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Why Do-It-Yourself Photo Printing Doesn't Add Up

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the bad-math dept.

Businesses 414

Ant writes "CNET News.com and The New Yorks Times (no registration required) report that even though the prices of printers have dropped up to 30 percent in the last few months thanks to a savage price war, buyers are going to pay at least 28 cents a print. This is if you believe the manufacturers' math. It could be closer to 50 cents a print if you trust the testing of product reviewers at Consumer Reports. In the meantime, the price of printing a 4-by-6-inch snapshot at a retailer's photo lab, like those inside a Sam's Club, is as low as 13 cents. Snapfish.com, an online mail-order service, offers prints for a dime each if you prepay. At those prices, why bother printing at home? Consumers seem to be saying just that. For the 12 months ended in July, home printing accounted for just 48 percent of the 7.7 billion digital prints made, down sharply from 64 percent in the previous 12 months, according to the Photo Marketing Association International, a trade group for retailers and camera makers. The number of photos spewing out of home printers is up quite handsomely, however, because of the overall growth of digital photo printing--up about 68 percent from the year-earlier period - but retail labs clearly have the advantage..."

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414 comments

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Uhuh... (0, Troll)

SCVirus (774240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754403)

As said on the Daily Show a good couple years ago.

well.... (3, Interesting)

schnits0r (633893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754406)

WEll part of the issue is the cost of the ink. Print shops buy more and therefore it's cheaper, they also have higher grade equipment that doesn't break as often as our home eqipment (broken heads come to mind, then oyu have to replace the whole cartridge, OR buy a new printer in the case of Epson).

However, despite it being cheaper elsewhere, if you need a print right away for some reason, I would hate to not have the ability to push one out every 2 minutes.

Re:well.... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754432)

Print shops also get to use real photo paper and RGB lasers (which use no ink), and get no difference in print quality compared to a conventional developed print, and for the same price as ink prints...

and given my experience with colour lasting over the years, I'd pay MORE to get the laser ones done than crappy inkjet.

Too bad my modpoints expired... (4, Informative)

WoTG (610710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754462)

I agree with the AC. With special emphasis on the fact that these are the exact same prints that are made from film -- the front end processing is different of course, but the end prints are made of the same chemical processes and materials. So they will last exactly as long as traditional prints, i.e. a whole lot longer than the vast majority of inkjet prints.

There are newer pigment based prints that are supposed to last a long time, but I don't really know much about their cost or longevity.

RGB lasers? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754564)

Print shops also get to use real photo paper and RGB lasers (which use no ink)

Really? I wonder why no one mass-produces RGB laser photo printers for home use.

Re:RGB lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754658)

They're large, and still rely on "developing" the film that's been printed. They require true photo paper as a consumable and the smallest ones I've seen run to the size of a medium sized washing machine.

Re:well.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754493)

The thing is they don't use ink. In the machine is usually a laser or led that exposes normal photographic (silver halide) paper, then it goes through the traditional chemical process. The checimal and paper cost is always going to be cheaper than what the inkjet printer manufacturers charge for their ink and paper. A lot of consumers got duped into thinking the convenience of printing at home was much greater than the price of the print. How wrong they were. When you stuff around trying to make the colour look right by trial and error, the cost of the print is a lot higher than getting it printed in a lab.

I work in a lab and this is what we have experienced. In Australia, Harvey Norman (consumer electronics) started off as the Computer Specialists, then they went to Digital Camera Specialists and now they are Digital Printing Specialists. When they were the computer and dc specialist, they were pushing that you must have an inkjet printer, but now they are telling you that you must have the photos printed on their Fuji digital labs. People who "specialise" in so many areas are really not specialists at all.

We do quality comparisons in our area by getting a digital file printed from a range of labs to compare quality and really, Harvey Norman's is really just shit. Although the industry has gone to a digital production, the underlying science of chemicals has not changed. Balancing the chemistry and what not is a daily manual job. There is no point creating the printer profile to bring it "back into balance" when the chemicals are so far out of whack.

Value for Paris, None For Us (5, Informative)

fragmentate (908035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754407)

I own an HP camera, and HP PhotoSmart 7760 printer. Here's some real world data for you:

Photo Cartridge: $35
Black Cartridge: $20
Number of pictures printed: 68

That's just under a dollar per print. All prints were 4x6. At that rate, it's just cheaper to run up to the pharmacy and get them printed in duplicate. Yes, twice as many pictures and it's still less expensive.

This whole printing from home thing is probably a great thing for people that have to drive 40 miles to the nearest pharmacy, but for the rest of us... yay? The only good thing about printing at home, you ask?

Well, Paris and Paris can take all the nudies they want of each other and never have them leak to the press! That's easily worth $.80 a print!

Re:Value for Paris, None For Us (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754546)

The majority of my non-US friends opt to buy unofficial inks by the gallon from China. That easily slashes the cost to 70-80%. That being said, they print a lot. So, the ink isn't wasted. The quality of the print is virtually the same and the printer doesn't break down either, regardless what printer companies want you to believe.

Re:Value for Paris, None For Us (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754634)

I use an Epson Picturemate and I can print 4x6 photos for about 29 cents a piece. Basically a pack of 100 count 4x6 photo paper and a new ink catridge sells for $29 (or less online).

First Prime Factorization Post (4, Funny)

2*2*3*75011 (900132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754408)

Ant writes "CNET News.com and The New Yorks Times (no registration required) report that even though the prices of printers have dropped up to 2*3*5 percent in the last few months thanks to a savage price war, buyers are going to pay at least 2*2*7 cents a print. This is if you believe the manufacturers' math. It could be closer to 2*5*5 cents a print if you trust the testing of product reviewers at Consumer Reports. In the meantime, the price of printing a 2*2-by-2*3-inch snapshot at a retailer's photo lab, like those inside a Sam's Club, is as low as 13 cents. Snapfish.com, an online mail-order service, offers prints for a dime each if you prepay. At those prices, why bother printing at home? Consumers seem to be saying just that. For the 2*2*3 months ended in July, home printing accounted for just 2*2*2*2*3 percent of the 7*11/(2*5) billion digital prints made, down sharply from 2*2*2*2*2*2 percent in the previous 2*2*3 months, according to the Photo Marketing Association International, a trade group for retailers and camera makers. The number of photos spewing out of home printers is up quite handsomely, however, because of the overall growth of digital photo printing--up about 2*2*17 percent from the year-earlier period - but retail labs clearly have the advantage..."

Re:First Prime Factorization Post (0, Offtopic)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754503)

God, I love geek humor.

There's a reason to print at home and on-line. (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754412)

This is a near and dear issue for me. I've eagerly slurped up all the new generations of printer technology each time more amazed than ever at the quality of prints, finally achieving indistinguishable quality from lab prints.

But, a disturbing parallel trend came with each new generation of printer. The printers became:

  • better quality
  • faster
  • cheaper

but at the same time:

  • less reliable (like, in a major major way)
  • more expensive per print
  • and inconvenient as hell

I still jump in every generation or so of new photo printer technology but not with rose-colored glasses anymore. I still need to on occasion get a quick print for home or some guest, but that's mostly it. For my serious stuff, I send it out to be done:

  • it's just so much easier
  • if they make a mistake, they eat the costs
  • the majority of the prints I want to make are for other people, and the majority of the time those people are geographically far away. I can get a high quality print to them much more easily and in half the time than if I do it myself.
  • I still am having trouble getting a ceramic cup to print properly on any of my photo printers.

I think the costs for high quality prints from services will remain competitive as there are plenty of competent "players" out there. Just read the reviews, sample a few prints yourself before you commit big time to any of them. Also, maintain your storage of prints yourself, lots of services offer storage, but I'd highly recommend if you value your pictures, you keep archives of your own. (Aside from reliability issues, what happens if any of them go out of business? Where do your pictures go?)

Re:There's a reason to print at home and on-line. (1)

Yehooti (816574) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754650)

Why do you have a computer in the first place if you're taking pictures of a questionable nature? I'd guess that you're going to filter the stuff you don't want others to see with it. So, you take the ones that you don't want others to see and print them yourself. The rest, go to a cheap printer outlet.

The best of both worlds.

Why would I? I'll tell you why... (2, Insightful)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754417)

Because I don't feel like burning gas and calories driving to Sam's club or wherever to have some snot nosed kids running around me, to have the clerk looking at my photos, to have to drive back or wait around an hour to pick up the prints. At home, I can take my pictures and in about three minutes have it hanging on my wall. Screw going to the store.

You don't have to drive twice or wait (5, Insightful)

ThatAdamGuy (744836) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754478)

You and other posters here have lamented the inconvenience of driving to the store to drop off your photo-data-cards and then waiting an hour or driving back a second time.

I think you're overlooking two key options:

1) Upload photos to a site, then pick up. For instance, you can upload your photos via Yahoo and then pick them up in as little as an hour from Target (http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/thatadamguy/print_s plash [yahoo.com] ). I seem to recall that other stores also let you upload-'n'-pick-up, too. With the aforementioned Yahoo/Target option, it's 20 cents per print, first 20 free.

2) Or, if you don't mind waiting a week or so, order photos online via Fotki, Shutterfly, etc.

As for privacy... I suppose there could be some issues, but particularly with mega-printers like Ofoto and Snapfish and such, I just don't imagine that the photos are being seen by many human eyes (perhaps not even by one).

Re:Why would I? I'll tell you why... (4, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754510)

...to have the clerk looking at my photos...

While I don't care too much about this (perhaps I'm not taking the same, uh, genre, of photos you are), there are other solutions.

I'm not sure what service the submitter was referring to exactly, but many stores including WalMart and others have automated Fujifilm or Kodak kiosks that let you input your photos via a large number of interfaces (flatbed scanner, USB, compact flash, SD, etc), view and edit them, and then print them on quality photo paper for 10-25 cents each. My mother who owns a Kodak picture printer does this because not only is it a lot cheaper and the quality of the prints is very good, but she can crop, resize, adjust brightness/contrast/saturation, etc, without trying to learn how to use graphic software.

It prints the pictures instantly along with a UPC you stick to the envelope and pay at the cashier. Nobody really sees them.

Re:Why would I? I'll tell you why... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754540)

Of course, this also means you consider your time to be no more valuable than that of the same low-wage clerk you're replacing. There are a LOT of things I know how to do. The question is: Is it worth spending my time on them?

Let's see... waste an hour cutting the grass... or bill $150/hour on a consulting contract and pay the gardener $50/month? Hmmmm...

mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754418)

Ant writes "CNET News.com and The New Yorks Times (no registration required) report that even though the prices of printers have dropped up to 30 percent in the last few months thanks to a savage price war, buyers are going to pay at least 28 cents a print. This is if you believe the manufacturers' math. It could be closer to 50 cents a print if you trust the testing of product reviewers at Consumer Reports. In the meantime, the price of printing a 4-by-6-inch snapshot at a retailer's photo lab, like those inside a Sam's Club, is as low as 13 cents. Snapfish.com, an online mail-order service, offers prints for a dime each if you prepay. At those prices, why bother printing at home? Consumers seem to be saying just that. For the 12 months ended in July, home printing accounted for just 48 percent of the 7.7 billion digital prints made, down sharply from 64 percent in the previous 12 months, according to the Photo Marketing Association International, a trade group for retailers and camera makers. The number of photos spewing out of home printers is up quite handsomely, however, because of the overall growth of digital photo printing--up about 68 percent from the year-earlier period - but retail labs clearly have the advantage..."

No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc.. (3, Informative)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754423)

Everyone who feels like they have a say in this should go and watch "One Hour Photo [imdb.com] " before they open their reply windows.

Seriously, you're paying for 1 thing -- privacy. Scratch that, you're also paying for convienence. How much $$ in gas do you burn driving to the store, then driving back to pick it up? That's a distance * 4 cost if you're doing nothing else. What's the time cost involved? Hey, how much do you make an hour vs. how long you spend driving? There are many advantages to home printing.

Plus, if you're into semi-illegal things, you'll know that the photo clerks are required by law to turn you into the cops if you try to get prints of scary pictures. I'd much rather the people with said prints do not set foot near photo equipment I run -- if I was in their position.

Convience is why 4L of milk (which I can get for 3$ at Wal-mart) is 6$ at the corner gas station. Why is it such a surprise that people use home printers? Hell, most people don't have laserjets! Inkjets sure cost a lot more per page, even though the initial cost is lower.

Semi-illegal things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754469)

Illegal 18 wheelers?

