Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance

Started Oct 22, 2012 | Discussions
Petruska
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Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
Oct 22, 2012

" Canon's Katsuichi Shimizu made at the Pro-1 launch.

Today's dye technology, he said, has "a 300 year lifespan, and the fading durability is almost identical to pigment. But in the minds of photographers, a printer must be pigment-based to sell."

In our Pro-1 review we found that the pigment was not as brilliant as the dyes used in the Pro9000 Mark II so we have been anxious to try a Pro dye printer. Even if you have a Pro pigment printer, the Pro-100 might be a worthwhile addition."

GMack
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to Petruska, Oct 22, 2012

Interesting comment he made about 300 year lifespan for dye.

I recall the old Cibachrome process which claimed some 100 year lifespan was a dye process.  So was Kodak's Kodachrome and their dye transfer prints too.  Ektachrome was some other internal dye which wasn't as stable as Kodachrome's dye processing.

Maybe this pigment lasting longer is a myth that continues on its own to promote pigment printers and more expensive and exotic ink?  I have had pigment prints out of an HP fade in less than a year in a sunlit window (Turned yellowish/green.).  Aside from plugging up the print head that needed a good boiling in hot water which is a whole different matter with HP.  Good blacks though.

Mack

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ThrillaMozilla
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to GMack, Oct 22, 2012

GMack wrote:

Interesting comment he made about 300 year lifespan for dye.

I recall the old Cibachrome process which claimed some 100 year lifespan was a dye process.  So was Kodak's Kodachrome and their dye transfer prints too.

That's for storage in the dark under ideal conditions, so it doesn't tell you much about what will happen when you hang a photo and look at it.  It isn't darkness that degrades a photo--it's light.  If you display a picture, it won't be in the dark, and it won't be under ideal conditions.

Tests by Aardenburg Imaging suggest that even under reasonably favorable conditions with ordinary lighting, it would probably not be unusual to notice considerable degradation of some photos after a few years of display.  And that doesn't include the possibility degradation due to ozone and other contaminants.  I don't know if Aardenburg has tested the Pro 100 inks or not, but they are probably very good, they are not going to last 300 years under display.

Maybe this pigment lasting longer is a myth that continues on its own to promote pigment printers and more expensive and exotic ink?

Not a myth.  Virtually all the tests I have seen, and the one I have run myself, indicate that pigment is generally much more resistant than dye to light fading.  While there may be exceptions, you would have a very hard time finding a dye that will last as long as the best pigments.

I have had pigment prints out of an HP fade in less than a year in a sunlit window

Indeed, and that's less than 300 years, isn't it?  A sunlit window is a severe test, but if you tested dye ink along side that picture, you might be unpleasantly surprised.

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Vernon D Rainwater
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to Petruska, Oct 22, 2012

Petruska wrote:

" Canon's Katsuichi Shimizu made at the Pro-1 launch.

Today's dye technology, he said, has "a 300 year lifespan, and the fading durability is almost identical to pigment. But in the minds of photographers, a printer must be pigment-based to sell."

In our Pro-1 review we found that the pigment was not as brilliant as the dyes used in the Pro9000 Mark II so we have been anxious to try a Pro dye printer. Even if you have a Pro pigment printer, the Pro-100 might be a worthwhile addition."

What recognized Labs have endorsed or tested for this claim.  Could it be that -- Katsuichi Shimizu -- is a member of the sales and/or Advertisement departments.

-- hide signature --

Vernon...

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Mark McCormick
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to Petruska, Oct 22, 2012

Petruska wrote:

" Canon's Katsuichi Shimizu made at the Pro-1 launch.

Today's dye technology, he said, has "a 300 year lifespan, and the fading durability is almost identical to pigment.

A very broad generalization probably ignoring light and gas fade resistance and only talking about thermal stability (i.e., storage in albums).

"But in the minds of photographers, a printer must be pigment-based to sell."

On this point, I tend to agree with Katsuichi Shimuzu's observation.  Many photographers have decided to keep print longevity claims simple by using pigmented ink printers on "acid-free" papers and then describing their prints as "archival pigment" prints.  Archival has no precise definition, but few question it. Yet the notion that all pigments are comparable in lightfastness and always better than all dyes is factually incorrect. There are pigmented inkjet ink sets in the marketplace today that are worse in light fade resistance than some of the best OEM dye-based inks on select papers, but then there are also pigmented ink sets like the HP Vivera pigment set or pure carbon pigments for B&W printing that are dramatically more fade resistant than any other competing dyes or pigmented ink sets in the marketplace today.  However, even images printed with these most stable inks can be hugely undermined in color and tone retention by media that bleaches or discolors in its own right whether that media is acid-free, 100% cotton base, OBA-free, etc., or not.

Comprehensive system-specific tests are always needed to sort out the details. The printer manufacturers simply don't provide those test results for the majority of media they sell, and the media manufacturers and third party ink vendors even less so.

Mark McCormick

http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com

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detectorman
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to Mark McCormick, Oct 23, 2012

It is possible to test these "theories" using accelerated life testing. Here is how:

1. Make several identical prints with a test sample array of the principal colors--CMYK+.

2. Scan each color and record the values.

3. Put one photo in an oven at temperature T(1) for an hour. Take it out and remeasure (scan) the color values. Put it back in for another hour and rescan. Put it back for two hours and rescan. Put it back for four hours and rescan. Etc. in a geometric progression, up until the colors fade by an amount (arbitrary) that is felt to be unacceptable--say 30%. The oven speeds up the process of fading.

