Ted's Inkjet Fade Test, Round 3

The fading continues... Welcome to Round 3 of Ted's inkjet image permanence testing with the Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 722c and standard inks. For this test I have 5 new papers, and 2 papers from Round 2 of the tests.

10/8/99 - The test begins

Here are the papers for this round:

Name Description
DASPPG264 Digital Art Supplies Professional Photo Gloss 264
(Inkjet Photo Sample Pack, Received 9/15/99)
264gsm, waterproof back
I've heard that this is the same paper as
Tetenal Spectra Jet 264 glossy paper
Epson Epson Photo Paper "Improved! Longer lasting print life!"
(S041141 Lot: Y9EE0Q704 Purchased 10/4/99)
GreatWhite Great White Glossy Photo Paper
(86230 Lot: 7753101 Purchased 10/4/99)
175gsm, back wouldn't take pilot fineliner ink
HP HP Premium Photo Paper
(C6039A Lot: 01078852 Purchased 10/4/99)
Very lightweight <175gsm, waterproof back
Ilford Ilford InkJet Photo Paper
(DTPGP9 CAT 192 2259, Purchased 8/99)
Kodak99 Kodak Inkjet Photo Paper
(CAT 158 5199 Item 15474
Lot: "0418 043 144 62 1420" Purchased 10/4/99)
RepeatOType Repeat-O-Type's Picture Perfect Glossy Ink Jet Paper
(Samples received 10/7/99)

The ink cartridge used is the standard 42ml black cartridge (51645A lot:?????? exp:11/2000, purchased Summer '99), and the 30ml CMY cartridge from HP (C1823D lot:TFQ1F5 exp:01/2001, purchased 9/29/1999). The CMY cartridge has a bad nozzle that causes a bit of banding, but that shouldn't affect the results. I used "HP Deluxe Photo Paper" mode for all prints.

10/11/99 - They're Dry

The prints are now hanging in the window. I didn't notice anything surprising in this round. I did take the time to study them a little more carefully and try to rank the papers on a number of characteristics.

Hanging in the Window

As for color, Great White and HP had a magenta shift to them, Great White showing the most magenta. The Epson paper had a yellow shift. The RepeatOType paper had a black shift.

DASPPG264 was the highest contrast, while Great White was the lowest.

Brightness Ranking

Rank Name Observations
#1 DASPPG264 Still the brightest.
#2 Ilford & GreatWhite
#3 Kodak99 & RepeatOType
#4 Epson & HP

I noticed that prints on DASPPG264 appear sharper and clearer than those on Ilford or RepeatOType. The difference may be related to the brightness of DASPPG264. You can still count the hairs on John's head on all papers.

Clarity/Sharpness Ranking

Rank Name Observations
#1 DASPPG264
#2 Kodak99
#3 HP
#4 Epson & GreatWhite
#5 Ilford & RepeatOType

The striking yellow color shift in Epson's paper gave me the idea to rank the warmth (yellowness) of each paper. This basically ranks the amount of yellow shift. This is the intensity of the yellow ink, not how yellow the paper is.


Rank Name Observations
#1 Epson Yellow ink really stands out.
#2 Kodak99
#3 Ilford
#4 HP
#5 DASPPG264
#6 RepeatOType
#7 GreatWhite

10/12/99 - Early Casualty

After 2 days in the window (1 day of good sunlight), Kodak99 is definitely out of the running. With performance very similar to the HP Deluxe photo paper (made by Kodak) of round 1. The fading is very obvious already as is the increasing magenta shift. It's really hard to tell what's going on this early with the rest of the papers, but it looks like Ilford and RepeatOType are holding their own slightly better than all the rest. GreatWhite and HP appear to be doing slightly worse than the rest. If I had to rank them:

Day 2 Fade Ranking

Rank Name Observations
#1 Ilford & RepeatOType
#2 DASPPG264 & Epson
#3 HP & GreatWhite
#4 Kodak99 Very obvious fading and magenta shifting already.

I also noticed today that a tree in the front yard is shadowing the test window slightly. I don't think it is dense enough, or irregular enough to really skew the results. I'll rematch the top two from this round, as usual to hopefully verify the exposure consistency.

