints if the old ones ever fade.
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Old Aug 12, 2003, 5:31 AM   #10
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I've got normal photo prints going back 30 years. So I'd put my trust in digital-photo paper copies first. Who wants to look back over their wedding photos 20 years on and find the've disappeared?

I once printed an inkjet print for a shop window advert - the image disappeared more or less after 10 days, all the real photo prints alongside mine were fine. There are archival inks with a claimed stability of 25-40 years, but color gamut is not as good as regular inks.

...........If they'll do this, then you will easily be able to make new prints if the old ones ever fade.................

That assumes CD formats can still be read in 20 years time! Good paper photo prints and film negatives are virtually timeless, electronic standards are always changing and going out of date.
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