4. Do the same thing at a temperature T(2) -- T(2) is chosen to be higher or lower than the first temperature depending upon how long it took for the photo to "fail" at the first temperature. If it takes a really long time, choose a higher temperature; if it happened quickly, choose a lower temperature.

Additional temperatures can be added to give additional data points.

5. Now plot the time to failure on a graph where time is scaled logarithmically in the vertical, and the inverse temperature in Kelvin is on the horizontal scale. Project the time to fail down to room temperature- a higher value on the inverse temperature scale.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrhenius_plot -- you may want to google "Arrhenius plot" for some more examples.

Now we have more than just opinions and claims.

I learned this technique at Bell Labs where equipment going into the phone system had to be evaluated for expected life--40 years in the old days. A vice president came into my office to show me his data indicating that silicon integrated circuits built with his metallization system would not fail before the sun!

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Mark McCormick
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to detectorman, Oct 23, 2012

detectorman wrote:

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrhenius_plot -- you may want to google "Arrhenius plot" for some more examples.

Yes, the Arrhenius equation and various methods for implementing it in the evaluation of the thermal stability of photographic prints have been used for decades.  I've helped more than one researcher and even one well known testing laboratory implement this type of testing. The Arrhenius equation works well when densitometrically or colorimetrically tracking color fade changes for many imaging systems but not so well for others including dye-based inkjet prints (due to dye diffusion related color changes being confounded visually with thermally induced degradation of the dye molecules.

Getting back to the original claim in this thread of 300 year print longevity, this claim was probably derived from Arrhenius type tests of the media by itself and also by other methods to isolate the colorants and track their chemical degradation as a function of temperature. The percent fading allowance was probably a pretty liberal one as well.  However, Arrhenius tests are not appropriate for evaluating gas fade resistance, light fade resistance, humidity resistance, etc., all of which conspire over time along with thermally induced aging to degrade image quality.

kind regards,

Mark

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ThrillaMozilla
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to detectorman, Oct 23, 2012

You may or may not be aware that that Mark McCormick runs Aardenburg Imaging.

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detectorman
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to Mark McCormick, Oct 23, 2012

Mark McCormick wrote:

detectorman wrote:

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrhenius_plot -- you may want to google "Arrhenius plot" for some more examples.

Yes, the Arrhenius equation and various methods for implementing it in the evaluation of the thermal stability of photographic prints have been used for decades.  I've helped more than one researcher and even one well known testing laboratory implement this type of testing. .....However, Arrhenius tests are not appropriate for evaluating gas fade resistance, light fade resistance, humidity resistance, etc., all of which conspire over time along with thermally induced aging to degrade image quality.

kind regards,

Mark

_____

Mark,

Could not at least light-fading resistance be tested using the Arrhenius method using various light fluxes. Some amount of heating from sunlight may be involved also. And humidity also--we used to test integrated circuits at 90 degrees C and 90% relative humidity.

In any case, it would be nice to see the data behind claims of 300 year life! I have a Canon dye printer (9000 mkII) but can't wait to check the claim posted in this topic--I'll be 70 soon.

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Mark McCormick
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Re: Interesting Canon comment on "dye" fade resistance
In reply to detectorman, Oct 23, 2012

detectorman wrote:

Mark,

Could not at least light-fading resistance be tested using the Arrhenius method using various light fluxes. Some amount of heating from sunlight may be involved also. And humidity also--we used to test integrated circuits at 90 degrees C and 90% relative humidity.

In any case, it would be nice to see the data behind claims of 300 year life! I have a Canon dye printer (9000 mkII) but can't wait to check the claim posted in this topic--I'll be 70 soon.

Light fading and gas fading correlate linearly with light intensity or gas concentration over reasonable ranges. So, for example, double the light level and you increase the rate of light fade 2x, or double the concentration of ozone and you double the fade rate for ozone sensitive colorants, and these known behaviors allow researchers to design effective tests for specific print degradation mechanisms. On the other hand, color changes due to dye diffusionversus relative humidity often have a discontinuity due to what polymer chemists call the glass transition temperature of the polymeric image binder layers. But you can fix the test at a known humidity level (say 80%) and then the change in visual appearance can be measured using colorimetry, for example, and it will follow an exponential decay curve.  Of course, there are always some caveats to any of these test methods -e.g., deviation from linearity at very high light intensities or very high gas concentrations that limit how much one can safely accelerate a particular reaction.

Anyway you have the right idea, and there are valid test methods that allow researchers to determine the relative strenghs and weaknesses of various print process as they relate to different failure mechanisms.  And in some situations we really can give an accurate predictions, but only when certain assumptions are made about relatively steady state environmental conditions, the desired condition of the print at the test endpoint (i.e, good, fair, poor, etc) and we further confine the answer to just one degradation factor.  The common problem is that those asking "how long will my print last" rarely want to hear these details, and so manufacturers are free to give about any answer you'd wish to hear. That's what the problem is with the 300 year claim that started this thread.

Even acid and lignin-filled newspaper stock and cheap litho inks can easily last over a century! One just has to provide reasonable storage and display environments and accept a fair amount of visual change in appearance and increasing physical fragility of the newspaper over that time period. But you will still have a functional object. the images and text won't be totally unreadable.  Hence, the question photographers should be asking about the print processes they choose is not "how long will it last?" but "how well will it last" under less than ideal circumstances as time goes by.  Some processes are much more durable and hold their initial properties much better than others over time. That's what serious printmakers should be striving to learn about. It's pride in one's craft that is at the heart of both initial print quality and print longevity issues, IMHO.

kind regards,

Mark

http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com

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ukkisavosta
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Thanks for this very interesting exchange! (nt)
In reply to Mark McCormick, Oct 24, 2012

(nt)

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