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Dye vs Pigment Ink – Which Is Best For You?

If you’re considering investing in a new inkjet printer for your photography or artwork, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between dye and pigment ink, and which printer choice is best for you.

The biggest difference lies in the archival properties, but there are other factors that may affect your decision depending on the kind of work you plan on producing.

Dye based ink

Dye based ink is made from liquid dye that is absorbed into the paper fibres. It holds a lot of colour but is more susceptible to fading and smudging than pigment ink.

Benefits

  • Produces saturated and vibrant colours, particularly with gloss papers
  • Lower costs, often used in entry level printers suited to smaller budgets

Drawbacks

  • Dye ink fades much quicker than pigment ink, often lasting around 25 to 30 years or less if exposed to sunlight
  • Susceptible to smudging, especially if exposed to water which will mix with the dye ink

Perfect for…

  • Smaller budgets
  • Day to day prints where longevity is not a priority
  • Images that have vibrant, saturated colours

Dye based printers

Canon PIXMA iP8750

6 dye ink A3+ printer

£259.99

Canon PIXMA PRO-200

8 dye ink A3+ printer

£449

Pigment based ink

Pigment based ink is made from solid pigment particles that bond with the paper fibres. Although not as vibrant, with recent advances they are not far behind dye based inks, and prints will be much more durable.

Benefits

  • Prints are resistant to external influences such as water, environmental gases, and UV rays
  • Higher colour stability and print longevity, with the potential to resist fading for up to 200 years

Drawbacks

  • Prints can be less vibrant
  • Generally available in higher-end, more costly printers

Perfect for…

  • Those who value or require archival, high-quality prints
  • Prints that will see a lot of handling or UV exposure
  • Professional outputs such as exhibitions, wall art, albums etc.

Pigment based printers

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300

10 pigment ink A3+ printer

£690

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000

12 pigment ink A2 printer

£995

Please note print heads are designed for either dye or pigment ink and are not interchangeable.

Dye vs pigment – which is right for me?

Still not sure which printer is the best choice for you? Feel free to get in touch with the PermaJet team who are more than happy to guide you.

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