Printing vs. out-sourcing

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by groston, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. groston

    groston TPF Noob!

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    All,

    In a previous post, I asked if the papers used by commercial printers (typically Kodak and Fuji) could produce results similar to Cibachrome. I was told 'No'.

    This brings up the discussion of printing versus out-sourcing. Some of the prints I have seen from top-end printers (like the Epson R2400/2880, Pixma Pro 9500, etc) are truly stunning. The media available does produce a glossy print (which does look somewhat like Cibachrome). Also, the life of the home-prints is reputed to be almost as long as that of the commercial prints.

    So, this raises the question of printing in house or out-sourcing. Reputable out-sourcers charge <$3.00 for an 8x10 print. The same print, at home, probably costs no less, plus there is the added burden of having to 'calibrate' the printer, keep ink in stock, etc. The up-side is that the home prints may more closely approach the desired look, plus there is no waiting for results.

    So, the question is this: What do you do?

    I look forward to a lively discussion!
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For me (once I get a moniter calibrater!) I intend to do outsourcing. The cost of a proper printer and inks is not cheap and as I am not retailing in photography I cannot expect to get that money back. So its money spent just to print - with possibly the odd sale (though I think I am a long way of that yet!) and with that in mind I would rather spend the money I would need for printer/inks on prints from an online site (reputable one).
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    It really depends on how picky you are about your printing. I'm typing this while sitting in a coffee shop and there are some photos for sale on the wall of flowers and sunsets and the like that were clearly printed on an inkjet. To my eye they look like absolute **** but to the person who shot and printed them I'm sure they look fine. The moral of the story for me is that if you've spent a lot of time around traditional prints, it becomes painfully obvious what's done on an inkjet most of the time and it just isn't the same. Even in the NC art museum I can spot an inkjet or "giclee" print a mile away. That said, inkjets can produce fine results if you put enough effort (and money) into profiling them and selecting the best papers. But most professionals I know who print inkjet for anything other than proofs are printing on Hahnemuehle papers, which in a lot of cases actually rival the cost of having a lab print the same image. God forbid you want to get into black and white, then you're talking dedicated black-only ink systems and special RIPs (raster image processor, or processing software).

    That's just my two cents as a printing snob.
     

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