Let me recommend two sites.
Here you can find quality, independent and detailed reviews of cameras, printers, scanners and other things.
This place sells archival inks and papers and keeps abreast of top quality printers. They have a self-interest here, but nevertheless the information is good.
My current favorite printer is a Canon i9100. It uses 6 colors in separate ink cartridges. It does up to 13″ x 19″ borderless prints. Canon says prints made on this machine will hold up for 25 years with proper care when using their inks and papers.
I also had an Epson 2000P that’s much slower. It’s a 6 color printer also, but used a color cartridge with five colors plus one black cartridge. It does 13″ x 19s” or 13″ up to 48″ banners.
Epson claims prints will last 100 years or more with their inks and papers. I love being able to print panoramas, but the Epson colors in this particular printer don’t pop off the page. That’s because it uses pigment based inks, something few inkjet printers do. Most use dye based inks. The pigmented inks are why the Epson prints have a long life, however.
Epson has a wide assortment of papers. Canon has few and those are only photo papers. I use Epson paper in my Canon and am reasonably sure that I’m not endangering the life of the print by mixing inks and paper in this case.
When I first started doing this I experimented with an Hewlett Packard printer and heavy watercolor papers that I bought at the local art supply store. Those I have hanging on my wall have faired well.
Inkjet speciality papers have a coating on them. These coatings may have something to do with preserving the inks, but I know from experimenting that these coatings keep the inks from seeping into the paper. Inks printed on them stay bright and the images sharp.
But printing on regular watercolor paper can be especially nice for some images. Good paper is at least as important to preservation, more so, I suspect, than applied coatings.
There are many places you can send out and have gicleé prints made. These can be pretty expensive, but you can make prints in nearly any size on many kinds of papers and canvases. Do some Google searches for these places.
I discovered recently that Kinkos, at least at some locations, is now doing large, quality prints on watercolor paper and canvas that they claim are archival. I paid $20 for an 18″ x 22″ print on watercolor paper.
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