Choosing Printer Technology
Photo inkjet printers offer two types of ink systems: dye-based and pigment-based. There are advantages to each. Which is right for you?

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Dye inks tend to print more vibrant and saturated colors, better than a pigment printer (although this gap is closing with the latest pigment inks), and lend themselves well to traditional RC (resin-coated) photo papers like gloss and satin.

Pigment inks will adhere to almost any surface you can feed through the printer, including fine-art papers like watercolor, canvas, backlit film and even cloth.

Your ink and paper choices also affect the archival life of your prints. Dye inks have a typical life of 40 to 100 years, depending on the paper used and how the print is displayed. Pigment inks typically last longer, with most offering a life of well over 100 years and often more than 200 years.

Given the much longer archival life and wider range of compatible media, why wouldn’t everyone choose a pigment printer? Dye ink still wins the contest for the most saturated colors. However, both ink technologies have advanced considerably in recent years, bringing more vibrant colors to pigment inks and better longevity to dye.

The bottom line is that before you buy a printer, compare output to see which you prefer. Many photographers actually prefer the more subdued palette of pigment-based inks. There’s no substitute for making a firsthand comparison.

Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II
With blazing speed, wide-format 13×19-inch output and Canon’s ChromaLife 100 dye-based, eight-color ink system, the PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II is the affordable desktop printer for photographers who want vibrant, high-gloss prints that will last up to 100 years. Learn more »
• 8×10-inch borderless prints in just 47 seconds
• FINE printhead technology
• 2-picoliter droplet size

Canon PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II
Step up to the longevity and unrivaled quality of pigment-based ink with the 13×19-inch PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II. The ultimate desktop solution for professional-quality inkjet prints, the 10-color Canon LUCIA ink system produces vivid color and stunning black and white prints on a wide range of papers. Learn more »
• Use papers up to 1.2mm thick
• 8×10-inch borderless prints
• 2-picoliter droplet size