How long inkjet-printed photos last depends on who you ask

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Senior Member
Jan 20, 2002
PC World article

Let me just state for the record that I have always found computer magazine articles to be generally laughable at the very best, and utterly fraudulent at their worse, but this one seems to be alright (they are just reporting rather than conducting their own usually imbecilic tests).

FWIW, Wilhelm Imaging Research is as good as they come for an independent test lab. Whilst they are fallible (remember the sad case of the Epson fade test years back), they've basically dared to tell it as it is even to behemoths like Kodak in the pre-digital inkjet print age.

"However, some third-party photo paper vendors aren't buying into WIR's testing as a de facto standard. Critics say WIR testing is not only time-consuming but costly: Companies that wish to participate in the WIR seal of longevity program must ante up $15,000 for testing one type of paper with one specific printer and ink. Vendors also contend that WIR tests don't reflect how prints will fare in a real-world display environment. "

I say that these third party paper vendors are spouting rubbish. $15k for a paper and ink combo test is cheap, given the time and resources involved in monitoring these tests, and cheap too relative to how much dough the manufacturers are raking in. If third party paper and ink manufacturers are serious, just pay for three sets of ink-paper combos, combining the most popular inks and their most popular papers.

No tests will *ever* truly reflect the "real world display environment" because real-world environments vary, but isn't this better than nothing? The question to ask is: Are the Wilhelm tests of value even if that's the case?

I'd say, categorically, yes.

Kodak and other companies that claim 100+ years archival longevity for their papers should reveal the methodology of their internal tests that lead to such claims.............

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