Places to get DSLR prints done.

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by Russell Stewart, Jun 24, 2003.

  1. Sorry to start a new thread, but my crappy news server has been off and on
    for the last 5 days and now I am missing many messages... and this thread is
    one of them. (I have been able to read via a public server but not been
    able to respond)

    I did mention DigiLab in Brizvagas back up the thread (one of the brief
    periods when my server was "on") and really I cannot say enough good things
    about them... and yes they are a sponsor of my Australia Digital Photo Of
    The Day site, but that is NOT why I mention them.... I have been singing
    their praises long before they became a sponsor! :)

    Now to link this reply back to a few points in the other post....

    DigiLab v's F-Stop prices: F-Stop prices are very good and on a par with
    DigiLabs in the smaller sizes, however DigiLab offers a 4x6 price of 70
    cents, while F-Stop's minimum price is $1.40 for 5x7 and below. Seeing
    that my "bread and butter" sales are mostly 4x6 this effectively 1/2s my
    printing cost!

    DigiLab have a $15 min. while F-stop's is $25.... while this may not seem
    that important, it sure helps improve my turn around time for low volume
    prints.

    Also, DigiLab will accept TIFF or full size JPG on CD or JPG 7 via the FTP,
    while I believe F-Stop is JPEG only regardless of how you deliver the
    images. I am not fussed on the JPG 7 idea.... both DigiLab and F-Stop would
    have done their homework and would believe that you cannot see the
    difference, but for me it's still TIFFs on CD. :) It would seem that
    it is simply a bandwidth thing and things may change as we all end up on
    broadband and have unlimited data.

    Someone mentioned that the F-Stop prints were a bit soft?? Interesting... I
    would doubt if it's a JPG thing and a Lambda "should" be sharp?? While
    DigiLab do not use a Lambda, they have a DLab laser machine that is very
    similar and also a Pegasus LED... I have used both of these machines and I
    cannot fault them in any way.... and I am a fussy bugger too! :)

    [End DigiLab rant] :)

    Russell Stewart
    Australian Digital Photo Of The Day
    http://www.pixelpix.com.au/adpotd.html
     
    Russell Stewart, Jun 24, 2003
    #1
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  2. Russell Stewart

    Rob Gray Guest

    That was me, I've only done one test of their L2 service (Lambda from jpeg)
    and it was certainly soft, but I'm not blaming the process yet. The files
    looked good on a computer, what I'll have to do is get a tiff of the same
    file printed with their "commercial" service (more expensive though) and
    compare.

    Regards
    Rob
     
    Rob Gray, Jun 25, 2003
    #2
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  3. Their commercial service is way too expensive and I would not even bother.
    I would have thought that they were actually using the same machine for both
    services (Lambda is a Lambda is a Lambda), except that they do all the post
    processing for the commercial service, while leaving the L2 post processing
    up to the photographer.... either way sharp images should be the result.
     
    Russell Stewart, Jun 25, 2003
    #3
  4. Russell Stewart

    Creative Guest

    Creative, Jun 29, 2003
    #4
  5. Russell Stewart

    Auspics Guest

    Digilab has some colour issues with some photographers. Their "Carmen
    Miranda" and grey scale blaanced on one PC but their prints off. I don't
    understand how I can print a poster on my inkjet with perfect colour and the
    prints from Digilab are off colour. They also have "fixed" size/price
    printing. Fstop on the other hand charge by the square metre so if you have
    panoramas to print, f-stop are more suitable than Digilab.
    JT
     
    Auspics, Jun 29, 2003
    #5
  6. I have never had a colour issue with them at all. I trust that you have
    calibrated your system to theirs and not just your inkjet? What colour
    space are you using?

    They use different machines and are limited to 20x32 and their panos are
    done via inkjet, so in the case of panos f-stop are the better option.

    Russell Stewart
    Australian Digital Photo Of The Day
    http://www.pixelpix.com.au/adpotd.html
     
    Russell Stewart, Jun 29, 2003
    #6
  7. Russell Stewart

    Auspics Guest

    The "Carmen Miranda" image on both photo paper and a PS file is provided by
    Digilabs to balance out the grey/colour scales in PhotoShop. If PS gives out
    the colour value they say it should, then pics produced to their colour and
    grayscale values should be correct from their printer. At least 2 wedding
    photographers I know, have trouble getting consistent results from that lab.
    I guess it's a function of 'scroogeness' that they do not have this problem
    with Street's, they just want Digilab's prices.

