Dye vs Pigment ink

Started 10 months ago | Questions thread
logan ross Regular Member • Posts: 440
Re: Dye vs Pigment ink

Photospower wrote:

thanks for your input - As you own both printers and I assume you choose to use one over the other for specific reasons? would you like to elaborate as to what those reasons are. I guess it would come down to the paper typed that you intend to print on which in turn would depend on the subject matter in the photograph and colour v black and white.

Note I use both. For some papers, like Canon Luster you can use on either. Others, like gloss really are at their best only on dye. Barytas typically are better on pigment, sometimes with substantially better color and blacks when printed on pigment.

Quoting from what I have written elsewhere:

I have both the Pro 200 (dye ink) and the pro 1000 (larger version of the pigment ink pro 300). My take is that one is not better than the other. I select printer (i.e., ink type) based on the paper and the paper based on the image (smoothness/texture/warmth/weight).

For anything that is glossy, without a doubt, the pro 200 results are preferable. For example, Pictorico High Gloss White Film, which is my favorite glossy paper and is a professional paper with no rival, makes the most astonishing glossy prints with dye, but prints are dull and lifeless (with a clay-like surface) when printed with pigment. If I remember correctly, this is because the dye seeps into the paper underneath the gloss finish (thereby preserving it), and the pigment sits on top of the gloss (blocking it). I assume it is not a big deal with satin papers because it is the sheen and not the gloss that you see. Yes there is chroma optimizer on the pro 300/1000, but that applies the same type of gloss to every paper, even when they have different types of gloss. Moreover, it kills the uniqueness of the gloss of a paper like pictorico HGWF.

For mattes, I tend to use the pro 300/1000 (but have begun experimenting with the pro 200 for the deeper blacks and richer colors). I hadn’t thought about black and white. That will be interesting to test.

For barytas and other satin “in the middle” papers, it really depends on the paper. Some, like Ilford Gold Fiber Silk are designed specifically for pigment, and don’t print very well on Dye. The same for many Canson satin papers like Platine Fibre Rag which they say on their website are intended for use with pigment. Others, like those from Hahnemhule are designed to work with both dye and pigment, and my tests have shown that it simply varies by paper, and the only way to know is to test. In some cases it’s just the depth of black that is the difference.

Canon brand papers tend to work equally well on dye and pigment.

Short of selling prints where “100 years” is a necessary selling point, I no longer find the longevity issue to be a factor in selecting a pigment vs dye printer. Today’s dye printers are far better than older ones, and I have 15 year old dye prints, printed largely on Pictorico high gloss white film on really old Epson dye printer models (think Epson 1200) that are displayed without glass, and look as good as they did back then. If I need to reprint in 30 years, I will 😀. Bottom line is that depending upon your use case you have two great options in the Pro 200 and Pro 300. You just have to figure out what works for your style.”

”It is a shame that the industry is pushing pigment as the “professional” choice and dye as the “consumer” choice. I indicate above that I have been printing for 15 years. What I didn’t mention is how frustrated I had become over the last 6 or 7 years. This is because I had moved up to ‘professional’ model printers, yet I could never get prints on many papers that satisfied me the way they had in the past (I don’t always want a luster sheen or Barayta paper). It got so bad that I was ready to give up printing. Then it clicked. The issue all along was a mismatch between the papers I often use and the printer technology I had selected. In pushing people towards “professional models”, all of which are pigment, the industry left out the fact that pigment is a good match for some paper types, but not others. I feel too much weight is given to longevity, with little focus on paper type compatibility. To me, longevity doesn’t matter if the image quality has to be compromised.”

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