Thursday, October 1, 2009

Product Review: Mpix Standouts

Just a quick product review today. I recently ordered 3 20" X 20" Standouts from MPix for display on my bedroom wall. Standouts are photos mounted on 1 1/2" gator foam with a banding (optionally either black or white) around the edge. The Standouts come with holes pre-drilled in each corner of the back for hanging. The look of the final product is similar to a gallery wrap but with the Standout you don't lose any of the photo around the edges (a gallery wrap usually wraps the photo around the edges of a frame so that your photo covers all visible surfaces). Because I wanted to use a panoramic image in three pieces (rather than going to one large custom sized 20" x 60" standout) I needed the surface edges to match up. I was very pleased with the quality of the construction of the standouts and the image processing was up to Mpix's usually high standards. I did note that one of the three pieces was slightly smaller in dimension than the other two but the difference (probably 1/16th of an inch) was acceptable to me. Mpix has a 100% guarantee so they would have fixed it if I had found it to be unacceptable. While the holes on the back of the standouts allow Mpix to sell them as "ready to hang", I didn't even want to try my luck at evenly spacing and leveling 6 hangers (two holes on each standout) so I installed a narrow photo ledge I picked up at Ikea last weekend. This let me get everything spaced and leveled exactly the way I wanted it and I will be able to easily change out the images for different ones over the years with minimum effort.

Standouts are a permanent and fairly expensive option for displaying your images. These 20" x 20" standouts were $80 each; a lot of money to be sure but not necessarily more than you would spend on prints + mats + frames if you went the more traditional route.

Overall I was perfectly satisfied with my Mpix purchase and plan on purchasing more in the future.

For those who are interested, the original photo is a crop of a single image rather than multiple images spliced together and so the the file size was rather small (I started, before the crop, with a 10 mega pixel file from my Canon 40D). I used Photoshop CS3 to up size the image to Mpix's minimum standard of 100 dpi and then cropped it into three different files which I uploaded to I was concerned that the resolution of the final image would suffer a lot as a result of all the up sizing but, while there was of course some loss of sharpness as compared to the original image, I was very pleased with the result.

Title: "Mpix Standouts"


Cindi said...

This is wonderful! I have heard of gallery wraps but not standouts and your post is such good information. I have been meaning to get the test prints from Mpix and Mpix Pro and Miller's, did you do that before ordering these standouts? Did you get any feedback from them before as far as possible results in upsizing so much? I really like the image you chose, the light is very nice and really highlights the tree trunks. I bet it looks great on your wall and the shelf solution is the perfect way to present them.

Barry Armer said...

Thanks Cindi!

I didn't know the places you mentioned even offered test prints. Before I got my own printer I used Mpix for all my printing and was always very pleased with the results. I still use Mpix if I want to order a mounted print or a print larger than Super B (my printer’s maximum size).

I didn't talk to them about the upsizing because their ordering software checks for a minimum file size for any print size you order. When I first uploaded the file their software told me the file was too small and told me how big the file needed to be so I had to go to Photoshop and up size it. After all that I still wasn't overly concerned about the quality of the final results because with Mpix's 100% satisfaction guarantee I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose.

My wife actually picked this print to hang in our bedroom and she made an excellent choice because it really turned out nicely!


Jan Klier said...

Very nice presentation and thanks for all the extra info. I'd been toying with the idea of trying some of these print options. Millers (same company as MPIX) also prints on metal and acrylic that you could mount in patterns.

On several occasions Miller's has called me on an order to discuss whether it would work well, and either then applied the change themselves or allowed me to resubmit the order.

Barry Armer said...

Thanks Jan!

One of the recent shows I went to at the Houston Center for Photography had quite a few artists presenting photos on the metal mountings and I really liked them. Now they also seem to be able to print directly to metal (con't know about acrylic). It seems like there are new options everyday. Since I had a positive experience with the standouts I'll try something else new next time I think!

I've been hearing lots of good things about Millers from my friend Larry Patrick who is a professional photographer and exclusively uses Millers for order fulfillments.


Caitlin said...

Gorgeous. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

And inspiring too. I hadn't even thought of doing something like this, but I have SO many images that would be utterly fabulous displayed in this medium and given the hellish horse hair plaster of my victorian house, much easier to hang than three heavy ass frames.

Thank you for posting!! :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving me this info on standouts. I have a pic of myself and my toddler daughter that I am going to order from mpix!!

Thank you again!!