Own colour printing vs lab printing?


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billpepsi

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Jan 2, 2005
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The 3rd Rock
#1
Hi,

I'm a hobby photographer and and having been contemplating for awhile on whether to get my own colour printer or have the photos printed at the labs.

The advantage of having my own colour printer is convenience, but not sure on the "cost vs benefit". Anybody done any analysis on this before?
 

3in1c

New Member
Oct 23, 2008
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#2
Hm, 20 cents per 4R print is quite common nowadays. In house printing...printer capabilities, cost, ink, paper etc, perhaps not worth it in my opinion.
 

kandinsky

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Apr 26, 2008
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#3
If you plan to do bulk prints at a standard size (4R for example), definitely more cost efficient to do it at a lab.

Having your own printer is especially useful if you want to do prints of weird sizes, which may cost significantly more at a lab.
Passport, wallet size, square crop, A4, 8R, etc..

Personally, convenience outweighs cost for me.
I don't calculate till I know the raw cost of each print I make. I just buy the consumables I need, and print.

I like that I don't need to leave my desk to make prints, and I can experiment with different media - glossy, matt, cotton rag, textured, etc etc.

The last straw came when my neighbourhood lab wanted to charge me 'passport price' for one 4R. I knew then I had to get my own printer.
The story: I took my own passport photo (like all of us do) and fit 8 in one 4R print.
Instead of charging me the price for one 4R, the guy at the counter said he would have to charge $8!!
A dollar per passport photo! Even if I did all the work myself.
 

jtchoy

New Member
Oct 2, 2008
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#4
If you plan to do bulk prints at a standard size (4R for example), definitely more cost efficient to do it at a lab.

Having your own printer is especially useful if you want to do prints of weird sizes, which may cost significantly more at a lab.
Passport, wallet size, square crop, A4, 8R, etc..

Personally, convenience outweighs cost for me.
I don't calculate till I know the raw cost of each print I make. I just buy the consumables I need, and print.

I like that I don't need to leave my desk to make prints, and I can experiment with different media - glossy, matt, cotton rag, textured, etc etc.

The last straw came when my neighbourhood lab wanted to charge me 'passport price' for one 4R. I knew then I had to get my own printer.
The story: I took my own passport photo (like all of us do) and fit 8 in one 4R print.
Instead of charging me the price for one 4R, the guy at the counter said he would have to charge $8!!
A dollar per passport photo! Even if I did all the work myself.
Wow, that's really trying to chop!

Yeah, its really convenient to print it yourself, especially when you just want to print a few pieces... If want to print in bulk, then its probably cheaper to head to a printing shop... :)
 

sin77

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Nov 28, 2004
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#5
I just bought a small 4x6 Sony printer solely for printing photos.
Reference:
http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=458816

Each printout is $0.30 not including the cost of printer (nor printhead for future maintenance).
Obviously sending out for print is better quality and slightly cheaper, but just like u... i want convenience.

Going out to shops to print 5 pieces of photos is so silly. And also you can immediately print out for your frens and family should it be urgent.

Hence all in all, standby a photo printer just in case you need to print a few pieces urgently.
Then send out to shops for mass printing.
 

Last edited:

hazmee

Senior Member
May 9, 2004
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#6
As kandinsky have already mentioned, bulk prints: do it at the lab, small quantities: do it at home.

Since you are only doing this for hobby, don't get the 6 or 8 ink printers. Cost of running is expensive. Simple logic. The normal 4-ink ones would be fine. Try to purchase inks/media during IT shows or buy in bulk where you can get a good discount.

Some things to note: Some printers might get clogged if you leave your printer sitting for months. Print at least fortnightly to keep it in tip top condition.

Till then, good luck and hope that helps. Cheers!
 

billpepsi

New Member
Jan 2, 2005
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The 3rd Rock
#7
As kandinsky have already mentioned, bulk prints: do it at the lab, small quantities: do it at home.

Since you are only doing this for hobby, don't get the 6 or 8 ink printers. Cost of running is expensive. Simple logic. The normal 4-ink ones would be fine. Try to purchase inks/media during IT shows or buy in bulk where you can get a good discount.

Some things to note: Some printers might get clogged if you leave your printer sitting for months. Print at least fortnightly to keep it in tip top condition.

Till then, good luck and hope that helps. Cheers!
Thanks for all the reply, next question is, which brand and model should I consider?
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#11
The downside of own printing is that the paper is not as good quality, IMHO, as the ones used in the lab. The texture of the paper is somewhat different too.

I generally prefer the lab paper as opposed to inkjet paper.

Hi,

I'm a hobby photographer and and having been contemplating for awhile on whether to get my own colour printer or have the photos printed at the labs.

The advantage of having my own colour printer is convenience, but not sure on the "cost vs benefit". Anybody done any analysis on this before?
 

cater

New Member
Apr 12, 2007
434
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#12
Wow, that's really trying to chop!

