The arrival of digital cameras over the last years has been great. No more films to buy, no more waiting to see the results. No longer do we need to restrict the number of shots we take to ensure we don’t use the whole film up too quick or run out of film.
With digital cameras we can easily take shot after shot, capturing everything and checking that we have the perfect one. The only limits are the life of our digital camera batteries, the size of our ever growing memory cards and our imagination. Even these don’t stand in our way as batteries can be easily recharged, memory cards can either be swapped out in seconds (or some bad shots can be deleted) and with cheap flights (and so on) we are generally travelling to so many more places – our imagination for photos simply never runs out. Photos can easily be viewed on a PC, or on the TV. They can easily be e-mailed to our friends or posted on Facebook.
What this has led to, however, is the end of looking through photo albums at family gatherings and the end family photos on the sideboard. Maybe it it just me, but I see this as a negative thing (no pun intended).
Recently I wanted to change this, and decided I would make an old fashioned photo album of one of my recent holidays, so I examined all of the available options of how to print out photos from my digital camera. There are several ways to do it:-
Printing Photos on a Cheap InkJet Printer
Most people have probably got a cheap inkjet printer at home. Mine came ‘free’ with my PC. I could have bought the same model for about £40.
While this is not designed for printing photos, it is possible to buy special glossy photo paper. Printing on this paper produces reasonable results (I wouldn’t say good results). It did however use a LOT of ink, and after just a handful of prints I got a ‘replace ink cartridges’ warning.
If you are just going to print a few photos very occasionally and you don’t mind buying ink cartridges (or have found a good way to refill them) then try this out. If you are anyway considering to buy a new inkjet printer, then a slightly higher quality one from any of the Epson Stylus Photo, Canon PIXMA or HP Photosmart ranges will produce results that are good. They will still drink ink (maybe even more so). Based on some reasonably unscientific calculations of the ongoing costs, we worked out that the cost of paper and ink for 100 6″x4″ prints would total around £85.
Printing Photos on a Photo Printer
If you expect to be frequently print out photos, a much better alternative is a dedicated photo printer, such as those in the Canon Selphy range. Selphy printers are dedicated photo printers, the price of which starts around £80.
Supplies for the Canon Selphy range are packs consisting of both paper and ink, so you get full transparency and visibility regarding the ongoing cost per print. As a rough guide, 100 6″x4″ prints will cost around £23 making the prints much cheaper than from a traditional inkjet printer, and the cost of buying the Selphy could be quite quickly absorbed.
Quality is superb, with Selphy printers delivering lab quality prints in under a minute. Because of the dye sublimation technology used, prints will last up to 100 years under normal conditions. (Of course this is an estimate based on simulations, these printers weren’t around 100 years ago).
For more details of the Canon Selphy range as well as to read reviews and compare prices, click here.
Online Photo Printing Services
In the end I chose to get the prints from my digital camera into my traditional photo album by using the services of an Online Printing Service. Remember the Truprint ads on the TV? Well Truprint have survived the transition from a film to digital printing services in style.
6″x4″ Prints can be ordered from Truprint’s Labs for just 9p each. What’s more you even get the chance to try out the service free of charge with your first 30 prints for free, just for signing up.
How it works:
Once you have signed up, simply:
- Upload or email your digital photos to Truprint
- Order the prints in the size and quantities you want
- Optionally, order any printed gifts (such as T-shirts, mugs, mouse-mats, calendars etc)
- The prints are posted to your home address
In addition to the printing service, Truprint stores a copy of your photos and lets you share them with your friends. Not only does this keep them available within your Truprint account in case you want to order more prints, the big benefit we can see is having a backup copy of the photos available in case your PC ever goes wrong.
Everyone should try the Truprint service at least once (especially since you can try it today for free)
In conclusion, I am very happy with my prints from Truprint, and have decided that for now I will use an online digital printing service each time I want to print something. If I decide I do want to do my prints at home, I will definitely consider the dedicated photo printers in the Selphy range.
Under no circumstance will I be using my ‘cheap’ inkjet ever again!