The Photo Canvas Test

Comparison of two leading Photo Canvas Printing Services

 

The Photo Canvas Test

Decorative large format prints from digital photographs are becoming ever more popular. The artistic possibilities offered through post editing of digital images make canvas prints an ideal medium for decorative art at home or in an office.

The resolution of even some cheap digital cameras suffices today for large format prints. As with any “light drawing” the work is only as good as the artist. Digital photography does not only allow to “snap away” at virtually no cost; higher resolution cameras allow to further enhance good pictures. In line with the trend to print outstanding images, a growing number of online photo printers who are selling prints and posters are also offering laminated, framed enlargements and photo canvas printing.

Many modern so called photo canvases are not printed on traditional linen. For good reasons man-made fibres are being used. Such synthetic fibres have a finer, more even structure and allow to optimise the materials so that the inks perfectly adhere to the fabric, improving longevity and colours. As a result, all canvas prints in this review can be swiped with a humid cloth.

Mounted on a wooden frame
Stretching a printed cloth evenly over a wooden frame requires skill. Most services supply the photo canvas mounted on a wooden frame. Both FotoInsight and Printing-1 supply the canvas print wrapped around the sides of a wooden frame, ready to hang on a wall. As this does away with heavy glass, the frame is surprisingly light and should hold onto even the weakest plaster board wall of modern houses. FotoInsight’s frames are delivered with all the necessary parts to suspend them on a wall. Synthetic fibres resist the tension of the stretch over the frame and therefore do not need re-tightening.

The Photo Canvas Test
From the broad range of online photo services in Britain we separated those delivering softened, greyish, orangey or dark images and those that are simply too expensive and instead focused on reviewing two leading photo canvas print services. The main criteria were range of products, ease of use, delivery time, quality, support and price.

Product Range
Decorative Photo Prints
FotoInsight’s range of decorative print products on canvas, laminated posters, gallery and acrylic prints, including a Nielsen wooden frame, is probably one of the most comprehensive on the Internet. Posters are processed on photographic paper and have bright colours and a satin surface. FotoInsight offers a lamination to seal the surface, which makes heavy, reflective glass redundant. Printing-1’s offering is more specialized covering photo books, calendars, poster and canvas prints (no framing).

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 7/10


Choice of canvas print formats

FotoInsight offers canvas prints in only twelve sizes, from 20×30 cm (12″x8″) to a maximum of 90×130 cm (52″x36″). Printing-1 offers a phenomenal range of 55 sizes, which increase in 10 cm (4″) steps from 30 cm (12″) to 120 cm (48″) for each side. Any size from 30×30 cm (12″x12″) or 30×120 cm (48″x12″) to 120×120 cm (48″x48″) is possible, or any combination in between (in 10 cm / 4″ increments).

FotoInsight: 8/10 Printing-1: 8/10


Ease of use
Photo CanvasBoth photo services offer free software to design the photo album or canvas. After uploading a picture to Printing-1 using the client software, the user has to use an Internet browser to log into the website before the print can be ordered. The advantage of the web account upload is, that it allows the user to show others their print project online before buying and also to allow friends and family to buy their own prints. This seems convenient for photo books, especially for a wedding album or other festivities. For one-image-products like a poster or photo canvas it seems an unnecessary complication.

FotoInsight offers two routes to order. Those who want to print just a single picture do well with the web-upload through their browser. Using this route gives access to all large print products like canvas with or without frame, collage canvas, Alu-Dibond or acrylic poster prints and XXL posters. FotoInsight offers text tools and highlights the frame fold area; but the browser upload misses tools to zoom and position the image. The free ordering software “FotoInsight Designer” provides a zoom tool, however FotoInsight print on the area folded over the frame. Those who wish to avoid that a computer algorithm ‘optimises’ the colours of their prints, should use the ‘FotoInsight Designer’ software’s option to turn this feature off. Also people who wish to upload several images or higher resolution pictures should better use the ordering software tool. Another feature of the ‘FotoInsight Designer’ software are templates, which help to elegantly layer several pictures on a canvas.

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 6/10


Delivery time
The canvas prints from FotoInsight reached us in four days (though the ones ordered with a frame took a full week longer). The photo canvas prints from Printing-1 took five working days.

