Interview with Henry Wilhelm in Melbourne, 4 May 2007

Wayne met up with Henry Wilhelm at the Photo Marketing Association trade show in Melbourne, Australia and talked about various, interesting topics.
Henry Wilhelm, photo by Wayne J. Cosshall

The last time I saw Henry was in June last year in Barcelona. This time he was visiting Australia for our local PMA show. Henry was in Australia, trip paid for by Epson and giving talks on the tests WIR (Wilhelm Imaging Research) had been doing comparing Epson ink and media with non-genuine (or compatible) third-party inks and paper.

WIR has been testing a range of third-party inks and papers that are commonly available in various countries and one available in Australia. The Australian one, Calidad, Henry was particularly interested because unlike all the others, this one made the claim of being fadeproof on its packaging. Henry has kindly given me permission to reproduce some of his images and a table of test results here, and they are most interesting.

WIR Display Permanence Ratings for Genuine Epson DURABrite Ultra Inks and Genuine Epson Photo Papers Compared with WIR Ratings for “Non-Genuine” Store-Brand and Other Third-Party Photo Inks and Papers
 
Displayed Prints Framed Under Glass (450 lux/12 hrs per day)
 
Genuine Epson DURABrite Ultra Ink Cartridges printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper 40 years
 
Office Depot Store-Brand Ink Cartridges (USA) printed on Office Depot Professional Photo Paper  0.8 years
Office Depot Store-Brand Ink Cartridges (USA) printed on Epson DURABrite Ink Glossy Photo Paper 0.9 years
 
OfficeMax Store-Brand Ink Cartridges (USA) printed on OfficeMax Professional Photo Paper, Glossy 1.5 years
OfficeMax Store-Brand Ink Cartridges (USA) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper  2.6 years
 
Guang Zhou Yuan se Ink (China) printed on Yang fan nai li Ink Jet Color Paper    0.2 years
Guang Zhou Yuan se Ink (China) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper    1.6 years
 
Sui-e+ Ink (China) printed on Yang fan nai li Ink Jet Color Paper      0.4 years
Sui-e+ Ink (China) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper     5.5 years
 
Calidad “Pigment” Ink Cartridges (Australia) printed on Calidad Inkjet Glossy Photo Paper   0.6 years
Calidad “Pigment” Ink Cartridges (Australia) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper  2.9 years
 
Inkrite Ink Cartridges (Europe) printed on Inkrite Glossy Photo Paper     1.9 years
Inkrite Ink Cartridges (Europe) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper    7.2 years
 
Certtone Ink Cartridges (Europe) printed on Certtone Papier Photographique    2.1 years
Certtone Ink Cartridges (Europe) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper              11.6 years
 
Comax Ink Cartridges (Thailand) printed on IJ Photolike Photo Glossy Impression Paper   3.9 years
Comax Ink Cartridges (Thailand) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper    8.1 years
 
ESYINK Ink Cartridges (Malaysia) printed on GOGI Glossy Photo Paper     0.4 years
ESYINK Ink Cartridges (Malaysia) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper   3.1 years
 
Sepoms Ink (Singapore/Taiwan) printed on Sepoms Super Glossy Photo Paper    0.8 years
Sepoms Ink (Singapore/Taiwan) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper    4.9 years
 
InkStation Ink Cartridges (Singapore) printed on Ink Station Paper     1.1 years
InkStation Ink Cartridges (Singapore) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper   6.2 years
 
G&G Ink Cartridges (Latin America) printed on Avery Zweckform Premium Glossy inkjet   3.1 years
G&G Ink Cartridges (Latin America) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper   8.1 years
 
New Jet Ink Cartridges (Latin America) printed on Husares Papel Fotografico Calidad Premium  1.5 years
New Jet Ink Cartridges (Latin America) printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper   5.2 years
 
 
PMA Australia 2007 Imaging Technology Expo
Melbourne, Australia
Data from Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc.
Henry Wilhelm, President
May 3, 2007

As you can see, in the WIR tests whereas the Epson ink and media gives a 40-year life, the Calidad ink and paper only makes it for 0.6 of a year.

Now for some images:

WIR Display Permanence Tests with Epson DURABrite Inks and Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper Compared With Non-Genuine Calidad Inks And Calidad Inkjet Glossy Photo Paper Printed with an Epson C87 Printer
WRI permanence tests

Top row: Equivalent years of exposure to light in home display at 450 lux for 12 hours per day in an accelerated light stability test (print framed under glass, 24°C and 60% RH) with Epson DURABrite Ultra pigment inks and Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper printed with an Epson Stylus C87/ C88 inkjet printer.  The Epson inks and paper have a WIR Display Permanence Rating of 40 years.

