okay, here is round #1 of my findings: on 31.aug.05 i ordered 98 prints from the images that i have uploaded into my online albums at snapfish.com and i retrieved them out of the mailbox on sept. 10th. i was notified on the 1st that they had shipped after the prints had been processed. i took advantage of the free 20 prints for first time users and paid $9.36 for the prints, $5.89 for shipping and $0.55 for utah sales tax ($15.80 total). my wife and i are both highly pleased with the photos and the quality of the paper. i did plenty of digital color correcting and enhancing before i uploaded, and the colors they printed matched up well. if i didn't know better i'd think they were regular prints from a roll of film (we shoot all pics on maximum resolution with my Canon G5 5.0 megapixel camera). we ordered matte finish and didn't pay the extra for the premium paper they offered which was only available in glossy.
overall, a good transaction. i need to double check the postmark to confirm that the prints indeed shipped on the 1st of sept like they said, because 10 days to wait for delivery is a joke, after paying for 1st class usps. we will probably use the service again, unless...
...winkflash.com proves to be better. both sites advertise the same prices (0.12/print) for repeat customers, but my wife found a 50 free prints coupon in the recent 'Family Fun' mag for first time customers at winkflash that we intend to try out asap, (we have 2 years of digital photos piled up with no prints). my sister expressed earlier that she liked the paper at winkflash and that the $0.99 standard shipping is a deal. (for 0.99 i can wait 10 days) at first look the interface and website at winkflash is a bit 'ghetto' compared to the snapfish site, but still an easy site to navigate and take care of business. (i doubt i will ever try the wal-mart online service for a number of reasons, or any others for that matter). wal-mart's website offered little to no specifics about resolution, file size, cropping, or basic digital photo education. i chose snapfish first off because their site was repleet with such information. stay tuned.
the verdict is in: Winkflash by a lap!
my winkflash order arrived on monday too. that is 4 days delivery from the day that i was notified (compared to 9 days for snapfish). winkflash shipped from california, i need to see where snapfish came from. the paper was a bit 'thicker' for winkflash, but besides that essentially the same product. winkflash did have a WAY better introductory promo, 1/6 the shipping fees and less than half the shipping time to my house. i doubt i will use snapfish again unless they offer some other promo that is too good to pass up. the only thing that winkflash did which perhaps bothered me, it seemed that they used an automatic smoothing effect to soften the image a tiny bit, barely noticable on just some of the prints, but still kind of cornball if they do that as a default procedure. based on everything else though, i can live with it. time to tackle our 2-year pile of digital photos.