Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly

Started Apr 13, 2013 | Discussions
David Seys
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Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
Apr 13, 2013

I have a print on Epson canvas I made about 6 years ago.  The canvas was behind glass and displayed in my son's bedroom for about a year (a photo I took of our kittens).  It then went into storage and I recently brought it out when looking for something else.

The colour has faded horribly although behind glass and in darkness.

I have other prints even older made with 'cheap' G&G pigment ink on the same canvas that has been displayed in direct sunlight for at least as many years, uncoated, with absolutely no shift in colour at all.

How the heck is that even possible for G&G to outlast genuine Epson, direct sunlight vs. dark storage?

Now I'm wondering if these other quality 3rd party inks I've been researching is even necessary.  Maybe I'll just stick G&G in my newer LF printers.  I've been running it in an old 7600 for 8 years and I never get clogs, never changed the heads, nothing!

Very disappointed with Epson ink right now.  I wonder how many prints I've done for clients are fading without me knowing.... yet.

Serhat Abaci
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Re: Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
In reply to David Seys, Apr 13, 2013

Cant speak really for ALL 3rd Party inks but I am printing with an Epson Pro 4000 unit since 2 years and I am also print poster adds for customers. One of the "menu" print I did is now 2 years old and bright and shining its been printed with OEM K2 Epson ink sets.

After the first batch of OEM Cartriges went out I instaltly switch to refillable cartriges and Octopus OCP Inks. I have a two year old print of me and my financee and its maches exactly the screens colors

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Mark McCormick
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Re: Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

David Seys wrote:

The colour has faded horribly although behind glass and in darkness.

I'm very interested in real-world failure mechanisms.  Please contact me via my website (http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com), and let's try to figure out the pathway to failure that occurred in this specific situation.

kind regards,
Mark

http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com

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Vernon D Rainwater
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Re: Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
In reply to Mark McCormick, Apr 14, 2013

Mark McCormick wrote:

David Seys wrote:

The colour has faded horribly although behind glass and in darkness.

I'm very interested in real-world failure mechanisms.  Please contact me via my website (http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com), and let's try to figure out the pathway to failure that occurred in this specific situation.

kind regards,
Mark

http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com

If there truly are fading results the first thing I would suspect is to check to see what was in the area or near the "Stored Photo Image" that may (or could) have contributed to such discussed change regarding the specific Photo.  Logically, this does not seem (to me) to be the usual results when using the Epson Pigment inks -- based on the normal reported tests and user results for such inks.

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Vernon...

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David Seys
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Re: Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
In reply to Vernon D Rainwater, Apr 14, 2013

It was stored away in a plastic tote container with some other items of the kids (school work and a few other photos in frames).

I would estimate the print has faded at least 30%, probably closer to 40%.  Of course I have a trained eye and notice the slightest difference, but my wife saw it too and without me saying anything to her about it her reaction was complete surprise.  She pointed it out to me as if I hadn't noticed yet.  The vibrant reds are now orangy looking and the grey cats are a washed out muddy mess.

Mark, I will contact you shortly.

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pluton
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Re: Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

I have an UC Epson print that's been on my wall for six years and counting---without glass, just taped up--- in a room that gets bounced sun and skylight all day, every day, next to the kitchen, and while I haven't micro-inspected it, it certainly hasn't horribly, or even visibly, faded.

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-KB-

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Leon Wittwer
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Re: Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

I have printed with the Ultrachrome prints on Epson papers since the inks came out and have had no issues with fading.  I often display bare (unframed) prints in my place.  Your issue may be due to the canvas and some reaction between the canvas and inks or just degradation of the canvas.  Print longevity is a function of both the inks and media.  If you have not already looked, you might do some research on the canvas media.

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xrdbear
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Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

...might be closer to the mark. Considering that the experience of the vast majority of Epson Ultrachrome pigment ink users is at varience with your single case it seems a bit unfair to start this thread with such a pejorative title. You make a print, probably, on a non Epson canvas, a combination which has likely not been evaluated and then store it in a plastic container along with kids work (what was that made of?) and then blame any fading on the ink. I would definitely take up the offer of Mark McCormick from Aardenburg Imaging to find out the truth of the matter.