Half-nude pictures of half-children?

Half-hearted terroristic threats?

???

Re:Semi-illegal things? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754543)

Try this definition on for size.

A semi-illegal act is an act that, if brought to the attention of the police or the district attorney, would result in ones attorney racking up some billable hours.

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (4, Interesting)

rynthetyn (618982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754534)

Plus, if you're into semi-illegal things, you'll know that the photo clerks are required by law to turn you into the cops if you try to get prints of scary pictures. I'd much rather the people with said prints do not set foot near photo equipment I run -- if I was in their position.

Or, even things that aren't illegal might run you some trouble. I once had a roll of film take weeks to come back (it was panoramic, so it took a bit longer anyway), the store ended up claiming that they had misplaced the pictures in the back of a box. I really don't believe that story though, I think they got investigated before they made it back to me because I had a bunch of pictures of my family's burned out car, which had caught fire while my mom was driving it down the road one day. I think that the clerks saw the pictures, got suspicious, and forwarded it on to authorities. Or maybe I'm just paranoid and they really did temporarily misplace my pictures.

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (2)

Eivind (15695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754563)

I agree with the privacy-thing. Makes sense for some kinds of photos in particular.

The inconvenience, gas, time and so on however is silly. You seem to assume that one can only order photos printed at a bircks-and-mortar store and have to fetch the result there too.

In reality, ordering a copy of a selection of photos is as simple as selecting them in konq, rigth-click and select "Order photos", then fill in what size and what number I want and click Go. All done in maybe a minute, much *quicker* and easier than printing myself. (which requires finding and inserting photo-paper, making sure there's enough ink, and then printing the pictures one by one.)

The results are in my mailbox the following morning assuming I ordered by noon, if not, the day after.

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (2, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754584)

I've heard that if ones digital photos are good enough, many clerks will refuse to print them on the slim chance that the photos were taken by a professional with a penchant for launching copyright infringement suits.

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754596)

"Seriously, you're paying for 1 thing -- privacy. Scratch that, you're also paying for convienence. How much $$ in gas do you burn driving to the store, then driving back to pick it up? That's a distance * 4 cost if you're doing nothing else. What's the time cost involved? Hey, how much do you make an hour vs. how long you spend driving? There are many advantages to home printing."

Erm maybe. However, I'd have to drive 600 miles to make up for the cost of just the printer itself.

That said, I have to wonder why home printing is all that popular in the first place. Me personally, I keep and view all my photos etc on my computer. My girlfriend puts all her favorite photos onto her website with a neat freebie gallery app she downloaded. Neither of us are terribly interested in hard copies of photos. I can't help but think over the next few years, more will feel this way. Maybe I'm narrow minded, but I think this particular market is doomed to die in the not too distant future. Between cell phones, PDAs, e-paper, and iPods with fancy-ass screens, the benefits of hard copied prints are diminishing in the face of digital convenience.

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754630)

You're a braver man than me, I'd never let my girlfriend put pictures of herself on the internet :)

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754618)

Scratch that, you're also paying for convienence

I just got back from Hawaii. I had 160 photos printed. It was very convienent not having to wait hours for the job and having to run out for several more ink cartridges. It was cheaper and faster to take in a camera memory card than to pick up a bunch of ink and paper. Double prints are only slightly more than single prints at Costco. The prints were ready when I finished my other shopping, so it was still a single trip.

Convience is letting the printing get done while you are shopping instead of baby sitting a printer, clearing paper jams and watching for streaks in prints.

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (1)

bedroll (806612) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754635)

That's exactly what I was thinking. I'll add to this that the average person doesn't have to count the entire cost of a printer nor the entire cost of the ink cartridge. Most people - and this may come as a shock to the printing industry - print as many or more text pages as they do photographs.

Also, the obligitory story to confirm the privacy worries are real:
My friend's father used to take "dirty" pictures of local strippers. One day a friend of his was walking behind the shopping center where he had his stuff developed and saw a bunch of photographs laying buy the dumpster. They were his photographs. Someone had developed them and threw them out.

Now, most people don't take or condone the taking of hundreds of photographs of nude women. However, it's certainly something to think about if you decide to take a picture of your girlfriend in her birthday suit for the next time you're on a business trip.

Don't get too worried about privacy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754643)

Well, I worked at a one hour photo lab many years ago (first job, long story). I wouldn't get too worried about privacy. Yes, I saw the pictures when I printed them. No, I wouldn't remember what was on them. When you print 30 rolls a day, what you see in the pictures becomes so routine that you just don't care.

I saw that movie with Robin Williams. It's about an obsessed lonely guy. Everything else int the movies is fiction :)

Re:No advantage in privacy, convienence, time, etc (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754653)

Plus, if you're into semi-illegal things, you'll know that the photo clerks are required by law to turn you into the cops if you try to get prints of scary pictures. I'd much rather the people with said prints do not set foot near photo equipment I run -- if I was in their position.

Semi-illegal? I know a guy who spent four years fighting through the courts over production and possesion of child porn charges after he took some photos of his kids playing with some other kids at the beach. He had his house raided and his (legal) fetish porn stash seized. His kids were taken away for a week to be 'evaluated' for signs of abuse. He spent a fortune on lawyers. All because some photo clerk got a hardon over pics of small kids in bathing suits.

The paranoia is so bad you don't need to do anything wrong, you just need to not be seen doing everything right.

labs do have economy of scale... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754424)

... and higher-capacity, higher-quality, more-robust printers.

Not to mention being nickled and dimed to death for inkjet cartridges and glossy paper.

My suggestion (2, Informative)

fgl (792403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754425)

Don't print, use something like Flickr [flickr.com] That's where I upload my "art"

Re:My suggestion (2, Interesting)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754532)

Personally, I'm a fan of iPhoto. It's a brainless way to imports pictures and order prints.
But, in an ideal situation I would be able to pay for prints via iPhoto and pick them up an hour later at the local 1 hour photo. As of now, I need to wait 24 hours before I get them.

