On Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 3:40 AM, Norman Silverstone
<nor...@littletank.org> wrote:
> I have had a perfectly good colour printer for some years but have
> concluded that, for good results and peace of mind at a reasonable cost,
> I send my photos to be commercially printed. I agree that there are
> reasonably priced printers readily available but the real cost of
> printing is in the ink and paper. For example, unless you leave your
> printer permanently switched, on every time you start the printer the
> procedure at start up uses ink. There are many other things that can
> happen such as clogged jets which are difficult to clean and also
> consume ink and, unless you buy really good quality inks which are
> expensive, you will probably never be really satisfied with the results.

That's very debatable, and depends entirely on the outside lab you use
to get your pictures printed. Most photo labs have printers that only
cover the sRGB gamut or less. For example, all the cheap photo labs
(ie. WalMart, Costco, local pharmacies) use commercial printers that
don't even cover the full sRGB gamut. A 4x6 picture at these places is
usually $0.15 or so, depending on taxes.

Some higher end photo labs (Ritz Camera, Lord Photo, other camera
retail outlets) have a printer that covers the AdobeRGB gamut, but
their software and their lab techs only work in sRGB anyways. They
have their workspace set to sRGB and they usually ignore any embedded
colour space in your files. There's a 50/50 chance they'll either
convert it to sRGB anyways (which minimizes the damage), or they'll
assign an sRGB profile to your picture and ruin the colours in the
process. I recently paid $0.29 at Ritz camera for a single 4x6, which
is twice as much as the places I mentioned above.

Of the professional photo labs, many only work in sRGB. Some work with
AdobeRGB, but these tend to cost more. The result usually looks great,
but they cost significantly more than the camera retail stores. I have
to wait for them to be printed and mailed (more cost), then I have to
get into my big V8 diesel pickup truck and drive to the mailbox to
pick them up, thereby adding yet more cost. If I'm not happy with the
results, too bad for me.

Meanwhile, the high-end photo printers from Canon, HP, Epson et al
cost very little initially, and they tend to cover an even wider
colour gamut than AdobeRGB (closer to ProPhotoRGB in some cases). If I
really care about a photo I'm printing, I can print it myself, see the
results right away, and if I need to make any changes, I can do those
right away and reprint immediately. This is a very nice luxury.

If I have a bunch of pictures to print and their quality isn't
important to me, I'll happily drive over to WalMart and use one of
those self-serve kiosks. It's cheap, it's fast, and the pictures look
fine in my opinion. Not stunning, just fine (as long as I converted
them all to sRGB first and don't mind losing some of the colours). I
can even justify the fuel cost. But if I have a stunning picture that
I spent hours post-processing, I want the luxury of being able to
print it myself. I want the widest colour gamut possible, I want
complete control over the process, and I want to see it immediately.
This is worth the extra cost for me, and I actually find it cheaper
than working with the professional photo labs.

Frank Gore
Project Manager
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