Can Home Produced Prints Equal Lab Prints?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Denis Boisclair, Nov 12, 2004.

  1. I have had some very good quality prints by uploading to an online
    Lab: 7"x5" cost £0.49 - about $0.88 I believe.
    I am wondering if it is worth upgrading my present printer which is
    quite old (Epson Stylus Photo 700), with a view to making my own
    prints - provided they are as good as a quality Lab.
    I am surprised at how much the price of printers has dropped - the
    Epson Stylus Photo R300)(of which I have read good reviews) can be
    bought here in the Uk for around £86 - approx.$155.
    My camera is a Canon G6.
    Any advice will be appreciated.

    Denis Boisclair
    Cheshire, England
     
    Denis Boisclair, Nov 12, 2004
    #1
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  2. Denis Boisclair

    Larry Guest

    In article
    <>,
    says...
    > I have had some very good quality prints by uploading to an online
    > Lab: 7"x5" cost £0.49 - about $0.88 I believe.
    > I am wondering if it is worth upgrading my present printer which is
    > quite old (Epson Stylus Photo 700), with a view to making my own
    > prints - provided they are as good as a quality Lab.
    > I am surprised at how much the price of printers has dropped - the
    > Epson Stylus Photo R300)(of which I have read good reviews) can be
    > bought here in the Uk for around £86 - approx.$155.
    > My camera is a Canon G6.
    > Any advice will be appreciated.
    >
    > Denis Boisclair
    > Cheshire, England
    >


    This reply is probably more long winded than you wanted,
    but I have the time so here it is:

    Printing at home is a mixed blessing.

    Unless you use only the very best ink and paper, ink jet
    prints are prone to fade.

    Using only the best ink and paper is expensive, and you
    will pay much more "PER PRINT" than you will at your
    current lab costs.

    Dye-Sub printing is sometimes more permanent than ink-jet
    printing, but the "per print" costs is even higher than
    "best" quality ink-jet.

    The cost of operating my Dye-Sublimation printer (Olympus
    P-400) is just under $3 (US) per 8x10 print. I have not
    been using the dye-sub printers that I own long enough to
    know what their "real world" print life is like, but some
    on-line research leads me to believe that it is somewhere
    between ink-jet and lab prints. (closer to the ink-jet end
    of the spectrum)

    Paper & ink cost for my "Best" ink-jet (I dont want to
    start a flame war so I wont mention brands here) come in at
    about $2.50 to $3.50 per 8x10 print, and they are by no
    means permanent.

    Each brand of printer has its own "best ink" and its own
    "best paper" (not always the same brand as the printer for
    paper OR for ink) Wars can be fought in newsgroups about
    which is the best photo printer. If you want to get into
    THAT battle, try a printer newsgroup.. You will find them
    full of fanboys for every brand of printer, every ink
    supplier, and everbody who makes paper.

    What you consider to be "as good as a quality Lab" might be
    different from what I consider "as good as a quality Lab"

    I do photo work for people other than myself, and "turn-
    around" time is an important factor in whether or not I get
    to do the job.(most of my photos are delivered same-day and
    on-site)

    Unless you are in a situation where you MUST have the print
    almost immediately, ink-jet & dye-sub printing is NOT
    economical.

    Up front, fresh from the printer, most of my ink-jet prints
    are brighter and clearer, with more "sparkle" and "depth"
    to them than the average "LAB PRINT" I warn my customers
    that these are ink-jet prints and they are NOT to be
    considered permanent and WILL (not might, but WILL) fade
    over time, and that the time they last will depend on how
    and where they are displayed. I tell them that the ink-jet
    print is made to show them how good the photo CAN look.

    I always include a cdrom with the final jpg files with a
    set of prints, and I tell the customer how to get prints
    made from them. I also explain that these are NOT to be
    treaded like their kids music cds and they should be stored
    just as negatives would be, in a cool, dry, dark place.

    I also explain that Lab prints can be done by me or through
    their own lab, but I add my own "markup". The choice is
    theirs to make. I've had no complaints over the last couple
    of years, and I have MANY repeat customers year to year.
    About 50% choose to have me do the re-prints, and the rest
    take 'em to CostCo or Wal-Mart.