Now ya tell me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754427)

Now ya tell me, a couple days too late! Already bought one!!! :-(

Bugger! (2)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754430)

Now you tell me. I just got back from europe and discovered it was cheaper to buy a cheap hp that does photo prints than buy new ink cartridges for my existing printer. Luckily I also shot 15 roles of film. At least with those I don't have to worry about the inmages fading of media becoming obsolete - they'll only ever need one print.

obsolete media... (3, Interesting)

ecalkin (468811) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754465)

uhmmm, film *can* become obsolete...

    every once in a while there is a new color process created. the current color print film process is c41. the one before that is c22 (i am not aware of any c's from 23-40). besides each process having it's own processing chemicals and steps (boy are you in trouble if you have unprocessed c22), they have their own color balance.

    most color printers have several channels with a channel devoted to a particular brand and speed of c41 process film. i took some old (1970s?) negatives in and couldn't get good prints. why? they didn't want to spend the time and paper to create a color balance for a handful of photos. i don't blame them. that was the first c22 stuff they had ever seen. i had to send it to a specialist to get it printed. and it was not cheap.

    i also feel sorry for people who have negatives that are not 35mm. there are a lot of labs that can't print from 110, disk, 126 (it's close) and other small sizes.

eric

Re:obsolete media... (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754496)

If you have the negatives of 110, disc, etc. just scan them with a good scanner and you're fine. You can then color-correct them and print them on your ink-jet... or send them out to be printed elsewhere, cheaper ;)

panorama (1)

maverick215 (713433) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754438)

perhaps when online printers offer panorama (a brief recent search shows no one does yet)then I won't bother printing anything at home....

XXX (2, Funny)

My Iron Lung (834019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754441)

My pictures are too dirty to have developed by anyone but me.

How much ... (3, Funny)

yamum (893083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754442)

is a dime?

Re:How much ... (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754519)

Hmm, I think they are a dime a dozen... Just my tuppence worth.

Re:How much ... (1)

perlionex (703104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754536)

1 dime = US $0.10 = US 10 cents

Re:How much ... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754589)

assuming you are not familiar with american money, 1 dime = 0.10 USD

Simple fact: Longevity (3, Informative)

kriston (7886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754449)

Have you looked at the photographs you've been printing at home over the past few years lately? I've noticed a trend which is why I never recommend in-home photo printing.

1) Consumables are horribly expensive especially after you factor in mistakes and cutting.

2) Cutting required buying a paper cutter.

3) After about a year the ink fades.

4) The ink adheres and usually migrates from the paper to the glass/acetate in albums in all cases.

None of these factors came into play with the commercial services. I'm just happy they accept digital pictures and print them on real photo paper.

Re:Simple fact: Longevity (1)

SynapseLapse (644398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754464)

There's also a great simple anaolgy about this: Which machine do you think will produce a better print, your $200 home printer or the $750,000 mini lab printer?

Re:Simple fact: Longevity (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754567)

the inks fade?

i thought that was one of the propoganda bullet points as to why ink is more expensive than top of the line dom perignon.

high quality ink = 21st century snake oil.

ink is so cheap, they couldn't give it all away.

1000 gallons for a dime.

and they sell you a 50 dollar cartridge with 50ml that only lasts 100 pages or so if you're lucky.

if you continue to buy extortion priced ink, then you're fueling the corrupt a**holes who are ripping off the public.

never let them sell you the bullshit lies about their ink being "special". it's in no way shape or form anything of the kind... but it is special in one way... it helps those greedy "businessmen" fleece the gullible public.

ink is almost priced as much as gold. to say that it's obscene and outrageous doesn't even come close.

Something to be said for a chemical process (5, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754450)

The chemical processes used to print digital prints are usually the same as printing from negatives.

Depending on your photo lab, you should get a high, consistent, quality of print that you know will last as long as those shot with negatives, usually decades in good storage conditions.

This is unlike most low-end inkjets where printout lifetimes may be under a decade.

Now, if you WANT archival-quality inkjets, you can buy a printer that uses archival inks, and get matching archival ink and paper. Even then though, you are using unproven technology: You can only hope the vendor's torture-tests accurately simulate the promised 50 years in a photo album or in some cases 200 years in museum conditions. With a chemical process, you pretty much know what to expect.

Re:Something to be said for a chemical process (1)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754483)

It seems all the digital photo printing kiosks I've seen (mostly at Meijer) are just a PC hooked to an inkjet printer anyway. You can hear the printer going back and forth just like your home printer would. It's definately not the same machine they use for film prints there at least.

Re:Something to be said for a chemical process (5, Informative)

jimboisbored (871959) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754612)

The instant kiosks are just inkjets. What you want is the Fuji Aladdin kiosks, an AGFA e-box/imagebox, lucidiom's kiosks (I work at a lab and that's what we us), or another kiosk that is only for ordering. Then the files are stored on a server until a worker picks the order from a list and tells the printer to print the order. They're then printed with a laser (newer ones use LED's) onto silver halide processed paper. In fact your film is really put through some digital processing before it's printed and it's printed using a laser too. The printer scans the neg's, and allows for color correction on screen and then queues them up to print. I'm basing this on the knowledge of an AGFA D.lab 3, i'm assuming Fuji frontiers and Noritsu's are pretty much the same (I know the laser and silver halide paper part is). The brand of printer doesn't really matter as long as it's maintained well. We balance everything on our printer daily. Our output is professional quality (provided we get good files/film) and we have some local pros do their medium format stuff here. So as far as I'm concerned inkjets are worthless.

Re:Something to be said for a chemical process (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754574)

it lasts less, costs more.

what's wrong with that picture?

i know, it's called "business as usual".

get smart and kick those bastards to the curb and demand fair and honest pricing.

honest commerce is about as prevalent as h2o is on the sun.

Re:Something to be said for a chemical process (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754582)

If you RTFA, the "chemical" process from 50-10 years ago produces photos that fade after only a couple of decades. TFA noted that BOTH home photo printers and the store printers use NEW methods that are BOTH *ESTIMATED* to last 80-100 years.

Are you a stress test scientist? Can you really so easily dismiss things like intensive UV testing, heat exposure, and chemical damage?

It's still all moot -- even if you ARE "expert" enough to know that home photo-printers are "unproven," the brand-new technology in store printers is equally "unproven."

Then again, so are DVDs to reel-to-reel, CDs to wax cylinders . . . Hell, compared to cave paintings and carving on rocks, Papyrus is "unproven."

