Creative Notes Weblog: Pigment vs. dye inks - Which is best?
Posted 05 December 2006 - 02:23 PM
Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:16 PM
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.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:17 PM
Great article, Rick. Willhelm, Cone, MIS ... you've done your homework. Definitely not your typical "what's new in inkjet printers", piece.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:36 PM
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.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:34 PM
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.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 05:49 PM
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.
We've got it good now.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:32 PM
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.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:48 PM
Posted 05 December 2006 - 08:13 PM
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.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 08:41 PM
Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:32 AM
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