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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 02 Jan 2011 (Sunday) 22:16
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Costco prints - is this typical?

 
Frugal
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Jan 02, 2011 22:16 |  #1

I usually get prints for clients and myself though smugmug and have no problems matching my calibrated monitor and soft proofing in PS. I use Bay photo and no color correction. Had a holiday pic that I wanted quickly so I had it printed at Costco (with no "auto-adjustment"). Using Costco's soft proof and comparing the 8x10 print with the screen it was slightly over saturated and the skin tone slightly redder, but passable I guess. However the skin tone of the wallets (same image, same order) was so yellow that they're going into the shredder. Never had this happen with Bay photo. Is this typical for Costco?


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mspringfield
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Jan 03, 2011 05:23 |  #2

With Costco you need to download the printer profile for the printers at your local Costco. When you process the files process them for that printer profile and they will print correctly.


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egordon99
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Jan 03, 2011 06:32 as a reply to  @ mspringfield's post |  #3

I guess I'm lucky. I have not calibrated my monitor, I process my photos in sRGB to look "good" on my 19" monitor (in LR3), export them to full-size JPG, upload the JPG to Costco's website, order a print (AUTO-correct off), pick up the print the next day, and I always find the print more or less matches the file on my screen.

So it was only the wallets that look awful? I'd take them into the store and ask about that? They should match the 8x10.




  
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spkerer
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Jan 03, 2011 08:18 |  #4

I typically use Costco for prints. One time something was off on their printer - the colors were off in the photo. I verified this by re-printing the same photo later.

Costco has a good return policy - even on photos. I returned the batch they messed up and got a full refund. If the problem looks to be Costco's fault (as it was in my case), return the photos and get a refund.

I wouldn't ask for a refund if it was my mistake, but for their mistakes - go right ahead and return it.


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griptape
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Jan 03, 2011 09:29 |  #5

The only possible reason I can think of is they have a bad roll of paper. The paper sizes are different, so the roll would be different. Do you know if they're chemical based or ink based? Or in some cases, dye sub?




  
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JackLiu
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Jan 03, 2011 11:56 |  #6

mspringfield wrote in post #11562846 (external link)
With Costco you need to download the printer profile for the printers at your local Costco. When you process the files process them for that printer profile and they will print correctly.

Download what printer file?


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woos
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Jan 03, 2011 12:57 |  #7

Use sRGB for your images. I'm not going to say the costco specific profiles found on the internet are "bad", but....here:
1. When the op shows up from day to day, the chemistry is never quite exactly what it was the day before. Replenishment rates are adjusted to keep it within acceptable limits (probably +/- .1 or .12 for Costco, but I'm not sure).
2. There will be a startup "test print" made in the morning when the lab is first opened. This print is then scanned through a densitometer that is on the printer. The densitometer is occasionally (lol) calibrated with a white/black wedge that is (this never happens lol) safely stored in a pouch. Anyway, after the scan it adjusts the color to be correct (which means "within tolerances"). If it's way way off, one might need to run two or three of these. This of course varies with temps, the paper (what paper did they even use when running the daily setup today, anyhow? Was it 6" luster? probably. maybe?), the chemistry, how worn out the AOMs are, how clean the stabilizer and rollers in the machine are, etc.
3. Most Costcos use a Noritsu wetlab. Some use Fuji. Regardless of which it is, or whatever anyone else tells you, both of those wetlabs are going to ignore any ICC profile present in your images and assume sRGB. I think there are some settings in some newer versions of MS01 that might let you do something other than this, but I'm not sure (I'm not a Fuji or Noritsu tech)--and I know Costco/Fred Meyers/Sam's Club don't have it set up that way.

Get your prints looking how you want it on a reasonably accurate screen (NOT the Costco kiosk screens, they are crappy TN panels...the new Atech monitors are substantially better than the Planar ones, but still they are just a TN panel that goes through NO calibration whatsoever...there isn't even an ICC associated with them, at all) (and no, I don't work for Costco just FYI), and use the sRGB profile. You can try some custom Costco location profiles, but in my opinion this won't produce more accurate results over a long period of time than using sRGB (they might be more pleasing though, and if they are, by all means, use 'em), because the color output varies quite a bit from day to day.

Do note that, in my opinion, if you go get your photos printed at any retailer, Costco is the best place to do it. Imho. They make a TON of money off of photo and treat it very very seriously, and they maintain the machines well.


