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Online Printing Review

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Laskina, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. Laskina

    Laskina
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    I don’t know if this has been done already but I needed to know which online printing facility would give me the best results from my digital camera (EOS 300D) – so I thought I would test four of the most popular sites …

    - BonusPrint (http://www.bonusprint.co.uk/)

    - Kodak’s Ofoto (http://www.ofoto.co.uk/Welcome.jsp)

    - Pixology (via Jessops) (http://www.jessops.com)

    - PhotoBox (via blueyonder) (http://photos.blueyonder.co.uk/)

    I have score them out of twenty points on the four things I consider to be most important; easy of use, upload speed, delivery time and picture quality. Each category will be scored out of four except picture quality which will be out of eight (as for me this is double the importance of the others).

    I used ten prints with different subjects, lighting, etc and all were printed at 6x4 on glossy paper. I use Paint Shop Pro to edit the images so I haven’t included photo editing in the scores though they all offer a limited capability.


    -- Easy of Use --
    This rates how easy it is to select your photos and choice the print size, etc of each photo. I don’t mind downloading software so this didn’t effect the scores.

    - BonusPrint 2/4
    The downloaded software looks very dated and though it is easy enough to use you feel it could be a lot better.

    - Ofoto 4/4
    No downloading of software you just drag and drop the images onto the browser. Nice size preview thumbnails and easy selection of print size,etc.

    - Pixology 4/4
    Downloaded software which has a very easy selection process. Print size and printing options very straight forward.

    - PhotoBox 3/4
    No software download instead you FTP you images up to their server and then select items from the browser. Choosing the print options wasn’t that intuitive but they do show the area of the photo that will be printed (if the photo is cropped) which was a nice touch.


    -- Upload Speed --
    Scoring on simple the time it takes to upload the images.

    - BonusPrint 3/4
    Quick upload.

    - Ofoto 1/4
    Very, very slow to upload. It was the first upload I started and the last to finish.

    - Pixology 4/4
    Very quick.

    - PhotoBox 4/4
    FTP upload means a super first upload.


    -- Delivery Time --
    I uploaded and order the photos on a Friday morning and each service offered first class postage.

    - BonusPrint 1/4
    Arrived Tuesday

    - Ofoto 1/4
    Arrived Tuesday

    - Pixology 1/4
    Arrived Tuesday

    - PhotoBox 4/4
    Arrived Saturday!


    -- Print Quality --
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and judging image quality is never an exact science but I have based the scores on richness of colour, contrast and the realism of the colour. Note that all the photos were printed very well and other than the colour/contrast/realism the quality was high.

    - BonusPrint 6/8
    Generally a good range of colour and likeness but the colours are a washed out.

    - Ofoto 6/8
    Good prints with nice colours, contrast and realism of print. The prints were a little dark but the quality of the paper was the highest.

    - Pixology 4/8
    Colours are good but all the prints seems are too dark – not overly but enough that I felt disappointed. These prints have the most cropping with about 3-4mm lost from the edge of the original image.

    - PhotoBox 7/8
    Very good prints; rich colours, contrasts are good and there is a fine realism of colour.


    -- Summary –
    Here are the total scores

    - BonusPrint 12/20
    Easy to use, fast upload but a shame the colours were slightly washed out.

    - Ofoto 12/20
    Very easy to use with good print quality, however the ever so slow upload keeps the score low.

    - Pixology 13/20
    Great software and fast uploads but the dark prints were disappointing.

    - PhotoBox 18/20
    Good usability with quick uploading, a fast deliver and, most importantly, excellent quality prints.

    So there you have it. I have to say generally I was very impressed with the services and I would use any of the four again. But without a doubt PhotoBox was the best all round service.

    Nick
    aka Laskina
     
  2. rct

    rct
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    I've used Photobox since they first started, their service has always been superb. In the beginning I even had questions answered by email directly by the owner of the business! :D
     
  3. dukebox_1st

    dukebox_1st
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    a reassuring comparison. i've only used photobox through blueyonder and Boots instore digital photo printing, both with excellent results.

    would it be possible to take some high quality scans so we can compare the print quality of each? if you need somewhere to host them PM me and i'll put them on my webspace.

    thanks

    tom
     
  4. Laskina

    Laskina
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    Thanks :)

    I thought about doing some scans of the photos but to be honest the difference between the prints will probably be too subtle for the scans to do them justice.
     
  5. KevinBr

    KevinBr
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    Tom, I would be happy to run a comparison and send you scans. The scans may not do justice to the colour and grain apart from yellow snow. But scans can reveal the cutting problems most digital photo printing services have. Prints from film come in fixed formats, digital files can be cropped to any and most of the digital printing services quoted in this thread fail to deliver a complete image from non standard length:width.
     

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