Independent Ink Test Results

Over the last six years test results from non OEM inks have been poor, so, as I make my living from selling photographs, recently I’ve largely steered clear of cheaper inks.  Much as I’d like to avoid the very high prices of printer manufacturers own ink cartridges, earlier periods when I’ve tried using non OEM inks have not been trouble free - I’ve had problems with blocked heads - Canon S820 with High Quality Inks - Epson Photo EX with Lyson  - Epson 1290 with Jettec and Ink-Rite. So I have tried that route - Even those I’ve used successfully haven’t been 100% - Jettec cartridges worked very well with the Canon S9000 but needed an extra cleaning cycle every time I changed a cartridge - Print Rite worked well with my Epson 1290 but gave off a very strong smell when printing large batches of prints, and this seemed to make my skin itchy, so I stopped using them - although results looked good. Fade tests with cheaper inks have also been poor. As a pro photographer that choice is perhaps easier for me than most - I need to know my prints won’t fade, but, If your prints are for sending to friends or family, cheap inks may make sense. Also if you’re using 500 printers blocked heads is a serious worry, but if you’re using a 50 printer it’s not such a big deal.  Some printers are sold for little more than the cost of the ink cartridges that come with them., so if it goes wrong you can just buy another printer.

For serious photographers, either amateur or professional, whose work really matters to them, and who really want their photographs to last - all my experience so far suggests one thing - stick to the printer manufacturers own ink.

My remarks in this area in the past seem to have sparked some controversy - So for the conspiracy theorists out there -  Just because I recommend sticking to manufacturers own inks does not mean I work for a printer manufacturer. Instead it means I care about the quality of my work and have made lots of tests that back this up - please read Fade Tests  -  2000  and consider - Would I have a page telling you how to reset Epson cartridges? Would I be recommending non OEM papers? Would I still be buying all my own ink?  These sites are part blog, part review, in that these are my opinions - but based on real tests which I’ve made every year since 2000. All that’s changed for me is that I now publish the results online. If you disagree make your own tests - just tape a print made with cheap no name ink to the inside of a sunny window and watch what happens. That’s what got me started.

Most of this year’s fade tests concentrate on using non OEM paper but sticking with the printer manufacturer’s own inks. However, one development over the last year did seem worth checking out - As more photo printers move over to long life pigment inks, it was inevitable that independent manufacturers would have to follow. So this year’s test of non OEM ink was with an Epson Stylus Photo R1800 and Jettec pigment inks. In the UK I pay about 85 for a set of Epson inks for this printer, so pigment inks at 35 a set were worth testing - How did they do?       Epson Stylus Photo R1800 / Jettec Pigment Inks Test

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