Best Buys: online printing

(National) Dec. 27, 2004 - One of the big benefits of owning a digital camera is supposed to be that you can print out your own photos. Many digital camera owners don't have the patience or a good enough printer.

If you find printing pictures too much of a hassle, Consumer Reports can help. It tested six online sites that'll do the job for you. They're Shutterfly, Snapfish, EZ Prints, as well as Searsphotos, Ofoto and Kodak Picture Center.

Mike Gikus is a tester for Consumer Reports, "Printing is very easy. All you have to do is basically select the photos you want. You simply select the quantity and the size. On this particular site, sizes range from four-by-six to near poster-size, 20x30."

The prints are mailed back to you in a few days.

Testers found most of the websites delivered excellent quality, but say Kodak's Picture Center was an exception. It was good, but not great.

Consumer Reports found you can get the best deal from EZ Prints. It delivered excellent photos at the lowest cost. At EZ Prints, and 8x10 is $2.45.

Another plus with all the online services is testers found the pictures won't fade. Small sections were kept under bright lights for six weeks and didn't fade at all.

Consumer Reports says before you send your digital photos to an online photofinisher, make sure you've adjusted the picture quality so it's as good as you can get it. You can use the software that came with your camera or the features provided by the online sites to adjust the color and remove any flaws, such as red-eye.

Posted 3:54pm by BrettWitt

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright @ 2004 Consumers Union of U. S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED