Macworld Forums

Macworld Forums: Creative Notes Weblog: Pigment vs. dye inks - Which is best? - Macworld Forums

Jump to content

  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Creative Notes Weblog: Pigment vs. dye inks - Which is best?

#1 User is offline   Macworld.com 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,900
  • Joined: 06-February 04

Posted 05 December 2006 - 11:00 AM

Rick LePage has been testing a bunch of new printers with pigment-based inks and gets the question: Why should anyone care about the type of ink in a printer? [more]
0

#2 User is offline   deemery 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 504
  • Joined: 22-January 05

Posted 05 December 2006 - 02:23 PM

For many applications (e.g. making decals or printing on colored paper), it's really important to be able to -print white-. The old Alps Dye-Sub printers were able to do this at a reasonable cost. I don't understand why no one has come up with a "modern" printer that has the ability to actually print 'white'. I understand that it's hard to come up with a white ink with good coverage, but I sure think there's a market there if someone can produce it. dave
0

#3 User is offline   Rick LePage 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: Macworld Editorial
  • Posts: 139
  • Joined: 29-August 01

Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:16 PM

I remember those old ALPS printers - they certainly had their time in the sun, although I think ALPS was a bit too small to try to get it wider distribution.

I brought up the issue of white ink with Epson a long time ago, and I don't remember the exact response, but it was something along the lines of 'too few advantages, too many disadvantages.' I don't think any of the third-party quadtone ink vendors are using white inks.

#4 User is offline   Philbert 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 2,471
  • Joined: 11-June 01

Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:17 PM

I would think if there was a market, someone would be producing one. These are photographic printers - "white" has never been necessary in traditional printing or even in transparency film. You're talking about a specialty printer - I'm sure the market would be quite small.

Great article, Rick. Willhelm, Cone, MIS ... you've done your homework. Definitely not your typical "what's new in inkjet printers", piece.

0

#5 User is offline   Rick LePage 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: Macworld Editorial
  • Posts: 139
  • Joined: 29-August 01

Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:36 PM

Thanks, Phil.

Implicit in Epson's reply oh so long ago was that they didn't think there was a market for 'white' ink. It's my understanding that it took Epson's US group quite a while to convince Japan that there was a market for 'fine-art' printing, especially with respect to black-and-white printing. Times have obviously changed.

Rick

#6 User is offline   leicaman 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 2,983
  • Joined: 04-December 03

Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:34 PM

As an old darkroom hand and fan of Ansel Adam's Zone System, and all the principles thereof, I have to point out a major error in your last paragraph. Resin-coated papers were never archival. Period. Although Ilford and others were making some pretty outstanding stuff that would last much longer than 100 years in the waning years of popular printing.
Paul Strand never printed on RC paper (note his photo referred to is a platinum print - fiber paper with the emulsion painted on it by hand). It made me laugh contemplating such an anachronism. He used fiber-based paper because that's all there was. (My favorite of all time was Ilford's Gallerie.) Those papers were rated to be good for well over 300-500 years when properly processed and stored.
In color printing there was Ilford's Cibachrome. Later known as Ilfochrome, it was so toxic pregnant women were warned not to even be in the same room with its chemistry. Its non-RC Glossy version was archival and would last hundreds of years. With the right printer, you could get incredible quality and beautiful tonality. Portland Photographics in Maine were about the best of any lab out there using Cibas. Many National Geographic photographers had their exhibit prints made there. An 8x10 cost well over $100.00 to do if were were masks made.
There never was an archival paper for color negative other than a few exotic processes such as the dye-sublimation system Kodak created early on. An incredibly beautiful (expensive and difficult) process that gave precise control of every tone and color. Kodak killed it off years ago. Dye subs will last for centuries.
Anyway, just thought I'd point out that RC paper except for some of the very last ones were never even close to archival. And even then could never compete with glossy Cibacrhomes or fiber-based papers.
0

#7 User is offline   Rick LePage 

  • Advanced Member
  • Group: Macworld Editorial
  • Posts: 139
  • Joined: 29-August 01

Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:54 PM

Whoops! And I know that it's a fiber-based print...

I appreciate the flag. I'll at least change that point about the paper type.

Thanks, Leicaman!

#8 User is online   KevNJ 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: 05-June 05

Posted 05 December 2006 - 05:49 PM

Hi,
I think the process that Leicaman is referring to is dye transfer not dye sublimation. It was an incredibly involved process that involved making color separations from the original camera film(slide or negative).

It was an intensive use of very high skilled labor. The prints were phenomenal but the greatest level of archival quality came from the fact that the separated monochrome negatives were very stable and allowed the image to be reconstituted down the road when the print might have faded. They used very stable aniline dyes. Cibachromes, later IlfoChromes used an even more stable class of dyes called azo.

