online vs. at-home

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online vs. at-home

Postby joebobjoe » Sat May 31, 2008 9:16 pm

If I bought a Canon Pro9000, would it's quality rival sending to get printed through a good online service?

Generally, is it cheaper to print at home or online?


Postby Kenneth Skou » Sat May 31, 2008 9:38 pm

Hi joebobjoe,

I don't think there is a completely straightforward answer as it depends on a lot of factors:

- How much you print
- How often you print
- What size you print
- What quality you print
- What ink you buy
- What paper you use
- How long the printer lasts
- What you choose to print

For example, if you print a lot and often in large size and use discount-ink in high quality, chances are that - over time - it's cheaper than doing the same thing online.

However, it may be slightly lesser quality - which is only important if the difference matters to you.

If you print only occasionally, smaller sized prints, use top-of-the-line ink and choose to print drafts and stuff you know you aren't going to use anyway but just want to see, there is a chance it may be noticeably more expensive.

There are many stories that these printers - when not used often - have the nozzles caked with dried ink, and ink becomes less usable, for example. Having a printer also may alter behavior - since it's there, one might choose to print stuff that you wouldn't get printed online.

If you print often with a home printer, the acquisition-price of the printer itself is spread out over many prints, thus lowering the per-print total cost.

The other pat is availability of funds: you buy a printer you pay now - without a single print in your hand. Using print-services, you pay only what what you print.

It would be possible to plug all these factors into a spreadsheet and map out the per-print price based on volumes of prints over time.

But now that you already have a printer, it is perhaps less critical to know in such detail.

As a very wide generalization, I'd say that it's tradeoff: buying a printer and printing is - at first - more expensive, but you get the convenience and flexibility of printing whatever, whenever.

Using only print-services, you are perhaps more selective, possibly have higher quality, don't have to worry about maintenance of equipment and only have to pay-as-you-go. As such it's comparable to the math that goes into choosing a price-plan for your cell-phone.

My apologies if I've confused the subject more than clarifying it :oops:

Kenneth Skou

Postby joebobjoe » Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:22 am

No no...I'm not confused. Yeah, I could do a spreadsheet, but it would be impossible for me to predict how many prints I'd make. I just want a basic comparison of the print by print cost (paper and inks), not the initial purchase of a printer. I thought per print price was cheaper online anyway.

The only downsides, you don't get to proof (unless using some higher end services), you have to wait for the prints, and you don't get to play around with different papers.

Postby grahamnp » Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:16 am

Not sure how good your online service of choice is but the Pro9000 is one of the best. The great thing about DIY printing is you get complete control.

Postby Big Pix » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:56 am

and you do have to leave home...... here in Australia, large stores do 15cent colour prints, as a special, which are way cheaper than doing your own...... I do not do small colour prints at home but if I have to, I have a templet to do 24 at a time on a big printer and trim them up......
Big Pix

Re: online vs. at-home

Postby csnaus » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:26 am

joebobjoe wrote:If I bought a Canon Pro9000, would it's quality rival sending to get printed through a good online service?

Generally, is it cheaper to print at home or online?


I do not know about what is cheaper but here in Brisbane, Australia I found an excellent (I mean absolutely GREAT) shop which can get your shots printed on many types of media at very reasonable prices and at absolutely the best quality. Also they can do stuff you cannot even dream about doing at home (unless your home is a major art printing business, of course). I have ordered a few prints on Tuesday and received my prints today and they are top notch. If you live in Brizzy or anywhere else in Australia or as a matter of fact anywhere else in the world give them a go, these guys will NOT disappoint you. BTW, I am not associated with them in any way, I am just a satisfied customer. Business is called Inkjetlabs and if you have not guessed yet :) I highly recommend them.
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Postby Fairground » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:53 am

Hello all
I too am going through the dilema of buying a printer or trying out some of the online photo printers.
I have not tried any online printing shops yet and was wondering has anyone got any links they could send me to sites they have used personally.
The huge problem I have with my current Canon printer is that is dosent print what I see on my screen. This is most probably caused by me using cheap inks, but I would prefer to spend money on the lense I want rather than print out some pics you know are going to look bad coz of my printer.
I would like to get back from the printer a Twin of what I sent instead of the printers version of what it sees.
So if anyone has a recomendation of an online printing shop would be glad of info

The Humongous vote for home printing is you dont have to tell your printer your credit card details :D

Postby Gordon Laing » Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:03 pm

Hi Fairground, not sure if they deliver to Ireland, but I can recommend - I use them a lot and find the service and quality very good.
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Postby Canon 500D » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:43 am

There is of course Boots, Tesco, Jessops to consider. You can save the postage fees if you're making a trip to there anyway. I have found that Tesco prints especially (5MP shots) turn out quite well. They're not like something that a photographer would provide, but very nice rich colours on a shiny finish for general album shots.
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Postby primitive » Sun May 30, 2010 3:16 pm

I'm thinking of upgrading to at home printing myself sometime next year.

Basically, I've been dissatisfied with the great variation in print quality I've been getting from places like blurb. Sure, blurb is pretty good when it comes to getting a fairly decent book quickly, but I'm not so sure about the print quality and also, more importantly, how long the book will last (I do weddings and the last thing I want to hear is that my book fell apart in 3yrs of minimal viewing). In fact, I've gotten books from blurb that look like they could come apart at any moment.

You can scale this up and get a higher end book but its gonna cost you, big time! Some books cost as much as 500.00 USD (and I still have to pay for shipping and up to 35% in tax and duties at customs) for just 25 spreads :shock: . There is also a pretty good lab here that does one-off prints, but a 12x12 print costs around 20.00 USD, which isn't very economical, since I usually print pretty large and very often anyways.

So, out of frustration, I'm thinking I'm gonna try my hand at binding my own book. Sounds hard, but it doesn't look that way from videos I've seen (in fact, most craft classes start off with book binding since its a basic required skill). I'm not gonna run out and buy a printer before I test this theory though (book binding kits are pretty inexpensive), so I'll try it out a couple of times, and if the effort/fit/finish are justified, and if the economics work out, I'll be looking to get into my own printing.

In that way, I can print and bind my own books to look exactly how I want it to look all at a cheaper cost than having to outsource. So, in some cases, as the others have mentioned, printing from home can be better and even cheaper.

Postby primitive » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:55 pm

Was able to check out the Epson 4800 in the office today ... and it is big! I also went to the library and borrowed 3 books about bookbinding and so far, it looks like a piece of cake (given that I've only looked at the pictures and haven't actually read, let alone try anything :lol: )

Hope I'm not thread jacking, but I think this is kinda related? Lemme know if not.

Postby capital » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:11 am

Making a Book (very thorough treatment): ... front.html

By the way Primitive, what paper are thinking of using?
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Postby primitive » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:15 am

Wow...thanks for the link!

Was thinking of using a photo rag paper, but still very undecided. I like matted pages, but that might be too hard to do for a beginner. May start off with loose matted pages in a hard bound leather case and work my way up from there.

Think I'm gonna start a new thread cus this is definitely thread jacking! Sorry joebobjoe!

Postby Jean-Pierre » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:58 pm

I haven't looked at online printing much since back home we have a few stores that provide good cheap service. But what I would do is select a few photos and order them from multiple stores to see what kind of quality they send out, and pick up the best quality/price I find.

I believe in general printing at home is a bit more expensive, but you have the convenience of getting it quickly and being able to adjust things yourself, and not relying on someone else to set up the printer correctly.

On the other hand, it does represent much more work with calibration and all that other stuff if you want to do a professional job.
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