Re:Something to be said for a chemical process (3, Informative)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754651)

Now, if you WANT archival-quality inkjets, you can buy a printer that uses archival inks, and get matching archival ink and paper. Even then though, you are using unproven technology: You can only hope the vendor's torture-tests accurately simulate the promised 50 years in a photo album or in some cases 200 years in museum conditions. With a chemical process, you pretty much know what to expect.

You're not "trusting" anything -- ink on paper and exposed to light is just as much a chemical process as a cibachrome. Using non-fugitive pigments on acid-free paper has been tested for several thousand years longer than any photographic chemical. Whether it's applied with an inkjet or a paintbrush really doesn't make any difference.

Unfortunately, people who trust photographic prints should realize that pretty much any current consumer process is guaranteed to make a print that will be worthless in ten to twenty years even if kept in a sealed vault. Your original negative film might last another decade past that.

ink is overpriced (5, Insightful)

jay2003 (668095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754457)

Printer manufacturers charge ridiculous amounts of money for ink. I'm glad consumers are wising up and having pictures lab printed. Perhaps these numbers will convince Epson, HP & Canon, they can not gouge us on ink forever and they will lower prices.

If not, consumers are getter better longevity with lab prints since they are done on photographic paper. I know all the statistics about 100 year estimated print life on newer inkjets. There's always the little asterisk about not exposing the prints to air unless this they are inkjet pigment printers. Epson has some but pigment ink cartridges are usually even more expensive. Not to mention clogged heads, smeared prints and all the other problems you get trying to print at home.

Re:ink is overpriced (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754602)

last i saw Canon charged about $7-$8 for ink, but their gear is usually more expensive than a similarly spec'd epson or HP

The best reason to NOT print at home... (3, Informative)

SynapseLapse (644398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754459)

Is so you'll actually have decent prints in 20 years.
Home printers use ink sprayed onto paper (Unless you happen to have a very high end Dye-sublimation printer) whereas most photo labs will use a standard photo color emulsion on acetate paper process.
Unless you have specially treated paper, your prints are likely to fade and lose color to the oxidation process within 5 to 20 years. Whereas photo prints are typically guaranteed to retain their color for 100 years in moderate to indirect sunlight.

Of course, my favorite, silver emulsion Black & White prints will, theoretically, retain their look forever. :)

In any event, I've scanned in and restored a lot of photos that were 40 years or older for folks. There is nothing worse than trying to extract a decent image from a faded inkjet print on lousy, or even decent, paper.

Why print? (4, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754471)

Why print at all?

Ok, a bit overstated, but I'm serious. Of all the pictures you take, how many actually _need_ to be printed? I'd say those few you want to hang on a wall, or put in a frame. For most people that is a precious few photographs per year; if nothing else, the amount of wall space and kindly relatives to foist the prints off to is very limited.

I take on the order of 10k pictures a year, thanks to the ease of digital photography. Perhaps 1/10, or about 1000, is actually worth saving at all (since it's so easy and cheap, it's usually a good idea to take multiple exposures of any one subject to avoid duds). Of those, maybe 2/3 are purely archival - they are a memento of some event or something, and I'd like to keep it, but they aren't really of any significance. If I lost them it would be a shame but not really a big deal. Of the rest (interesting enough to actually post-process), most of them will end up on Flickr, or emailed to people that may be interested, or simply shown on-screen. The number of images I would actually want to have hanging number in the single digits - and I have yet to go to the trouble to do so.

Re:Why print? (1)

slazzy (864185) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754562)

I wonder the same thing all the time when my wife insists on printing photos for albums. I'd much rather go through the album with my wireless keyboard and mouse on my 50" screen in living room than looking at little 4*6 glossies.. I add some background music dim the lights - it's great! Would be even nicer to have a projector and a 100" screen. I do like getting prints to put up on the wall though.

Re:Why print? (1)

tylernt (581794) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754586)

Agreed. I have almost no reason to print the pictures I take (with my digital camera). If I want to look at my pictures, I sit at the computer. If I want my friends and family to see them, I email them. If I want them to see a lot of photos or little video clips taken with my digital camera, I mail them a CD.

The only pictures needing printing are those hung on the wall. Those are rare and are done for a couple bucks at Wal-Mart (or on Kinko's Tektronix).

I realize some people are old fashioned dead-tree kind of people that like to hold and handle things, but I can't see a your average Joe User *need*ing to print pictures frequently.

Re:Why print? (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754594)

why not buy ms windows and fuel their corrupt empire? it's not like you actually want or need freedom.

that line of reasoning is also why a lot of bad shit happens in the world.

sometimes it's best not to look for "alternatives" but to fix the shit that's going on.

it happens in all walks of life and in all situations.

you overlook the fact that they sell you ink marked up to give them about 15,000% profit (and i'm being extremely conservative). if you think that's ok, then argue that you need to stop printing so many pictures and look for alternatives like using LCD picture frames.. after all, electricity and liquid crystal displays are a lot cheaper and last longer...

me? i'll argue that they need to have a new one ripped. one for each penny they overcharged on ink, since they began selling ink.

the problem nowadays is no one gives a fucking damn anymore. if you run away, it won't get better it will only get worse.

Simple rule (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754473)

Here are my rules:
1) If it's standard 4x6, print at a lab. You won't be able to beat the price
2) If it's larger - up to A4, print at home on modest priced photo printer that lets you refill individual tanks, and using cheap photo paper (Where I live Kodak's the cheapest and the quality is good enough for my needs - and I consider myself a serious amateur photographer).
3) If you're likely to be printing A3 or A3+ often it's worth buying an A3 or A3+ photo printer. Since they're considerably more expensive (or were last time I looked), you have to be printing A3 at least an item a month to make it worthwhile. (ie one poster a month). Otherwise find a cheap lab.
4) If you're printing larger than A3 the photos get ridiculously priced. A lab is going to be cheaper but not cheap (unless you are a specialised printing firm). Avoid these.

My fav place to get photos printed (2, Informative)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754476)

...is Costco. They don't have the cheapest 4x6 (17 cents), but everything else is a good price. $0.39 for a 5x7, $1.49 for an 8x10/8x12, and $2.99 for a 12x18 print. The quality is fantastic too.

And I swear, they didn't pay me to post this...I just like sharing a good deal when I find one.