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 7/10

 

Quality
Canvas PrintThe fabric used by Printing-1 has a fine structure and a more paint like ink, which gives more of an impression of a classic canvas. The fabric is stretched over a wooden frame and stapled to it. The colours look brighter and less warm than with FotoInsight. Especially when FotoInsight’s “automatic image correction” has been activated during the upload, the colours tend to use a skin friendly spectrum, which may help portraits, but can be undesirable on landscapes, specially with snow. When turning the “automatic image optimization” off, FotoInsight offers outstandingly realistic colours. The material used by FotoInsight is a fine, synthetic fabric, appearing more real, with good colours and contrast. FotoInsight prints at 300 dpi, a resolution higher than most services and states that it “uses man made optimised fibres and fade-resistant archival inks to guarantee longevity and brilliant colours, with all materials guaranteed by their manufacturers to last 100 years”.

FotoInsight: 10/10 Printing-1: 9/10

 

Support
Both firms provide support by email. During office hours we received a reply the same day. In addition to email support, FotoInsight offers also free telephone support under telephone number 01926 463117. Longer service hours in the support  team would have lead to full marks.

FotoInsight: 8/10 Printing-1: 6/10


Costs
A mounted canvas print does not require a frame. If you want one, it will be as expensive as the mounted print. For that amount, FotoInsight offers professionally cut Nielsen frames with a float (i.e. a gap between the edge of the canvas and the frame to display the area folded over the edge).

Prices for canvas prints in comparable sizes:
Format 30×40 (print size 36cm x 46cm): FotoInsight: £34.99 – Printing-1: £39.95

Format 40×60 (print size 46cm x 66cm): FotoInsight: £49.99 – Printing-1: £54.95

Format 60×60 (print size 66cm x 66cm): FotoInsight: £49.99 – Printing-1: £64.95

Format 60×80 (print size 66cm x 86cm): FotoInsight: £69.99 – Printing-1: £74.95

Format 80×100 (print size 86cm x 106cm): FotoInsight: £115.99 – Printing-1: £94.95

Postage & Packaging per order
FotoInsight £4.49 for a 20×30 cm canvas, raising to £8.99 for the largest 90×130 cm format).
Printing-1 £9.90 (faster 5 day turnaround £16.40).

FotoInsight: 9/10 Printing-1: 8/10

Result
Photo Canvas PrintingIn the final count FotoInsight leads with 60 points ahead of Printing-1 with a respectable 51 points. If a classic canvas structure is desired or flexible formats are required, Printing-1 is worth the extra money and time. Those who can do with a standard format or want a high resolution print with warmer colours can save money with the test winner FotoInsight.

FotoInsight UK: http://fotoinsight.co.uk/posters-and-canvas.html

FotoInsight Ireland & Europe: http://fotoinsight.ie/posters-canvas.html

Printing-1: http://printing-1.co.uk/


Conclusion

From this review, we excluded photo canvas services with prints that can’t fulfill modern expectations. If you choose to print your canvas with Printing-1 or FotoInsight should depend mainly on the specific characteristics of each service, which we have tried to outline here, are most important to you. We hope, that the information in this review will help to make the right choice and that your canvas print will deliver lasting visual pleasure.

How to save the Internet’s info: print it out

How to save the Internet’s info: print it out

If you really want to make sure important information stored on the Internet survives for posterity, put it on paper reports CNN Money  from the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California.

 

Time Magazine: Why the ‘Father of the Internet’ Thinks You Should Print Out Your Photos.

‘Vint Cerf, a “father of the internet”, said at the annual meeting of the American Association for ave been saving on computers will eventually be lost’, reported the BBC. and continued: ‘Our life, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of information – on our hard drives or in “the cloud”. But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.’

 

If you really want to make sure important information stored on the Internet survives for posterity, put it on paper reports CNN Money and quotes Google VP Vint Cerf saying:  “In our zeal to get excited about digitising, we digitise photographs thinking it’s going to make them last longer, and we might turn out to be wrong.”

 

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“I would say if there are photos you are really concerned about create a physical instance of them. Print them out,” Google VP Vint Cerf

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Google VP Cautions Us to Print Our Photos

Popular Photography Magazine reports that “Cerf cautions us to print more of our beloved images, ensuring that precious memories will actually last a lifetime…and more.”

