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Author Topic: Thank you for publishing this  (Read 6756 times)
Mark D Segal
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« on: March 29, 2007, 07:13:24 PM »
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I would simply like to thank John Hollenberg and Michael Reichmann very much for today's article on John's experience with the IPF5000, also reflecting that of a large number of other users. It will be an excellent resource for those contemplating a printer purchase. I don't own this printer - I have an Epson 4800, and I was looking to replace it with a printer of equivalent quality that allows media switching without wasting much ink switching between Matte Black and Photo Black. When the Canon IPF5000 appeared, I placed an order for it. As soon as I heard about the initial issues with documentation and communication between the computer and the printer, paper handling, etc. I cancelled the order and I am still using my 4800. I've owned an Epson 2000P, Epson 4000 and Epson 4800 since year 2000. Of course there have been issues with these machines, but Epson's support has been excellent.

I recently bought a copy of "Nash Editions: Photography and the Art of Digital Printing". When you read the history of Nash Editions, as told by Graham Nash and R. Mac Holbert, you realize how young this whole industry is, and what incredible strides it has made only within the past two decades vastly improving quality and productivity while reducing equipment costs exponentially downward. When you think that an Iris 3047 costing USD 126,000 in 1989 has been thoroughly overtaken in every conceivable way by an Epson 9800 costing several thousand dollars, it is not hard to understand the breath-taking magnetude of the change and the enormous democratization of digital printing that have transpired in about 15 years. Along with that democratization, a large community of users have become very sophisticated digital image makers, demanding of quality and performance.

It is against this background that one has difficulty understanding why the industry is failing the very expectations it has created - the worst offender of the lot by far being Canon; but one must remark, based on reading all the material in these Forums, it would appear that Epson and HP also have their share of issues which seem to demonstrate a rush to market before the models are thoroughly enough tested under all kinds of conditions, the software and firmware perfected and various bugs ironed-out. This sophisticated community of users expects no less these days, and one can only hope the manufacturers will eventually understand the true meaning of "more haste - less speed". This is an industry that has produced technological miracles. It should not now turn to under-cutting itself just at a time when inkjet technology has taken-off and it has earned for itself a massive following of enthusiastic consumers.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2007, 07:44:22 PM by MarkDS » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2007, 10:43:19 PM »
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Mark,
Perhaps this whole saga of the IPF5000 simply reflects the risks of buying new technology. I believe for Canon this is a first foray into professional printing, is it not?

Nevertheless, we do expect better from large companies like Canon that have such a wealth of experience in many departments of photography as well as printing.

I'm disappointed that Windows XP x64 has given me so much trouble. I jumped in too early; I couldn't find a way to calibrate my monitor for several months. Finally, after getting excellent calibration and installing the Epson 64 bit drivers for my 7600, I find that the printer's cutters now don't work. I have to cut the print off the roll with a pair of scissors then reload the roll paper to set it up for the next print.

No major hassle, but definitely a hassle, just as finding out how to fix the problem and get the cutters working again will be a hassle. I just don't need or want such hassles.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2007, 11:00:05 PM »
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Ray, while the indusry is young, the technology is no longer all that new. The real risk emerging from all this is buying poorly tested equipment from a company which has serious problems writing software, firmware and documentation and which tops it all off with arrogance, insularity and commercial stupidity. Fortunately they have greater technical strength in cameras and lenses, but if you aren't a CPS member trying dealing with them when you have issues with that stuff too. It's their way or no way. Competition and the market-place will deal with them accordingly.

As for Windows XP, I think the O/S is the best Microsoft has ever produced. The problem you are facing is going 64-bit before much of the industry producing peripherals and software is ready for it. I had to confront that choice when I replaced my Dell in November and decided to stick with 32-bit for that reason. Temporarily this is comfortable. Sooner or later, however, I shall find myself having to migrate to 64-bit as the newer peripherals and software will use it with huge performance improvements, so it just a matter of being inconvenienced now or later. You chose the former and I the latter!

Cheers
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
John Hollenberg
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2007, 11:40:20 PM »
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Mark,

The really sad thing about the problems with IPF5000 is that the most serious ones could be solved with the stroke of a pen.  The printer hasn't failed Canon, but rather Canon has failed the printer.  A reasonable warranty on printheads and ink cartridges, a willingness to immediately replace defective printers that can't be fixed in a timely fashion, and some action on the defective roll feed holders would allay most of the concerns.  The rest of the stuff is just part of the growing pains of a new printer, and certainly acceptable to most.  

The biggest area of concern for someone who is selling their prints is the lack of longevity data.  We know Wilhelm is testing ink/paper combinations, and the testing must have been going on for a while for them to have "preliminary results" of over 100 years at the time of their press release 13 months ago.  I can think of no good explanation (that is believable) for some kind of results not to be published by now.

