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Author Topic: Canon ipf5000 ink stability...  (Read 3166 times)
Wayne Fox
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« on: August 24, 2007, 11:44:37 PM »
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I have on a few occasions mentioned a concern over the reason Wilhelm has not released longevity results for this printer.  I was shipped one of these printers shortly before they were released, and spent quite a bit of time trying to get comfortable with the printer.  I really wanted to love the printer, but never could get past all the setup hassle, paper feed issues, as well as some of the print quality issues I saw.  At that time I rarely had a need to print with MK ink, and still had a 9600 sitting around with MK ink when I did, so I basically gave up on the printer.  I admit that if I had a greater need for mk/pk switching like many that frequent this forum, I may have tried harder.  Anyway, with the announcement of the 51/6100 upgrades and the surprising change to the black inks in the new printer, something sounded a little fishy to me - the source of the comments I have made.  I have seen others comment about this as well.

   Canon has been holding some national meetings here in SLC, and yesterday they came by our office to show us a 40D.  (My company has about 600 20d/30d cameras in use so the 40d is a big deal to us).  I had a chance to sit down with a couple of Canon's top people from CanonUSA Professional Products Marketing Division.  They were quite candid, and it was a great two hours playing with the 40d as well as talking about the G9, 1dsMkIII and the new ipf5100/6100 printers.

I specifically asked about this issue and questioned if the new black inks were because of a permanence shortcoming in the current inks. A summary of the explanation I was given ... Canon's permanence testing is equal to and even exceeds Wilhelms.  (An example of where they exceed Wilhelm was stating they test for 3 gases while Wilhelm only tests for ozone).  They said Wilhelm charges a lot of money (he said a lot about 3 times to emphasize the point) to post their data, and currently Canon is reluctant to pay, since they are quite comfortable internally with their own testing.  That doesn't mean they won't eventually, but currently that's the situation, and I'm guessing there is a lot more to the story, since other companies have had differences of opinion with Wilhelm in the past.

   True?  Who knows, could just be an internal Canon "urban legend", but the person I was visiting with is very sharp and knows his stuff.  He's a straight shooter, (I've been able to meet with him a couple of times), and really has no reason to lie.  His boss who reports directly to Japan was sitting next to him, and seemed to be very comfortable with the conversation.  I'm quite comfortable with the explanation and basically am apologizing for my posts regarding this issue.

   Of course, my next question to them... why all the changes so soon, especially to the inks if it wasn't about permanence?  To sum up his reply ... Canon felt a need to make improvements in 4 areas ... metamerism and gloss differential (thus the new black inks). grain, paper handling and ease of use.  Interesting, because that about sums up what I didn't like about the 5000.

   He offered to send a 6100 for us to evaluate, and since I'm comfortable with his explanation regarding the longevity issue, we gladly accepted.  I'm guessing several units are already being reviewed and soon the net will be full of 5100/6100 reports, but  I am looking forward to putting this printer through some tests personally.  Coincidentally my new Epson 11880 is also supposed to arrive sometime in the next couple of weeks according to my supplier.  It will be alot of fun seeing what both printers are capable of at the same time.  I'm expecting great things from both printers.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2007, 08:56:23 AM »
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Thanks for the report, Wayne.

I feel the value of Wilhelm's tests is that he performs the tests across the various printers and printer manufacturers the same way. Even if they're not as complete in some way, they're standardized so that relative comparisons are possible and meaningful.

The issue that I have with Canon's own internal testing, regardless of how good it is and even if it isn't hindered by marketing, is how one can use it to compare to anything else.
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2007, 06:56:08 PM »
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Interesting information.  The problem as I see it is that there are two functions to Wilhelm Research:

1) Independent testing of ink and paper combinations for longevity without significant fading
2) A marketing machine that companies can pay to advertise the results and get the official stamp

It is a pity that these two functions are separate, and that it apparently costs a lot to publicize the results.  Not saying I wouldn't do the same, but it is certainly not in the consumers best interest.  

We still get incomplete data anyway, because some of the tests are "Now in Test".  I haven't ever seen those blanks filled in later, don't know if it costs even more money to do so or if the results just get buried for other reasons.  Wilhelm is the best we have, but a long way from ideal.

--John
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Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2007, 08:49:15 PM »
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I can certainly understand why corporate players in the photo business have issues with Henry Wilhelm. He's holding their feet to the fire with regard to print longevity. By using a standardized methodology he provides a yardstick to compare various ink/paper combinations. 20 years ago he was a voice in the wilderness at a time when Kodak's standard color negative films and printing papers had abysmal permanence characteristics. I think it can be argued that the current ascendance of color photography in the art world would never have happened without the major improvements in color stability that his work provoked.

As far as "not in the consumers best interest", I'm not sure I follow. Manufacturers are surely free to subject their materials to testing as stringent as Wilhelm's and to publish the results. Unfortunately the deceptive and watered-down "testing" some companies (cough...Kodak...cough) have used to try marketing less permanent materials have damaged the credibility of such efforts. Hence Mr. Wilhelm's credible and standardized testing has become the essential yardstick.
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John Hollenberg
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2007, 09:12:47 PM »
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As far as "not in the consumers best interest", I'm not sure I follow.

The fact that the companies have to pay (through the nose?) to publicize the results of the tests which apparently were already done.  Wilhelm is not only holding their feet to the fire re: standards (good for consumers), but holding their pocketbooks for ransom to publish the results (bad for consumers because the companies can use this as a semi-legitimate excuse not to publish results, and bad for smaller ink manufacturers).

--John
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2007, 12:44:33 AM »
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I do not mean any disrepect to Henry Wilhelm, and indeed hold his efforts over the past several decades in highest esteem.

