How Many Still Bother With Printing?

Discussion in 'Printing' started by Biro, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    I was involved in a discussion recently about backing up one's images in the digital age (currently I use CDs and DVDs) and the need to migrate those images to new platforms and formats as technology evolves. I also concluded that an excellent way to back up your back-ups is to simply print your images and store them in a dry, dark location with no temperature extremes.

    But, I must admit that, over the course of a decade, I haven't been completely pleased with the results I get from any printer that I can afford for my home. It's always one issue or another. Plus, I'm not all that sure the economics of home printing work out all that well compared with taking your memory card or USB drive down to the local Target, Wal-Mart or drug store and allow them to do the printing for you.

    So... back to the question in the headline... how many of you still bother with prints? And, if you do, do you print your own or have it done outside?
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  2. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    As my profession demands, but it is really hard to store 12 foot prints and so I throw them away. Prints are not an archival scheme.
  3. Del

    Del New to Mu-43

    Nov 8, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    But of course.

    No doubt technology is moving at a rapid pace-it always does, particularly with the sea change digital brought. However the comments on prints I display in my home and office and request from others for such, keep me very happily printing-just for fun, this is not my career. Additionally, I love the time I spend working on prints in Lightroom and Photoshop a great deal. I can't always be on the road capturing images. Of those I know who continue to enjoy making and presenting prints, about half go the Costco route, and the other half print their own. Great that we still have lots of choice in the matter. I've found that ordinary people really enjoy canvas prints these days, and it is very easy to create, stretch and frame them. For the more discriminating nothing beats holding a nice paper print in one's hand however.
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Home printing whether inkjet, laser, or dye-sub, is not even comparable to the quality you get from offset. If you want quality prints go to a real printer (and don't go to Target, Wal-Mart, or a Drug Store either... just look in your yellow pages under "Printers" and build up a repoire with a more reputable local offest printer).

    Home printing is made for a different purpose. It gets you you prints at hand, but is not made for photographic display. It works in a pinch and I use it often, but I understand its limitations.
  5. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011

    Prints are a display medium, and perhaps a sales vehicle. Nothing more.

    I haven't done much printing in quite a while, but I'm getting back into it as a way to display my images so that they are visible to friends, family and co-workers on a regular basis.

    If I put my images on Picasa, or another image sharing site, and send out links, people might look at them once. If they're on the wall of my office, people see them every day. And more people than I would ever consider sending links out to.

    I can't really agree with this. The output of modern 8, 10 and 12 ink photographic printers from Epson, Canon and HP is exceptionally high quality. In fact, I think the tonal range, detail and ability to get subtle and/or dynamic color (with proper PP of the image) is at least equal to the best chemical prints of decades past. I get better prints out of my Epson R3000 than I ever got from high quality commercial Cibachromes.

    Inkjet prints are on display in galleries around the world, and sell at fine-art prices. The latest Canon photo printer uses multiple shades of black (gray) ink to produce B&W prints with stunning detail and gradation, and multiple black (gray) ink sets are available from 3rd party vendors for a number of other printers.

    Sure, you won't get high quality images from a $100 four-ink multi-function printer, but if you can't get exhibition quality prints from a dedicated inkjet photo printer the problem isn't the technology.

    As for offset prints, I also disagree. Unless the technology has advanced greatly, offset printers don't even match the best chemical prints of a couple of decades ago when it comes to retaining any shadow detail.
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  6. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Real Name:
    Well, I've recently had around 30 16x12 and 20 12x8 printed and framed for an exhibition I'm staging next month. In the UK I find that DSCL can print far superior and cheaper than I can do on my own printer, which is only A4 anyway. I've also got a stock of mounted, unframed prints for sale.

    If we ever get to the stage where we no longer print, surely that makes megapixels meaningless? Just half a megapixel will give you a 12x8 at 72ppi for computer display which makes the olympus 12mp sensor look complete overkill! :biggrin:
  7. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Professional inkjet and dye-sub will be much better than offset printing.
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  8. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    To my mind one of the points of digital is that you can make identical copies.
    If you print and re-scan then you would not have an exact copy.
    Long term storage of data is an issue with any kind of digital data. The net will have plenty of information about strategies.
    Personally I'm not worried, so long as I back up on to one or two secondary drives, that I'm going to lose everything. My best stuff is also on Flickr and although nothing can be guaranteed I think Flickr losing all its data without warning is unlikely.
    If utter optical fidelity is not important then printing is one way I suppose of spreading the instances of your photos, plus a physical album is nice. There are of course reasons to print. But a good data strategy is much more likely to preserve your work, and data has the potential of literally lasting to the end of the universe. The print medium will on the other hand degrade.
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Totally agree...

    There's a big unknown variable between the quality of the printing unit at home when compared with yet the unknown quality of the printing places at various stores like walmart and target. I've seen good and horrible work from those consumer places... the consistency between places is noticeable.

    I do my printing at home on an older Epson 2200.. but most of my requests go elsewhere; usually Mpix. The whole creation process from trip of shutter to final outcome doesn't seem complete to me until its in print.
  10. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I don't own a colour printer and I don't use Target or Wal-Mart. I have take my best images to an art printer and have them done there. Over time I have developed a rapport with the printer and he does exactly what I want. If I am displeased he prints them till I am pleased. He uses a huge and very expensive printer that he changes every two years, give or take. The cost of printing, when you factor in the cost of a printer, paper and ink, is far less than if I did it myself. The down side is that it I do have to wait a bit longer to see my results. I always say I will get a cheap printer for causal prints but I never do.
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You could be right on this... I don't use 10 and 12 cartridge printers so I wasn't really thinking along those lines...

    Ew, I would never go to Walmart or Target to do my printing and even with commercial printers I generally only use the ones I've gotten a good referral for (of course that always requires a first time, right?). :) Otherwise, I'd rather do it at home - even with a cheapo home printer, lol. Some camera stores, as well as Staples and Kinkos, or retail drug stores also offer printing, and those are some other places I won't go to either.
  12. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    Well, there've been some great responses so far. In my particular case, I wasn't thinking about printing every image I capture... only the ones I deem particularly important. In my case, perhaps printing isn't a good total archiving strategy... but it may be an excellent part of the mix. Many, if not most, in my family tend to have luddite tendencies. If I were to die tomorrow, it would be much more likely that they would recover and save photo albums with prints inside then peruse my hard drives and discs.

    Like Grant, I find that having my prints made by professionals is less money over the long haul than if I do it myself. In terms of who to use, it is possible to get good results at a given Costco, Target, etc. but one must be cautious. Once you find one place that works well, it tends keep doing so. Myself, I have used a local photo shop that contacts with a lab that gives solid results at fair prices and will probably use them more in the future.
  13. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    This is how most of my printing takes place! It's not the best printer in the world, but it is lots and lots of fun.
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  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I thought I was getting fairly nice prints until I got one from a dye sublimation printer (not even a high end one but middle of the road) and the difference was remarkable. Good dye sub is amazing.
  15. hodad66

    hodad66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 27, 2010
    Indialantic, Florida
    I have some of my surf shots on the wall..... canvas print that I stretch
    on a frame that I build. Otherwise it's all digital.
  16. Chuck Pike

    Chuck Pike Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 3, 2010
    Charlotte, NC.
    I mostly print for contact sheets to send to magazine editors.

    I know that in this day of lightboxes and my account at Photoshelter, sending out a submission by snail mail seems out of date. I sent both ways to the same editors. Some have been at the magazines as long as I have been shooting, and are not that good with the computer. I do want to send them the best contact I can make, and that means doing it inhouse. I also do my personal work on my HP B9180 printer. Makes great prints, but not sure who I will buy my next printer from. My HP never clogs, while my Epson did all the time.
    Images for books, magazines and calendars | photosbypike
  17. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    If your images are not being printed what reason is there to have any camera that will capture above 5MP? Then again I am of the belief that its not a photograph until a print is made hence the term 'photo finishing'

    Although I capture far more then I print when I do print its quite the process but its worth it.
  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I print all the time - most being 4x6.....
    And I print at home with a Kodak ( :eek: ) printer..
  19. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    Sorry, but no. The only limitation of home printing is the effort put into creating a great print by the operator. Even sub $300 inkjet printers can exceed, quite easily, the print quality of any offset process. But how many home printers are profiled and operated by skilled printers.

    Just like shooting and post processing, printing is a skill that is learned and supported with good process. Printers need profiles, paper choices and skill.just like digital cameras files need to be optimised to produce superior results, so do printer settings.

  20. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    And, back on topic, I still print. Our home has several dozen frames on the wall. But I don't print for archival purposes.