IR IRK-4 inks – A first look

Ink Republic’s IRK-4 Inks – A first look 

Ink Republic has recently released its IRK-4 nano inks.  Designed to mimic the Epson K3 inks, the IRK-4 inks purportedly utilize nano-encapsulation in order to afford more consistent color fidelity, decrease the likelihood of clogging, and yield similar gloss characteristics as OEM (we cannot substantiate or refute this claim).  The IRK-4 nano inks are designed to be used in printers such as the Epson R2400, 3800, etc.  We have yet to receive any samples for testing though Ink Republic provided a sample print on semi-gloss paper from which comparisons were made to OEM K3 inks printed on a similar paper.

At first glance, the IRK-4 nano inks demonstrated very slight gloss differential/bronzing.  While the papers were not identical, the IRK-4 nano inks appeared as good as if not better than OEM in this respect.  IRK-4 inks’ glossiness was slightly less than OEM, though K3 inks are not noted for this characteristic. 

One of the strong suits of the K3 inks is the ability to reproduce accurate black and white images with great linearity and minimal metamerism especially when employing Epson’s ABW driver settings.  It is doubtful that IR profiled the paper or utilized the ABW driver to reproduce the image and as such, the black and white portion was disappointing with a greenish cast appearing depending on the source lighting.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE

IRK-4 scan b&w

IRK-4 scan b&w

In terms of spectrophotometer measurements, the IRK-4 nano pK ink demonstrated a disappointing L* value of 14.5 compared to OEM’s 8.2.  In addition a greater degree of metamerism was noted in the IRK-4 nano pK as mentioned above. 

IRK-4 vs. OEM pK

IRK-4 vs. OEM pK

Primary L*a*b color measurements were recorded in the chart and image below:

INK

RED

BLUE

GREEN

OEM

49.5,72.1,59.0

32.4,-63.6,19.2

9.5,34.3,-50.9

IRK-4 

47.1,66.2,49.7

47.0,-62.0,25.9

22.5,24.9,-47.9

 

IRK-4 v. OEM Primary Colors

IRK-4 v. OEM Primary ColorsPortion of IRK-4 Test Image

Portion of IRK-4 Test Image

Portion of IRK-4 Test Image

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2 responses

22 08 2009
leonardo

i have tried the new inks for a while now and you are right its nothing special at all i am a beta tester for them
which ink did you try v1 of k4 or v2
version 2 not good at all first lot ok

stick with k3 for the moment its better

22 08 2009
inkquisitor

Ink Republic did not indicate whether this image was printed with v1 or v2 IRK-K4 inks. My impression is that IR is working on v2. But you have identified one of the (many) problems with this process, namely that these inks are constantly being reformulated and never seem to be ready for prime time. If you happen to have any additional information that you would like to share on the IRK-K4 inks and can provide specific information/samples we would love to hear from you. Thanks!

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