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Input/Output/Workflow Scanning, printing, color management, and discussing best practices for control and repeatability

How do you print your digital image files?

View Poll Results: How do you print your digital image files?
Standard Inkjet (dye based like an HP) 76 34.55%
Archival Inkjet (pigment based like an Epson P2200) 64 29.09%
Dye Sublimation (Fuji Pictography, Kodak 8500) 4 1.82%
Color Laser Printer (Xerox/Tektronix Phaser) 7 3.18%
Large Format Inkjet (Roland, Epson 10000, Lightjet) 12 5.45%
Mini-lab (local professional photo lab) 46 20.91%
In-store Kiosk (Wal-Mart, Wolf Camera, Ritz Camera) 24 10.91%
Something else... 28 12.73%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 220. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-17-2005, 01:38 PM
blumesan blumesan is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 7
After having tried several of the more popular on-line sites, with mixed results, I have recently switched to White House Custom Color

I can't recommend them highly enough. They use a color managed workflow, requiring your images have an embedded color profile; so if your monitor is properly calibrated you get back just what you expect. Before you place your first order they ask that you send them 5 color images (8x10) which they will print and return at no charge whatever so you can compare the color rendition. They request images at 300ppi so resolution is maintained. Prices are very reasonable: 5x7 can be as low as $0.35 each and 8x10 is $2.00. Minimum order is $12.00 and shipping is free. The turnaround time is about 72 hours; they ship by UPS air. I just got back several 8x10 black & white prints that are excellent. No other on-line service or local lab has produced satisfactory B&W prints before.

I would like to hear comments from anyone who gives them a try.

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Old 11-24-2005, 02:16 PM
Bryan L Bryan L is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 23
I'm going to try mpix I think. They look pretty nice. I'll post my results.
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Old 01-23-2006, 07:15 PM
videosean videosean is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 115
Originally Posted by Chip Hildreth
... Wal-mart moved in an his printing business dried up practically overnight. I guess I've harbored a personal predjudice since then but... the Frontier must be good or all that business wouldn't have dried up. I'll probably try it soon just to see for myself.
The frontier is pretty cool and you're getting the same quality prints as you would for film if taken to the same lab - silver halide RA4 paper process - I actually don't like the frontier's prints from film as much as I do the digital prints. The Frontier is a digital machine and there's no getting around that I think and sometimes my prints from film just look a little harsh and every once in awhile over-sharpened or something. Film scans saved to a CD from a frontier are pretty nice but I've never used a high quality dedicated film scanner nor a drum scanner. They're definitely above and beyond what I can get from my flatbed microtek SM5900 when it comes to dark slides and overexposed negatives. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm trying to sell something... but I love what I get from it on the digital end of things

Photo labs in general have been drying up over the past 5 years or so. Not that I'm one to defend w*mart but I've been in the business myself since 98 and have seen quite a few places go as well as our own walk-in business dry up... some days things are so slow that I wonder why I stay in the business and I'm just an employee. It's as much the whole digital thing as anything else IMO although I'm sure w*marts have soaked up a ton of business in alot of areas Do something the big box guys can't or won't do and you might be okay.

I have a canon inkjet at home that does very nice prints but I worry about the longevity of those prints. I once left a piece of canon glossy photo paper out of it's bag and it turned brown after awhile... and ever since then I'd much rather have just about anything printed at the lab than on my inkjet. I've never done a real test between inkjet paper and the prints I get off a frontier but I'd like to. You know, put both under some daylight grow lamps or something that will simulate the aging effect. - I hadn't seen that mentioned yet in this thread. They have alot of frontier color profiles there (by state and store/lab) as well as information on how to use them. It's worked out pretty well for me - even though the machine I have my digital stuff printed on isn't listed there my prints from a frontier match what I see at home on my screen pretty well. In 3 years I've yet to be disappointed but then I'm not ever taking images straight from the camera to the printer. I could go on about the kind of crap I've seen come in from people that shoot weddings and whatnot on digital but I won't. I think most of them previously shot film for years and film gives you alot more range when it comes to printing and they aren't adapting very well IMO.

For prints 11x14 and larger I'll use a big epson printer (7600 I think is the model number) that takes roll paper up to 24" wide. The prints look very nice and I haven't seen that paper turn brown over time... maybe Epson's matte paper is just better than Canon's glossy I've seen canvas prints done on that same machine and have been unimpressed.
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Old 02-09-2006, 12:30 AM
RL Design RL Design is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 77
I have an Epson 2200 with archival ink and paper. However, it is horrbile about drinking ink (expecially light magenta). I have recently changed to a generic ink, but have not printed since. I am trying to save a bit of $$$. I have been overall happy with the printing, though I always seem to need to clean it between printing, because of lack of use. So there goes a bunch more ink

If I need multiple prints I have a local professional photo lab print them.
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Old 02-19-2006, 10:42 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,104
RL, schedule it to do a test print once maybe every second or third day, will save on ink
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Old 04-15-2006, 02:40 AM
Jann Lipka Jann Lipka is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 9
i own epson 1800 and 2100 but I have changed my printing to frontier .
( with my pro photo lab provider )

I like the photo feel .
besides matte look is not a novelty any more so I gofor the glossy look of
photo paper look .

I finf frontier colors better then from my epsons.
the price is good too .
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Old 04-15-2006, 04:19 AM
happysnapper happysnapper is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 4
Definitely minilab (frontier, noritsu, agfa, as long as the people working it know what the're doing).

Maybe it's because I'm young (and foolish ?? ) and worry about being able to see my pictures when I'm old and forgetful. My personal empirical, and distinctly unscientific (I stuck them on the wall beside each other), comparisons on high quality inkjet paper and inks versus silver halide have fallen far short of giving me faith in IJ.

Couple this with when have manufacturers ever done anything other than do tests that show their product in only the best of lights and when you try them in the real world they never work as under lab conditions. Take all claims of longevity with a large pinch of salt. At least with silver halide we know for real how long it will last. No lab tests, just look at your grandmas photo album.

On top of that having a lab print them is way cheaper.

I also agree with chico123's advice about sticking everything on a CD arranged, retouched and cropped. Hand it over and ask for them not to apply auto corrections, if they can't/won't do it, find somewhere else to do it even if it is 1cent more (I mean come on, we're talking memories and hard effort in the pursuit of perfection here). Do not use a kiosk, the're great if you rush off the street needing a quick print of a snapshot you've just taken but they are not for use by people who have worked on their images first, which probably covers just about everyone who might read this board.

The lab I use will also take USB memory sticks but if you don't want to leave one then a CD is nice and cheap.

The great thing about puting stuff on a CD is I can sit in front of my computer in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a biscuit unrushed deciding what I want then spend minimum time in the shop. Having said that shopping and me do not mix, the shopaholics amoungst you may feel differently

Anyway that's my two bits
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