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Fade Resistance Tests with Red River Paper & Epson UltraChrome K3™

Paper Estimated Print life
(no glass protection)
UltraPro Satin 2.0 47 years
UltraPro Gloss 2.0 47 years
Polar Matte Papers Exceeds 51 years*
Aurora Art Papers Exceeds 51 years*
Premium Matte Papers 49 years
River Linen 49 years

* This round of tests simulated exposure for 51 years. A result of over 51 years means that at the time the test was terminated, no appreciable fade was recorded.

Summary and Thoughts

The K3 inks are better than the earlier Epson pigment inks in a number of respects. We like the smoother look on resin coated glossy and satin in particular. More natural color as well as true neutral black & white capability make UltraChome K3 a wonderful tool for the digital photographer/printmaker.

Our tests show UltraChome K3 suffered a minor decline in print life as compared to the UltraChrome HiGloss system in the R800. For example, Red River UltraPro Satin reached its first endpoint at 47 years on the R2400 as compared to 50+ years on the R800.

A print life of 47 years unprotected is acceptable to most users and can be improved significantly with display under glass, in photo sleeves, or in a book. This point is amplified when you consider many lab and dye sublimation prints are assumed to fade before the 50 year mark.

All of our tests were performed without the benefit of glass protection or spray coatings. We do this to simulate a "worse case" senario and to present a more honest picture of how an everyday inkjet print might be expected to last. Obviously, images can be exposed to numerous elements such as humidity, and atmospheric contaminents that will affect print life. While humidity and temperature are controlled in our tests, gasses like ozone or cigarette smoke are not factored into the print life estimates. For best results, always try and keep your prints in climate controlled, clean environments.

As always, Red River Paper does not guarantee these print life estimates because they are simply scientific estimates. Many variables like sun exposure, humidity, pollution, and the like will be at play differently in each users home, work, or gallery. We cannot take them all into account and still offer these print life tests.

*All tests conducted at the Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology



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