I wanted a big low cost print and came across these guys. Big Poster Prints
, also operating as Cheap Poster Printing, are an online printer in the UK specialising in "posters". What does that mean? Well, their online price list goes from as small as A5 to A1, although when I was placing an order there was an A0 option too.
I ordered using the same file the following:
A1 260gms semi-matt
A4 175gms semi-matt
A5 175gms semi-matt
A5 175gms gloss
The source file I used was 2480x3507 portrait orientation, which is the same aspect ratio as this paper size series. That works out just over 100dpi at A1 print size and 300dpi at A4.
Ordering was quite simple. Upload the file, and from there you can choose the print options. You can then "copy" that file for more prints in different options, or upload different files. Payment goes through paypal.
Delivery was as fast as it gets. I ordered on Tuesday evening. I got shipping notice on Wednesday, and it arrived in the post on Thursday. Shipping came in a sturdy cardboard tube. The posters were separated by blank sheets, which I assume were to help keep the different sizes separate and from damaging each other.
The 260gsm paper has a nice weight to it. The 175gsm feels more flimsy, roughly comparable to the small prints you might get for a photo album. As much as I look at the difference between the gloss and semi-matt samples, I just can't see a significant difference between them. If I look really hard reflecting a light off it, I think I might see a difference but if I have to look that hard, it is by no means a significant difference and I have to wonder if they remembered to change the paper.
I did some pixel peeping... I have to say now the image I printed was CG, not photographic, but I don't think print considerations are that different. The image was this
catgirl maid, of which I have a much larger source version than shown there. On the A1 print, jaggies were visible, BUT they were visible in the source image too as a pixel thin curve, so I don't think I can fault them on that. I guess ideally I needed an even higher source resolution for that level of fine detail. Smooth tones are reproduced as such.
One small issue of quality control on the A4 print though. There is a patch where the colour is slightly lighter, and as it is a dark region in my particular image it shows up when looking carefully. Running my finger over it, that area feels rough, where other areas are smooth. It looks like a fingerprint, so possibly the paper wasn't handled well before printing. This is minor, as it isn't really noticeable at normal viewing distances unless you're looking for it.
Back on the big print, cropping was noticeable. Notice her shoe touches the left edge in the source, and it is slightly chopped in the A1 print. I measured it as 610x839mm. A1 should be 594x841, so the print is slightly wider and near enough correct on the long side. I have to assume they print big and crop to size. There is no white border on this print.
The smaller prints all have a white border, and the total paper size is near enough correct. They also all chopped the shoe on the side. The A5 version was worst, as the other shoe was touching the edge of the print. So it seems if you need critical edge-to-edge printing, you might want to look elsewhere.
I'm not sure I'm in a position to judge colour accuracy. Looking at the prints in isolation, they're ok, but maybe could do with a little more contrast and saturation compared to viewing the image on my monitor. The small versions don't feel sharp either, but I couldn't say they were soft. I think this is just the printing process resolution limit. I haven't looked at it under magnification, but I suspect they use a diffuse dither pattern.
The "ink" seems to be waterproof. At least a licked finger didn't smear it at all.
Overall, I'd say this was a positive good value service as long as you don't need critical positioning.
At some point I might try photographing them for further reference.