--John
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2007, 11:57:27 PM »
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The real risk emerging from all this is buying poorly tested equipment from a company which has serious problems writing software, firmware and documentation and which tops it all off with arrogance, insularity and commercial stupidity.

I suppose the arrogance, insularity and apparent commercial stupidity, is due to a lack of proper training of the staff who receive complaints and technical queries from the public.

The fact is, whatever the product that's giving trouble, you have to speak to a trained technician if the problem is more than superficial. Canon has produced a slightly revolutionary product that is different from its usual run of the mill desktop bubble jets, but has apparently skimped on the technical support, presumably for economic reasons, to make the price competitive.

I'm sure they will learn some lessons from this debacle. Hey! We all make mistakes. Maybe a few executives have been fired as a result of these IPF5000 problems. I'm not sure of the appropriate smiley for this.

By the way, SP2 is now available for Win XP x64. Took me 2 days to download it (off and on) on my 56k dial-up connection. It's a 350MB upgrade.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 12:07:41 AM by Ray » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2007, 01:09:22 AM »
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The marketplace has a wonderful way of dealing with products that don't stack up... peple buy the competitor's product! It is amusing to me to see how commited some people are to their brands to the point that their minds become muddled and they start making up excuses for the manufacturer, or guessing at production miscues, etc.

This site is full of excellent and useful information... certainly one of the best on the net. But there is a tendency to rush to judgement on some fo the products reviewed here and then people regret their decisions later. It takes time for the less obvious shortcomings to appear.

Brand loyalists make all kinds of excuses for their pet OEM, Canon being the favorite on this site. Look at the fuss about the G7 not having raw (when there are very good alternatives), or the dogged loyalty to the M8 (even though the camera has proven itself to be seriously flawed). Now we have the ipf 9000. Fine output to be sure but you have to put up with all the quirks... and this then spawns a wiki so that dsgrunted users can fulfill what the manufacturer could not or would not do themselves- kind of crazy.

Me? like a previous poster, when I saw the problems with the ipf9000 I eliminated it from my list and bought an Epson 3800 and still use my 2200 for roll paper on the rare occasions I need that. I suspect a lot of folks did the same.
JK
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2007, 08:37:42 AM »
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Jeff, I agree with your point about brand loyalty - there's no point to it. All these things are tools. They either do what they're chalked-up to do, or they don't. Their makers either support them properly or they don't. And yes, as long as there is adequate competition the market sorts it all out. High-end alternatives though are still a bit thin in both printers and camera systems. Therefore much depends on the integrity and commercial foresight of the manufacturers. Some are better than others.

As for product reviews, I think it needs to be understood that they have inherent limitations. Reviewers don't have the time and resources to ferret-out all the nooks and crannies of potential problems, and as you say, some of them do take a while to make themselves known. The best reviewers can do is honestly report the ones they do discover, and on this site at least, that is done. So yes, it will happen that customers buy products on the basis of reviews they trust and when they get disappointed there will be a tendancy to blame the reviewer for letting them down, without stopping to consider that the reviewer is not the product testing laboratory that the manufacturer is supposed to be. Reading reviews, we learn with experience, is but one component of a wise procurement strategy. Fortunately web-sites like this provide ample resources for sharing experience, and reading the better web forums must be an essential element of informing oneself about a potential purchase. "Caveat Emptor" remains necessary.

Ray, Canon's product support policies go far beyond the training of staff, or lack thereof, which also seems to be part of the picture John painted. What we're seeing is a corporate culture. If it were isolated to one line of product I wouldn't say that. In a way, you are correct - their printer embodies technological advances, as do those of their competitors. That we expect - the whole rationale for new models. Their eagerness to innovate is to be applauded - that is what makes this industry so dynamic. But I come back to my central point that these innovations need to be properly tested and documented BEFORE they hit the market with them. There is growing evidence that all of them are rushing stuff out the door too quickly. It causes more trouble and ill-will than it's worth. Maybe some people in Canon got thrashed over the IPF5000, but I wonder. How many months has that machine been on the market now and they haven't even bowed to consumer pressure for a proper instruction manual? Couldn't they have done THAT by now? Or did they not do it because they know the printer has flaws they will only correct in the next model, so why bother?