I took a light measurement, although I don't think it's worth much. The cloud cover varies constantly around here. Using a gray card, ASA 100, Canon AE-1, 50mm FD lens, focus @ infinity, shutter 1/250, I got f/13.5. This was at 1144am (1044am EST). Local noon is at 0108pm (1208pm EST).

10/14/99 - On the fourth day...

Good clear skies the past 2 days. The balance of power has shifted a bit. GreatWhite appears to be fading more rapidly than Kodak99 and RepeatOType is giving Ilford a bit of a run for the money. Here's a quick ranking:

Day 4 Fade Ranking

Rank Name Observations
#1 Ilford Best Color Balance.
#2 RepeatOType Fading a little more, but great color balance.
#3 Epson & DASPPG264 Some magenta shift, some fading.
#4 HP Too much Magenta. Fading similar to #3.
#5 Kodak99 Lots and lots of Magenta.
#6 GreatWhite Fading away. Only a slight Magenta shift.

The tie for 3rd is really difficult for me to gauge. The Epson print is rather dark, while the DASPPG264 print is rather light. Simply comparing the faded versions makes DASPPG264 look very bad, yet when you put it in context of the original prints, the difference isn't that big. Hopefully after a couple of weeks the results will clear up this tie.

10/16/99 - Six days

One sunny day, one overcast day. The only real contenders left are Ilford, RepeatOType, and Epson. Epson is holding out over DASPPG264 only because Epson still looks pretty good, while DASPPG264 which started out pretty light is now too light. Epson's initial darkness is probably helping it. Ilford and RepeatOType are still very close, with Ilford only slightly ahead. RepeatOType's better color balance might make it more useful when color is critical.

Day 6 Fade Ranking

Rank Name Observations
#1 Ilford Least faded, but slight magenta shift.
#2 RepeatOType Slightly more faded, great color balance.
#3 Epson Magenta shift, but still pretty good.
#4 DASPPG264 Detail missing in the highlights.
#5 HP Magenta shifting and fading.
#6 Kodak99 Fading and purple (?) shift.
#7 GreatWhite Fading away with a slight Magenta shift.

10/19/99 (morning) - Eight days

One sunny day, one overcast day. Pulled down the prints this morning. The ranking from last time still holds.

10/25/99 - 15 days

Traditionally, 2 weeks has been all that's needed to determine a clear winner, and this round is no exception.

Day 15 Fade Ranking

Rank Name Observations
#1 Ilford Least faded, best color balance.
#2 RepeatOType Now a cyan shift, and lost contrast.
#3 Epson Faded to the point of matching #1 and #2.
#4 DASPPG264 Detail missing in the highlights.
#5 HP Magenta shifting and fading.
#6 Kodak99 Fading and purple (?) shift.
#7 GreatWhite Excessive fading.

You be the judge:

Paper 0 days 2 days 4 days 6 days 8 days 15 days 52 days Paper
Ilford Ilford
RepeatOType RepeatOType
Epson Epson
Kodak99 Kodak99
GreatWhite GreatWhite


My main concern with the results is the difficulty in judging how well Epson and DASPPG264 really did in this test. A more fair test would target the prints to match in density, at least, to the Ilford standard test print. Then the fading results will be more realistic and easier to understand. As it is, readers are understandably confused that Epson, which looks quite good in the last scan, has not won the first place ranking.

I'm getting a little tired of doing this, and I'd like to concentrate on Photography for a while, not testing. So, for the next test I am hoping to try something a little more ambitious and possibly much more interesting. I want to test various inks from various printers, but I will need a good number of volunteers to pull it off successfully. I already have a few volunteers, and hopefully more will join in the coming month as I prepare for the next test. Please click on the volunteer link below if you are interested in helping me determine who has the best ink, and therefore who should get the most sales to people who care about the longevity of their prints. Hopefully this will drive all the Inkjet printer manufacturers to achieve longer print life with their inks and papers.

Volunteer if you have the time and a printer that I don't have...
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Disclaimers: I did this to determine which paper I wanted to use for my photographic prints. I am not affiliated with any of the above companies. All trademarks are owned by their respective owners. There are no ads on this page, and there never will be. Use this information at your own risk. Perform your own experiments before committing to a paper for any purpose. I won't be held responsible for anything that happens to you as a result of reading this. Shake well before serving. The contents of this page are Copyright 1999, with all rights reserved by me, Ted Felix.

Copyright ©1999, Ted Felix