Epson Addresses Photo Print Problem

When Epson unveiled new, longer-lasting inks this past summer, the printer maker claimed it had tackled the problem of quick-fading digital photo prints.

The printers that use the inks - Epson's Stylus Photo 870, 875DC, and 1270 models - have held up their end of the bargain. The paper that the printers use has been another story.

Some users - less than 1 percent, Epson says - have reported that the cyan dye used in the inks can fade to orange if left out in the open air.

Epson blames the problem on its Premium Glossy Photo Paper, which "doesn't offer the same level of protection against airborne contaminants" as Epson's other papers, says Keith Kratzberg, the company's director of photo imaging.

So how do you protect your digital prints? By storing them in a picture frame or photo album. For prints that can't be stored that way, Kratzberg suggests using Epson's Photo Paper or Matte Paper Heavyweight.

Epson has released a reformulated version of its Premium Glossy paper. The packaging will state that the paper is intended for stored prints.

There are no announced plans to reimburse customers affected by the color shift, although Epson has set up a phone number (562/276-1311) for customers experiencing problems.

The color shift has been embarrassing for Epson - and irritating to affected users - but Kratzberg sees a bright side to the situation: "We've learned that long display life is really important to people, and they need that [Premium Glossy] paper for that application."

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