John, yes I agree with what you are saying. I have seen that printer in production mode in the hands of some-one who has mastered all the aggravating quirks and there is no question it is a robust machine that churns out gorgeous images reliably one after another. I still wouldn't buy one for all the reasons you have so carefully explained.  To think that a 600 dollar print-head doesn't come with a substantial warranty (based on time or throughput) is so shocking that it defies comprehension. Two of those is most of the price of the printer, net of ink, and the business about defective cartridges is equally mind-numbing - you really wonder how they can be so dumb. The cost of replacing the cartridges compared with the cost of the ill-will and the negative publicity has to be negligible. They just seem to be living in a bubble (or a bubble-jet?).  I must say it was a huge disappointment for me, because when it was first announced I looked upon it as a very desirable alternative with the promise of more flexibility and less clogging. Those features it has of course - but at the unacceptable cost of all the other baggage it carries. And the problem you raise about the print permanence data is very concerning indeed. It raises fundamental questions of good faith.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2007, 09:16:50 AM »
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I got lots of kind advice when I was contemplating  a new printer and I decided to go with the Canon, but it arrived the day John's Wiki issued a warning. So, unpacked, back it went to the dealer, replaced with the 3800. I've had a number of Epson printers with few problems. Canon apparently needs to beef  up support  for what is apparently an excellent printer with a few bugs. Of course, Canon is a huge company, so even though they have a large investment in this printer, it's still a minor part of the business. Maybe they just don't give as damn.
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2007, 10:33:47 AM »
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WOW!  That is a byzantine journey on a printer.  

I was about ready to sink $1800 and get one of these. I was concerned about getting away from epson, not from brand loyalty, but instead from a feeling that my current workflow would proceed relatively unaltered with the same inks and media (I am using the 2400).  

Brand loyalty is sometimes about investments.  I have an investment in Canon lenses so I am unlikely to buy a Nikon SLR.  In the case of the printer, I have an investment in developing a workflow using papers, inks etc... on epson.  It was a big decision that I was going to restart that process with the Canon.  

How many hundreds of images did I print before I was satisfied with my workflow on the 2400 (and the 1280 before that)?

I am curious if Michael agrees with the current "Do not buy" recommendation.  

I am concerned about the speculation regarding Wilhelm Imaging's delinquency on updating their report.  Is that mere speculation?

I am disappointed about the decrease in waterfastness.  That can suggest a less robust print in storage.  It could also suggest a print that might not hold up over time.

This article changed my mind about the canon 5000.  I will probably not buy it now.  

Am I being too reactionary?
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2007, 10:52:54 AM »
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I can think of no good explanation (that is believable) for some kind of results not to be published by now.

--John
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109536\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It is all about money, as inkjet and paper manufacturers pay a considerable sum of money to Wilhelm for these tests to be done. Wilhelm does not do these tests on his own dime. Canon can surely afford it, but I have no idea what the anticipated cost would be.
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Andy Biggs
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2007, 10:55:17 AM »
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I am curious if Michael agrees with the current "Do not buy" recommendation. 

I am concerned about the speculation regarding Wilhelm Imaging's delinquency on updating their report.  Is that mere speculation?

I am disappointed about the decrease in waterfastness.  That can suggest a less robust print in storage.  It could also suggest a print that might not hold up over time.

I doubt Michael takes a position on the "Do Not Buy" recommendation.  Also, it is important to note the distinction between my personal feel about the printer and the recommendation on the Wiki.  My printer is working great, I don't sell my work, don't have any ink clogs, etc.  So at this point it may be better than an Epson 3800 for me.  I like printing on roll paper and creating a page size so that the cutter creates a print with a perfect one inch border.

The recommendation on the Wiki is based on my answer to the question, "With the information I have available to me now, would I recommend this printer to a friend?"  For the reasons specified in the article, the answer is currently "No".  There are too many problems and potential problems, and the print longevity is a wild card.  The delinquincy of the image data is what I hope is "informed speculation".  It is based on reading about Wilhelms testing method and a brief personal communication from Joseph Holmes, creator of Ekta Space and great landscape photographer.  From my calculations and guesses, the test by now should have been able to give a longevity of over 250 years if there hasn't been sufficient fading.  There is a long thread on the Wiki regarding image permanence, most of which is completely off topic and sometimes inflammatory, but buried in there is my rationale for suspecting this.

As to the water fastness, I have only done a bit of testing myself.  It was very poor on Canon Heavyweight Photo Satin, but actually seemed to be pretty good on Epson Premium Luster.  I would consider the comments in the table by the Wiki poster to be VERY preliminary.  

--John
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2007, 12:03:24 PM »
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I'm *definately* re-thinking not only the purchase of the printer, but of all things Canon.  To date my personal investment is relatively small, a 30D and a couple of lenses.  Any further purchases await some response to this situation by Canon
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2007, 12:25:45 PM »
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It is all about money, as inkjet and paper manufacturers pay a considerable sum of money to Wilhelm for these tests to be done. Wilhelm does not do these tests on his own dime. Canon can surely afford it, but I have no idea what the anticipated cost would be.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109659\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Andy, I think the fear may be that perhaps they paid the money and didn't get the answers they wanted, so the results remain "preliminary". But what mystifies me is that there is nothing wrong with results indicating 100 years. It is a competitive number. Leads one to believe that perhaps the stated 100 years itself was uncertain and nothing has happened since then to close-out that uncertainty, but this is speculation fwiiw.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 12:26:11 PM by MarkDS » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2007, 12:35:47 PM »
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I am concerned about the speculation regarding Wilhelm Imaging's delinquency on updating their report.  Is that mere speculation?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109649\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I strongly doubt there is any "delinquency" on the part of WIR. WIR in this role is a commercial enterprise, teting inks and papers for clients. The clients would need to authorize them to publish the data. It cannot be otherwise.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2007, 12:51:05 PM »
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I strongly doubt there is any "delinquency" on the part of WIR. WIR in this role is a commercial enterprise, teting inks and papers for clients. The clients would need to authorize them to publish the data. It cannot be otherwise.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109683\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I am not concerned that Wilhelm has done anything wrong.  

