Photo Prints, From Flickr and Elsewhere

Remains of the Cake (SC)Around the holidays, and a few other times I year, I want to have some photos on paper as well as on the web. On the web mainly means my Flickr photostream. I’ve used various services (Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc.) for printing, with no clear winner emerging.

More recently, I used the Order Prints button that I see above each of my photos at Flickr. I had no complaints about the quality, the price, or the few days wait before the prints arrived.

Then, just before the 2009 holiday season, Flickr partnered with Snapfish. It’s perhaps for that reason that square prints are no longer available. That’s bad news since, as you can see, I like to do the occasional crop to square. Another difference came from my need to get prints quickly.

The need for speed pushed me toward a Flickr/Snapfish/Walgreens print. Snapfish partners with retailers such as Walgreens on the output (prints) end, just as it partners with Flickr on the input (jpgs) end. So I could pick up prints at a reasonably close Walgreens.

The experience with Snapgreens wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I was supposed to get an email when my prints were ready to pick up, but I never did. So I called the store to check, then went to get the prints, and they were fine. They ended up costing a few bucks, rather as if I’d had them mailed rather than driven myself to a store to get them, but that didn’t seem too bad.

On the other hand, I’m sure that there are better paths to printing than Flickr/Snapfish/Walgreens. For example, I drove past a CVS or three (or more) on my way to the Walgreens, and I could have just put the jpgs on a USB, stopped in at CVS, and printed the photos. The prints might well have turned out just as well – I didn’t do the experiment.

Next time I need photos printed, I think that Ritz Camera will get my business. They have a location a few miles away, and it shares a parking lot with the Trader Joe’s nearest me. I’ve had good service from other Ritz locations in the past. I also admire Ritz as a specialist amidst more generalist big-box (Best Buy) and big-URL (Amazon) competitors.

And Ritz do square prints. To be more specific, 6×6 prints, for which I already have some inexpensive frames from IKEA.

More when I actually travel the Ritz Road…

Point and Shoot: The Next Generation

New CameraTwo and a half years ago, I posted about a new digital camera, a Canon PowerShot A540 6MP, and remarked on how much camera you can get for a couple of hundred dollars. History repeats itself: this new Canon PowerShot SD1200IS 10 MP Digital Camera cost a couple of hundred bucks.

I ordered it from RitzCamera, since they take PayPal. (The link in the previous paragraph goes to Amazon, not only because I am an affiliate, but also because their price was lower). They ran out of my preferred color (Orange). A real human being called to tell me that they had Grey, but that I’d have to place a new order. For some apparently PayPal-related reason, I couldn’t just change the order to substitute a different color of the same camera at the same price.

The camera arrived a few days later. The package was waiting on the front porch. The front door bore a tag from FedEx stating that the package was round the back.

My favorite shots with the camera so far include this one (featured at Universal Hub) and this one.

The SD1200IS, as you can see from the picture, is about the size of a credit card in length and width. The depth is proportional. I went for another point-and-shoot, rather than trading up to a DSLR, because I usually go with automatic settings anyway, and explored only a very small subset of the A540’s settings. But if, two and a half years from now, DSLRs are getting down toward the $200 price-point…