Thursday, March 15, 2007

How long will our photos last has been a question for many years. There is one man who began a research lab with the purpose of testing photographic prints. This was because he found his colour photos of the 1960's and 70's had faded. The research lab is well known in the photo industry and is named The Wilhelm Imaging Research lab. Their latest report on 4x6 photos has just been released. It covers photographic silver-halide paper like ours, as well as ink jet paper and ink used in the home as well as dye-sub used in instant print kiosks. Most home printers are ink-jet and with some using the right ink and paper can be the best in permanence. With the wrong ink these digital photos can fade in a few months. Home printers that don't need ink are dye-sub and use heat to transfer dye from a ribbon to paper. These are the same printers used in quick print kiosks and are the least permanent. They often have a uv filter laminated on top to help but this gives them a foggy look. The paper in photo mini labs is the traditional silver-halide and we use Fuji. If you look at the report there is a big difference with the permanence of Fuji, Kodak and Konica-Minolta. This info is about how long a photo will last before fading and is important to consider when digital files may not be around to print another photo. If you have been using a digital camera than you may know how easy it is to lose digital files with hard drive crashes and CD failures. Here is a link to Wilhelm Research If you would like to test your own photos, an easy way to do so is to cut a photo in half and put one half in a window with some sun. The last time I did this was with a dye-sub printer I was thinking of selling. There was a very large change in two weeks. I sent the printers back. Bill

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another photo from last year with water that you may not be able to see.

In the last few years with both the move to digital and with box stores using photo labs and printing as a loss leader the over all quality of printed photos has been lowered. To compete photo labs like ours often have had to lower their price and automate their process and by doing so offer their customers less quality. Last night my daughter was looking through our family photo album for a baby photo of herself for a school project and it made me look ahead 10 years and wonder how many well printed photos found easily in a family album might still be in the family home. I think the recent changes on how we value of our photos today will only be important when we find ourselves looking for something that isn't there. Bill