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Photography Question 
Michael T. Rehker

Longevity of Printer Inks

I was wondering if anyone knew how long normal ink lasted on a picture printed on Kodak paper. I've had a few prints made from a Lexmark printer on Kodak, before I bought my Epson and I'm wondering how long the prints will last and still look good? What is the typical longevity of normal inks? Thanks

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3/9/2004 10:56:49 AM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2004
  Hi Michael,

You can usually find that information on the website of the printer manufacturer and/or the paper manufacturer.

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with Lexmark+Kodak combos. ^_^;;

My own personal experience:

Prints I've made from my earlier printers(dye based epson 760) held up well when printed on epson photo paper and various other glossy RC(resin coated) papers.

Prints I made to some low cost glossy papers faded in about 6months to a year. By fade, I mean the various colors fade at different rates, so you get color cast shifts/etc.

How much sun/moisture the print is exposed to will also affect the longevity. I have a matte print made from my pigment based epson c80 on display in my office which is exposed to a flourscent light for about 8hours every day, framed and matted behind glass and it has not changed for about three years now.

Most epson printers of the pigment(durabrite/ultrachrome) variety will last at least 25-50 years if kept away from direct sunlight and displayed under glass/plastic. If using their archival papers and archivally matted/framed, will last 75+ years.

Their Dye based photo printers(760, 860, 960, 1270, 1280, etc) will last 25-50 years given the above same precautions. Dye based inks are more susceptible to fading when exposed to UV/sunlight.

As for the prints made on the lexmark+kodak paper, you could scan them and reprint on your epson system or you could just reprint from your original files.

The digital file I printed from is sort of the backup. Just as the negatives are the backup to the photograph print. If you lose the print, you always have the negatives/files to reproduce the image again.

But for consumer discount inkjet printers that are not specifically formulated to be long lifed, you can expect max life to be in the 2-5 years range. Much shorted if exposed to light, moisture, heat, and poor quality papers.

Check out epson's longevity site. They have a link to the research group that does longevity testing of various papers and inks. I don't have the link off the top of my head. ^_^;;

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3/9/2004 11:22:56 AM

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