Inkjet vs chemical prints

Started 2 months ago | Discussions
Alexey Contributing Member • Posts: 890
Inkjet vs chemical prints

Do traditional chemically-produced prints have any advantage over prints made with a modern ye printer on high-end art paper?  When would you prefer one type of print over another?

santamonica812 Contributing Member • Posts: 927
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

What is a ye printer?

(Was that a typo?  Or is "ye" something new that's developed since I last bought, or shopped for, a printer???)

pluton Veteran Member • Posts: 3,268
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

B&W or color?

-- hide signature --

-KB-

Donald B
Donald B Forum Pro • Posts: 13,299
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints
1

heres my take, i sell around 1000 portraits a year and have always got them professionally printed. 4 months ago i bought a canon pro 10s printer. picked up some ilford gallery smooth pearl the other day and just printed an identical image ,the image i printed was a very hard print to print but the pro10s just knocked the socks off the pro lab print. the reds and skin tones are vibrant and the black costume detail is first class. so this year i will be printing my own prints, and i can print them for the same price as the lab. i have had a print in the car in direct sunlight for 4 months now using epson paper and the print is as good as the day it was printed. the life of the canon pigments should last 100 years.

Don

-- hide signature --

Olympus EM5mk2 ,EM1mk2
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/9412035244
past toys. k100d, k10d,k7,fz5,fz150,500uz,canon G9, Olympus xz1 em5mk1

OP Alexey Contributing Member • Posts: 890
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

“Ye”, actually stands for dye, where the first letter faded way too fast :).  I understand that modern pigment inks last forever and have that advantage over traditional prints.  However, my understanding is that modern dye inks (like cli-42s with 40 megalux longevity on luster paper) are more iine with traditional chemistry prints.  So, I wanted to compare apples to apples on lingevity, while comparing other advantages and disadvantages of each.

NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,349
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

Do traditional chemically-produced prints have any advantage over prints made with a modern ye printer on high-end art paper? When would you prefer one type of print over another?

In many but not all cases, chemically-produced prints--often called 'wet prints' and today made with the RA-4 process for color or traditional materials for B&W--are more water-resistant than inkjet prints. In some cases wet prints may be more abrasion-resistant. On the whole but dependent on many variables, wet prints are cheaper to produce.

For inkjet prints, I think you have to differentiate among OEM photo pigments inks (Epson UltraChrome, Canon Lucia, and the new HP inks for the Z9+), OEM photo dye inks (Canon ChromaLife 100+ and Epson Claria HD), and all other inks. IMOPO, the 'all other inks' category is not suitable for serious photo printing, with very rare exceptions.

I like to print at home with my photo inkjet because it gives me more control, more options, better quality, and immediate results. Generally, photo inkjets offer far more paper / surface options. Generally, photo inkjets are practical for home use, but wet printing is not--other than B&W wet prints made from film negatives. Generally, photo pigment inkjet prints last far better than wet photo color prints, and photo dye inkjet prints last about as well or better, but that depends a lot on what papers the various prints are made on. The limiting factor on B&W wet prints appears to be mostly the degree of OBAs in the paper.

 NAwlins Contrarian's gear list:NAwlins Contrarian's gear list
Nikon Coolpix S30 Canon PowerShot S110 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD +5 more
mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,231
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints
1

Inkjet prints have more and better color, more dynamic range, better resolution and sharpness and don't look near as muddy as a RA-4 print. Most labs still use the RA-4 process because it's both cheaper and faster.

For B&W though it can be completely different if you're talking about actual single grade (as opposed to multigrade) paper. An excellent B&W printer can still produce results that are better than an inkjet print, though with a B&W ink set inkjet prints can come really close.

pixelgenius
pixelgenius Senior Member • Posts: 2,537
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

Alexey wrote:

Do traditional chemically-produced prints have any advantage over prints made with a modern ye printer on high-end art paper? When would you prefer one type of print over another?

See this series of threads, but start here:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62920047

santamonica812 Contributing Member • Posts: 927
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

Alexey wrote:

“Ye”, actually stands for dye, where the first letter faded way too fast :).

LOL.  Thanks...I would not have guessed that. 

farmersteve
farmersteve Contributing Member • Posts: 657
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints
1

If you are just talking about having them printed for you by a lab, for color inkjet wins by a landslide in longevity and color range. You also have a much wider range of papers to choose from in the ink jet world. For lab black and white the edge goes to wet prints but it's really close. Longevity is slightly better or the same as pigment inkjet prints. The range of papers is far larger for inkjet.