    I have several ink-jet prints in frames and under glass
    that never see sunlight, and are only lit by incandescent
    room lighting. The oldest of them is 6 years old and
    beginning to have Very VISIBLE fading. (but those were done
    with a "6 years ago" ink-paper combination)

    On the other hand, I have several lab prints in the same
    room, for the same length of time, and a couple of them are
    faded (and two are showing some "browning" of the photo
    paper and would probably be prone to cracking if removed
    from the frame).


    --
    Larry Lynch
    Mystic, Ct.
     
    Larry, Nov 12, 2004
    #2
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  3. On Fri, 12 Nov 2004 04:47:29 -0500, Larry <> wrote:

    >This reply is probably more long winded than you wanted,
    >but I have the time so here it is:


    And very interesting it was too.

    How do inkjet and dye sub prints compare with those made on 'proper'
    photographic paper? I mean those made by scanning lasers onto light sensitive
    paper and then developing it like a 'real' photograph.

    AIUI the machine is very expensive, but the consumables are very cheap, just the
    paper and the developing chemicals.

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
     
    Christopher Pollard, Nov 12, 2004
    #3
  4. Hi Denis,

    << I am wondering if it is worth upgrading my present printer which is
    quite old (Epson Stylus Photo 700), with a view to making my own
    prints - provided they are as good as a quality Lab. >>

    Recently, I have been having prints made at Costco (Bend, Oregon) and been very
    happy with the results. Pricing is good -- 4x6 for 0.19 cents; 12x18 color
    prints for $2.99, etc. Fuji Crystal Archive paper is used and the quality is
    very good for the price.

    The trick is to have Photoshopped the pictures before bringing them to Costco
    (or like place). I'm impressed with what leaves my monitor after Photoshop
    looks the same on the output prints.

    I presently have two Epson printers and a dye-sub 4x6 printer. They presently
    get very light use at home. I suppose if you need instant gratification -- home
    printing makes sense. I'm very happy with Costco and the one-hour service.

    Best,

    Conrad


    Conrad Weiler
    Camp Sherman, Oregon
     
    Conrad Weiler, Nov 12, 2004
    #4
  5. Denis Boisclair

    Marcel Guest

    Conrad,
    Do you crop them @ 4x6 BEFORE taking them to Costco or do you let Costco do
    the job?
    Thanks,
    Marcel

    "Conrad Weiler" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi Denis,
    >
    > << I am wondering if it is worth upgrading my present printer which is
    > quite old (Epson Stylus Photo 700), with a view to making my own
    > prints - provided they are as good as a quality Lab. >>
    >
    > Recently, I have been having prints made at Costco (Bend, Oregon) and been

    very
    > happy with the results. Pricing is good -- 4x6 for 0.19 cents; 12x18 color
    > prints for $2.99, etc. Fuji Crystal Archive paper is used and the quality

    is
    > very good for the price.
    >
    > The trick is to have Photoshopped the pictures before bringing them to

    Costco
    > (or like place). I'm impressed with what leaves my monitor after Photoshop
    > looks the same on the output prints.
    >
    > I presently have two Epson printers and a dye-sub 4x6 printer. They

    presently
    > get very light use at home. I suppose if you need instant gratification --

    home
    > printing makes sense. I'm very happy with Costco and the one-hour service.
    >
    > Best,
    >
    > Conrad
    >
    >
    > Conrad Weiler
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon
     
    Marcel, Nov 12, 2004
    #5
  6. Denis Boisclair

    bob Guest

    "Marcel" <> wrote in
    news::

    > Do you crop them @ 4x6 BEFORE taking them to Costco or do you let
    > Costco do
    >


    I only crop mine if the cropping is important. That is, the automatic
    cropping will take equally from the top and bottom. If I shot it that way
    there's no reason to change it. OTOH, sometimes I shoot keeping the camera
    back vertical and then I want to crop the foreground.

