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Glasgow_Matt Registered since 26th Oct 2012Mon 29-Oct-12 08:45 AM
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"Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"


Glasgow, GB
          

Hi

As a relative novice to digital photography I have spent most of my time (and resources) on my D60, lenses and a tripod.

Now as my thoughts turn to post production (with View NX2 only) I realise that I have an uncalibrated cheap monitor and no printer. I have sent a few shots off to the online snapfish service and have been very disappointed with the results coming back. Dull, lifeless images that are completely different to what i see on my screen.

So what should my priorities be given I have a very limited budget of say £300 right now? Calibration? New Monitor? Printer? Stick with online printing?

How do other folk manage their digital photography activities on a budget?

Cheers
Glasgow Matt




  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service
blw Moderator
29th Oct 2012
1
Reply message RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service
Glasgow_Matt
29th Oct 2012
2
     Reply message RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service
Glasgow_Matt
29th Oct 2012
3
          Reply message RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service
blw Moderator
29th Oct 2012
4
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Ned_L Moderator
29th Oct 2012
7
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blw Moderator
29th Oct 2012
8
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Ned_L Moderator
29th Oct 2012
9
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blw Moderator
29th Oct 2012
5
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mklass Platinum Member
29th Oct 2012
6
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jesse101
31st Oct 2012
10
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ericbowles Moderator
10th Nov 2012
11

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 29-Oct-12 10:35 AM
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#1. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

You really need to have your monitor calibrated. You also need to clearly understand the management of color through your workflow. For example, if you are working in the ProPhoto color space and send the file to a printer (of any sort), you can easily be disappointed, because mostly they work in the much smaller sRGB space.

At £300, you can't realistically afford a printer. Moreover, you're clearly experimenting, so you aren't working in the quantities that will make your own printer pay dividends.

A calibration tool such as the Datacolor Spyder4 Express, which I figure will run you about £100, should help a good bit. Then a good book on the printing process will serve you well. Keep the other £170 in your pocket for the moment.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Glasgow_Matt Registered since 26th Oct 2012Mon 29-Oct-12 11:22 AM
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#2. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 1


Glasgow, GB
          

Thanks for the reply Brian, much appreciated.

Yes, calibration is my priority over anything else before I jump into any more PP. The Spyder4 Express will be ordered shortly.

I just hadn't realised the amount of time and effort (and ££) that will be required for good PP & printing etc. I'm not really a technical person, the joy for me is to go out and 'get the shot' so I know there is a steep learning curve ahead!

Slainte

Glasgow Matt

  

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Glasgow_Matt Registered since 26th Oct 2012Mon 29-Oct-12 11:29 AM
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#3. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 2


Glasgow, GB
          

Update on Snapfish customer Support

I just had a reply to an email I had sent Snapfish to ask if they had any suggestions about making my prints match my computer monitor.

It is interesting that all they say is that they have sent some of my pictures back to their lab (?) to investigate and they will contact me again shortly. They offer no information on calibration or manual monitor adjustment.

I think the sooner I buy a spyder4 and then save up for a decent printer the better!

Glasgow Matt


  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 29-Oct-12 11:38 AM
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#4. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

The book is probably more important than anything else. Check over in the printers forum - I picked my knowledge up piecemeal over the years so don't really have a good recommendation.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberMon 29-Oct-12 05:16 PM
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#7. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 3


Philadelphia, US
          

I agree with Brian that your first order of business must be to calibrate your monitor. I suspect you'll be very surprised how far from standard it actually is.

Without monitor calibration you won't have any idea of what you'll print, either via a service, or once you have you're own printer.

While you're waiting to get your Spyder (That's what I use.) you need to learn about colorspace and color management. Without some basic knowledge about the issues, you'll likely still not produce consistent prints. For example, you may be shooting and saving files in the wrong colorspace right now, according to Snapfish requirements, which require sRGB to the best of my knowledge.