I have an enlarger at home and occasionally make BW prints. It's amazing how fast you can crank out the prints compared to inkjet printers at home. Plus, it's far cheaper. If you add up a decent film camera + enlarger + developing equipment (all used of course) you are into BW printing for much less money than digital. Wet Color printing at home is very cumbersome and most people leave it to professionals.

So, if you want to do it at home, BW has a edge in cost and ease. Prints can be very good or better than inkjet. I wouldn't even tempt doing wet color at home. Inkjet color prints blow away wet color.

-- hide signature --

Film is making a comeback!

 farmersteve's gear list:farmersteve's gear list
Sony a6000 Epson Stylus Photo R2880 Canon Pixma Pro-10 Canon Pixma Pro-100 +2 more
NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,349
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints
1

If you are just talking about having them printed for you by a lab, for color inkjet wins by a landslide in longevity and color range. You also have a much wider range of papers to choose from in the ink jet world.

We really need to differentiate typical lab inkjet prints versus high-end lab inkjet prints. The large majority of typical commercial lab inkjet prints, often called 'dry lab' prints, use dye inks similar to home photo printer dye inks, and papers similar to both home inkjet glossy and luster, and typical wet-lab (RA-4 process) color papers. I have seen no evidence that they offer substantial advantages over wet-lab / RA-4 process color prints.

The prints that can have substantial advantages in longevity and color range are pigment-ink inkjet prints on high-end 'art' papers. But then they tend to cost a lot more. And to get the color range, you probably have to use and upload them in a color space wider than sRGB.

For lab black and white the edge goes to wet prints but it's really close. Longevity is slightly better or the same as pigment inkjet prints. The range of papers is far larger for inkjet.

I was disappointed but not shocked to read the recent posts from Mark McCormick of Aardenburg about optical brightening agents in black and white papers for wet processing (e.g., https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62951050 and https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62955048). The takeaway appears to me to be that for prints on display, OBA yellowing in current and recent-decades B&W wet papers makes them on the whole less archival than pigment inkjet prints on OBA-free papers.

 NAwlins Contrarian's gear list:NAwlins Contrarian's gear list
Nikon Coolpix S30 Canon PowerShot S110 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD +5 more
mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,231
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

NAwlins Contrarian wrote:

If you are just talking about having them printed for you by a lab, for color inkjet wins by a landslide in longevity and color range. You also have a much wider range of papers to choose from in the ink jet world.

We really need to differentiate typical lab inkjet prints versus high-end lab inkjet prints. The large majority of typical commercial lab inkjet prints, often called 'dry lab' prints, use dye inks similar to home photo printer dye inks, and papers similar to both home inkjet glossy and luster, and typical wet-lab (RA-4 process) color papers. I have seen no evidence that they offer substantial advantages over wet-lab / RA-4 process color prints.

The prints that can have substantial advantages in longevity and color range are pigment-ink inkjet prints on high-end 'art' papers. But then they tend to cost a lot more. And to get the color range, you probably have to use and upload them in a color space wider than sRGB.

My local Costco uses a Epson 7880 and OEM inks and prints on Fuji luster paper with excellent quality, and only charges $9 for a 20x30.

For lab black and white the edge goes to wet prints but it's really close. Longevity is slightly better or the same as pigment inkjet prints. The range of papers is far larger for inkjet.

I was disappointed but not shocked to read the recent posts from Mark McCormick of Aardenburg about optical brightening agents in black and white papers for wet processing (e.g., https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62951050 and https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62955048). The takeaway appears to me to be that for prints on display, OBA yellowing in current and recent-decades B&W wet papers makes them on the whole less archival than pigment inkjet prints on OBA-free papers.

NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,349
Costco is a semi-exception.

We really need to differentiate typical lab inkjet prints versus high-end lab inkjet prints. The large majority of typical commercial lab inkjet prints, often called 'dry lab' prints, use dye inks similar to home photo printer dye inks, and papers similar to both home inkjet glossy and luster, and typical wet-lab (RA-4 process) color papers. I have seen no evidence that they offer substantial advantages over wet-lab / RA-4 process color prints.

The prints that can have substantial advantages in longevity and color range are pigment-ink inkjet prints on high-end 'art' papers. But then they tend to cost a lot more. And to get the color range, you probably have to use and upload them in a color space wider than sRGB.

My local Costco uses a Epson 7880 and OEM inks and prints on Fuji luster paper with excellent quality, and only charges $9 for a 20x30.