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woos
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Jan 03, 2011 13:15 |  #8

griptape wrote in post #11563598 (external link)
The only possible reason I can think of is they have a bad roll of paper. The paper sizes are different, so the roll would be different. Do you know if they're chemical based or ink based? Or in some cases, dye sub?

All Costco locations use chemical based printers. Noritsu mostly. Some labs have Fuji printers. I don't think there is any quality diff between them. I'm sure a Noritsu or Fuji guy would disagree, though. Some Sam's Club locations have the Fuji DL4xx (410/400/430) systems. These are ink jet printers, but only have 4 inks and the resolution isn't the highest. However, it still looks a lot more pleasing than a dye-sub print, because it has a real black :)

Imho, in order of quality for photos: Printing at home with calibrated high-quality inkjet on good media (such as epson r2880, canon pixma pro 9500mk2, or higher) > wet lab at retail location = inkjet print at home on a 6-ink epson artisan or comparable > inkjet minilab at retail location > dye-sub print > low-end 4-ink home inkjet print > color laser printer.

Kind of off topic: For amusement's sake once I had print with a cat and vivid blues/reds/greens in the background...printed as an 8x10 on an epson rx595, a fuji ask-4000 dye-sub printer, and a fuji frontier 500 minilab. I personally did all three prints and used appropriate settings for all. Labeled them 1, 2, and 3. Then went around asking people, some of whom were experienced photo finishing workers, which they preferred (without letting them view the back to give away which was which--they were set down on a table). About half preferred the minilab print, about half preferred the inkjet print. No one chose the dye-sub print, even though there wasn't anything technically "bad" about it.


amanathia.zenfolio.com

  
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griptape
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Jan 03, 2011 14:33 |  #9

I know many retailers are switching to dry labs (in the DL4xx, the DL stands for dry lab as you probably know) due to chemical costs and transporting costs of chemicals. I don't have a Costco near me to know whether or not they're switching, but if they're a chemical lab, then there is absolutely no reason (again, aside from a bad roll of paper) for any size to come out differently than another. The paper is sealed in a light proof bag and opened in a light proof box, so unless it's simply very old (more than about 2 years) I can't think of any good reason for it to go bad.




  
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Frugal
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Jan 03, 2011 15:00 as a reply to  @ griptape's post |  #10

With Costco you need to download the printer profile for the printers at your local Costco. When you process the files process them for that printer profile and they will print correctly.

I did that, thanks, and they did not print correctly


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Frugal
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Jan 03, 2011 15:08 as a reply to  @ Frugal's post |  #11

both of those wetlabs are going to ignore any ICC profile present in your images and assume sRGB

The print was sRGB.

But that's irrelevant: two prints from the same file should not look different. Bay photo are a much higher standard as I've run hundreds of prints though them and never had the slightest difference between the same image at different sizes


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Frugal
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Jan 03, 2011 15:13 as a reply to  @ Frugal's post |  #12

Get your prints looking how you want it on a reasonably accurate screen (NOT the Costco kiosk screens, they are crappy TN panels...

I don't trust anything other than my hardware calibrated monitor. Maybe I'm just more picky than others, but even my wife who misses things that I can spot thought the wallets looked terrible.


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PhotosGuy
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Jan 03, 2011 22:24 |  #13

Frugal wrote in post #11565601 (external link)
The print was sRGB.

But that's irrelevant: two prints from the same file should not look different.

You're right, & that doesn't happen at my Costco. You should ask them what happened to their quality control.
And they should refund your money.


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Shasta
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Jan 04, 2011 07:54 |  #14

Although I recently had some prints done at Costco, I found them to be correct in color, but not having the ability to print on a certain desired paper made me just go out and buy a Canon Pixma 9500 Mk2. Both the 9500 and 9000 are so affordable right now, it made more sense to have complete control over color management and finish. You have to calibrate your monitor if your wanting consistent results.

But Costco prints were impressive to say the least, it doesn't get any more affordable.



  
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mbellot
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Jan 04, 2011 09:03 |  #15

PhotosGuy wrote in post #11568595 (external link)
You're right, & that doesn't happen at my Costco. You should ask them what happened to their quality control.
And they should refund your money.

This.

Costco's 100% satisfaction extends to any/all photo prints. There is absolutely no reason (other than machine/consumable problem) that should result in different colors from the same image file if you have turned off the wacky auto-correct feature.

I print thousands of pictures at Costco each year and can count on one hand the number of problems I've had in five years - and they have always made it right.




  
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Costco prints - is this typical?
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