    So having said that... How do you suppose it works when PS (with a Sony
    monitor) on one system and PS with a Samsung monitor on another in a
    different suburb, can both use the 'Miranda' image to balance their system
    and both output almost identical inkjet prints from the same CFC on the same
    printer moved between locations without PS having any 'colour profiles'
    installed, just balanced to the 'Carmen' image yet...

    The CDs containing the 'test' images sent to the lab from these 2 different
    photographers created on PCs which otherwise produce identical output with
    ink... Come back with a different colour and tonal balance? The burning
    software?

    Part of the concept of digital photography for a professional is that it
    removes the uncertainty of labs processing film and paper with unpredictable
    results and puts back in the hands of the photographer, the control that
    would otherwise be lost.

    If the labs providing calibration images can't reliably produce results that
    seem so uncompromisingly easy to achieve with ink and colour laser's... Give
    me a reason - any reason, to recommend that lab. Just because you personally
    don't have the problem means nothing other than you are either employed
    there or are one of the majority of their clients who have no problems.

    I suppose in the contest of my comments, 2 out of the 9 photographers I know
    who use the service have had problems... The other 7 do not. One can hope
    that this percentage is not carried out to their entire customer base.

    JT
     
    Auspics, Jun 30, 2003
    #7
  8. Let me make sure I have what you are saying correct...

    They are using the same image file, unchanged from from machine to machine
    and printing to the same printer without modifying/applying profiles... is
    that correct?
    Again, let me make sure I have what you are saying correct...

    They are both sending the Carmen test image unchanged and getting different
    results.... or are they balancing their systems with the Carmen, then using
    the same file, they each colour balance/correct that file and they both get
    different results... is that correct?
    I am one of the 7.
     
    Russell Stewart, Jun 30, 2003
    #8
  9. Russell Stewart

    Auspics Guest

    They didn't sent the Carmen image back for printing... That'd be like
    repainting a new white car white... Don't you think? They sent the same
    portrait file for printing.

    I have no knowledge if Digilabs used the same printer or not but it was my
    inkjet (Canon S9000) they both used to make their own test prints. before
    sending the image files to Digilabs.

    They both used the 'Carmen" image to check the readings and balance their
    system as per Digilab's instructions, so the eye dropper from swatches
    produced the colour/grayscale Digilabs said it should. The 2 prints, printed
    on different day and sent to different photographers were quite different to
    the results from the inkjet.

    I said 9 photographers I knew. You could not be one of the 7 Russell, I
    don't know you.
     
    Auspics, Jun 30, 2003
    #9

  10. Yes it would be like trying to paint white car white, but then so is
    printing the same file from two different systems to the same printer (your
    bubble jet).... all that will show is if your printer is consistent? It has
    nothing to do with the Carmen calibration that you mentioned and that is
    what was confusing me.

    I agree that sending the exact same file to DigiLab for printing and getting
    two different results back is a problem. But if two photographers start
    with the same image and colour balance that image on two different systems,
    I would fully expect that there would be differences in the results.

    That is not what I meant, so I will try again.... if 2 out of every 9 have
    problems, I am one of the 7 that do not.
     
    Russell Stewart, Jun 30, 2003
    #10
  11. Russell Stewart

    Ken Chandler Guest

    The "Carmen Miranda" image on both photo paper and a PS file is provided by
    Digilabs to balance out the grey/colour scales in PhotoShop. If PS gives out
    the colour value they say it should, then pics produced to their colour and
    grayscale values should be correct from their printer.[/QUOTE]

    A Photoshop file opened on any PC using Photoshop should give the same RGB
    values, Adjusting the monitor will only adjust the visual representation of
    those colors on screen. The RGB values reported in the "Info" palette will
    not alter when the monitors Brightness or Contrast or RGB balance is
    altered, nor does it care whether the monitor is a SONY, Samsung or anything
    else.

    I assume that the image in question is tagged with an ICC profile, eg Adobe
    RGB (1998) or ColorMatch etc etc. Again assuming that Photoshop is set to
    acknowledge this ICC profile and that you are not converting it to another
    Colorspace (sRGB etc etc) when you open it?
    Are these wedding photographers supplying film neg/pos or digital to the lab
    in question as a matter of interest?
    I don't understand what it is that you are calibrating with the Miranda
    image? You are adjusting your monitor to look like the print? Are you
    adjusting the actual digital file in any way?