Costco is an exception, with some important limitations:

* The high-quality prints are only for large sizes, IIRC 16x20 inches and larger. Typically those sizes are printed on an Epson 7880 or 7890. But every Costco of which I'm aware uses a regular minilab for prints up to at least 8x10 or so. (Can't recall which printer is used for 11x14.) Some Costcos use wet (RA-4) minilabs for the smaller prints, some use inkjet (dye ink) minilabs. My local Costco had a Fuji DL650, which is a dye-ink inkjet that prints either 720x720 dpi or 1440x1440 dpi, presumably for 360 ppi, with six colors of ink (https://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/photofinishing/digital_lab_solutions/frontier_DL650/index.html#specifications). IMOPO this machine's print quality is less than that of the little Epson R280 I have at home, and noticeably less than the Canon Pro-100 we have at work. On the other hand, at least you could get and use ICC profiles specific to the printer.

* Fewer and fewer local Costco have in-store photo labs. Mine used to offer Epson 7890 prints, and the Fuji DL650 prints. But that ended about two years ago. It appears that fewer and fewer Costcos have in-store photo printing.

If your local Costco still has a photo lab, at least for larger prints, it's a great option.

 NAwlins Contrarian's gear list:NAwlins Contrarian's gear list
Nikon Coolpix S30 Canon PowerShot S110 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD +5 more
mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,231
Re: Costco is a semi-exception.

NAwlins Contrarian wrote:

We really need to differentiate typical lab inkjet prints versus high-end lab inkjet prints. The large majority of typical commercial lab inkjet prints, often called 'dry lab' prints, use dye inks similar to home photo printer dye inks, and papers similar to both home inkjet glossy and luster, and typical wet-lab (RA-4 process) color papers. I have seen no evidence that they offer substantial advantages over wet-lab / RA-4 process color prints.

The prints that can have substantial advantages in longevity and color range are pigment-ink inkjet prints on high-end 'art' papers. But then they tend to cost a lot more. And to get the color range, you probably have to use and upload them in a color space wider than sRGB.

My local Costco uses a Epson 7880 and OEM inks and prints on Fuji luster paper with excellent quality, and only charges $9 for a 20x30.

Costco is an exception, with some important limitations:

* The high-quality prints are only for large sizes, IIRC 16x20 inches and larger. Typically those sizes are printed on an Epson 7880 or 7890. But every Costco of which I'm aware uses a regular minilab for prints up to at least 8x10 or so. (Can't recall which printer is used for 11x14.) Some Costcos use wet (RA-4) minilabs for the smaller prints, some use inkjet (dye ink) minilabs. My local Costco had a Fuji DL650, which is a dye-ink inkjet that prints either 720x720 dpi or 1440x1440 dpi, presumably for 360 ppi, with six colors of ink (https://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/photofinishing/digital_lab_solutions/frontier_DL650/index.html#specifications). IMOPO this machine's print quality is less than that of the little Epson R280 I have at home, and noticeably less than the Canon Pro-100 we have at work. On the other hand, at least you could get and use ICC profiles specific to the printer.

* Fewer and fewer local Costco have in-store photo labs. Mine used to offer Epson 7890 prints, and the Fuji DL650 prints. But that ended about two years ago. It appears that fewer and fewer Costcos have in-store photo printing.

If your local Costco still has a photo lab, at least for larger prints, it's a great option.

I don't think there's any place that offers high quality inkjet paints for smaller print sizes. For that you have to print it yourself.

Aaron Chan Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

Color (RA4) - YES, inkjet makes better print than RA4 color silver paper. I have been providing inkjet prints for reowned artist around the world 10 years ago. I used to make color darkroom prints but after all these years, I don't see the point of doing color darkroom prints.

B&W - No! I can make very good B&W prints with both color inks or piezography K7 / Pizography pro ink. But a hand print B&W always catches my eyes. So does inkjet B&W prints no good? No! But if you do ( or your clients) prefer the look of traditional B&W, just go with traditional process. If you want silver, why don't you just use silver.

I personally print all of my images on inkjet now since I don't really like to get my hands print anymore.

Just want to give you a bit of my background. I'm a partner from Harris Photo based in Shanghai. We make color inkjet prints, Piezography K7 / Pro monochrome inkjet prints, traditional B&W prints, Cyanotype and Platinum/Palladium prints.

aaron

farmersteve
farmersteve Contributing Member • Posts: 657
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

Just a little inside information. Someone I know works at Costco Corporate HQ and they are yanking the plug on all the in house printing just like everyone else.

-- hide signature --

Film is making a comeback!

 farmersteve's gear list:farmersteve's gear list
Sony a6000 Epson Stylus Photo R2880 Canon Pixma Pro-10 Canon Pixma Pro-100 +2 more
mike earussi Veteran Member • Posts: 8,231
Re: Inkjet vs chemical prints

farmersteve wrote:

Just a little inside information. Someone I know works at Costco Corporate HQ and they are yanking the plug on all the in house printing just like everyone else.

Too bad, it's a very nice service for beginning photographers wanting to print large for a cheap price.

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads