New York Times rates online photo services

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The New York Times‘ influential gear blog Wirecutter did an extensive round-up of online photo services. The round-up was conducted by Phil Ryan, Wirecutter’s senior staff writer for camera coverage. Previously, for more than 13 years, Ryan covered cameras and other photo-related items for CNET and Popular Photography.

The top choice was Nations Photo Lab, which has been a favorite of the publication for some time. Specifically, Nations Photo Lab was lauded for ease of use and quality: “Nations Photo Lab lets you upload images easily from both a computer and a mobile device, has a simple-to-use interface, creates prints with accurate-looking colors in a timely fashion, and packages them securely so that they’ll arrive at your home undamaged.”

Ryan was impressed with the print quality and with this gifting options: “Whether you want to send prints to loved ones or to clients, Nations will let you ship prints in gift boxes, complete with ribbon, with their Boutique Packaging option, which costs an extra $6.84 as of this writing. For $17.75 more you can create Custom Presentation Boxes, and add images or a logo for a special or professional look.”

Among the critiques for Nations Photo Lab was the lack of support for “odd print sizes:” “They should add “odd” print sizes that match the 4:3 aspect ratio. If an image file’s aspect ratio doesn’t match the print size you select, Nations will automatically crop the image, usually from the top and bottom, to fit the paper.”

Among the other online labs reviewed:

  • Printique is a previous runner-up pick in the roundup: “And while Printique’s print quality and pricing is on a par with those of Nations, we liked the Nations image-upload and order processes better than Printique’s.”
  • “Mpix is one of the most popular photo services, with an app that lets you order photos directly from your smartphone. However, our panelists ranked Mpix’s photos as their least-favorite choice, and we were disappointed by its inability to print smartphone photos without significant cropping.”