"Better than dropping your work at a photo lab front desk, unsure where it's going. The Mullen Brothers greet you and stay in touch through the whole printing, mounting and installation process."
Thomas Winz, Photographer
We get asked all the time why we don’t offer digital c-prints. The answer to that question would have been different ten years ago, but evolving print technology has changed the relative merits of both techniques. In short, we now offer only inkjet printing because we think it’s better. Here’s why:
1) Permanence. C-prints are made with chemicals that degrade over time. Inkjet prints made using pigmented inks are proven to last much longer than c-prints. Testing by Wilhelm Imaging Research shows a Display Permanence Rating for Lambda prints of 40 years (framed under glass) and 49 years (framed with UV filter), while prints made on an Epson Stylus Pro will hold their color and saturation for 108 and 175 years, respectively. For some applications, longevity is not a concern, but why not print for longevity if you have that option?
2) Paper Options. With a c-print, you have some wonderful paper options, as long as you’re looking for glossy. With inkjet, on the other hand, you have literally hundreds of paper options ranging from very light to extra heavy, smooth to course, matte to metallic. We believe it’s important to be able to select a paper that complements the image.
3) Print Quality. Of course this is subjective, but many professionals in this field, ourselves included, feel that the newest generation of print heads and ink sets provide a color range and image sharpness that is superior to that available through digital c-print technology.
A lot of photographers we talk to who are selling prints of their work remind us that the term “C-Print” has a distinct marketing advantage over the term “Inkjet print” given the long history of traditional photo printing versus the relatively recent development of inkjet printing. That's a valid reason to go the digital c-print route, but doing so comes at the expense of quality and longevity.