Huge prints reasonably priced

This is a very convenient way to produce large-scale hi-fi color prints from digital images. You email them a digital image file; in a few days they mail back a magnificently large, utterly crisp, remarkably stable, frameable print.

There are a number of web-based photofinishers, but these guys specialize in ultra-large-scale prints. By large-scale I mean a photo up to 4 feet by 10 feet – if you have a wall that big! Or any size smaller, say 2 feet by 3 feet. The display-quality prints are made using Fuji archive paper, and Pictopia’s up-res software. The archive paper gives a photo-chemical image stable for 75 years, which is hard to do with ink jets now; the up-res software ingeniously fills in the pixel gaps that would ordinarily occur when you enlarge an image beyond the resolution it contains. For supreme accuracy this outfit use a military-grade helical laser printer, designed to print satellite images without moving the paper. The print quality is superb corner to corner, which is not true in almost any other method of printing except ink-jet. (Of course, not every image can survive such magnification.)

Compared to other processes for making large images, their prices are cheap. For instance, a hefty 16 x 20 inch print is $27, while an impressive 2 foot by 3 foot print is $69, and a maniacal 4 foot by 8 foot print is $395. Couple that with their handy online ordering process, speedy delivery, it’s a deal. I am currently using this service to fulfill customer orders for Asia Grace images from my website, and I’ve been very happy so far.

You can of course send Pictopia other kinds of non-photographic files, like maps, charts, or computer renderings. For big pictures, per square foot, this is the way to go.

-- KK 09/9/06

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