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fft81
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to xrdbear, Apr 14, 2013

Light is only one factor that effects color fading.

Dye inks can "out gas" changing color left on paper.

Temperature is a big factor for out gasing. Higher the temperature faster it will happen.

Paper can yellow, its OBAs out gas.

Inks (dye and pigment) can react with other airborne chemicals. Temperature is again a factor.

As you see, light is only one of many factors.

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David Seys
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to xrdbear, Apr 14, 2013

I don't really know why you have been knocking my posts lately when I post something with a negative comment.  You did the same, and locked the thread, a few weeks ago when I said I was not pleased with Jon Cone's failed but promised timeline to bring his Claria Ink Thrift to the market.  You said it wasn't fair to knock him when he isn't a member here to defend himself.  He is in fact a member here and posted something else later that same day.

To say I probably printed the photo on non-Epson material just shows you didn't read my entire post.  The first sentence and the very few first words I CLEARLY stated I did in fact print on Epson canvas.  Thanks for coming out though.

Anyway, yes I realize many factors contribute to longevity.  But being behind glass in a plastic tote with some kids school work papers should hardly contribute to 30% + fade after 6 years when ALL Epson material was used.  So every print I've ever sold printed with Epson inks now concern me.  I pay a premium to use their "100+ year inks" and charge my clients accordingly.  Who looks like the fool if they start coming back to me?

I understand this may be an isolated incident.  I'm going to try to locate other prints from the same time period printed with the same inks and canvas and see what is going on before I become too furious.

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fft81
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

David Seys wrote:

Anyway, yes I realize many factors contribute to longevity.  But being behind glass in a plastic tote with some kids school work papers should hardly contribute to 30% + fade after 6 years when ALL Epson material was used.  So every print I've ever sold printed with Epson inks now concern me.  I pay a premium to use their "100+ year inks" and charge my clients accordingly.  Who looks like the fool if they start coming back to me?

I understand this may be an isolated incident.  I'm going to try to locate other prints from the same time period printed with the same inks and canvas and see what is going on before I become too furious.

I'd suggest looking at what gasses/chemicals are airborne in your storage location. Glass only offers marginal protection against UV; it offers no protection against airborne chemicals.  I use printshield to "seal" my prints that matter.

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xrdbear
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

David Seys wrote:

I don't really know why you have been knocking my posts lately when I post something with a negative comment.  You did the same, and locked the thread, a few weeks ago when I said I was not pleased with Jon Cone's failed but promised timeline to bring his Claria Ink Thrift to the market.  You said it wasn't fair to knock him when he isn't a member here to defend himself.  He is in fact a member here and posted something else later that same day.

To say I probably printed the photo on non-Epson material just shows you didn't read my entire post.  The first sentence and the very few first words I CLEARLY stated I did in fact print on Epson canvas.  Thanks for coming out though

Anyway, yes I realize many factors contribute to longevity.  But being behind glass in a plastic tote with some kids school work papers should hardly contribute to 30% + fade after 6 years when ALL Epson material was used.  So every print I've ever sold printed with Epson inks now concern me.  I pay a premium to use their "100+ year inks" and charge my clients accordingly.  Who looks like the fool if they start coming back to me?

I understand this may be an isolated incident.  I'm going to try to locate other prints from the same time period printed with the same inks and canvas and see what is going on before I become too furious.

My apologies, I did read your whole post and then promptly forgot about the Epson Canvas. As far as my action over the Claria inks discussion is concerned I draw your attention to rule 7 of the forum available here - http://www.dpreview.com/forums/forum-rules . Also Rule 3.

I'm not trying to be negative here or speak as a moderator. I just think that you are being a bit unfair and alarmist to attack Epson Ultrachrome inks, which do not have a reputation for fading, in the way you have done without considering other possible reasons. It was however a good idea to bring up your problem here and gain the advice and expertise of other members. For my part I can say that I am using photographs in my roadside signs for our free range eggs printed in Epson Ultrachrome on Enhanced Matte paper and protected from the elements only by Fellowes lamination pouches. I made spare prints at the time, 5 years ago, and they are practically indistinguishable from those that have been outside day in and day out for that time. We have very clean air here on Skye (apart from salt spray) so that may have contributed to their longevity.