Yeah, its really convenient to print it yourself, especially when you just want to print a few pieces... If want to print in bulk, then its probably cheaper to head to a printing shop... :)
I would like to make a fair statement. Pls take note that im not from any lap printing company. I was told by 1 shop that the lap photo printing system cost about 100 over thousand. Ink? Paper? Rental? Labour? Electrical bill? Production cost of a camera is less than 50% of its selling price. Why dont any of you say you kena chop when u buy a camera that cost 2K and the company make 1K profit from you? It is a service provided to you if you needed it espicially when u need it urgently.
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#13
The system may cost a lot, but the cost is the same whether he prints a normal 4R or a passport photo composite. Hence it is a fair statement to say that the shop is trying to chop. That is the distinction.

Anyway for those who want to print passport photos in a 4R, go to Fotohub. No such nonsense of increasing the price. I had such a good relationship with them that I even can borrow their passport photo cutter to cut out the photos hehe :)

I would like to make a fair statement. Pls take note that im not from any lap printing company. I was told by 1 shop that the lap photo printing system cost about 100 over thousand. Ink? Paper? Rental? Labour? Electrical bill? Production cost of a camera is less than 50% of its selling price. Why dont any of you say you kena chop when u buy a camera that cost 2K and the company make 1K profit from you? It is a service provided to you if you needed it espicially when u need it urgently.
 

hazmee

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May 9, 2004
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#14
The downside of own printing is that the paper is not as good quality, IMHO, as the ones used in the lab. The texture of the paper is somewhat different too.

I generally prefer the lab paper as opposed to inkjet paper.
Hmm... there a lot of good quality papers available in the market you know. ;) Some are even better than those offered by labs.
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#15
Any recommendations? The primary thing that I do not like in inkjet papers is the texture of the printed surface. In a lab print, the texture is smooth and frictionless. In a inkjet print, the printed surface appears to have a lot of friction.

Hmm... there a lot of good quality papers available in the market you know. ;) Some are even better than those offered by labs.
 

hazmee

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#17
Any recommendations? The primary thing that I do not like in inkjet papers is the texture of the printed surface. In a lab print, the texture is smooth and frictionless. In a inkjet print, the printed surface appears to have a lot of friction.
Ha... that has to do with the quality of paper. Cheap photo papers will give you exactly that. If you are using a pigment based printer, the Ilford Galerie Pearl Smooth Pearl Paper is a good start. It feels exactly like your matte paper from the lab if not a tad better. Get it from Ruby at Peninsula. For Canon dye based printers, get the originals. I suggest going to Cathay Peninsula and get the Professional Glossy Paper. Any other 3rd party paper will give you weird color casts. However, I had great results with Ilford Galerie Classic but it needs a lot of care. PM me for me details. If you like matte prints, you should be using a pigment based printer. The Epson matte papers are the best so far. You still have your Photo-Rag, Harman Photo a lot of more... for specific printer models. Phew...:sweat:

Hope that helps.
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#18
Ah I'm thinking more of Glossy actually. The glossy papers from the labs are really smooth, if you run your fingernail across it, there's no resistance. The inkjet papers all have great amount of resistance, no matter which type I've seen.

Of course, I've only seen those "original" brand papers, such as Canon and Epson and the like. Have not had a chance to see the other brands that you've quoted.

However, these other brands sound expensive, especially things like Ilford. Would it be better then to just send to the lab? Unless one needs instant gratification of course heh :)

Ha... that has to do with the quality of paper. Cheap photo papers will give you exactly that. If you are using a pigment based printer, the Ilford Galerie Pearl Smooth Pearl Paper is a good start. It feels exactly like your matte paper from the lab if not a tad better. Get it from Ruby at Peninsula. For Canon dye based printers, get the originals. I suggest going to Cathay Peninsula and get the Professional Glossy Paper. Any other 3rd party paper will give you weird color casts. However, I had great results with Ilford Galerie Classic but it needs a lot of care. PM me for me details. If you like matte prints, you should be using a pigment based printer. The Epson matte papers are the best so far. You still have your Photo-Rag, Harman Photo a lot of more... for specific printer models. Phew...:sweat:

Hope that helps.
 

hazmee

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#19
Ilford expensive?? No way sir! They are the most affordable out there. Which printer you using btw? I can give a few recommendations. ;)
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#20
I would like to make a fair statement. Pls take note that im not from any lap printing company. I was told by 1 shop that the lap photo printing system cost about 100 over thousand. Ink? Paper? Rental? Labour? Electrical bill? Production cost of a camera is less than 50% of its selling price. Why dont any of you say you kena chop when u buy a camera that cost 2K and the company make 1K profit from you? It is a service provided to you if you needed it espicially when u need it urgently.
the printing system is cost more than that, that way I always insist on lab prints, whenther is paid job or personal, self home printing the results are inconsistant, and if you are fussy, ink and paper wastage will kill you.
 

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