Lab/Shop prints VS my cheap Epson?


TPF Noob!
Dec 15, 2007
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Encinitas Cali
Can others edit my Photos
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I'm curious as to what my typical local lab can provide me VS what I'm able to print with my el cheapo printer?

What processes do they use? Pigments VS dyes? 6 color printers, UV coatings..

What is your experience?

Tnx, -Shea :confused:
Well one thing is it's cheaper to send them out. Figure average cost for most ink jet print cartages are $15-$20 ea. 2 in your printer so $30-$40 in ink then Photo paper you figure 10.00 for 50 4x6 comes out to $1.00 per print I think Walgreen's is like .19 ea. i know for a good quality 8x10 I get around 10- 12 out of a new set of ink cartages. And if they come out mess up you make them print another for free.
Obviously, you're limited in size - the lab can print bigger than you.
As Happy Hour said, your per-picture cost will be higher (they're set up for mass production, you're not).

One thing I wonder about is how long the inks & paper will last printing at home (how long the print will last). I don't know, but I would think the lab prints would last longer. That's just a guess though...
Smaller labs often use dye-sub. Bigger labs will use a LightJet. Those who do giclee/inkjet prints usually specify so.

If you're using pigment based inks, your prints will outlast a dye-sub, but probably not RA4.
Thanks all, for your thoughts. I'm most interested in the quality of prints VS cost and sizes.

Currently I'm over-saturating my pictures because the standard 3 color ink jet is tending to look a bit flat.

I guess I'll try out a few services and get something in hand to compare.

BTW - Some of yall are sure up late! :confused:


EDIT: It seems like the printer is BLUE challenged, I just ran some 'as shot' orchids are they are freaking sweet.
BTW - Some of yall are sure up late! :confused:

That depends on what part of the earth you are as well as what time you are posting locally to you. ;)

Some of us are in other contries... and some are on other continents!
...and some of us are just up really late, lol. I work nights, so I usually don't go to bed until around 4 AM.
...and some of us are just up really late, lol. I work nights, so I usually don't go to bed until around 4 AM.

And some live in another time zone :)
Well since I get the WWW's mean, I was referring to those on the east coast and mid west posting at 2 or 4 am..

Too bad my post has derailed :confused:

Home costs more unless you push out big volume. Different labs have different quality. Two drug stores near my house vary so much several prints of the same subject can look different.

Not sure if its ok to endorse a lab because there are lots of very good ones. If so someone tell me and I'll edit this out.

I personally use MPix (Owned by Millers) and every print from 4x6 to 20x30 are balanced perfectly. I know other labs do just as well but that said there are a lot that are worse. I usually find that if I pay 0.19 for a 4x6 vs 0.29 at MPix I always get what I pay for.
I print on a Epson 4000 Pro at work and it is crap next to the photo lab print. Even at 2600 doi. It uses 8 cartridges at a whopping $115 a pop. Granted, it is a large cartridge...but is is a pain in the @$$ to set up. ICC profile, print profile, color space, paper profile, paper size, etc. It collects dust now. I rather shop out my prints. Less head-ache. Just convert ot a large JPEG, specify working space and off it goes. The paper and ink is suppose to last 100 years or so according to Kodak.
Maybe it is.:wink:
You have to shop around.... send sample photos to the various local labs and see for yourself. In my experience, the quality of the final prints varied very WIDELY depending on the store.

soylentgreen's comment can be correct (in his case) but don't apply it to all local labs in general. I can send prints to a local mom&pop shop and a high end professional lab. The difference in results will be HUGE!

Some labs also use Epson ink jets such as the 4000 for large prints... many do... I for one have been impressed but perhaps my eye for quality is much lower than others.

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