Re:My fav place to get photos printed (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754604)

Yeah, Costco's great if you don't mind waiting half an hour to park there behind all those people queueing up to save 3 cents per gallon on gas, you don't mind waiting in line another half an hour behind all those buying 15 bales of toilet paper, and of course there's the body cavity search by the door nazis as you leave...

Re:My fav place to get photos printed (2, Informative)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754629)

Costco Photocenter [costcophotocenter.com] online rocks (snapfish's service, developed at your local Costco in an hour). Upload and specify when you want them and go shopping an a couple hours. Plus you can share with your friends and family and they can order and get them at their own local Costco (or they can pay to have them mailed).

I always loved the idea of getting photos developed online, but balked at the shipping costs, especially if I want just a few prints. Now, I do it all the time.

Assertion belies facts (1, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754479)

At those prices, why bother printing at home? Consumers seem to be saying just that. For the 12 months ended in July, home printing accounted for just 48 percent...

The author appears to be 48 percent deaf.

No home printing for me (1)

iignotus (877104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754480)

I have no reason to invest in home photo-quality printing when I can go to the local CVS and print 8x10s for 25c a piece, and get them in only 10 minutes.

CVS??? (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754535)

Wow, CVS can do colour prints? I'm sure neither subversion nor bitkeeper can do that...

Misleading (1, Offtopic)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754495)

The problem is the whole idea is misleading. This does not factor in the countless prints that I have from when my kids grab the camera and take pictures of TV shows and really close-up, blurry pictures of the family pets doing exciting things like sleeping. If you factor in accidental pictures and just plain bad pictures that you wish you didn't take, the price per print can shift quite dramatically in some cases. I would dare say when the kids don't touch the camera and only me or my wife take the pictures there is still around 4 prints on a 24 exposure roll that end up just getting thrown out. Add in the ones that my wife sends to her crappy grandpa that won't acknowledge she exists (you can bet we don't send good ones there), We can easily waste 25% of a roll of film. If the kids get the thing, all bets are off.

Re:Misleading (1)

NathanBFH (558218) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754571)

I believe the article is talking about digital prints: one's you take with a digital camera and send in to them. Usually the store will take the pictures right off of whatever media your camera takes, such as compact flash. In those cases, you still get to chose which photos to print. I can vouch for the cheap prices of digital prints from Costco and the like. I've worked at a small photo company that buys it's prints from Costco and resells them with markup. They're that cheap.

Re:Misleading (1)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754598)

I was thinking that right after I hit submit. I re-read the article and it doesn't state clearly that it is indeed talking about prints from digital cameras. That being the case, I still claim it is misleading because of the price of gas, and the cost of my time wading through the idiots that tend to populate the cheap places to buy anything. Of course there is nothing like opening up the pictures from a freshly developed roll of film to find a picture of Pokemon on the television.

Side-car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754497)

"At those prices, why bother printing at home?"

Well damn. There goes my digital photography/image manipulation [amazon.com] business.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754501)

Take 20 rolls of film.. yeah its cheaper to take em to a photo developer if you want hard copies of all of the pictures. But buy a digital camera.. take 1000 pictures and you find that you only want to print one? I wonder what would be cheaper.. a buck or 2 to print it out on your own or having 20 rolls of film developed.

The reason I print at the store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754504)

You can buy a great printer and great paper and what you print at home still looks like shit compared to what you can get at a store. Unfortunately store photos aren't the best either and seem to degrade fairly rapidly. Regular photos reign king.

Printing at home / on the road (1)

Vskye (9079) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754508)

My parents just visited us (after about 3 years) and my dad had a Kodak camera with the docking / printing station and that worked just great. The prints cost around .60 a piece, but that was ok, since we had them right away. (80 prints are about $37.98 here, vs 48.99 in Arizona) Granted, he could go to Wal-Mart with the SD card and get them for .20 a print, but sometimes it's just more convient. Personally, if he would have remembered the computer cable, I would have just copied the images to the PC. ;)

Dana

unless of course, you actually take good photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754512)

Then the mouth breather at the local photo store will unilaterally decide that "hey your violating teh copywrites, lol" and not make your prints.

I saw this first-hand just the other day. Not at wal-mart either, but at Wolf Camera. Lady insisted she took the photos, started screaming and yelling, manager just smugly told her "sorry, we can't make copies of copyrighted content". Even if she *did* download something off the net and wanted it printed for her own *personal use* I don't see what the fuck difference it makes. Thank god for the first-responders who protect the rights of photogs everywhere.

Anyway, I can't even comprehend how non-linear I would become if some pimply-faced prick that makes less in a month then my camera costs won't print a goddamn $.10 4x6 for me.

For the safety of the camera store owners and other shoppers, I can't risk this, so I do all my printing at home.

Hell, sometimes I download and print out an Ansel Adams JUST BECAUSE I CAN. Then I tear that shit up because I think I hear him crying in heaven ("Have you ever even heard of a contact print, you fuck? That's not a photo, that's paper with some stains on it.").

By the way, just wait until the thought process of these clerks is EMBEDDED IN YOUR FUCKING PRINTER. *BEEP* YOU'RE NOT THAT GOOD, I AIN'T PRINTING THIS, YOU PIE-RAT! *BEEP* "Artificial Stupidity". I can't wait.

Re:unless of course, you actually take good photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754620)

Even if she *did* download something off the net and wanted it printed for her own *personal use* I don't see what the fuck difference it makes.

Because the copyright owner will sue the fuck out of Wolf Camera. That's why. And they have a lot deeper pockets than you, even you do have a penis substitute that supposedly costs more than the clerk makes in a month.

Do you really think this policy was set by the clerk? Hint: it wasn't.

By the way: Adams wasn't known for "contact prints". He was a master of darkroom manipulation techniques such as dodging and burning. Straight prints from most Adams negatives are nothing special.

Let's see: stupid, ignorant, arrogant, and prone to threats of violence. I'm sure you spread joy everywhere you go.

Re:unless of course, you actually take good photos (1)

jimboisbored (871959) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754632)

Well, there's the possibility the lab can get sued. We've had some questionable ones we've printed. If we don't think we can prove it we let it go, if we can we don't print it. (My favorites are the ones from Olan Mills that they scan themselves and try to get prints - Olan Mills has a golden insignia on the front of their prints)

Save color for retailers (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754521)

I have a great B&W laser printer with a toner cartridge that works great for 99% of what I need to do, which lasts about a year or more between replacements. If I absolutely positively have to print color, I email it to Office Depot's printing center for $0.52 a copy. Pictures get printed at my local Wally World for $0.23 a print. At least I don't have to worry about wasting ink, resetting the color settings to B&W from color, crazy printer drivers that may or may not work, etc etc etc.

