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Lightfastness Test Criteria for Epson Stylus Photo Printers

(Indoor Display Conditions)

Light Source: Fluorescent Light
Intensity: 70,000 lux
Temperature: 24°C
Humidity: 60%RH
Glass mount: 2mm, soda lime
Fade criteria: Pure YMC 30% loss at OD = 1
Display-life calculation: Total illuminance / (500lux x 10 hours x 365 days = 1 year)

Lightfastness rating is developed and conducted by Epson using accelerated testing of prints on specialty media, under fluorescent light (indoor display conditions) with glass mount. (Click here for a detailed explanation of the tests).

Temperature, humidity and some atmospheric gases may also affect the rate of fading, especially when humidity is high. The estimated lightfastness period does not indicate the colour changing or the durability of the paper itself. Epson does not guarantee longevity of prints. Epson recommends that your prints be stored in a photo album (or plastic photo storage box) or in appropriate sleeves commonly available from most camera shops.

After printing, approximately one day will be needed to settle the colour. The colour just after being printed may change as the print dries. This change is not caused by light.


Taking Care of Photographs

With proper care, photos printed with Epson Stylus Photo range of printers will preserve your memories for many years. The photo inks for Epson's new photo printers are specially formulated to achieve improved lightfastness when used with Epson photo papers for prints that are properly displayed or stored.

As with traditional photos, proper care will minimize colour changes and maximize display life. For indoor display, Epson recommends that prints be framed under glass or a protective plastic sleeve to protect the prints from atmospheric contaminants like humidity, cigarette smoke, and high levels of ozone. And, as with all photographs, the prints should be kept out of direct sunlight. For proper storage, Epson recommends that your prints be stored in a photo album (or plastic photo storage box) in acid free, archival sleeves commonly available from most camera shops and other retailers.

The actual display life of photographs will vary in accordance with lighting conditions and exposure to atmospheric contaminants. Independent testing by Wilhelm Imaging Research,, indicates that prints from Epson Stylus Photo printers have the following lightfastness ratings on Epson papers when displayed under glass in normal indoor lighting conditions:

Epson Stylus Photo 870, 890, 1270 and 1290:
Matte Paper Heavyweight: 20 years
Premium Glossy Photo Paper: 10 years
Photo Paper: 6 years

Epson Stylus Photo 2000P:
Premium Semigloss Photo Paper: upto 140 years
Glossy Paper - Photo Weight: upto 180 years
Watercolor Paper - Radiant White: upto 200 years
Archival Matte Paper: upto 200 years

Epson Stylus Photo 2100:
Premium Semigloss Photo Paper: 45 years
Glossy Paper - Photo Weight: 45 years
Enhanced Matte Paper/Archival Matte: 75 years
Watercolor Paper - Radiant White: 75 years
Velvet Fine Art Paper: 45 years

Epson Stylus Photo R210, R310 and RX510:
Premium Glossy Photo Paper: 20 years

Epson Stylus Photo R800
Premium Glossy Photo Paper: over 80 years
Archival Matte Paper: over 100 years
Water Colour Radiant White: over 100 years

Epson Stylus Photo 810, 830 and 830U:
Premium Glossy Photo Paper: 10 years
Premium Semigloss Photo Paper: 10 years
ColorLife Photo Paper: 25 years
Matte Paper Heavyweight: 20 years

Epson Stylus Photo 895, 915, 925 and 935:
Premium Glossy Photo Paper: 10 years
Premium Semigloss Photo Paper: 10 years
ColorLife Photo Paper: 25 years
Matte Paper Heavyweight: 20 years

Epson Stylus C63 and C83:
Matte Paper Heavyweight: Up to 80 years

Epson Stylus CX5100 and CX5300:
Matte Paper Heavyweight: Up to 80 years

Epson PictureMate:
PictureMate Photo Paper (Ink bundled paper) : Over 80 years
Premium Glossy Photo Paper : Over 80 years

The test conditions are reported more fully on the Wilhelm web site with new information regarding potential ozone contamination.

Epson has received inquiries from users regarding a colour shift on some prints by Stylus Photo 870/1270 printers on Epson Premium Glossy Photo paper. We have discovered that such colour shifts are possible in unprotected display conditions due to atmospheric contaminants, particularly high concentrations of ozone, and are not due to exposure to light. For display conditions where protection of prints from atmospheric conditions is not possible, Epson recommends Epson Matte Paper - Heavyweight or Epson Photo Paper, which are more resistant to ozone and other atmospheric contaminants.

By taking the steps described above to protect prints from direct sunlight and contaminants, you can preserve your photos for many years.

History of Lightfast Prints

Since the introduction of the first Epson Stylus Colour printer in 1994, Epson's goal has been to improve our printers to the point that prints would have the image quality of traditional silver halide photos. With the introduction of the Epson Stylus Photo 1200 printer in 1998, many professionals felt we had achieved or surpassed that goal.

While Epson has rapidly advanced its Micro Piezo printing technology to set new standards for photographic print quality, lightfastness (the resistance of prints to light induced fading) posed a technological challenge. Our research department began working on this issue in 1994, and introduced two solutions, one with archival Colorfast Ink for professional applications and one with dye-based photo inks. The new Epson Stylus Photo printers produced prints on photo papers with greatly improved lightfastness. Tremendous excitement was generated among photo enthusiasts when this new technology was introduced to the market. A digitally produced, gallery-ready print would now last for many years when properly stored or displayed.

Epson's leading edge improvements in lightfastness generated a greater focus by Epson and others on other potential causes of colour shifts. The effects of ozone and similar contaminants on ink jet prints have not been well understood because ink jet prints were previously so susceptible to light induced fading. Epson is now vigorously investigating the effects of ozone and other contaminants so that we can offer users even longer lasting, more durable photo prints.

Epson's latest line of Epson Stylus Photo printers have justifiably been received as innovative products that offer the best available solution for desktop photo printing. With the information provided above, you can produce lightfast prints to enjoy for many years with proper display or storage.

For the professional photographer, the Epson Stylus Photo 2000P and the Pro Graphics range offered revolutionary levels of durability and lightfastness up to 200 years. Testing has thus far found far less fading issues associated with high ozone levels with these archival ColorFast Ink prints.

The latest generation of Epson Photo Printers, the Epson Stylus Photo 2100, offers new UltraChrome Ink. This offers increased pigment density for a wider range of media support. This pigment colourant delivers excellent light and gas fastness because it exists in the particle, so only the surface is affected by light and gas, and the colour inside remains vivid.

DURABrite Inks & Papers

Epson's latest breakthrough technology is the innovative Epson DURABrite INK. This unique ink ensures prints on plain and specialty paper are smudge-resistant, water-resistant and fade resistant. Resisting the ravages of ultraviolet light is one of DURABrite INK's strongest features. Epson accelerated tests have shown that documents and photographs printed with DURABrite INK last up to 80 years* on Epson Matte Paper - Heavyweight. DURABrite INK also withstands the damages of airborne contaminants. A further development down the path of improving durability of prints.

But again, no matter what inkset you choose, for indoor display Epson recommends that prints be framed under glass to protect prints from atmospheric contaminants (such as cigarette smoke) that will damage any paper print over years of display. For more information on DURABrite Ink click here.

DURABrite Photo Paper

Epson now produces paper specially designed for printing photographs. Epson DURABrite Photo Paper allows you to create long lasting, high quality photos that are water and fade resistant. For more information on DURABrite Photo Paper click here.

Taking Care of Your Premium Glossy Photo Prints

As with all photos, care should be taken to preserve the long life of your prints. All colour dyes change over time, but a few simple precautions will keep them in good condition for years to come.

Make sure your prints are completely dry. For best results, allow your prints to dry thoroughly for 24 hours before framing.

If you want to store your prints in a stack, allow them to dry individually for at least 15 minutes, then place a sheet of plain paper between the individual sheets in the stack. Allow a full day for the prints to dry before removing the plain paper.

Do not use a hair drier to dry your prints, and do not dry them by placing them in direct sunlight.

Avoid exposure to atmospheric contaminants or direct sunlight.

Storing your prints in photo albums protects them from both airborne contaminants and light and assures them the longest life. We recommend using acid-free, archival sleeves that are commonly available from camera shops and other retailers.

If you're displaying your prints in picture frames, mount them under glass to minimize exposure to humidity, cigarette smoke, and other atmospheric contaminants. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near sources of bright light. Your displayed prints will last longer when protected from the environment, but will not last as long as prints stored in photo albums.

If you're unable to limit your prints' exposure to airborne contaminants and light (for example, if you use them as postcards or display them on a refrigerator), they may discolour. The degree of discolouration depends on the environment and how much contaminants they're exposed to.


  • Don't display or store your prints outdoors.
  • Don't store your prints where they are exposed to chemicals, such as in a darkroom.
  • Keep your unprotected prints away from sources of ozone, such as monitors and TV's, air cleaners or other sources of high voltage electricity.
  • If you're framing your photo, avoid doing so when humidity is high, as condensation may form behind the glass. If the humidity is too high, store your print in a photo album or plastic sleeve until the humidity drops.


Another source of Lightfastness Tests can be found at