Stands Out for Semi-Professional Use
Written: Jul 19, 2000 (Updated Jan 3, 2001)
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I'm delighted to have found EZ Prints. It stands above its competitors for my semi-professional printing needs.
I'm a recent refugee from Sony Imagestation ...
... and I thought it'd be tough to find an on-line photo printing service to replace them. But EZ Prints made it easy.
I produce posters for my nonprofit association...
I need photographic quality at large sizes, typically 12x16 inches. Most of the on-line printing services don't offer prints larger than 8x10. (Imagestation used to offer 12x18-inch prints for about $15, but have discontinued that product.) EZ Prints offers several large sizes at excellent prices:
8 x 10 $2.95
8 x 12 $3.95
11 x 14 $4.95
10 x 15 $5.95
16 x 20 $14.95
16 X 24 $15.95
18 X 24 $17.95
20 X 24 $18.95
20 X 30 $19.95
EZ Prints also offers "Panoramas," 6-inch or 12-inch tall prints of any width up to 24 feet!
6 x any length $1.25 per 6 inches
12 x any length $2.47 per 6 inches
The minimum width of panoramas is 20 inches. I use Photoshop to add white space to my 16-inch prints, or drop other photos into that space before ordering.
That means my 12x16-inch poster is $9.88 plus shipping. (Imagestation used to charge me nearly $15 for these prints.)
EZ Prints is a bit different from other on-line photo sites, in that they don't offer on-line storage of your digital images. Instead, EZ Prints focuses on the production of prints, which is what I need. You upload your digital images to EZ Prints, where they are stored for just 30 days before being discarded. Since I archive copies of all my images locally, that works just fine for me.
I upload my digital images through the EZ Prints web site. EZ Prints also offers software for your PC or Macintosh to make the process simpler, but I haven't used those products.
EZ Prints guarantees 24-hour turnaround on orders, and I found that they deliver on that promise. I placed an order for six 12x16-inch panoramas on a Thursday, my credit card was charged on Friday, and my order arrived in good order on Tuesday. (It was postmarked back on the Thursday I placed the order!) I was charged $9.95 for Priority Mail shipping with Delivery Confirmation, which I consider a great value. (Imagestation offered only First Class shipping, and my orders often went astray, I think because of their nondescript brown mailing tubes. By offering Priority Mail and using Delivery Tracking, EZ Prints gives me much more confidence!)
I did encounter a couple of quirks in placing this order.
First, the web site did not automatically adjust for the portrait orientation of my digital images. When I uploaded the portrait-orientation images, the web site happily agreed to shrink the 16-inch height down to fit, in landscape orientation, on the 12-inch-high Panorama. That would have resulted in a 12x9-inch poster! Instead, I used Photoshop to rotate my image 90 degrees to landscape orientation and uploaded it again. The EZ Prints web site then agreed to print the image full size. A minor quirk, and one I hope they'll correct in time.
Update 1/3/2001: EZ Prints has fixed the above quirk. On a recent order, I uploaded both portrait- and landscape-oriented images, and all were printed correctly, in various sizes. Good job, EZ Prints!
I contacted EZ Prints customer service by phone to discuss this. They answered the phone right away and even called back when we were accidentally disconnected.
Update 1/3/2001: EZ Prints continues to be quickly available by email or telephone.
Second, I found some color variation between the glossy and matte prints I ordered. I thought I'd try both (since Imagestation had never offered the choice). I like the matte finish, but the accuracy of the color is better in the glossy prints. The matte prints are slightly green-shifted. I haven't pursued this with EZ Prints yet, so I don't know whether it's something they can correct.
I was also disappointed that the EZ Prints web site does not offer on-line order status. I think that's an important feature of any e-commerce site, and one that can generate more sales by helping customers to keep track of pending and past orders. I hope EZ Prints will offer this feature in time.
I'm very happy with EZ Prints. There are lots of basic photo web sites out there for sharing family photos and so on. But EZ Prints has the equipment and the technical capability to do the slightly more complex jobs I need. And their pricing is great, even for the big prints. That's coupled with fast turnaround and responsive customer service for good experience overall.