Online print ser­vices

We pit­ted home print­ing against labs last is­sue – now it’s time for lab vs lab!

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

wn­ing a high-qual­ity photo printer is con­ve­nient, but when you weigh up the space and cost, it doesn’t re­ally make sense. As Matthew Richards dis­cov­ered in is­sue 49, online print­ing ser­vices pro­duce prints at such high qual­ity that un­less you are a sea­soned home printer mak­ing lots of copies, online lab ser­vices are a far more sen­si­ble so­lu­tion. They en­able you to upload your pic­tures, se­lect pa­per type and size, and then sit back and wait for them to ar­rive – no faffing around find­ing the cor­rect pa­per size or clean­ing blocked heads.

In this test we’ve taken a look at some of the largest online print ser­vices, putting big online names up against two pro labs. We se­lected 12 im­ages to be printed on glossy 5x7-inch pa­per, in­clud­ing black-and-white, sepia, skin tone, overly pro­cessed and, of course, plain colour pho­to­graphs to see how each ser­vice dealt with the files. Print qual­ity is, nat­u­rally, the most im­por­tant fac­tor, but qual­ity of ser­vice is also im­por­tant, so we looked at the whole or­der­ing process from up­load­ing im­ages to the point where the prints reached our hands.

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