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Old Nov 30, 2004, 8:40 AM   #1
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We're about to purchase our first dig camera. Wondering if it's cost effective to print pics at home? I plan on doing a little post-processing at home... but not so sure if I want to print here too. I'm not one to need "total control" over the printing process, assuming a service shop could do a good job.

So if we were to print at home, what would be a good high-resolution small photo printer?

If we print with a service, what's a good photo shop "chain"for digital pics? Wolf Camera? Drugstores? (I'm clueless here!) :?

And I've heard about uploading pics to an on-line service? Are they as quality as taking the pics to a photo shop? How about "Shutterfly"?

Basically, I'm wanting the best print quality - if I can get that home or elsewhere - I'll do it. :-)



Thanks,

Maryanne
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 10:06 AM   #2
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There are pros and cons to both approaches...

I tend to print most photos at home (but do use the online services from time to time when I have a lot of photos to print).

Forum Member RyanH did a comparison of online vendors not too long ago, and decided that http://www.winkflash.com offered the best quality. Their prices are now 16 cents per print, with 99 cents shipping regardless of your order size. See this thread for his comparison (prices have changed a little bit since then). His last post in the thread discusses results with winkflash:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=2

Others have also been satisified with their quality (and I was also impressed with the quality of prints a friend ordered recently from them, too). See the comments from some of the online service users in this thread:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=37

If you have a Costco nearby, their prices and quality are also pretty good (cheaper than the drug stores, wal-mart, etc.).

As for printing them yourself, you may want to see some of the comments in this thread:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=24


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Old Nov 30, 2004, 10:37 AM   #3
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Maryanne - That JimC is so darned efficient I'm almost intimidated!!

Heres a little different slant - Printing at home has ups and downs.

1) You are already going to be at your computer to download from your camera. A little or a lot of tweaking, then save somewhere. It takes a minute to hit CTL-P and your print is in your hand. No driving to a store, waiting and then driving back.

2) You do pay a price for the convenience. Costs of Printer + ink + paper or for Dye-sublimation (lab type prints) Costs of printer + paper + ribbon.

3) HP, Canon, Kodak and most others have small "docking stations" that recharge your camera and download to your computer and print out your selected shots.

4) However you can always add a printer to your system as you grow into digital photography.

Give some thought as to what you are going to do with the photos, after they are printed. Digital will cause you to rethink a whole lot of things.
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 11:04 AM   #4
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Most Walgrens and I think all Wal-Marts use the Fuji Frontier system, which is excellent. Other major drug chains probably use excellent equipment as well. I never found it inconvenient to drop the pictures on the way to wherever and pick them up on the way back – most offer 1 hour service.

Someone told me that Walgrens have a special for large numbers of prints for 19c each – I don't know whether that is permanent or was a sale. In any case I usually don't want to wait for online services to mail the shots. A more patient person might be happy with the online services though.

I like to print my own. I refill my ink tanks and use Red River Paper, so it is cheaper. I also do most prints to pass around in 5 X 7. I think they look better, and I wouldn't want to pay the 5 X 7 price for processing. You probably don't want to mess with refilling and profiling for aftermarket ink and paper. Using the printer manufacturer's ink and paper is pricier than having them printed. And it is far too much hassle if you like hard copies of large numbers of prints in standard sizes.


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Old Nov 30, 2004, 11:09 AM   #5
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If/when you opt to buy a photo printer, spend some time looking into the cost of ink and paper... it won't be long before those costs wil eclipse the cost you pay for the printer. In general, HP printers (great printers, BTW) cost more to feed than Epsons or Canons. HP and Lexmark printer cartridges include the print heads, which makes them more expensive. Canons have individual tanks for each color, so tend to be more frugal than the rest.I buy generic ink from the Web and shop specials on paper.

In general, printing larger pictures (over 4X6) cost less at home than having them done professionally, while the snapshot sizes are a toss-up. I love to make larger prints (up to 13 X 19), mat and frame them and give them to friends as gifts.

Another factor is the convenience of printing at home. We love printing pictures of the grandkids attached to e-mails for posting on the refrigerator.

If you're running Windows, you can just add a photo printer to your system then just use it to do pictures while using your regular printer for text.


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Old Nov 30, 2004, 11:22 AM   #6
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Just wanted to add my two cents. I currently use both - if I want just a handfull of photos or need them right away I print my own. Otherwise I will use winkflash. Here is my piece of advice for printing at home though - before you invest in a printer please take a look at a test photo from a few of them. I own a Canon printer, as does my father and a couple friends own Epsons - they both make OK and Great photo printers. But you can't tell that from people's adds or comments. Even if you don't buy from a local store go there and see test prints on actual photo stock. You MAY find you require a $300 printer to meet YOUR expectations of quality which might move you towards the vendor print option. If you do go with your own printer, I'll also second the Red River paper recommendation. I tried about 4 paper stocks for use on my Canon printer and none of them produced the quality of the Canon stock (which of course is very expensive) until Red River - I am extremely happy with their paper.
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 11:27 AM   #7
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slipe wrote:
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Someone told me that Walgrens have a special for large numbers of prints for 19c each – I don't know whether that is permanent or was a sale. In any case I usually don't want to wait for online services to mail the shots. A more patient person might be happy with the online services though.
Actually, I like the online services for some things, because it is sometimes more convenient and less hassle.

