29th January 2004, 01:51 AM
Personal review of 2 FDI developing shops
Always been thinking what kind of difference does it make to print 4R at 40cents a piece in KT at Chinatown (30cents for CS members) and 50cents in Beautiful Memories at Stamford House. I had went to the workshop provided by Beautiful Memories, am impressed by what FDI can do and not do.
Do note that these comments are from a newbie in photography, someone who never shoot any photo other than occasionally a point and shoot camera. Bought a digital camera some 4 months back to learn about photography. Cannot differentiate correctly (sometimes) between dark brown and red, blue and purple, light yellow and light green, deep orange and red.
Ratings are 1 (Worst) to 5 (Best)
1. Colour, Contrast and Brightness
KT have slightly more yellow tone, which I think looks more alike compared to real life. Beautiful Memories have a slight red tone to the skin and is also a bit brighter. Overall BM has slightly better saturation and it is really hard to differentiate under a quick look. I like KT's skin like colour and BM's saturation, hard to choose.... KT - 4, BM - 4
2. Paper and Quality
KT has matt and glossy, which I choose the former for less stickiness reason. Beautiful Memories has a special version of the matt and glossy, which looks the same as the matt from KT. Both are FujiFilm Crystal Achieve Supreme. One is cut on the wide (BM) and the other on the length (KT, this is a guess so may not be right). Output for both are slightly cropped, with KT more severe. Not too important if your shots are candids or with a bit of space on its border. In the workshop provided by BM (which is indeed kind and resourceful, at no true benefit to itself), it was claimed that the photo produced by the machine should be flat lying on a flat surface (if the machine is calibrated correctly). It does not seems so in BM's case. All photos printed are not lying flat. It is the opposite in KT's case. It does not bothers me which is flatter or not, as I will put it in a photo album eventually. I would choose BM's if cropping factor (physical constraint of machine) is a problem to your output. KT - 3, BM -4
3. Service Quality
Both shops provide good service. BM have on the spot printing, which I am able to get my 45 prints within 10 mins. One staff is probably new and not 100% sure of what to do exactly. With time I believe this can change. KT people know their stuff, but not all knows everything, like pricing. Well, no one is perfect, but at least I got what I intended to from both shops. KT - 4, BM - 4
BM is near City Hall MRT and KT is near Chinatown MRT, both with good access to buses. For KT I have a harder time to go home if it is over 7pm, coz lots of people already board the buses before Chinatown. But it has better choice of food at cheaper prices if I need an instant print (where I will go for my dinner). I know this may be irrelevant to you, just to share. KT - 4, BM - 4
5. Pricing and Discounts
Sad to say, although you are much assured that your prints will be of high quality with speed, price per print is "high", at 50cents. A minimum of 20 is needed to print, although no processing/handling fees are needed. The minimum number is understandable, as with the "high" charge per print at 50cents. I put " " because this is quite subjective issue. People may be able to afford to pay more for better quality products and services while some may just need to print something. There is also no discount on mass printing, a bit sad to heard this. For KT, per print is 40cents for digital 4R, 30cents for CS members. I do not know why, but probably KT's boss knows that a number of us will want something of good enough quality for normal viewing and cheap to print. Another reason is may be also due to location of shop, one being cheaper in rent and more crowded (KT) than the other (BM). I was told that more discount can be given if printing large prints in bigger number. How true it is I do not know, have to try to prove to you guys. Film scanning to digital copies is a stunner with a heaven and earth in difference. How much difference I will rather not tell, but with both able to go up to 3600x2400 a piece in pixels, price should logically not be too much. As a business, it is always profit minded. How it profit is another matter. On a personal note, BM should encourage people to print more with some discounts like 10% cheaper at >40 prints, 20% at >100 prints etc or whatever deem fit for the business to operate. KT should be aware that quality do not degrade with more prints per day and maintenence be done more frequently. KT - 5, BM - 2
KT - 20/25
BM - 18/25
Please note that these are my observations and opinions, in no way related to any companies. I wrote these on a personal preference, not used to humilate or bring down a company's reputation. I hope these information can help to improve the products and services, provided they are read by both companies involved. I always believe there are ways to improve overall qualities at no expense to both customers and businesses, in a Win-Win situation. Should there be any incorrect information, kindly PM me to remove it.