This ink has the odd distinction of being the most lightfast ink ever tested at the Aardenburg Image Archives. That is to say, that at the length of exposure it has received, it is the only ink set designed for black & white that is by far outpacing the HP, Canon and Epson inks that have multiple shades of gray in them. It is even far outpacing any other ink set.
I did not design this ink to be many magnitudes more permanent than Canon, Epson and HP inks. The secret of this ink, is pure carbon expertly ground to tiny tolerances and encased in a micro-encapsulation of acrylic co-polymer. If fading in the absolute number one criteria for you – this is the ink set you need to use. Anything else, and everything else is a compromise.
Carbon inks are perfectly formulated (one shade at a time) so that the color tone *ab values are very close from shade to shade which results in a very linear, photographic warmth. Just like our Neutral ink set this produces a perfect reflection of color tone back to the human eye across the entire tonal range. It’s a very precise way to express a Carbon photograph without the illusion used by color inks. It is very monochromatic (yet toned.)
Carbon inks are often used by our printing customers to “SplitTone” from a cooler high tone. In this case, Carbon shades 2,3,4 are used in conjunction with either Selenium or Neutral shades 5,6,(7).
In terms of the pure aesthetic beauty of carbon, I have been using it in my own work a great deal lately. I have settled on making it even warmer by choosing a paper that attenuates the warmth. Canson Rag Photographique is even warmer printing than my own Type 2 paper.
Now that all of the Piezography inks are both matte and glossy compatible, I’ve even been using Carbon on the baryta papers with the MPS Black shade 1 option and the Piezography Gloss Overprint. The dMax combined with the shadow detail is amazing!