Tell me about Costco prints

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by sanford, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Anybody using them? How is the quality/cost compared to what you can get out of your printer? Do they mat or frame?
     
  2. I have found the quality to be very good, but you lose the control of printing on your personal printer. I recommend downloading the color profile(s) for the specific printer used at a given Costco store.
     
  3. Do they make any kind of archival claim?
     
  4. I've been quite satisfied with them. You can get the profiles online for their printers (either Fuji or Noritsu) at most of their stores. I've had them make some 20x30 inch posters that were surprisingly good.
     
  5. Well...
    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can upload a 6,000 x 9,000 pixel file to Costco's online service and then an hour later head to your local store and watch your 20x30 inch print roll off an Epson 7880 professional-level printer. For $8.99.
     
  6. I've been using their service since their store opened locally last year. Can't beat their prices and fast service. Last bunch I got were during a sale, 10 cents per 4" by 6" print. Normally 15 cents each, either is a great price.
     
  7. For high-volume work they are hard to beat.
     
  8. They pay their people well enough that the employee, and employee skill/knowledge, churn is low (at least at the two local to me), they change their chemicals regularly, you can download printer profiles, the prices are good, and the quality is excellent for the price/speed/convenience.
     
  9. I'd agree with Josh for the local store (walking distance), there's also another quite close by that I've stopped in several times and the manager was making an effort to attract "professional" work as well as the typical customers. I don't do a lot of prints so have a limited sample to work with. I tried a canvas recently and am happy with the results, with some limitations. The back isn't finished (covered), etc., but the turn-around was faster than the advertised time, well packed. Limited options on sizes and edge treatments though. (They'd had an in store roadshow on canvases a while back and by the time it was to have returned to a convenient store, the program had been dropped, I believe the lab is still the one doing the Costco work as they answered some questions off the previous show flyer but not completely sure they are doing all the Costco orders or if there are other locations in other areas.)
     
  10. Will they mat prints?
     
  11. Hi Sanford,
    Overall, the machines they use to do the printing are excellent. But they are limited to the number of paper types they use. I do not like gloss or textured paper as a rule. I do like the heavy weight poster board as it is difficult to kink it in any way. It has a smooth, satin finish that looks great under archival glass. It is the highest priced paper to use but the results will be excellent. I can recommend the Tukwilla branch if you are in the Seattle area. The staff there are very good and knowledgable to get the best results.
    There is one recommendation I do make to users of their services. Costco automatically runs a color correction software on the pictures before printing them. For the general public, such changes can make a bad or mediochre photo look nice. However, if you have tweaked a picture to what you like, it can be a disaster waiting to happen. For you to get the picture that you prepared, you must tell them to turn off the Auto-Color-Corrrection. This way you get to see the image without them tampering with it. I have been told that most of the other drop-off store chains do the same thing.
    For problem photos, special papers, or unusual sizes I use Moonphoto in Seattle. I am awaiting a B&W print from them right now so I can get it framed for a show here in Port Angeles. Nice people there with over 40 years in the trade.
    CHEERS...Mathew
     
  12. No, they do not mat prints. Any framing store can do mats alone without you having to buy the frames and glass.
    CHEERS...Mathew
     
  13. I've found them to be extremely good for prints. They don't archive but they keep the images in their system for a good month. The one time I got a batch of prints that has a streak through them, I went back a few weeks later and they ran off the whole batch again for free, from the images still in the system, in about 10 minutes. Excellent quality and service.
     
  14. Most of the Costco's I have gone to use Fuji Crystal Archive paper. The one they use is not the professsional one but has a fairly long archival quality--better than Kodak products for the same use. The problem might be whether the process is actually archival or not--enough washing/rinsing in the system. I think Wilhelm Research rates this paper in the 40+year area.
    The QC is not that great at Costco, so you have to do it yourself. I really don't do a lot of prints there, but for commercial clients needing them it is a great way to have them done, but I always QC them on site and have them rerun if they have issues. On a test I did recently, the face of the main subject had a large spot on it and they didn't catch it--so just be discerning of each print--but you can't beat the turnaround and price. (The Costcos that I have used (Texas and Oregon) have both glossy and lustre and I always use luster)
     
  15. Thanks for all the responses, I think I will give them a try. Beside, I can always use a five pound jar of pickles! The camera equipment department is very limited though in my local store (Sand City - ever heard of that place?).
     
  16. I happened to need something yesterday, my watch broke and they replaced it, and I noticed they had the Nikon D7000 - bundled with the 18-200 lens.
     
  17. I've been printing 11 x 14's at Costco for almost 10 years. In that time I've always gotten back exactly what was on my screen in terms of brightness, contrast and color. (Always check the option for "Turn auto-correction off") One print, that I had given to a neighbor, faded in the red, but I've had no problems from the rest.
    In that time, friends have gone through 2-3 printers each, plus stacks of paper and an oil companies dream worth of ink.
    A note: Costco used to print your last pixel right at the edge of the paper. This was great for tiling (sp?) prints to make inexpensive panos. I have one that is 14 prints wide. (And this points up their excellent print control from image to image.) Anyway, I found that they no longer do that and they "lose" a couple of rows and columns along the edges, so I have to do a "sacrificial" border of a few pixels if I want to do a pano.
    I find Costco especially good for images from Laguna Seca and Carmel Valley Rd. Ha!
     
  18. Jim - so you probably use the Sand City store?
     
  19. Found the links below showing how different print labs render the same image on different papers...
    http://cmac.smugmug.com/SmugMug/Pro-lab-print-shootout/6788174_4FCKx/1/441362312_zBh3a#441678023_XB5Xu
    http://www.smugmug.com/photos/pro-print-labs-compared/
    Couldn't find anything from Costco but it won't hurt to test on a 4x6 print.
     
  20. Sanford - No, no. I was just showing off that I was familiar with the area. I should be forgiven because I can't help myself.
     
  21. Jim, I thought you were some famous Monterey area photographer posting under an alias so the world wouldn't find out that those prints he sells for thousands of dollars are cranked out at Costco for $2.00 each. This may actually be happening.
     
  22. Great idea! I'll work on that!
     

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