KODAK PROFESSIONAL: Technical Information Bulletin

Thermal Dye Transfer Print Image Stability




Image stability measures the change in the way the print originally looked compared to how it will look when subjected to use or storage conditions. The goal is very little change.

Kodak uses photographic prints to benchmark image stability because of their high image quality, print appearance, feel, and image permanence. Various factors influence photographic print image stability, for example:

  • temperature

  • relative humidity

  • exposure to light

  • environmental effects (e.g., biological and chemical surface contamination)

The best way to determine print image stability is to conduct long-term testing under normal conditions. To shorten this process, Kodak accelerates the testing under controlled illumination, temperature and humidity conditions.

Thermal dye transfer technology rivals traditional photography for print image quality and appearance, especially when the thermal dye transfer print is laminated. Kodak Professional Ektatherm XLS XtraLife Color Ribbons produce thermal prints with excellent image stability -- suitable for indoor display at normal illumination levels. Prints made with Kodak Professional Ektatherm XtraLife Color Ribbon and displayed in a typical home or business setting should have an image stability comparable to silver-halide color prints. (Note: the image stability of silver-halide, black-and-white prints is superior to color prints because the image base is silver rather than dye).



To achieve maximum performance from your thermal dye transfer prints:

  • Avoid exposure to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. This applies to all print materials containing photographic dyes.

  • Avoid exposure to temperatures greater than 90°F (32°C) for extended periods of time. On a hot summer day, the temperature inside a car with closed windows can reach 160°F (71°C)!

  • Avoid contact with materials containing plasticizers, for example, polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) sleeves. This is especially important if the prints do not contain the protective laminate overcoat material provided by Ektatherm XtraLife Color Ribbon.

  • Do not touch the printed area with your bare fingers. Body oils and lotions cause chemical reactions, which result in print discoloration. This is especially important if the prints do not contain the protective laminate overcoat material provided by Ektatherm XtraLife Color Ribbon.

  • For optimum long-term storage, store at cool temperatures of 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C) and at a relative humidity of 30-50%. Do not allow moisture to condense on the prints.

Kodak, Kodak Professional, Ektatherm, and XtraLife are trademarks of Eastman Kodak Company.


Technical Information Bulletins provide information of limited or specific application. Responsibility for judging the applicability of the information for a specific use rests with the end user.