Given the cost of ink and decent Fotospeed paper, I tend to use my A3 printer sparingly and for applications where I need control over the end result such as for competition and exhibition work. For everything else I either get done at my local Tesco (6×4 prints) or Photobox (everything bigger).
Recently though I decided to try DS Colour Labs (DSCL) in Manchester again. I’d used them last 3 years ago as they were well recommended, but while the prints were good, I wasn’t blown away. However, for my FRPS project, I wanted a load of A3 prints doing as work prints and to see how they looked as a full size panel. Thing was, Photobox charge £6.50 for an A3, or £2.85 for 20+ 15×10’s, the next size down. This gets expensive if you’re buying 30 prints. So mindful of some recent recommendations for DSCL, I checked them out, and was heartened to see their price of £1.10 for an A3. After uploading the images, I was then sent email updates as to the progress of my order, and after ordering on the Monday, I was pleased to receive a large box of prints on the Wednesday. And the quality was excellent too. It’d be interesting to send the same image to Photobox and make a subjective comparison, against a home printed image and a DSCL one.
I still highly recommend Photobox as their online image storage is a valuable asset, as are their pro galleries where I have images for sale, but if you just want great quality, great value for money prints, I’d recommend DS Colour Labs to anyone.