 

What is ‘bit rot’ and is Vint Cerf right to be worried?

What Cerf coined as “bit rot” is a process by which the mechanisms for accessing a digital file are lost, rending that file useless junk. A big part of the problem is the use of closed file formats that require specific software to read those files.

 

If, for instance, you have memoirs written over the last decade stored in a Microsoft Office .doc file from Word or a similar program, that file is easily readable today with a multitude of programs – not all of them made by Microsoft. But the .doc file is a proprietary file format made and licensed by Microsoft.

 

Should Microsoft choose to stop supporting it and prevented other software from using the format, all those documents would be unreadable once the last version of the old software that could read them no longer runs on newer computers.

 

That is the danger of closed, proprietary formats and something consumers should be aware of.

 

In 1985, not even Bill Gates knew that computers would not feature 5.25 inch floppy disk drives forever.
Source: The Guardian

 

Going, going, gone: Google’s vice-president Vint Cerf has warned that all digitally stored information could be wiped out by tech upgrades, reported G2, on 13 February.

 

The trade publication “it world” reports: Print your photos before the digital dark age is here, warns internet pioneer Vint Cerf worries about a ‘digital dark age,’ and your data could be at risk.

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A “father of the internet” cautions us to preserve our memories not in digital form.

Source: itworld.com

 

A digital dark age may be coming, Google VP warns

Father of the Internet and Google Vice President Vint Cerf has issued a warning to photographers and data storage lovers at large: Physically print your data or risk losing it to a digital dark age.

Source: digitaltrends.com

 

Even if Google and Apple don’t exist in the year 3015, how can we ensure our files, photos, movies, and more, can be preserved for ages to come? How can we future-proof our content for generations way down the line? asks uk.businessinsider.com

GalleryPrint_family_sunset

Digital Alzheimer awaits us

 

Hard copies are the best way to save memories in the digital world

According to the industry publication geeksnack Cerf actually thinks that future generations will not be able to access records from the age of technology, aka the 21st century due to incompatibility issues, which means that essentially, all that data will be lost. He blames the digital dark age on technological revolution itself, which turns older software and hardware into obsolete concepts long forgotten. Think of the floppy disk! That’s probably the best example that illustrates what Google VP is trying to say. You can no longer access the data stored on your dad’s floppy disk, and my floppy disks which have file backups on them are just wall decorations in a wannabe-retro dining room.

Source: geeksnack.com

Acrylic_Print_Wedding

Glenda Cooper writes in her Daily Telegraph column: When my husband was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, it occurred to me that if future generations were to go through my personal effects, they’d find plenty of love letters from long-ago boyfriends, but only a handful of Valentines and anniversary cards from the man I met and married in a digital age. Who knows what very wrong idea they could get from that?

Cooper continues: ‘While Cerf may be right in saying that what we need is the equivalent of “digital vellum” to preserve what we care about, I can’t help thinking that, in the meantime, it’s best to take his other advice: “If there are photos you really care about, print them out.” ‘

Glossy Photo Calendars for Christmas

Photo calendars are among the most popular personal Christmas gifts in Britain. This year glossy photo calendars will shine und/er Christmas trees, as Printing-1 presents the new high-gloss coating on wall calendars printed with own photographs: http://www.pmai.org.uk/photo-calendars-now-available-with-high-gloss/ . A shiny, personal photo gift and currently with £10 off the first order (voucher code “PRIXUK”)!
Glossy Photo Calendars

The term digital print describes a group of printing methods in which the image is transferred directly from a computer to the printing machine without using a static print form like printing plates. Digital direct print uses systems like Indigo, inkjet and laser printing, which from the standpoint of individual printing offer very good value for money. By selecting appropriate paper, the prints are produced with a matt surface. Applying a polyurethane varnish produces a gloss finish, with brightness similar to photo paper.

Choco Photo Advent Calendars – Cool!

They print a picture which you upload over the Internet onto the photo Advent calendar. 24 little doors conceal festively wrapped, tasty milk chocolate balls:

Photo Advent Calendar with Chocolates

I can’t wait! I have already made photo Advent calendars for my two children and all four grandparents. It’ll soon be the first of December!