Reviews: Online Print Services
Peak Imaging were the joint-second fastest print service during this test. I placed my order at 3.51pm on 29th July and received the prints on 31st July. A 2-day turnaround is excellent, but not quite as good as PhotoBox.
Peak Imaging's packaging was excellent. The prints arrived inside a substantial cardboard package, clearly marked "PLEASE DO NOT BEND". The only drawback that I can think of to this approach is that your postman may have difficulty fitting it through your letterbox.
Also included, along with the 4 prints, was a blank order form for ordering processing and prints, and a cardboard pacakge for sending films in. I'm not sure why they sent me this when I ordered my prints online from digital files, but it might come in useful if I ever return to using film.
Price per 6x4 print: £0.79
At 79p Peak Imaging just pipped TopFoto to the title of most-expensive 6x4 print. This reflects Peak's postitioning in the marketplace, as they promote themselves as a pro-am lab, rather than being directly aimed at consumers.
Points to Note
The software that Peak Imaging uses to upload your photographs tells you what the quality will be like for each print before you place your order.
Here are the 4 prints that I received from Peak Imaging, scanned on my Black Widow 4830 Pro flatbed scanner at 72 dpi:
The prints from PhotoBox used FujiColor Professional paper. This paper feels heavier than all of the other prints that I received. I suspect that it has a higher g/m rating; it feels heavier than the 280 g/m Ilford Galerie inkjet paper that I use with my Epson 890 printer. This helps to reinforce the quality feel of the prints.
Again I thought the prints were a little darker than the images that I could see onscreen, although it must be noted that I didn't calibrate my monitor for each print service.
When compared with the prints from the other services on test, I felt that PhotoBox's prints were cooler and more neutral. Again looking at the white-to-black bars in particular on the calibration image is a good guide to the neutrality of the print. I preferred the more neutral prints from Peak Imaging, although this is more of a personal preference than simply being right or wrong.
The images were excellently cropped, with not much detail being lost at the edge of the images. Peak Imaging were the only print service to retain most of the soles of the little girls shoes in Print 3, for example. Each print was perfectly cut with no rough edges.
PhotoBox is a hard act to follow, but I feel that the print quality from Peak Imaging was enough to make up for the high price per print. If the highest print quality is your main objective, then Peak Imaging are your best bet.