Yesterday I got an email about an article that
appeared in PC World Magazine concerning the reduced life
of prints made with third party ink....
First, why do they call it THIRD Party-- it would seem that a company other than the manufacturer of the printer would be the SECOND party :-)
Anyway, the article reflects findings by Wilhelm that tested prints put under intense accelerated light exposure. He sets the benchmark for LABORATORY testing of papers and ink. Generally a good STARTING POINT.
It comes as no great surprise, that the prints using cheaper inks have a shorter life span-- BUT WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?
Several important things to consider.
1) Example, a set of official Canon Inks will cost you six times what, for example, as set of G and G Inks (from Inkgrabber - one source) will cost. That's $75 for a set of ink carts, versus about $15. Wilhelm states right off the bat that the quality of prints are comparable to the OEM inks.
2) How many prints do you really need to last 25 years or more? Are some for short or temporary use? What percentage?
3) Are your prints subject to constant intense light, or looked at a couple times than put in an album or drawer, and hardly looked at again?
4) Do you have copies of all of your savable images permanently on a hard drive or disc?
In my case, and in my personal experience, I rarely leave a photo in the same place on a wall for more than a couple of years at most. And this is never in direct sunlight.
>>>>>In these cases, example on my office wall, I have dozens of prints, all printed with cheap ass MIS ink or Inkgrabber ink, that have been on my wall in indirect, but bright, light for four years or more. NO FADING noticeable. These are with Wilhelm's WORST rated inks. And I don't even put them in frames or behind glass. Scotch tape to wall. That's it.<<<<<<
This is despite that fact that Wilhelm claims seriously accelerated fading in HIS TESTS. Good grief, its his job to TRY and make prints fade. In the real world, you will be hard pressed to make this occur. http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,111767,00.asp
If one of these prints eventually fades, I make another. Simple. but it hasn't happened yet.
Would I buy a set of official $75 Canon inks just so I don't have to worry about this for 25 years? I don't think so.
Anybody needing a like new perfect copy of one of my pictures can simply go to my hard drive and print one, and if necessary use archival inks and papers. But that's something I am just not concerned with. And I think the need for this kind of thing is greatly overstated by anyone except those making art prints.
Take this into consideration-
1) Its Wilhelm's job his job to TRY and make prints fade. In the real world, you will be hard pressed to make this occur. Most of us are not leaving our prints up on the roof under the summer sun. Yes, his tests are accelerated to SIMULATE normal light conditions - but his results have not been borne out by my REAL non-simulated conditions. Sorry Wilhelm.
2) PC World Magazine makes their money running ads by companies like HP, Canon, and Epson, who make ALL of their printer revenue not on their printers, but their INK REFILLS. I would say that PC World is not going to give you much information that bites the hands that feed them. I am sure they were delighted to run the article below- but frankly, my real world experience makes this article mostly irrelevant.
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LIFE SPAN of
SECOND PARTY INK PRINTS