Bottom row: Equivalent years of exposure to light in home display at 450 lux for 12 hours per day in an accelerated light stability test (print framed under glass, 24°C and 60% RH) with third-party Calidad brand “pigment” inks and Calidad Inkjet Glossy Photo Paper printed with an Epson Stylus C87/ C88 inkjet printer.  The Calidad inks have extremely poor light stability, with a WIR Display Permanence Rating of less than 1 year.

WIR Unprotected Ozone Resistance Tests with Epson DURABrite Inks and Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper Compared With Non-Genuine Calidad Inks and Calidad Inkjet Glossy Photo Paper Printed with an Epson C87 Printer

WRI permanence tests

Top row: Equivalent years of ambient ozone exposure in an accelerated unprotected ozone resistance test (5 ppm ozone, 23°C and 50% RH) with Epson DURABrite Ultra pigment inks and Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper printed with an Epson Stylus
C87/C88 inkjet printer.

Bottom row: Equivalent years of ambient ozone exposure in an accelerated unprotected ozone resistance test with third-party Calidad brand “pigment” inks and Calidad Inkjet Glossy Photo Paper printed with an Epson Stylus C87/C88 inkjet printer.  The Calidad inks and paper were purchased in Australia in February 2007.

In the discussion that followed I made the point that, it seemed to me that many people consider the printer, ink and paper as separate decisions, whereas they actually form an integrated system. Henry agreed and went on to stress that ink and media development is complex and that none of the cheaper third-party suppliers seem able to do the research necessary. Please note this part of our discussion was purely about these low-end inks and media and did not cover the high-end fine art and serious photography inks and papers.

I raised with Henry that the perception of extremely high ink costs is what drives the use of third-party media. Henry’s response was that people should compare the costs with the old costs of traditional photographic papers and chemicals, particularly color. Certain
ly when I look back at the costs involved (including wastage) in the Cibachrome printing I did in my own darkroom, I can’t really argue with Henry’s point.

We then went on to discuss developments he is working on in his test me
thods, including extensive work WIR has been doing for the last five years on using skin tone in their tests. The rationale is that people are very sensitive to color shifts in skin tones, which makes a lot of sense. We then went on to discuss the various efforts to create a standard longevity test being worked on by other groups. Perhaps naturally, Henry does not believe any of these is on the right track.

I then asked Henry about inkjet prints on lightboxes. Firstly I wanted to know if the fading behavior of a print on transparent or translucent material was the same as for prints on paper. I thought they would be but wanted this confirmed. Henry confirmed this but then went on to talk about the difference in light levels. Henry’s tests are at 450lux for 12 hours a day. Lightboxes are usually brighter than this, often much brighter. Henry is of the view that, at least for the range we are considering, permanence should decrease linearly as the brightness is raised. So an ink/media combination that is rated at 200 years by WIR might only have a rating of 10 years if the lightbox is 4500 lux rather than 450, and it is on for 24 hours a day rather than the standard 12. It is because of this that Henry believes there is still more work to do on print permanence, even though many of the ratings on paper from all the major manufacturers appear to be more than good enough.

The last topic we discussed (to do with permanence) was whether he had been doing any work with paints, such as acrylics, painted over digital prints. He has not been because of the almost infinite number of choices. Even so, I encouraged him to do at least some testing in this area, as many digital artists were doing this already. He indicated that his main concerns, if your stick to paints with good lightfastness ratings and from good manufacturers, lay with whether the paint carrier could cause paper yellowing and whether there could be any effect on the inkjet inks or delamination of the print with reactions with the paper layers. He said he certainly felt that prints should be overcoated first before applying paint to minimize any possible effects.  WIR has been doing a lot of work looking at these coatings and he noted that anyone using them needed to take suitable precautions to protect their health.

I then decided to grab some shots of Henry, these being the first Lensbaby photos of Henry that have been taken ☺. Naturally Henry was keen to receive a set, which he now has. We both left wondering where Henry and I would next have an opportunity to talk.

An earlier interview with Henry can be read here.

Henry Wilhelm, photo by Wayne J. Cosshall

Henry Wilhelm, photo by Wayne J. Cosshall
 
All WRI images and data were supplied courtesy of Henry Wilhelm and use here is with his permission.

www.wilhelm-research.com

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