The printing process selected for each type of output is chosen with the goal of providing the highest quality of output possible. As additional printing options are added, they will be described here.
Fine Art Printing Processes
Ultrachrome K3 Pigmented Ink Prints
The best quality inkjet prints available today are from Epson inkjet printers using Ultrachrome K3 Pigmented inks. When coupled with a high quality RIP (raster image processor), these printers are capable of making beautiful prints and can even print a wider range of colors and deeper, darker blacks than can be achieved on traditional photographic paper. The prints have a longer projected lifespan as well. According to Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc., Ultrachrome Pigmented Ink prints should last over 100 years before any noticable fading begins to occur. That's even longer than Crystal Archive prints.
Crystal Archive Photographic Prints
Crystal Archive Photographic Prints are printed on Fuji Crystal Archive photographic paper. The paper is exposed on a Cymbolic Sciences LightJet digital enlarger. The LightJet is a $500K enlarger which is the size of a small room and uses red, green and blue lasers to expose the traditional RC (resin coated) photographic paper. The photographic paper is then developed using traditional photographic chemistry. These prints are the highest quality photographic prints available today. According to Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc., LightJet prints on Fuji Crystal Archive paper have a lifespan of approximately 60 years, depending on display conditions, before any noticable fading begins to occur.
With the introduction of the K3 pigmented ink set from Epson, I absolutely prefer the Epson K3 pigmented ink prints to traditional photographic paper prints. As discussed above, they have a wider range of colors, deeper, richer blacks, and they last longer than traditional photographic prints. However, if you prefer a print made on photographic paper and developed in photographic chemicals, I recommend the LightJet prints. They are the highest quality and longest lasting photographic prints on photographic paper today.