Reviews: Online Print Services
Epson Stylus 890
Price per 6x4 print: £0.30-50
I paid £18 for a 100-sheet box of Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl Paper from 7DayShop.co.uk. I could fit two 6x4 prints on one sheet, so from a paper point of view, each print costs £0.09. Cartridges for the Epson 890 are about £12 each for both colour and black and white. I roughly estimate that a 6x4 print would cost 30-50p each.
Here are the 4 prints that I printed on my Epson Stylus 890, scanned on my Black Widow 4830 Pro flatbed scanner at 72 dpi:
I printed the images on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl Paper, which has a weight of 280g/m, putting it on a par with traditional photographic paper.
Overall I thought the prints were a little darker than the images that I could see onscreen, although not as dark as most of the print services on test. I also felt that they were significantly cooler than the print services, especially when looking at the white-to-black bars on the calibration image.
As I was in full control of the print process, each print represented the full image with nothing being lost through cropping.
At such a small print size, I couldn't detect any noticeable differences in quality between prints made on the Epson Stylus Inkjet 890 and those supplied by the print services on test.
The main drawback is that the 890 is a dye-based printer, which means that its prints are prone to gas-fading if not placed behind glass or in a plastic folder. They are certainly not as archival as the Fuji and Agfa photographic papers used by the print labs.
The second drawback is one of convenience. Its probably cheaper and easier to send a batch of images off to a print service, rather than having to print and cut them yourself. On the other hand, you do lose control over how much of the image actually makes it onto the print.