    Bob
     
    bob, Nov 12, 2004
    #6
  7. Denis Boisclair

    Denis Marier Guest

    I had about 300 prints made on Fuji mat paper for $0.25 CAD ea.
    Today I am testing this new Shoppers Drug Mart set up. They are printing on
    Kodak paper.
    They are charging $0.29 CAD for ea. 5"X7" print. I am anxious to compare
    Fuji and Kodak
    paper. Maybe someone has already evaluated the results of Fuji and Kodak.
    Some of my friends are buying paper on sale and printing their own picture
    with an ink jet printer. They evaluated their cost to about $0.25 per 5
    1/2"X4" print.
    Providing you do not accidentally sneezed or put a wet finger on a fresh
    print the quality is comparable to the commercial one. Each home made print
    is covered with plastic to save guard the quality of the color. Now that
    the color laser printer is more affordable. Covering the laser printed
    picture with transparency may not be required. The only time you may need
    transparency cover is when an hardcover album is used.

    "Conrad Weiler" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi Denis,
    >
    > << I am wondering if it is worth upgrading my present printer which is
    > quite old (Epson Stylus Photo 700), with a view to making my own
    > prints - provided they are as good as a quality Lab. >>
    >
    > Recently, I have been having prints made at Costco (Bend, Oregon) and been

    very
    > happy with the results. Pricing is good -- 4x6 for 0.19 cents; 12x18 color
    > prints for $2.99, etc. Fuji Crystal Archive paper is used and the quality

    is
    > very good for the price.
    >
    > The trick is to have Photoshopped the pictures before bringing them to

    Costco
    > (or like place). I'm impressed with what leaves my monitor after Photoshop
    > looks the same on the output prints.
    >
    > I presently have two Epson printers and a dye-sub 4x6 printer. They

    presently
    > get very light use at home. I suppose if you need instant gratification --

    home
    > printing makes sense. I'm very happy with Costco and the one-hour service.
    >
    > Best,
    >
    > Conrad
    >
    >
    > Conrad Weiler
    > Camp Sherman, Oregon
     
    Denis Marier, Nov 13, 2004
    #7
  8. Larry <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > In article
    > <>,
    > says...
    > > I have had some very good quality prints by uploading to an online
    > > Lab: 7"x5" cost 0.49 - about $0.88 I believe.> > I am wondering if it is worth upgrading my present printer > >


    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

    >
    > This reply is probably more long winded than you wanted,
    > but I have the time so here it is:
    >
    > Printing at home is a mixed blessing.


    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Thank you for your VERY detailed answer - and thanks to everyone else
    who replied.

    My overall impression is that I should carry on sending to a Lab for
    my prints -after editing of course - particularly as I will not be
    ordering a vast number!


    This makes the choice of a printer for general work much easier - i.e.
    for printing text and colour, where included with downloaded articles
    for example.My present Epson Stylus colour Photo 700 although quite
    old now, does a reasonable job, although it is slow for text.A
    dedicated photo printer is obviously not the ideal for that kind of
    work.

    I have a Brother Laser printer which performs remarkably well - but I
    was aghast to discover that a new drum - which it needs - costs about
    £100 - around $180 dollars so now its gathering dust!

    Denis
     
    Denis Boisclair, Nov 13, 2004
    #8

  9. > My overall impression is that I should carry on sending to a Lab for
    > my prints -after editing of course - particularly as I will not be
    > ordering a vast number!
    >
    >
    > This makes the choice of a printer for general work much easier - i.e.
    > for printing text and colour, where included with downloaded articles
    > for example.My present Epson Stylus colour Photo 700 although quite
    > old now, does a reasonable job, although it is slow for text.A
    > dedicated photo printer is obviously not the ideal for that kind of
    > work.
    >
    > I have a Brother Laser printer which performs remarkably well - but I
    > was aghast to discover that a new drum - which it needs - costs about
    > £100 - around $180 dollars so now its gathering dust!
    >
    > Denis


    I also have a Brother Laser, and a Canon inkjet. The prices for
    printing with the laser are lower than either the Canon or the
    commercial stuff, though I don't use it of course for color photos. I
    have had to replace the TONER once, but that was after thousands of
    pages. I expect the drum to last through several toner cartridges.
    The toner costs the equivalent to three cartridges from my Old
    Lexmark.

    The Canon does a VERY good job of printing photos. I do not use a lab.
    It took a few prints for me to get the color, brightness and
    saturation settings. But then, if you give stuff to a lab, chances
    are they aren't going to worry about these settings.

    Do you do any pre-processing on your computer, or do you get images
    printed straight from card?
     
    Don Stauffer in Minneapolis, Nov 13, 2004
    #9
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