Enlarging Prints at Costco

Started Sep 17, 2011 | Discussions
Dr Robert d Snaps Contributing Member • Posts: 589
Enlarging Prints at Costco

I use a Nikon D50 – 6.1 megapixels. I want to get some large prints done at Costco.

There are all kinds of things that say you need so many megapixels to print a certain size.

Costco has 11X14, 16x20, and 20x30. With just 6.1 megapixels can I print any of these sizes and still expect good results?

I am assuming that Costco has some sort of enlargement process that is superior to anything that I could do on my own.

Thanks

Douglas Bolt Forum Member • Posts: 80
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

I've had Costco make several 12x18 prints from a 6meg camera that came out very well.

If you upload them, be sure you select the Hi Res option so you give them an uncompressed file.

I usually use the Dry Creek profile for the Costco printer at my location, but sRGB will work about as well.

I've also had them make 24x36 canvas. Not sure that is any test because Costco contracts those to someone else.

But, fortunately, I recently purchased an Epson 3880, which blows away all my Costco prints as well as those made by MPix. Great printer.

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OP Dr Robert d Snaps Contributing Member • Posts: 589
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Thanks Doug.

If your 24x36 came out well then at least I can give it a try. I do realize you stated that your canvas prints were done elsewhere, but at least they could be done.i

I'm actually going to take my digital files to a Costco.

I'm excited . I haven't done any prints larger than 8 1/2 x 11.

It's surprising to me how few people print anything beyond 4x6, if they print at all.

Nothing like a good print. Wow!! I did that all by myself.

Will report on my printing adventure.

Cross_ Regular Member • Posts: 371
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Costco uses high quality printers for all sizes lower than 16x20. At 16x20 and up they switch to Epson inkjets that in my opinion don't have acceptable quality, no matter the MP of your image.

Here's a handy chart for megapixels to print size at medium quality
http://www.digicamhelp.com/processing-photos/printing/print-size/

And here's one for printouts at maximum quality :
http://www.design215.com/toolbox/megapixels.php

johnblue3 Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Cross_, You're Joking, Right?

Cross_ wrote:

Costco uses high quality printers for all sizes lower than 16x20. At 16x20 and up they switch to Epson inkjets that in my opinion don't have acceptable quality, no matter the MP of your image.

Here's a handy chart for megapixels to print size at medium quality
http://www.digicamhelp.com/processing-photos/printing/print-size/

And here's one for printouts at maximum quality :
http://www.design215.com/toolbox/megapixels.php

Costco uses Epson 7900's etc. for large priints and I think most here would agree that ithey'reextremely high quality.

Snapshot Canvas Prints New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Cross, you're joking, right?

I have built an entire business around inkjet printing, using exclusively Epson printers. In fact, I have 5 large format Epson printers.

I'm a professional photographer and professional printer. Epson has THE BEST inkjet printers in the world. Not even the famous Canon IPF8300 is as good as a 9900 from Epson.

Perhaps you haven't used any Epson professional printers in the last decade to realize just how good they are.

filterman Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

I am sorry but I strongly disagree about bad large prints coming fro Costo when they use Epson printers.

I had a 20x30 print made of a Zion landscape shot that blows everyone that sees it away.

The quality and sharpness amazed me and it's a print I would be proud to display at any photo show.

The Epsons are really really good printers for large prints.

J. Allen

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Cross_ Regular Member • Posts: 371
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Well I am glad that those printer are working out for you guys. The 16x20 print I received from Costco has subpar quality. At 20" I can still make out the dithering pattern on gradients and slight lines running across the image every 1/8" or so (head size?).

Snapshot Canvas Prints New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Then obviously the person that printed yours didn't know what they were doing. Sounds like that particular printer had a clog and wasn't cleaned before printing your photo.

I've never used Costco, or anywhere for that matter, since I obviously do my own printing, but if Costco uses Epson 7900's then the quality should be superb. That would also depend on the paper or canvas being used too. You can have the greatest printer in the world but if you feed crap paper into it you'll still get crappy results.

Cross, I'm interested in knowing the file size you sent them for printing. Were you trying to blow up a tiny 4x6 at 72dpi into a 16x20 at 300dpi?

johnblue3 Contributing Member • Posts: 577
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Or if you feed crappy images into it. Not properly profiled; not properly scaled. That'll do it.

Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 761
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

At Costco you can ask for your money back or a free reprint.

Cross_ wrote:

Well I am glad that those printer are working out for you guys. The 16x20 print I received from Costco has subpar quality. At 20" I can still make out the dithering pattern on gradients and slight lines running across the image every 1/8" or so (head size?).

-- hide signature --

GS

Cross_ Regular Member • Posts: 371
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Snapshot Canvas Prints wrote:

Cross, I'm interested in knowing the file size you sent them for printing. Were you trying to blow up a tiny 4x6 at 72dpi into a 16x20 at 300dpi?

90% crop from my 5d2, soft proofed against the Dry Creek profiles for that store. Looks like they are using an Epson 7880 there.

OP Dr Robert d Snaps Contributing Member • Posts: 589
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

Thanks for all the replies. Seems that Costco may even be able to do big prints well..

Best way for me to find out is to just do it - the magic is in the doing. I will report on my experience.

Actually I am hoping that Costco has some kind of upsizing software that keeps the pop in my snaps even at 20x30.

I don't know how many are aware of this but 2012 has already been declared The Year of The Big Print. Trying to get ahead of the game.

Taking snaps is cool. Doing an 8.5 x11 is good. But doing a Big Print of your work makes you want to go Wow!!

BPing in 2012

Thanks

Snapshot Canvas Prints New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

There is no software in the world that up sizes photos. Sure you can resize them with Photoshop and enlarge them (or many other similar software), but the technology to add pixels when enlarging simply does not exist. Anything that resembles doing that just copies pixels and multiplies them, still resulting is horrible jagged edges and pixelated photos when going too large.

Cross, feel free to send me your photo that you had problems with at Costco and I'll have a look at it. I guarantee my equipment is better than Costco's

bobcoss Regular Member • Posts: 360
Re: Enlarging Prints at Costco

I have printed 24x36 prints from a 6mp image before and been completely satisfied.

You should read the information about printing at Costco provided by Dry Creek:

http://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/using_printer_profiles.htm or large format http://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/CostcoPosterPrinters.html

I personally always prepare my prints in Qimage (you can try this program for free) and upload the images to costco's online service for printing. I have on occasion created a CD, but generally, I like to upload them and then pick them up when I'm in the store later instead of making two trips.

I print up to 12x18 on their Noritsu 3111 using the Dry Creek profiles, or my own. Qimage is great for this because it has some very nice algorithms for interpolation. I have not been happy when the machine does the interpolation for me. Besides Qimage does some special print sharpening as well. I don't want to have to deal with figuring out dpi and interpolation myself. I just specify the size of the print at the dip I want, and qimage does the rest for me.

I hardly use my printers at home any more.

Bob

plantdoc Veteran Member • Posts: 3,356
Results can vary

I haven't had enlargements made a Costco, but I have had plenty of 4x6 prints made. I learned that results can vary depending on the staff more than the high quality gear that is used. Overall, the results closely match my calibrated monitor.

Greg

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