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In short:


  • goal of the test : to find the ink that fades least over the time
  • method: 2 summer months exposure of the ink samples on the kitchen window
  • paper: smooth and non-absorbing, durable Clairefontaine EUROPA Notemaker
  • control ink: Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue, known to fade quickly when exposed to the sunlight


Results of the test:


  1. HERO 234:
    pros: no fading over time (pigmented), true black, no shading, pretty water-resistant, defined line, no bleed-through on worse quality paper
    cons: dries in pens (especially in caps that are not completely airtight), high maintenance - pens need to be cleaned regularly, very thick
  2. Noodlers Black:
    pros: no significant fading over time, pretty water-resistant, easy maintenance, no bleed-through on worse quality paper, quick drying time
    cons: not true black (black brownish gray), shading, sometimes dry although no flow issues, no skipping
  3. Diamine Jet Black:
    pros: resists pretty well fading over time, super easy maintenance, no bleed-through on worse quality paper, quick drying time
    cons: not black (blue teal gray), shading, dry on the paper, dry flow issues possible, no water-resistance
  4. Pilot Black bottle 350ml:
    pros: excellent flow - very wet ink, deep black color (sometimes gray), beautiful shading
    cons: fades significantly, bleed-through on worse quality paper, less water-resistant



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I would have guessed that the Pilot black would have been a bit more robust. Interesting result.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet, 1.5.167-168

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Use of black is limited and the above information is good to have. Thank you.

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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Thanks for the excellent comparison. Very accurate, especially your inclusion of the "Control Ink". I'm looking forward to your next posts!

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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I haven’t seen a fading comparison like this before for black inks. The results are enlightening. You did a nice job, thank you.

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  • 4 years later...

This has reversed my thoughts on Pilot black ink.

I had been wondering to buy a pilot black ink bottle as my Diamine jet black smudges over a little drop of water.

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