Saturday, October 9, 2010

Canon Lucia EX Professional Printer inks tackle the rain – and SURVIVE!


Actual prints from a Canon iPF6300 left out in the rain overnight
Bottom image Copyright © Talha Bin Tariq, all others Ron Martinsen – All Rights Reserved

I was going out to the trash last night to throw away some bad or test prints that I had done during my printing series, when I noticed it was raining pretty good. These images were going to go into the trash anyway, so I thought - “I wonder what would happen if I left them out in the rain overnight?” I know that prints from normal ink jet printers are destroyed if you so much as sneeze on them, so I thought this was a sure way to destroy them.

When I returned 12 hours later, I was shocked to discover that they had held up just fine! I brought them in my garage and let them dry out and they were in near mint condition again!!!! I decided that I must write about this, so I got them wet again, and put them in funny places so they’d warp (so you could see the raindrops easier) and then left them out in the rain again. The picture you see above was taken after they had been in the rain for about 5 minutes.

While Wilhelm Imaging Research may do ink permanence tests for the Canon Lucia EX (using the iPF8300, but the iPF6300 is the same only smaller), I can’t say that I’ve seen results from something like this in their testing – ha, ha!

The moral of the story here is that these pro printer inks are WAY more durable than you might imagine, and even if you do get them wet – just chill out and let them dry. From what I can tell, they’ll do fine! :-)

For those who are interested, here’s a list of what printer and paper was used above as well as a quick observation:

  • Canon Polished Rag 300 gsm - (Top & Middle Right) – This fiber-based paper has a semi-gloss finish and is a beefy 15mil. It’s media instruction sheet says that its operating temp is 59F to 86F degrees, and that its operating humidity is 30 to 60%. Well last night was in the 40’s and 100% humidity, and while I would urge you NOT to run this wet paper through the printer, it looked totally fine. The semi-gloss finish protected it from contaminants and kept the water from soaking through to the more exposed back side of this paper.
  • Canon Fine Art Bright White 330 gsm (Middle Left) – This is a thick 20mil 100% cotton and acid free paper with a matte finish. Despite its tendency to absorb liquid very well it faired as well as the others in this test after given a longer amount of time to dry.
  • LexJet® Sunset Photo Metallic (Bottom) – This is a 10mil, 255 gsm high gloss paper that was totally unaffected by the rain. Within about 10 minutes of being inside it was dry and showed no signs of ever being in the rain. It was by far the winner of the test, despite its 70F degree and 50% humidity recommended storage conditions.

Conclusion

Honestly, I have images printed with my consumer grade Canon printer where even in optimal conditions my skin oil can cause the ink to smear. However, in the professional printer line-up you are using the best ink Canon has ever made when you have a iPF6300, iPF6350 or iPF8300 and it shows! Canon touts its durability and scratch resistance, but this is nuts! If archival quality is one of your concerns, then I think the Wilhelm Imaging Research Lucia EX report and this test should give you all the confidence you need to know that this is definitely a special ink!

If you enjoyed this, then be sure to check out my review of the Canon iPF6300 as well as many other articles in my printing series.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

6 comments:

Michael Houlden said...

Wow! That's incredible. Thanks so much for sharing this little experiment. I don't suppose you're tempted to run a similar experiment with the Epson inks? You know, just for thoroughness and all!

Ron Martinsen said...

Hi Michael,

I'll try to do that. We've got a stretch of dry weather predicted in the Seattle area (believe it or not), so it may be a week or so before I get a chance to try it out.

Hum, maybe it's time for the sun test .

David Pitcher said...

I believe what you are experiencing has very little if anything to do with being specific to Canon Lucia EX inks. Any modern inkjet printer on the market today using pigmented inks can withstand all the washing/soaking in water until the paper fibers fall apart. The key here is that this is particular to pigment not dye based inks. The pigments are suspended in a solvent the evaporates and leaving the pigments to "stain" the inkjet coating and/or paper fibers.

The inks I use with the Canon IPF5000 resist water baths without harm on many of the papers I have tested. If you have had issues with pigmented inks running after getting wet then the ink has not had time to properly dry or the paper used has a very poor inkjet receptive coating.

People like Dan Burkholder have been using Epson K3 inks and are doing alternative wet darkroom processes on top of inkjet prints for at least 5 years or more. These processes require coating a light sensitive photographic emulsion over the inkjet print and then developing in chemicals such as potassium oxalate, ammonium citrate, citric acid, Di and Tetra EDTA, and finally soaked in trays of running water for 30 minutes or more.

Kevin Vaughan said...

Awesome information on the LUCIA ink durability. I preach it all day long, but it is nice to have a real-world perspective.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm linking one of my articles to this one.

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I printed some posters for a local pub using the iPF6300,they put them outside, unprotected just stapled to a board. 3 months later the paper (Canon 190gsm photo glossy) was a little cockled but the images were as sharp and colourful as the day they were printed. Through rain and shine they survived...brilliant!

MutoArt said...

Cool!! Thanks for sharing! Good to know just in case of a crazy storm and a leaky print sleeve. We can all relax!