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Prints From Digital Cameras

Digital cameras are nifty and all, but sometimes the best way to share pictures is the old fashioned way — prints. Printing through an online service is one way to do it, but if you want quality you better be prepared to upload big files. Even over a cable modem, that can be slow. You can print them yourself, but better make sure you don't run out of photo paper or ink. Lately, however, prices at retail locations like drugstores have been dropping. Both CVS and Walgreen's will do 4" × 6" prints at 29¢ a piece, and Walgreen's even offers 20¢ a piece for 50 or more.

Since I hadn't printed out pictures in a while, I took a CD of most my 2003 stash (that I had made to send out to family) to a CVS to try it out. In Arlington, the CVS in the center doesn't have the Kodak kiosk for doing it yourself, so I went to the newer, larger one next to the Cambridge line. The kiosk software is pretty easy to use; you can bring a memory card or CD, then select the print size and quantity for each picture. You can also crop and enhance using the “edits” button. I prefer to do my editing at home on a computer, but this is useful for printing out of the camera or last-minute adjustments. The clerk at the counter said I should print less than 200 pictures, because the machine or software will simply not print that many — it would fail completely and not print any at all. I made an order for about 140, which the clerk said would be ready in a few hours. (So much for while-u-wait.) Sure enough, when I came back the next day, nada. So, I broke up the order into two pieces and will (hopefully) pick them up today.

On a whim, I stopped off at the Central Square CVS location (right in front of the Red Line entrace) to try my luck at a different place. And it turns out that it does make a difference. While the CVS in Arlington shared a printing machine with another kiosk for scanning and reprinting photos from prints, this one had its own printer that the clerk told me was state of the art in speed and quality. The kiosk software also had options for making gifts (cards probably) and printing from a hard drive (hmm) not available in Arlington. So I tried printing another 50 pictures, and sure enough, they were ready in ten minutes, and looked great.

Executive summary:

  • There's no excuse not to make digital prints.
  • Take it easy if you've got a four megapixel camera, at least at some places.
  • You better shop around.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
velvetbeet
Dec. 1st, 2003 09:41 am (UTC)
Thanks
That's very helpful information. I have some prints to make if I want to complete some holiday gifts.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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