I am concerned that if the data didn't come out as well as Canon liked, they may be requesting that Wilhelm not release the final or updated results while they try to figure out their next steps.  

From what I recall, this is Canon's first foray into pigmented inks.  It wouldn't be out of the question to think that perhaps they didn't turn out as well as they liked.
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« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2007, 01:03:10 PM »
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I am concerned that if the data didn't come out as well as Canon liked, they may be requesting that Wilhelm not release the final or updated results while they try to figure out their next steps. 

That is exactly my concern.  As I understand it, Wilhelm does the testing for a company, and only publishes the results with the OK from the company.  No results published = no good results to publish.

--John
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madmanchan
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2007, 01:51:36 PM »
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Similar to scientific journals. If your results are good, you publish them (or at least, you submit them for publication). If your results aren't good, you don't publish them. Nobody likes to report underwhelming results.
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2007, 08:21:04 PM »
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Similar to scientific journals. If your results are good, you publish them (or at least, you submit them for publication). If your results aren't good, you don't publish them. Nobody likes to report underwhelming results.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109696\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I think that's off track. Good results for publication in a scientific journal are accurate results based on sound methodology. Here we are talking about 'flattering' results.

I remember well the days shortly after buying an Epson 1200. This was the first Epson printer said to rival the quality of darkroom prints. However, there was a longevity problem, as there was with most inket prints of that era. This was around the time that Lyson was making a name for itself with alternative inks and papers. They were claiming longevity of 35 years for color, longer for B&W, and they also claimed that Wilhelm was in the process of testing the inks and papers. There seemed to be some great confidence on the part of Lyson salesmen that the Wilhelm results would confirm their own testing.

I foolishly bought a large roll of their heavyweight matte paper (I was going to cut it up into A3+ size sheets) and several cartridges of their ink. Just a couple of weeks after receiving the consigment, Wilhelm published his report.

Dear me! Longevity in general was no better than Epson's own range of papers and ink, ie. 2-3 years. You can imagine how angry I was.
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John Camp
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« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2007, 08:48:51 PM »
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I have checked the Wiki from time to time, and have been amazed at what's been produced. There should be one for every complicated product like this -- the Wiki is much more real-world than the stuff that comes from the manufacturers. Anyway, thanks to John for this report, but also, especially, for the Wiki.

There's a pretty decent review of the Epson 3800 in the latest issue Camera Arts -- the reviewer concludes that the image quality is excellent, and the set-up and operation are so simple as to be almost a non-factor.

When I go for a new printer, I think it's coming down to a choice between the Epson and the new HP. Canon will eventually straighten out its act, but I don't want to be a beta-tester. I share a problem with, I suspect, a lot of people on these forums, in that I'm extremely interested in output, but I'm not particular interested in printer technology, maintenance, and repair, or in the preparation of operation manuals, and prefer to avoid it when I can.

JC
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2007, 09:44:08 PM »
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I think that's off track. Good results for publication in a scientific journal are accurate results based on sound methodology. Here we are talking about 'flattering' results.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109773\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray - no - its's very much right on track. WIR testing procedures are said to be scientific and rigorous. There is no ISO standard yet for print longevity, but one reads now and again that WIR is looked upon as the closest substitute. They consult to museums and other institutions for whom longevity is a professional concern, and have built up a tremendous reputation in this field. We are not talking about flattering results, we're talking about dependable results produced in a transparent and repeatable manner (cf. e.g. Harald Johnson, "Mastering Digital Printing" Second Edition, and page 153 where the issue of recirprocity failure in permanence testing is also noted).  

Any company that had unambiguous, finalized longevity ratings in the range of 100 years should be pleased to let Wilhelm publish them. Epson allows publication of the results for their papers with every new model they produce and the range is anywhere from 70 years upward depending on the paper and the storage/display scenario tested. If, as is said, Canon engaged WIR to test the IPF5000 printer and materials over a year ago and nothing is published yet the silence may be speaking loudly. This is something Canon should publicly clarify now that the issue is on the table - but don't hold your breath.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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