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David Seys
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to xrdbear, Apr 14, 2013

Thank you for your apology.  I didn't mean to 'attack' Epson.  If it comes across that way it wasn't my intention.  I am a little concerned though about prints that have gone to clients if my own print did that.  I did mention it here in the hopes that others could help solve the problem, and to see if anything similar has happened to others in the past.

As mentioned earlier, I will attempt to trace down other canvas prints I did around the same time and view them.  I wish I had coated this canvas to see if that would have helped, but since it was for short term personal use I didn't bother to coat the canvas.

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J. Newton
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

My educated guess would be that the plastic container is the cuprit - There are a thousand different formulations for what we label plastic and some are less well behaved than others.

John N.

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David Seys
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to J. Newton, Apr 14, 2013

I think you're right, John.  The plastic container likely is the culprit.  I have a background in rubber and I know how nasty that can be.  Many of the same chemicals are also found in plastic.

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Rkelac
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to David Seys, Apr 14, 2013

David Seys wrote:

I think you're right, John.  The plastic container likely is the culprit.  I have a background in rubber and I know how nasty that can be.  Many of the same chemicals are also found in plastic.

Here is what Red River says about storing prints in plastic:

3) If you are going to store prints in plastic bags or sleeves, look for plastic material that is made from biaxially oriented polypropylene. Avoid using any materials that contain polyethylene or plasticizers which can cause rapid yellowing of your paper.

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xrdbear
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to Rkelac, Apr 14, 2013

Rkelac wrote:

David Seys wrote:

I think you're right, John.  The plastic container likely is the culprit.  I have a background in rubber and I know how nasty that can be.  Many of the same chemicals are also found in plastic.

Here is what Red River says about storing prints in plastic:

3) If you are going to store prints in plastic bags or sleeves, look for plastic material that is made from biaxially oriented polypropylene. Avoid using any materials that contain polyethylene or plasticizers which can cause rapid yellowing of your paper.

That's why all the paperbacks I have stored in the attic since my last move now look like they are 100 years old

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Brian
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JulesJ
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Re: Epson Ultrachrome inks have faded horribly
In reply to Leon Wittwer, Apr 15, 2013

Leon Wittwer wrote:

I have printed with the Ultrachrome prints on Epson papers since the inks came out and have had no issues with fading.  I often display bare (unframed) prints in my place.  Your issue may be due to the canvas and some reaction between the canvas and inks or just degradation of the canvas.  Print longevity is a function of both the inks and media.  If you have not already looked, you might do some research on the canvas media.

I agree, I think it is probably more to do with the canvass than the ink. Do you know anything about the origin of the canvass? Was a coating used on it or not, if so, do you know what was used?

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E Dinkla
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to fft81, Apr 15, 2013

fft81 wrote:

Light is only one factor that effects color fading.

Dye inks can "out gas" changing color left on paper.

Temperature is a big factor for out gasing. Higher the temperature faster it will happen.

Paper can yellow, its OBAs out gas.

Inks (dye and pigment) can react with other airborne chemicals. Temperature is again a factor.

As you see, light is only one of many factors.

If you substitute gas fading or oxidation for every spot you used "out gas(sing)" then it makes sense. Or just keep the last two lines of your message and delete the rest. In inkjet printing terms "outgassing" is used for the evaporation of the ink medium components glycol and glycerine from a fresh print. With RC prints this can take a long time and if not cured long enough before framing a haze can condensate at the inside of the frame glass.

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E Dinkla
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Re: Prints stored badly faded badly...
In reply to David Seys, Apr 15, 2013

David Seys wrote:

I think you're right, John.  The plastic container likely is the culprit.  I have a background in rubber and I know how nasty that can be.  Many of the same chemicals are also found in plastic.

David,

Let Mark McCormick have a look at it, there are some odd things happening with dark storage and Mark hinted at that in another message in this forum some time ago. Epson inks and media are not the nirvana of inkjet materials some think they are but in this case it can be a weird phenomenon that has to be researched better before inkjet media can be judged.

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