Small donations really can add up to make a difference... It will take about $1000 to get this independent research project started (e.g., a single $10 donation from just 100 printmakers worldwide). It will take an additional $10,000 over the course of the two year project to complete testing of this latest Epson UltraChrome HD ink set with several relevant media. AaI&A members have always helped to fund the Aardenburg digital print research program. The 300+ samples already in the AaI&A test results database are the work product of our past funding efforts. We should keep it going.
The new Epson SureColor P600 printer will become available to customers in the USA towards the end of February or early March, 2015. Although the P600's ink set is still branded with the familiar "UltraChrome HD" label, Epson claims significant improvement in resin encapsulation technology and Black density levels. Hence, the P600 is not just a new printer. It also introduces a new and improved UltraChrome HD ink set according to Epson.
Rumor has it that lightfastness of the yellow ink may also have been improved. While higher Dmax is always welcome to printmakers, an improved yellow ink light fastness would be even more important for the printmaking community because the current UltraChrome yellow pigment is the weak link. The UC K3/HD yellow performance, especially when considering its critical role in printing light skin tone colors, is also the main reason why Epson currently ranks third (behind HP and Canon) in terms of overall light fastness of OEM aqueous-based pigmented ink technology now on the market and used by the majority of fine art printmakers at this time.
Any reviewer or end user of this new printer can readily evaluate the Epson claims of improved Dmax and overall initial image quality. However, the only way to know for sure if any light fastness improvements have been made is to conduct a new round of instrumented light fade tests with various media printed on this new printer.
I will regularly keep members posted here on the AaI&A home page on how we are doing with funding for this important print permanence testing project.
Mark H. McCormick-Goodhart
Director, Aardenburg Imaging & Archives
Fifty-nine new members have joined AaI&A since January 1, 2015. $510 in donations have been received ($210 from new members, $300 from our existing membership). These funds have been set aside for the lightfastness testing of the new Epson Ultrachrome HD ink set. The P600 printer is now available at dealers in the U.S. We will buy one and start preparing media samples for testing once the funding level has reached $1000.
Some members of Aardenburg Imaging & Archives have generously donated money and/or samples to our digital print research program during the past year. You believe in our work, and we want to thank you for your continuing support! Here is an AaI&A logo that you can place on your website along with a link to AaI&A if you like. We hope it will help you promote your personal commitment to an informed understanding of the durability of modern digital printing processes as well as more public awareness of the Aardenburg digital print research program.
When you download and unzip this file, you will find a folder with small, medium, and large images of the AaI&A membership logo. The small or medium size images may be just what you need for your website while the large one is useful for printing or resizing to suit custom requirements.