Just 48% ? (1)

earthstar (748263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754526)

home printing accounted for just 48 percent of the 7.7 billion digital prints made,

What os they mean by just 48 %? That means HALF of users are printing at home!!Thats ceratinly not insignificant !

Every picture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754529)

But think about it... at home do you print every picture on your digital camera? No way.

Not to mention the quality of prints from Sam's Club is questionable at the least. DIY printing can provide much greater quality and easily done custom sizes for framing or wallets.

Printing at home gives you much more control, which makes it worth it in my opinion.

You know, I have one simple request... (3, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754531)

...and that is to have sharks with frickin' laser printers attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?

Number Two: Inkjets.

Dr. Evil: ... Right.

Number Two: They're photo-quality inkjets.

Dr. Evil: Are their cartridges refillable?

Number Two: Absolutely.

Dr. Evil: Oh well, that's a start.

La comunidad internacional se moviliza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754541)

Desde instituciones internacionales hasta ayuntamientos y organizaciones no gubernamentales, desde Estados Unidos a Afganistán, la respuesta a los llamamientos de ayuda no se ha hecho esperar. El objetivo, de momento, es dar respuesta a las necesidades más perentorias, como las tareas de rescate y la atención a los supervivientes.

Tanto la Cruz Roja Internacional y la Media Luna Roja como la Oficina de la ONU para Asuntos Humanitarios han enviado equipos a las zonas afectadas para evaluar las necesidades. Por lo pronto, la ONU calcula que 2,5 millones de paquistaníes necesitan con urgencia un lugar de refugio, y ha solicitado 200.000 tiendas de campaña de invierno. Un primer cargamento con 10.000 mantas y 3.000 carpas fletado por la Cruz Roja Internacional está en camino.

También Estados Unidos ha destacado a un equipo de expertos para coordinar las tareas de ayuda, mientras fleta dos aviones de transporte militar C-130 cargados de material de primeros auxilios y ocho helicópteros para los trabajos de rescate.

Dos nutridos equipos de especialistas enviados por el Reino Unido trabajan desde el sábado en Islamabad, la capital paquistaní, mientras Londres ha comprometido una primera aportación de 145.000 euros. "Estamos muy orgullosos de nuestros lazos con Pakistán, reforzados por el gran número de conciudadanos de origen paquistaní", recordó el primer ministro británico, Tony Blair. Equipos de salvamento y material de emergencia han salido, además, desde Francia, Alemania, Grecia, Suiza, Japón, Turquía, Rusia y China, que además ha ofrecido una ayuda de cinco millones de euros. Dinamarca, la República Checa e Irlanda han destinado un millón de euros cada uno para tareas de rescate.

España se ha puesto también a disposición de las autoridades paquistaníes. Por lo pronto, dos aviones, uno con ayuda humanitaria fletado por la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, y otro enviado por la Comunidad de Madrid con personal médico y de rescate, saldrán hoy rumbo a Islamabad. Un grupo de Bomberos Sin Fronteras, apoyado por el Ayuntamiento de la capital, emprendió viaje ayer.

Al margen de las iniciativas de cada uno de sus miembros, la Unión Europea se ha comprometido a desbloquear 3,6 millones de euros para las víctimas de Asia, según dijo ayer el presidente de la Comisión Europea, José Manuel Durão Barroso.

El Banco Mundial y el Banco Asiático de Desarrollo han anunciado igualmente partidas de emergencia por valor de 16 millones de euros y de 8 millones de euros, respectivamente, para la reconstrucción de las áreas devastadas, que se ampliarán en función de las necesidades.

Algunos países musulmanes, como Arabia Saudí, Qatar y los Emiratos Árabes, organizan ayuda de urgencia. A pesar de sus enormes carencias, Afganistán se ha comprometido a enviar helicópteros y medicinas a su vecino paquistaní. También Israel ha propuesto el envío de expertos a Pakistán, país con el que no mantiene relaciones diplomáticas.

All That Assumes... (2, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754549)

An amateur photographer who doesn't really care how their prints look. The prices as the professional photo labs will make you shoot your drink out your nose, but you DO get what you pay for, too. Unfortunately there aren't usually enough professional photographers around to support the labs in the area and so the professional labs are always going out of business. It would appear to me that the professional photo developer is something of a dying breed. Well not to mention that the industry doesn't seem to pay enough for anyone to actually make a career out of it...

more per ounce than Dom Perignon (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754550)

Sure, it costs 50 cents or more to print a 4x6 photo when the cost of the ink is more than the cost by ounce of Dom Perignon. Maybe the printer makers will get a little less greedy, but that hardly seems likely. Particularly when there is still a good and growing market for office and home color printing. I certainly would do 4x6's at a local store, but the sad truth is that most of what I print is larger format and/or special formats (like half fold photo cards). And the retail outlets are still gouging as badly as the printer vendors on anything larger than 4x6, if not more so. It also doesn't seem likely that the retailers will extend good prices to anything but simple 4x6s, but one can hope.

That is not what my wife says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754551)

Look, it is hard enough for her to find her camera cable to connect to her powerbook, much less launch iPhoto, pick out the prints she wants and then order them (by clicking on one-click ordering no less). If she does manage it (without putting the powerbook to sleep while the pix upload for an hour over DSL) she has to wait 3-5 days and pay about ~18 cents per print (including postage). This is not acceptable for a digital camera to "normal" people! It is supposed to be easier than this, the "normal" people don't even realize that not paying for the film should be enough to go digital. They think it is supposed to be more convienant than film even. Printing with an Epson PictureMate @ 23 cents a print whenever the hell she wants to by slapping in her CF card is the only thing that will satsify her and besides the prints are awesome. Yes it would be nice if the print cartridges were cheaper but you can't beat the ease of printing at home with one of these suckers and my wife (she) gets to handle the photos and send them to people in the mail which seems to be a requirement of any digital image management system. P.S. Posting as AC in case I'm vastly underestimating her secret powers. She has been known to use that "internet" thing before.