There were "matrix printers" made to size for each subtractive primary color. CMY. These were soaked in the dyes and then overlaid on the substrate until the dye had transferred.
It was very close to the way 3 strip Technicolor movies were printed but 3 strip made the separations in the camera not in the darkroom.
Some early tabloid newspapers such as the NY Daily News used special "ONE-SHOT" cameras to run color photos in the Sunday papers in the late '20's before "color film" was available. Like 3 strip Technicolor, the separations were done with filters and prisms in the camera.
Other advantage of these prints were matching trade colors exactly and the fact that they were great for retouching which used to be an extremely rarefied skill when it was done with an actual (usually)Paasche airbrush.
See http://en.wikipedia....Technicolor#TheTechnicolorCorporationinthemodernera.
We've got it good now.
HTH,
Kevin Technicolor
0

#9 User is offline   flybynight 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,347
  • Joined: 21-July 06

Posted 05 December 2006 - 06:45 PM

It just boggles the mind to think of what you used to need to do that we can do with a few clicks in Photoshop (or Aperture) today. I don't think I would have had the patience for it.
0

#10 User is offline   Makintoshu 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 19
  • Joined: 07-August 05

Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:32 PM

I appreciate this article and the fact that print makers are thinking about the longevity of the prints from their printers. I also agree that we have it pretty good now that we can let the computer do the work that, not so many years ago, it took so much labor to do. The process then was so prone to human error. Think about this: if you made a simple mistake during the involved process of making dye sep prints (i.e. which corner that you hung either the separation negs or matrixes from when drying either of them) you wouldn't achieve proper registration in the resultant print. However, if everything was done correctly, the prints were beautiful and lasted almost forever. I remember my photo teacher showing me dye sep prints that he made in the 1940s that looked great.
How do these companies determine what is "archival" and how do they test these things? I know the old standards that were used for this. Who is doing the testing and how do they do it? Not that anything that I would shoot would be so valuable as to make it into a museum but things like family photos will always be valuable to future generations.
0

#11 User is offline   uchuugaka 

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 534
  • Joined: 12-April 05

Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:48 PM

The test it with various samples under set conditions. Remove samples from a control group at set periods, test for color shift, chemical breakdown, etc... It's not impossible or all that difficult, just expensive and time consuming.Art conservators and researchers have been doing this work for decades. It's the same work done with paints and other substrates like linens.It's ironic that the article only briefly mentions papers from Japan. Some of the finest printing papers can be had here in Japan, but they're insanely hard to find, because some unbelievably low quality paper is sold as the cheap standard grade here as well. So thin and low quality, that in North America it would never be used for any kind of printing! But Epson is from Japan. Epson is the technology leader in most printing (not offset) and here in Japan their presence is huge. But as a company they often get very very set in their ways and think they know what's best for everyone. But they do really care about making the best prints, which they do.The article does not mention Dye-Sublimation printers, also 1st developed by Epson and used for archival-quality printing. Has this been replaced by pigment-based printers? or is it the same wolf in a different sheep's coat?
0

#12 User is offline   moose_n_squirrel 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 3,187
  • Joined: 16-September 04

Posted 05 December 2006 - 08:13 PM

Quote

How do these companies determine what is "archival" and how do they test these things? I know the old standards that were used for this. Who is doing the testing and how do they do it? Not that anything that I would shoot would be so valuable as to make it into a museum but things like family photos will always be valuable to future generations.

Some of the questions asked here are answered in the Wilhelm Research site link in the article. Their test results are documented in detail. If you read the "FREE: Permanence and Care Book" PDF book on that site you'll find he has the advantage of having worked on longevity issues since long before digital existed.
0

#13 User is offline   Mark_Stracke 

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 05-December 06

Posted 05 December 2006 - 08:41 PM

Regarding the Strand print; until sometime around the First World War a photographer could buy platinum printing paper that was pre-coated. The metal was used in the war effort and so became rationed and unavailable for uses in photography during the war. F.H. Evans, who printed on machine coated platinum paper, gave up photography it is said when the paper was no longer available. Most other photographers moved on to silver paper when platinum and palladium papers became unavailable. So while it is possible that Strand was printing on paper that he had coated himself I think it is more likely that he was working with commercially available materials at the time that Wall Street was first produced.
0

#14 User is offline   leicaman 

  • Veteran
  • PipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 2,983
  • Joined: 04-December 03

Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:32 AM

Quote

Hi,
I think the process that Leicaman is referring to is dye transfer not dye sublimation. It was an incredibly involved process that involved making color separations from the original camera film(slide or negative)

Doh! You are quite right!
I'm gettin' old. Brain fart... :p
0

Share this topic:


  • (2 Pages)
  • +
  • 1
  • 2
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

2 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users