The D60 has colorspace options of both sRGB (Ia and IIIa) and Adobe RGB (II). It turns out you're likely fine in the D60, as IIIa is the default choice.

Lastly, you don't really have to rush into getting a printer. There are plenty of good printing services. I do a combination of printing myself and still use printing services for books and also prints larger than 13"x19" (330x483mm).

Get the Spyder and learn what color management is all about, then go from there.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 29-Oct-12 05:22 PM
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#8. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 7


Richmond, US
          

Ned, do you have a good reference for learning about color management workflow?

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberMon 29-Oct-12 06:58 PM
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#9. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 8


Philadelphia, US
          

Brian, I have some good online material to get someone started in understanding about color management and the workflow needed to manage, but I don't think there is one comprehensive reference source at this time.

I'd start with Color Management Primer: Overview on Photo.net.

I'd then move on to Cambridge in Colour's sRGB vs. ADOBE RGB 1998, as we know the two typical colorspaces which photographers work in are sRGB and Adobe RGB (Adobe RGB 1998).

I'd also read Earthbound Light's The Great sRGB Versus Adobe RGB Debate for a good perspective.

I think the concept of colorspace once understood makes it generally easy to understand the workflow. If Matt reads these articles I think he'll have enough information to better ask questions which can move him to an understanding of what he needs to do to get prints and display of his photos which match what he saw when he took the shot, and what he sees on his computer screen during editing.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 29-Oct-12 03:36 PM
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#5. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

One thing to remember about a printer is that it, being a mechanical device that requires consumables, you have to maintain it. It certainly gives you more flexibility than sending the prints out, but you really need to be printing a fair amount to make it cost effective. Either that or really need the control. Especially for the smaller and less expensive printers, the ink costs can be "interesting." If you thought gas prices were high, check the price of a gallon of Epson/HP/Canon ink! I can't find the specs on the R3000's cartridges, but on my Epson 7900, a 150ml cartridge is $89 - meaning roughly $2950 per gallon. The smaller cartridges in the less expensive printers are more expensive, not less. OK we don't use ink by the gallon when printing, but it's obvious that there's a cost to it.

This isn't to say don't get a printer - I did it, just as an example - but do consider all the variables and costs.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Mon 29-Oct-12 04:50 PM
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#6. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 5


Tacoma, US
          

If you get your calibration right, and learn what color profiles or color space that your lab uses, you can get reliable prints from a lab. You just need to be sure the lab is capable of producing a good print. You may want to experiment with that.

Aside from the calibration device, your monitor could also be a problem if it is not capable for accurately representing the gamut that you are working in. The lighting condition where you work are also a factor, you should be in a dark or dim environment that is fairly consistent.

Once you get that all worked out, if you what to experience the Joy of Printing, do so. It is rewarding in it's own right. But until you get your display and environment working properly, you still would not get good prints from your own printer.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

  

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jesse101 Registered since 28th Dec 2011Wed 31-Oct-12 08:31 PM
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#10. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 6


Great Falls, US
          

I personally go with WHCC. They have been awesome each and everytime and their turn around time is roughly a week tops to the front door of your customer or friend or family. Their prices are higher than others, but what instantly got me was when they allowed test prints free of charge..i instantly knew how far off my screen was and compensated. Granted it would be easier with screen calibration (something i am looking to purchase as well) but after i made those corrections, it was pretty much spot on everytime when printing from WHCC.

But with all this said, i know why people say it may look great on screen, but the true test is on print...as some of my photos looked good on screen but looked much worst on print..it happens lol

My Gallery:

http://jessemartinez.zenfolio.com

  

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ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 10-Nov-12 09:22 PM
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#11. "RE: Own Printer vs Online Printer Service"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

One thing to watch for is the brightness of your monitor. Most monitors are overly bright, which means your prints look dark. I find brightness is as important as color in your calibration.

I would not say inexpensive printers have no value. But its tough to beat online printers for 5x7 and smaller images. Having your own printer is more important with larger prints and if fast turnaround is required.


Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

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