Advantages Good quality printing, using both dye sublimation and conventional chemical techniques
Disadvantages Not the cheapest
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Boots, Jessops, Tescos...
This is a review I've decided to write having read someone else's apparantly biased review towards Boots.I'll give a brief review of my experience. I have no complaints with Boots at all.
I'm quite a serious photographer owning Canon L series pro level equipment and quite a good pocket Nikon camera. I've been doing photography for 25 years using 35mm SLR cameras.I've started using my local Boots for printing. But I'm not exclusively using them.
I haven't done a lot of printing with them.I've used a few other places in the town where I live and elsewhere, with the digital printing.
I think people need to understand the printing processes involved and check what the photographic store is using.My local Boots does two types of printing:
2)Chemically developed prints using a proper photographic enlargement process using Fuji Crystal Archive paper.Fuji Crystal Archive Paper is used by just about everyone, some places use a Kodak paper.
The instant dye sublimation prints are good, very good in fact, good enough for most people. But they only do the dye sub prints in small sizes.To be pedantic, the blacks aren't quite as black as the chemical developing technique using the FJCA paper.
FJCA paper seems to come into two types: matt and glossy.The glossy produces far better blacks than the matt version.
I've had night time fireworks prints done by Tesco's and they used a matt FJCA paper and I was quite disappointed with the results.The same image files taken into Boots and printed on glossy FJCA paper are greatly superior. This is probably more down to the paper rather than it being Boots itself. But Tesco's don't give you a choice of paper.
Another important key thing I've only just discovered is the way the software on these 'kiosks' varies.Sometimes the images need to be cropped, in order to fit to the paper.
It depends on the precise shape of the paper - does the ratio of the length/width of the image match that of the paper. If not, the image will be cropped and you lose part of it.Boots machine show you what area will be cropped and you can select it!
Jessops machines don't show you the cropping area. The result is is I've just lost £9 because a key part of the image has been cropped.Advice:
If you've got important detail around the edges of the photo you want to see, then don't take it to Jessops. Take it to Boots so you can see how it is being cropped and select where you want it cropped.Tescos can be cheap, particularly for very large prints, but recognise they only do prints on matt Fuji Crystal Archive paper and is not suitable for all subject matter, blacks aren't good on this paper.
I'd stay away from the small outlets because they're less likely to have proper procedures in place, they might take their own initiative and adjust parameters doing what they think is right! A bigger chain of stores is likely to have better trained staff and stricter processes in place.If you haven't used a photographic outlet before: then do a low cost couple of test prints with them first! And talk to the staff and see if they make adjustments to the images automatically or not.
I learnt my lesson, instruct the staff beforehand not to make any automatic changes.
Or make use one particular print to set the machine up, and then don't auto adjust the settings.
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