Review of "Hot Printz" ebay canvas prints
This is just the initial review. I'll contact them and ask for a re-print of my image. It's worth mentioning that while I am a very experienced professional photographer, I am not an expert on printing or canvases. Lets keep it quick and to the point, and lets start with the good first.
The price is great. £30 for A0, shipped. Mine was printed at 45"x25", a slimmer A0 because the image is in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Build quality is superb, very solid. A smoother canvas material would be much better in my opinion, but I am no expert. The little metal clip that is supposed to hold onto the screw on the wall broke immediately, but that's simple and easy to fix/replace or even just remove it and place the wood right on the screw.
Here is a screenshot of the image I sent to them. It is a panorama made of 70 images with the 5D Mark III at the camera's lower resolution setting with the Samyang 85mm f1.4. It has gone through a whole lot of editing and resizing that I will not get into, but lets just say it is a good quality image.
It's hard to tell from the photo below but the colors are surprisingly accurate. Very close to perfect.
The first issue is a lack of detail. Okay at "regular" viewing distances but not impressive up close. At two feet the image looks fine, but closer and it looks a bit soft. I gave them 450 megapixels to work with so I expected more, but it is very possible that I'm asking for too much. Again, I am no expert, but this is easily beaten in resolution by the £2 paper prints from the local print shop. Luckily I intended to put this behind my shooting desk and not in the hallway where people could stand very close to it.
The second issue is that the image is seriously squished.
The squish issue made me think it was overly cropped, but that was the squish misleading me. Here is why I thought it was overly cropped:
When I unsquished the photograph of the canvas print in photoshop and overlaid it on the original I could see that there is really only 2.5" missing from each side, most of which is visible at the side/edge of the canvas. This is called gallery wrap and it is what I ordered. So, no issue with crop.
UPDATE: Dealing with the return.
Dealing with Hot Printz was not fun. They refused to accept any responsibility, even after they eventually admitted there is actually an issue, but said that it was " hardly noticeable", even after I sent them images and a video that clearly show the squish issue.
They said they would pay the return cost and also refund the item, but from the kind of service I see from them so far I highly doubt they will, especially because they completely refused to arrange the courier for return when I told them the courier I have an account with (CollectPlus) don't accept items this large. Why not sort out the courier for the customer if you anyways promise to pay for it? I can't claim back the return postage via paypal and I think that's the reason they refused to arrange the courier for me. It's also possible this bad service is because I did not buy directly on eBay due to my custom size order, so I cannot leave negative feedback.
Throughout the discussion, every email seemed to have the same "theme":
I am wrong. They are right. Helping the customer is bad.
Now, to be fair, lets look at it from their perspective.
1. It's a budget service. This means I was not expecting perfect quality, but I at least expected them to replace it if there was a huge issue like a squished image.
2. It's very possible they get a lot of complaints, especially about color differences since so many people are working with terrible monitors. So maybe over time they simply had to adopt a strict policy that is very unfair to people with real printing problems like myself - but protects them from people with monitors calibrated up the hooha.
I still don't think this service was in any way acceptable, but at least I'm trying to see things from their viewpoint too.