How long do digital pictures last on paper?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Apr 26, 2002
De Pere, WI
Today's cNet e-newsletter asked the question: How long do digital pictures last on paper?

I thought some Grumblers may find the answer interesting, I did.

cNet Answer
Actually, it only explains WHY they last as long as they do. Go to the Wilhelm Research site mentioned in the article to get a listing of longevity.
Digital pictures printed on inkjet printers fall into two categories: archival inks and non-archival inks. First, the non-archival inks. Most older consumer inkjets fall into this category. There may be a few exceptions but for the most part, wide spread use of archival inks has just become more common in the last year. The non-archival inks are highly impacted by UV light. All of my non-archival prints in my living room that were exposed to either direct sunlight or very bright indirect sunlight (In know, hard to believe in Seattle this is a problem.) lasted less than a year. I did not have UV glass on them. But, really, this is no big deal for most photo uses - just re-print them and re-frame. Using non-archival inks for more serious framed prints is a waste of time.

Archival inks are now available from most manufacturers in some of their product lines. I've become a fan of Epson because I love their self-contained 7 (6?) ink photo printer. It does an amazing job and its archival. Archival ink prints, if they are mounted and glazed properly should last a very, very long time. Still, exposing any print to strong sunlight is probably a problem.

Wizard has a product, daVinci, that prints on matboard. We've studied inks a lot for this product over the years and have quite a bit of experience with inks. We're going to offer an exciting upgrade to daVinci this year and as a result, we've been printing a bit more recently. While we do not reccommend or sell printers, our internal preference, for now, has been Epson because of the combination of the ink and the printers themselves.