    The same image off the same CFC (Compact Flash Card?) will print the same on
    the same printer, that stands to reason. You can achieve this without any
    ICC profiles or color profiles - provided you are using the same driver
    settings, same paper then the result will be expectedly similar from any
    number of PCs, provided no-one alters the actual image.
    Are we still talking about the exact same file? Not just the "Carmen" shot
    or whatever it is, but the exact same file, digital camera, or otherwise?
    There is still a fair bit of uncertainty with any system that requires you
    to adjust a monitor to match a print.

    If you want predictable results then setting up some form of /real/ color
    workflow is essential IMO. A properly calibrated monitor, ICC profiles for
    your output device /and/ different medias for that device, ICC profiles for
    your proofing device and the different media that you are using with it, and
    if you are using the monitor for soft proofing consistent lighting
    conditions. No point using your monitor to "soft proof" your output if the
    ambient light is different in the morning to midday to afternoon to
    evenings.
    What colorspace do you use? What colorspace does your lab recommend? Are
    you tagging your images with a color profile?

    Printing the same image to the same printer doesn't really tell you much
    about the accuracy of the process.
    If the majority of the clients do not have problems the question begs what
    are they doing differently?
    Regards, Ken
     
    Ken Chandler, Jun 30, 2003
    #11
  12. Russell Stewart

    Lionel Guest

    I haven't tried either of the labs you mention. But perhaps this info
    may be helpful.
    I use Camera Action in Melbourne (Frontier machine, printing on
    Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper). I output from PS in Adobe '98 colour,
    & get exactly what I want. The one thing I could bitch about is their
    print trimming.
     
    Lionel, Jun 30, 2003
    #12
  13. Russell Stewart

    Auspics Guest

    I don't have any problems with Frontier prints either. Strangely enough
    neither do the photographers who got variable results from Digilab either.
    JT
     
    Auspics, Jun 30, 2003
    #13
  14. Russell Stewart

    Auspics Guest

    Ken...
    The Carmen Miranda Calibration print supplied by Digilabs has a grayscale
    from 255 to 0 added to it. Otherwise it's the standard Adobe test print.
    According to DL, you only need to ensure your monitor's gray scale matches
    those in the picture, to get accurate results from their printers. I won't
    touch on the God awful skin tones of this print here.

    The file they supply has no Profile attached to it. To get near identical
    results on the canon inkjet, I set the printer profile and the Adobe profile
    to sRGB. The monitors now have reasonable true representation of the actual
    colours in pictures from the Digital cameras after I balanced the monitor to
    the final print. They can work with the system now and expect to have prints
    closely resembling what they saw on the screen.

    This whole fiasco came about because one of the guys was moving to digital
    and got varying results from different labs he gave the same image to and
    none of them were faithful reproductions of what he believed to be the
    'right' one. Not only that, but none of the photo prints he got back looked
    like the inkjet proofs he's run off on an i320 inkjet.

    Some people think method "A" is better than method "B" to get a reasonable
    picture on a monitor that actually looks like both the original scene and
    the final print. I have in the past paid people to spyder my monitors with
    mixed results. The only results I've been satisfied with are the ones I get
    from my own procedures.

    The only way I know to get a system tuned into a
    printer/scanner/camera/monitor myself is to eyeball it and that method
    requires a print so you start with what the PC and printer can actually
    produce from the input file. Where this comes unstuck is when the printer -
    be it a Frontierer or a cheap inkjet - can't produce reliably accurate
    prints. I disagree completely with your assertion that starting with the
    output and making everything between the camera and the final print fit that
    print is somehow uncertain. The only uncertainty is when the print can't be
    reproduced identically.

    The (less than ideal) solution these guys have now settled on is to proof
    their work on a (shared) colour laser printer and supply final prints from
    an inkjet. At least the photos are now consistent. One can only hope as they
    come to grips with the added burden of modern technology, the labs might
    also fit into the scheme of it all. I hope too that the inkjet prints live
    up to Canon's claim of colour fastness... But that's another thing.
    JT
     
    Auspics, Jun 30, 2003
    #14
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