Dye versus Pigment or The difference between Dye and Pigment inks.
Dye inks – Made up of water and water-soluble dye. The combination creates homogenised inks without any particles, not dissimilar to the way sugar dissolves in water.
Pigment inks – Made up of the carrier liquid and tiny pigment particles. These miniscule particles are not totally dissolved in the carrier liquid, creating a mixture similar to coloured powder mixed in water.
Comparing Fade Resistance:
Pigment inks are resistant to UV light and fade much slower than dye ink (Similar to the way toner has a better colour durability than liquid ink). The little pigment particles keeps the colours clear and sharp for longer
So Pigment vs. Dye – 1:0
Comparing Water Resistance:
Here we the comparison above is somewhat repeated. As the dye is totally liquid, it tends to wash off much quicker when it comes into contact with water. There are however, many good inkjet coatings these days, such as the premium microporous photo papers or vinyl stickers. These have to work harder to keep the dye on the paper when comes in touch with water.
This comes into particular relevance with T Shirt Transfer paper. T Shirts printed with pigment inks have much better washability than the one printed with dye based inks.
So Pigment vs. Dye – 2:0
Comparing Print Quality:
This is where dye inks become superior and is the reason why there is such an abundance of dye ink printers. Because the dye inks are totally liquid, they have the ability to create a smoother image with much wider colour sub tones. It is in a way the difference between inkjet and toner (laser) printing. When printing with toner, where colours are dense, the result can appear blotched and the sub tones are not well defined. The old forecast that laser toner printers will overtake inkjet technology, has not materialised as the market realised that for a good photo print, toner, using a powder cannot create a smooth and well sub toned image.
The professionals refer to this as a colour gamut.
So in the same way inkjet images are better than the toner one, the dye inks are better than the pigmented ones when image quality is being measured.
On this comparison, I feel that the dye based inks score much higher than the dye and deserve more than one point
Pigment vs. Dye – 2:1.5
The dye-based inks have the easier job to find its best matched inkjet paper. All inkjet-coated papers will work well with the dye based inks.
The pigment ink may come across some coatings that cannot easily absorb the little pigment particles, causing them to remain on the surface after drying and susceptible to being easily rubbed off.
At Photo Paper Direct, most of our media is compatible with pigment and dye based inks. The microporous coatings especially, can absorb the pigment particles in the micro pores in the paper coating.
In this instance again, the dye inks have the upper hand in their user friendliness so will score another point
Pigment vs. Dye – 2:2.5
These days, printer manufacturers tend to look for a compromise solution that can have the best of both worlds and mix dye with pigment. They are trying to achieve a better fade and water resistance and still provide a good colour gamut and sub tones for a perfect looking image.
Well-known desktop pigment inks are the Epson DuraBrite, UltraChrome, HP Vivera,
Some more examples can be found below:
• Canon BC-23, BCI-3BK, BCI-3EBK, BCI-5BK, and PGI-5BK cartridges use pigmented ink. All other Canon cartridges normally use dye-based ink.
• Compaq Black cartridges all use pigmented black ink. Colour cartridges use dye-based ink.
• Dell Black cartridges all use pigmented black ink. Colour cartridges use dye-based ink.
• HP Black cartridges #21, #27, #56, #92, #94, #96, 51629, C6614, C6615, and 51645 can be filled with either dye-based or pigmented ink, although they originally use pigmented inks.
#88, #10, #11, #12, #13, and #14 black cartridges use only pigmented black inks.
HP Black cartridge 51626A and some other older HP Black cartridges are only available with dye-based inks.
Generally speaking, HP desktop printers use dye-based colours. Only a limited number of Designjet machines use pigmented (UV) colours.
• Most older Epson cartridges only have a single ink available. The WJ-190 ink we suggest using in most 6-color Epson cartridges is a dye-based black ink, like the original.
Most of the new Epson 4-ink printers originally use Special Pigmented black inks, but can also use the cheaper WJ-190 dye-based black ink.
• Old Lexmark cartridges of the xxxx620 part numbers use a dye-based ink. All newer Lexmark cartridges use pigmented black ink and dye-based colours.
Let us know in the comments if you found this information useful.
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