One word: (1)

glitch0 (859137) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754552)

Convenience.

For most it's not about price, it's about being able to print your photos in your own home any time you want. It's the same reason Polaroid is still in business (they are still in business, right?).

They think they're doing you a favor... (1)

BucksCountyCycleGeek (893639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754570)

You've got to watch out for professionals who like to meddle with your art as if it was the usual overexposed party picture. I can't count the number of times I've seen the people at Ritz Camera (Wolf Camera out west) mess around with brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.

I'm sure it helps careless photographers but occasionally the results can piss you off extremely. The worst part is that these people think they're doing you a favor when they're not. They're ruining your effort and creating a disincentive for people who suck at taking pictures to get better at it.

Ironically, the cheaper photoshops like Sam's Club barely glance at your stuff. For a reliable print it's often better to go with the bulk operator rather than risk your picture getting mangled.

Re:They think they're doing you a favor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754585)

NO FUCKING WAY!

WinkFlash (1)

lorcha (464930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754605)

You might be happy getting prints from WinkFlash. Their FAQ for Pros says they do not do any type of "correcting" to your photos [winkflash.com] . Plus they only charge $0.12/print plus shipping (I think $1).

Why does anyone need to print? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13754583)

I dont understand why everybody wants to print everything...

a: ssh in, show them the pic / text
b: get a laptop.
c: Use a pocketpc as a quick photo viewer / text editor + viewer...

Last time I checked, paper didn't have integrated spell-check :P

one-off prints (1)

CaptainPinko (753849) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754613)

Frankly I think hopme photo printing is only useful for one-offp prints like long-lost friends dropping by unexpectedly and you grab a group shot with your digi and ant them to have a copy before they leave. Or if you only have one or two photos you want and the extra 80cents is worth the less hassle or if a photo is needed in a hurry. Perhaps it also has some commercial value in theme parks or cruises when you pay for photos.

Frankly I don't ever see home printing being cheaper than store printing since it is by its nature ineffecient since you are duplicating infrastructure instead of sharing the costs of a development machine. Very are the savings supposed to come from?

back to the darkroom (1)

cerenyx (250774) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754624)

1) set up a darkroom with a secondhand enlarger.
2) print a few 8x10 RC/FB silver prints (black and white).
3) hold the prints in your hand. admire tonality. drool over oldschool provenance.
4) profit.

Reliability is a big issue (1)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754627)

A few years ago I had clogged heads in an Epson printer. Cartridges were running around $55 a set. I blew through a complete set trying to clear the heads. I tried solvents and everything I could think of. That was the last straw and I gave up on ink jets. Sorry but paying $25 for $1 worth of ink is obscene. Ink is fairly cheap to manufacture. By the gallon it would seem expensive but there is only an ounce or two of ink in a cartridge. It isn't made of bloody silver folks. The pigments need to be ground fine but that's about it. I'd rather pay twice as much for a printer and get my ink for $10 a cartridge. They'd still make a killing and I wouldn't have to decide between rent and a new set of cartridges for the printer. The buy in is expensive on lasers but the prints are a fraction of the cost and don't require special paper. Also they are radically faster. The ink is a scam and I hope sales drop like a rock. If they priced gas and cars like ink and printers cars would only cost $5,000 but gas would cost $30 a gallon. You might be able to aford a nice car but you couldn't aford to drive it.

Valid statistics (1)

Osmosis_Garett (712648) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754644)

A whopping 42.7% of all statistics are made up.

Sooo many memories... (1)

Boomshanka (788195) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754648)

God Bless home printing! A digital camera, photo printer, rover and a jar of peanut butter....

It's not about the money (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754652)

At those prices, why bother printing at home?

Mainly because it's fun. Some people like to tinker with their cars. Some like to print their photos at home.

It's more about control than cost (1)

nicholas. (98928) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754655)

For the serious hobbyist or pro, it's much more about control over the process than the cost. Grandma should take her snapshots of Billy's soccer game to the local Walmart. But, for me, photos from my 6 color inkjet have much better detail, gamut and accuracy. RA4 printers used to have such a huge advantage as they are continuous tone. But today's inkjets have such high DPI and small droplets that they are continuous tone except when viewed under a loupe.

I tried various on-line labs and found that the biggest problem is consistency. Even if I was pleased with the initial results (happened rarely) the re-prints or follow-up prints were often way off. The other problem is Gamut. My 6 color printer blows away the gamut of any RA4 printer. I'm guessing 8 color printers widen the advantage even more. Lastly, most of these printers are between two or three hundred DPI. My printer is 600 DPI. For very high contrast areas there is a huge difference.

With a monitor calibration, printer calibration and profiling I have controlled, reproducible results that are better than most labs. With generic inks and careful paper selection I've got my 4x6 prints at about 25 and 8x10s at around $1.

Depends on the printer. (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754661)

I'm using a Canon i9900, not just for photos, but for art. If I don't get overpriced photo paper, I can produce pretty decent photos at a reasonable price.

Part of this is, of course, that the Canon uses cheap plastic instead of expensive electronics for ink packaging.

Anyway, a friend of mine bought me a steak to do up some prints once. Why? Because the local photo lab was unable to do a decent job. They brought in a square picture and asked for an enlargement, and got a very nice full-page picture that chopped the guy's head off. Well, not very nice; not much color correction.

Pretty much every print I make on my printer is pretty much the print I intended. The photo labs can give me prints cheaper IF they give me the right ones; otherwise, it's not so cheap.

It still makes sense for some... (1, Insightful)

localman (111171) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754665)

Doing our own prints makes sense for me and my wife. She takes a ton of pictures and only prints a tiny fraction. The rest are just enjoyed on the computer or online. Plus, with home printing you can print retouched pictures. She usually does some tweaks to at least the color and exposure, and oftentimes does more than that. And then we print 8X10's. For our usage pattern, digital and home printing works out far cheaper.

Of course, if you just want a whole roll of 3x5's, then sure, standard printing is cheaper. But I bet a lot of those people look at them once and then enlarge one out of 100.

The advantage of home printing is not raw price, it's control and selection.

Cheers.

simple (someone has to say it) (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13754666)

printer/scanner/copier: ~$150

ink cartridges: ~$50

knowing those pictures of you and your spouse, from that vacation where you never left the bedroom, aren't decorating the employee lounge at WalMart: priceless
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