Now that I have an Epson printer (I got a really good deal on a reconditioned one from Epson), I can compare the quality of the Durabrite inks with the HP Vivera inks.
Some specifics: I have an HP Photosmart C8180 All-in-one that uses Vivera (#02 cartridge) inks, and an Epson Stylus CX7450 that uses Durabrite (#69 cartridge) inks. The images were printed onto Bubble-Jet-Set treated fabric, and rinsed with Bubble-Jet-Set Rinse and cold water.
Last time I tested just the HP Vivera inks, and noticed some fading of the inks when the fabric was rinsed. This time I got the same slight fading again. The first image is printed on HP’s “normal” setting, the second on “best.” On each, the top print is not rinsed, while the bottom one has been rinsed in the BJS Rinse:
I originally chalked the fading up to the truth of the rumors that Vivera inks just aren’t waterproof. So imagine my surprise when the Epson Durabrite inks faded just as much, if not more, when rinsed:
In terms of image quality, the Epson printout was brighter than the HP, but the HP colors seemed truer to the original (more red than pink).
Next up will be the “fade test.” I’ve heard the claim that HP Vivera inks will very quickly fade in sunlight, as opposed to Epson Durabrites, which remain stable. I taped an HP Vivera printout in a west-facing window and left it for two weeks, and the result showed no fading. I don’t think that was really long enough for an accurate test, though, so I’m going to repeat it, and this time include an Epson Durabrite printout. In addition, I’ll include a piece of commercial fabric and a piece of hand-dyed fabric for comparison (my window will look really bright, I think!). I’ll try to leave those in the sunlight for several months, and periodically record the results.
I can tell you that I’ve had an HP Vivera printout hanging on my design board for about 6 months now, and I can’t detect any fading. It’s not in direct sunlight, of course, but then, I try to keep all my fabrics out of direct sunlight.