Here are some commonly
asked questions about our services. If your question is not listed please call
or write us for assistance.
We are a full service digital lab. Even though we have been
working with film for over 32 years, some of the products we used to offer are
now obsolete because digital products have replaced them. There were some excellent
products made by Kodak that were discontinued because of insufficient demand.
No one could have foreseen the rapid growth in digital imaging. I'm sure there
are more changes to come. There are many who believe that digital service labs
will be obsolete in the future...that some radical new gizmo will be sold to
enable do it yourself photo prints at home, in the car, even at the time they
are captured. Well, some of these products are available right now. Inkjet,
dye-sublimation, laser, thermal etc. At Conntech we still believe that the most
valuable service we provide is saving you time. Time you would have spent learning
to be an expert in digital printing. Time you could spend with your family or
friends. Time you could spend with your clients, or getting new clients or trying
new ideas. Please see an expanded list of products we offer in the services
Our prices are based on two parameters; the size of the
print and the preprint labor value. We have four categories of digital print
MasterPrints: similiar to our Preferred
prints but includes extensive photoshop work
MasterPrints are not just optimized with the basic Photoshop tools but specific
areas of the print are controlled with adjustment layers, masking, and complex
curves. Use these prints for exhibition work or critical applications where
the work must look good under strong or unusual lighting at specific color temperatures.
We will balance a print for whatever Kelvin temp you require and pull test prints
until we are satisfied we have achieved the supreme print.
are similiar to our preferred prints with one important difference. All preprint
work for ProPrints is done using three Photoshop tools. Using curves, levels
and the color balance sliders we go beyond the ordinary digital lab prints with
a critical eye towards optimum contrast, luminosity and color.
Nifty: there is no preprint work,
all prints are run as received
Preferred: all preprint work is
done in our Workstream production software
Preferred prints are
carefully corrected for color, density, contrast and saturation using the three
point method. First, obvious neutral colors are balanced. This will usually
balance the overall print. Then skin tones or recognizable colors are corrected.
Finally the lighting is examined and used to modify the overall balance for
time of day, incandescent lights etc. We have been making color prints since
1973 and we can say that our in-house corrected prints are preferred by many
When I first discovered how low the minimum selling
price for digital prints could be that would still turn a profit I said, "Wow,
nifty." So the name stuck. Merriam-Webster backs me up by defining nifty
(adj) as "very good:very attractive" That's what our Nifty
BottomLine prints are...an extraordinary value for client-managed professional
prints prepared and submitted using our guidelines.
can I be sure my prints will look the same as I saw them on my monitor?
management issues are still a concern for many clients. There are only three
simple things that must be done. You must calibrate your monitor and keep it
calibrated regularly. You must embed your working profile in your images. We
must be able to accurately translate your color values into our printer values.
Without all three steps color management will fail. The first two steps must
be done by the client. The final step is ours. We purchase printer profiles
generated by Drycreek Photo. Their website
has extensive information on color-management and we suggest you look there
if you want to understand more about how color-management works.
Do I need to submit files with imbedded
No, but you must be certain that your working
color space is sRGB. Our Chromira software automatically uses any embedded working
profile but if none is detected, our technicians assume the working space to
be sRGB. Our recommendation is to embed profiles if you routinely switch between
color spaces. If your output is always for digital photo prints and you rarely
use anything other than sRGB, then you may safely ignore assigning profiles.
Please note that any printer profiles are always used by the Chromira software
and should NOT be embedded in the file. You can use our printer profiles from
Drycreek Photo to soft-proof your images but be certain you don't attach them
to your work.
Do you accept files embedded with
the Adobe RGB (1998) profile?
Yes, the Chromira software
will automatically detect and use any embedded profile. The Adobe RGB color
space has a wider gamut than sRGB so be sure that you have captured your image
in Adobe RGB or have converted from RAW files correctly. It doesn't make any
difference if you convert to Adobe RGB from an sRGB colorspace...there is no
gain in color reproduction going from a small colorspace to a larger one. If
you need the wider gamut of Adobe RGB you must first capture the images as RAW
or select Adobe RGB as your default camera colorspace.
Using WorkStream DS
If you are not familiar with WorkStream DS, it
is an image management program from ZBE which allows the studio to fully prepare
an order for us to print. It gives the studio full control over cropping, quantity
and size of print orders and all normal lab corrections. It is a free download
from ZBE.com but we must prepare a configuration
file to make it work with our Chromira. While it's distribution is free to you,
we must pay a license fee of over $2000 per year. So even though the studio
can simplify order management and avoid errors it is not a "free"
program. (note: If you compare our Preferred print prices with a similiar order
management program such as ProShots and the costs of using it, you will
see that we are still more cost effective)
Why do we charge for shipping?
First you must realize there is no such thing
as free shipping. Some labs incorporate the cost of shipping into their prices.
We prefer to keep it separate. We only charge a nominal $3.95 per shipment back
to you. We take advantage of free containers from FedEx or the USPS and we do
not make any profit in our shipping department. This is our way to ensure that
our photographic prints are the best quality available at the lowest price.
Why are oversized prints shipped in tubes?
It's safer that way! Seriously, large flat objects
sent anywhere are more easily damaged. The triangular boxes often used to ship
are really strong and rugged. When you must have prints mounted and sent flat
we do charge a little more to beef up the packaging and we also suggest you
insure them against damage.
What is your FTP service?
FTP is the acronym for file transfer protocol.
Every time you download something through the internet you are using ftp. It
is a reliable way to get files from one place to another. Most browsers have
ftp built-in. Generally you may send files to an anonymous folder but anonymous
folders are open to anyone and can be abused. Most labs have password protected
folders for FTP to insure complete safety. You need a program called an ftp
client to send to a restricted folder. Some labs supply their own one-way ftp
program, designed to send only to one location. We encourage you to get an ftp
program that allows sending AND receiving to ANY location. We recommend FETCH
if you are on a Mac and WS_FTP or CuteFTP
if you use a PC. They sell for about $35. There are two popular freeware programs
available for download: Filezilla
and SmartFTP. Check them out before you download.
When you use any FTP client you will need a connection address (hostname), a
log-in (user) name and a password. Files or folders may then be sent to us at
any time, even while you are using your computer for other purposes. After you
install your ftp client, contact our office for your login name and password.
FileUpload or FTP?
The FileUpload feature is a PHP script designed
to transfer a small number of files at one time. It's main feature is it's simplicity...just
click on the files you want to send and that's it! FTP is for the heavy user.
If you are a studio sending us dozens of files each week, FTP is the only way
to go. With FTP you can organize your work into folders and send multiple folders
with a single transfer. We accept printing instructions in text files and each
folder can have it's own set of instructions. Both methods of transfer are fast
but remember that a dial-up phone connection is very slow. We suggest DSL as
the minimum connection.
Why are your prices so cheap?
First of all, the word "cheap" denotes
a low quality for a low price. You can get 4x6 prints for 9¢...automatically
printed by a machine...that's cheap! We are not cheap but our services are less
expensive than some other labs. We don't make less profit because we have been
able to consolidate our space requirements and equipment. Today's digital equipment
takes up much less space than the wet lab equipment it replaced. This translates
into lower overhead and manpower. It's not that our work is inferior but I wonder
why other labs haven't reduced their prices? Virtually every lab
today uses digital printers, even if you send them film.