This go around I'm going to compare the durability of four types of paper and two types of ink. Durability generally means resistance to moisture, heat, and especially UV fading over time. The laboratory will be the window sill in my living room. We get enough sun, temperature, and moisture variation here in San Diego that I figure it should be valid enough test conditions.
The photo paper I used for this test ranges in price from
I printed the picture from the original RAW file and scanned the prints back to digital using a scanner. Yes, I know they all pretty much look the same. You can click on them to get a larger version if you're a pixel peeper, however this pretty much makes an initial point. All the prints look reasonably good out of the printer. The expensive paper obviously looks a little better when examining the print quality in person.
First in the lineup is the dye ink print with the photo paper that runs sub-$0.10 per sheet (8.5" x 11", street price).
Finally, the highest quality dye ink print comes from using this paper at approximately $0.60 per sheet (8.5" x 11", street price).
Now moving onto the pigment ink based prints; this test subject uses the same $0.30 per sheet material as the middle priced dye ink print.
Finally! Presenting the most expensive pigment print material used in this experiment. It only comes in 13" x 19" and larger rolls and generally runs a little over $2.00 per sheet (street price).
My initial guess at an experimental time span is to leave these pictures on my sill for two to three weeks, or basically when I start to see them aging. Then I'll scan the prints and publish the difference.
Just so I'm being fair - all inkjet prints that you wish to preserve should be kept out of direct sunlight (preferably behind glass if displayed). They should also be kept from extreme moisture or temperature. This is independent of brand, ink type, or quality of paper. All photos fade over time, even non-inkjet ones, if not properly cared for.