Kodak Invents Photo Ink That'll Last 100 Years

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
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Just before I'm ready to go to bed, Kodak drops news we hinted at yesterday: Multifunction printers pumping a revolutionary ink through their nozzles that'll create prints with an archival life of 100 years, versus standard inkjet photos that go the way of toilet paper after 15. And the ink costs half the price. Half?! We should buy Kodak's new printers simply because they're not trying to fuck us on the cartridge sales.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

In fact, all of your 4x6-inch prints will be a lot cheaper with the new inks averaging 10 cents per print. Meanwhile, letter-size black and whites will run about 3 cents per print. The inks themselves will be priced at $9.99 for a cartridge of black ink and $14.99 for a five-color cartridge. Kodak claims this is 50% cheaper than what you'd spend on say an HP, Epson, or Canon ink refill. So we checked out their prices and in all instances, the Kodak ink saves you a pretty decent amount of cash. Whether the quality is as good—that we'll have to see for ourselves, but analysts have said good things so far.

Oh, these printers are fast as hell, too. They'll shoot out your photos at the rate of 22 pages per minute.

PC World has product comparisons, but I like Business Week's writeup of Antonio Perez losing a power play to Carly Fiorina to run printer giant HP many years ago, landing at the distraught Kodak to find the lab geeks had invented the 100-year ink, considered the holy grail of the industry.

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The new printers are detailed in this next post.

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Kodak Launches a Printer Offensive [BusinessWeek]
Kodak Announces New Multifunction Inkjet Printers [PC World]

DISCUSSION

TurboFool
TurboFool

Keep in mind that when most companies quote 100 years, they're talking photo album conditions. Canon's newer Chromalife100's 100 year rating is as such, where it only gets 30 years under glass indoors (the more accepted rating). Meanwhile Epson's new Claria inks, as well as their DuraBrite Ultra inks, the two inks that make up their entire consumer line of photo printers, both get in the range of 100 years under glass indoors, and over 200 years in photo album conditions.

As well, the Henry Wilhelm Institute, the third-party group responsible for permanence testing of photo prints, only exists because of Kodak's poor fade resistance. Henry Wilhelm noticed his Kodak prints having lost color and decided to find out what was up, because Kodak had hyped that they'd last far, far longer. In the end he became the world's foremost authority on the subject. And to this day Kodak's the only company that refuses to use his company to test their photos. So if they're still refusing, that means the numbers they're giving come from internal testing, which cannot be collaborated or compared to their competition.

Now if their ink truly is half the cost (and not just half the cost of the cartridge, but half the cost at the same volume of prints), I'm happy to hear about it, because that could light a fire under the butss of their competition. But I'd also like to see the quality. A company like Kodak can't just come out of nowhere with a print head technology that rivals the companies who've been doing it for 40+ years, which suggests they may be licensing tech from someone else. The only printer company I know who does that frequently (Dell, Compaq) is Lexmark, and these printers look suspiciously like Lexmarks. If that's the case, then the battle's over, because Lexmarks print like crap. I'm all for cheap photos, but only if they look like photos, not a mass of dots.