However, I do feel it improper for someone to drive forward an agreeable standard, but then force all of the industry to submit to his own institute, WIR (Wilhelm Imaging Research), to qualify to meet that standard.  While the concept of a "seal" sounds good on the outside, the obvious conflict of interest is a problem for me.

I agree with other posters that a standard approach would be beneficial, and at least he has tried to achieve that.  However, once that standard is achieved, it cannot be then controlled by any single entity.  To do so is self serving and opens the door for any number of things.  Despite his criticism of ANSI standards and government involvement giving way to industry pressures, this approach is not much better.

Unless the institute is willing to test and publish results of any legitimate manufacturers product without a fee, and unless any funds provided to support the research and testing are raised without obligation and blind to the research side, then the institute becomes self serving and a business, no matter how noble the cause may seem. (I admit while this may make sense, it may be unrealistic and impossible to accomplish ... how do you get any funds at all if no one has to pay? Of course this doesn't make the conflict of interest a non-issue).

Otherwise, the only correct procedure might be akin to the recent system implemented by the USGA in the measurement of drivers by golf club makers.  Once the standard was established, and an accurate and repeatable method of measuring that standard was created (in this case a device), then any manufacturer could either submit their clubs to be tested, or could indeed purchase the necessary equipment and do their own certified testing.

Perhaps there is enough disagreement in the industry that this isn't possible, but it would be very beneficial if all the manufacturers agreed on the testing procedure/methods/equipment, and used the same process to measure the longevity of their product.  If they prefered they could pay a company like Wilhelm to do the testing, but it would not be required of anyone.  Indeed, if they felt the need to do tests in addition to those required, they could do those tests with appropriate explanations, but still do the standard tests.

I offer these ideas/critcism openly admitting I have no direct knoweldge of the relationship of WIR to manufacturers other than the conversation mentioned in my original post.  They may operate just as I have suggested, but I have done some research on their site to see exactly how they operate, and my opinions are based on the fact that I can find no information to indicate their policy. (I intend to research further, their site is very poorly done and difficult to search).   I would assume if research was blind to revenue, it would be a big deal and mentioned quite boldly, since it would lend great credibility to the published tests.

That being said, in my research I did find this link regarding the longevity of the Canon Lucia inks, which supports the idea that the black ink change was not the result of a longevity issue, but prompted by the reasons told to me by Canon, need to improve metamerism and gloss differential, especially on photo papers.

http://www.canon.ca/pdf/Official_Canon_WIR...lt_April_07.pdf

I might also add that while I applaud the desire of manufacturers to improve their inks, at this point the life of the inks are no longer a factor in my purchase decisions, meaning as long as it is a good inkset with good longevity, I won't choose another because it lasts longer.  I may choose it for other reasons, but when it comes down to the big 3, Epson, Canon, and HP, and their recent inks,  they all last long enough.  The fact is that within 100 years, the life of the great majority of photographs will end in some other manner besides fading, and that is the true problem with photographic longevity.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2007, 04:14:16 AM by Wayne Fox » Logged

John Hollenberg
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2007, 10:27:23 AM »
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I noted a few interesting points when looking at the Canon results (which I have seen previously) more closely:

1) Canon used 70,000 lux, Wilhelm used 35,000 lux
2) Wilhelm exposure in lux-hours was 8% greater than Canon (5400 vs. 5000)
3) Canon doesn't specify display conditions, for Wilhelm framed behind glass
4) In spite of #1-3, Canon and Wilhelm results show pretty good agreement in all cases
5) Print life is limited by gas (if not sealed from atmosphere), not light in all cases tested by Canon

--John
« Last Edit: August 26, 2007, 10:30:16 AM by John Hollenberg » Logged
claskin
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2007, 08:47:40 PM »
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I do not mean any disrepect to Henry Wilhelm, and indeed hold his efforts over the past several decades in highest esteem.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=135557\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Standardization is necessary in many industries. The research and development of instruments for standardization demands a great deal of time and effort. The instruments (including hardware, software and protocols) must be tested for reliability and consistency.  It might be appropriate for the industry to invest in the establishment of such instruments if there is a problem with that created by WRI. If all agree that WRI evaluation is appropriate and acceptable as a standard, and they do not wish to undertake the establishment of a standard themselves, then it only makes sense to continue with that derived by WRI. If they prefer not to use WRI, for whatever reason, then live with the consequences of that decision. I cannot comment on Canon's testing nor can I be critical or supportive of their results. However, do not expect any sympathy or support from me in complaining of the cost of the WRI assessment. Is Canon going to plead ignorance regarding the cost of R&D? Whether you like the WRI or not, it may be the best we have at present. If Epson and HP can live with it, why not Canon?
Carl
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Carl Laskin
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2007, 09:29:03 PM »
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Thank you, Wayne, for the link, which seems to lay to rest the concerns that Canon might have something to hide.

Kirk
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neil snape
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2007, 02:47:21 AM »
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WIR are still pushing towards standardized testing. They are the initiators of good practices. Canon have always been there for this and other types of adherence to norms, of which WIR holds very serious discussions with standards bodies. WIR , nor Henry Wilhelm have nothing against Canon, and actually clearly state Canon's practices in their own lightfast testing to be of similar or better quality than WIR's testing procedures.
Who can say if the standards are right or wrong other than the scientists involved in this field? Hence, participation by all the major players is essential to forwarding these practices. From the people I saw at the standards meetings, there were all the most brilliant of scientists there to assure a balance that has more to do with the science than marketing.
Marketing is riding high on WIR results no matter what the cost. Canon, and HP, probably Epson too do their own testing, long before WIR has access to ink formulations not yet approved. It's all about getting everyone on the bandwagon for the actual testing, the marketing side shadows this too much.
Perhaps the players are too quick to rule out any others who may have less than lucrative approaches to testing though!
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