To explain, if I take a lot of photos at anevent (parties, weddings, etc.), I can upload all of the photos to a photo printing service that allows online albums (and most do now). I've used photoaccess.com in the past for this purpose, and more recently uploaded a lot of photos from a wedding to winkflash.com that others have ordered prints from.

This way,you can simply e-mail a link to the online albumsto friends, family members, etc., that may want prints. So, they're not bothering you to order prints for them, asking you to make CD's, e-mailthem copies, or asking you to print them on your home printer, etc.

As for Walgreens, there's one very close to our home now. They charge 29 cents per print for up to 50 prints, and 20 cents per print for more than 50 (current prices at the store here in Savannah, GA - I just called them to check). So, that's not too bad.

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Old Nov 30, 2004, 11:56 AM   #8
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the first thing that you want to is figure out whether you want to print out all sizes of pictures or primarially 4x6's. personally i bought a 4x6 printer to print pictures at home / on the road, and when i want a larger format print i will get it done at walgreens or somewhere like that. i have the new Lexmark P315 printer and i love it. i work at best buy so i had plenty of time to go and print out sample pages from my printer as well as the epson and hp equivalents. i was suprised to find that the lezmark had higher quality than the epson (which has a 6 color ink cartrage while the lexmark and hp have 3 ink cartrages) and the hp quality was in the middle. the price per print on the lexmark and the epson are 29c and the hp is 36c. both the hp and the lexmark have color lcd displays to allow you to view you pictures and select them to print, while the epson requires you to print a contact sheet to select your pictures for printing. the pricetag on the epson and the hp is 199 and the lexmark is 149. the only problem that i have with my lexmark is that is will not connect to your computer to print pictures off your harddrive.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"i am also looking at gettinga full size printer for printing my larger format prints. im looking at the iP6000D from canon because it has the larger screen and card readers so i can print from older cameras that arent pictbridge compatable. one thing to look out for in full size printers that have card readers is that when you print off of the card the printer will print at half resolution. (usually 2400x1200) i do not know why they do that (i assume it has to do with the read speed of the card reader) but if you use the pictbridge port you can still print at full resolution. so if you got a printer and you are underimpressed with the pictures coming from the card reader try using the pictbridge port or printing from your computer

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"sorry about writing abook but i prefer printing pictures myself cause it is more convienent to do it at home and it is more fun even though it is a little more expensive.
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 12:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the great advice everyone!

BTW... I'll be using a Panasonic FZ3 camera, so I don't believe it's equipped for use of a "docking station" (or is there something about the FZ3 I don't know?)

Andso for on-line services... the consensus is: "WINKFLASH.COM" (taking mental notes here).

For printing through local vendors: Sams, Walgreens (maybe CVS?)

At home: get an Epson or Canon printer (lower ink costs) and RedRiver paper.

I believe I'll be one to (like a previous poster) print just a handful at home, but take the majority to a store for drop-off. That way I'll have the ability to have at home printing capabilities but won't drain the $funds$ with constantly printing in bulk.

Here's the problem:Just yesterday Iwas given asa "hand-me-down" gift a DELL A940 "all-in-one" printer/scanner/fax/copier. I haven't plugged it up yet but researched reviews on it on-line. So far, it's not looking too good... people were complaining about "paper feeder problems" and the latest review says the ink-cartridges have already been discontinued anyway. (Sounds like I might have a big fat paper weight here!) I'm always leary of machines that say they "do it all". Yes, they can "do it all" but they don't do ANY of it WELL!

I just got a new computer, so I'm starting from scratch. I don't have a printer - period. Maybe I can use that Dell "all in one"just for B&W printing of simple documents (if I can get ink cartridges) and then get a small - high quality - photo printer as an add on.

Anyone recommend a specific model/type??



Maryanne


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Old Nov 30, 2004, 12:17 PM   #10
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maryanne wrote:
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Anyone recommend a specific model/type??

There are many very good photo printers on the market now. Personally, I just boughta new Canon Pixma ip4000. You can see my thoughts on why at this link (very fast, low cost per print,ability to print larger than 4x6" sizes, etc.).

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=39068&forum_id=24


It's not as "fancy" as some (no card readers, LCD Display, etc.), and doesn't use archival inks like some (for example the Epson Picturemate I also discussed in the same thread). But, it's plenty good enough for my needs.

You'll see a link to Steve's review of this model in this same thread, too.


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