QOOP: My friends' reaction to one of their photo books

I ordered a 16-page photo book from QOOP on the 20th, it was shipped on the 26th and delivered to me on the 28th. The total cost including shipping was $20.04. Read on for my reactions and the reactions of my friends.

I chose the 8.5x11 book, without titles or captions, one image per page, single sided, "perfect" bound. On the page, the tallest image is around 7.5" tall, and the widest image is around 7" wide. I would have liked to see taller images, since there is no need to make room for text on the page. (My friends said titles and captions would have been nice to have, though)

As you recall, I wondered if QOOP would print full-resolution images for non-paying flickr members. I ordered without getting an answer to this question, in part because of the resounding silence of their FAQ on this issue.

Having received the book, and comparing my original image with flickr's "large" image and the printed image, I am certain that the images used by QOOP are the version that has been resized by Flickr to be at most 1024 pixels on the largest side.

I wrote QOOP about this on the 28th using their support form, and haven't received any response.

My friends' conerns centered on the appearance of unfocused or otherwise relatively featureless areas of the photos. First, there are vertical lines or streaks visible in these areas, similar to an inkjet printer when not all nozzles have the exact same flow rate. Second, the dither or screen pattern is fairly distracting, I think due to its regularity and rectangularity. Third, there is sometimes the appearance of banding in these areas, though in at least a few cases these existed in the original image. This effect is similar to what I see by executing xgamma -gamma 0.66 (giving a linear gradient a fairly sharp "knee"), though overall the image color matches better from screen to page with xgamma -gamma 1.0. (I usually run with 1.0) By the way, the blacks are quite black. Worry about image quality, but not about black.

Chris commented that we have somewhere at the office a machine for making "perfect"-bound books, and that it's not rocket science. The cover page already has a strip of adhesive. The pages are placed inside, and the spine is placed against a heater until everything is nicely glued together.

Everyone seemed to agree it was just fine to flip through and enjoy a few photos. If you're a "pro" member of flickr, or choose a layout with multiple pictures per page, you may not be bothered by the resolution limitations. But if you're extremely picky, you'll find things to complain about.

For me, the bottom line is that I don't think I'll be using QOOP again, at least not right away. I don't want to use flickr for my image hosting, and I especially don't want to be forced to buy their subscription service in order to get top-resolution photos from QOOP. In time, I'm sure that QOOP will improve their composition features and I hope they'll be able to take care of some of these print quality issues too.

Entry first conceived on 30 September 2005, 13:44 UTC, last modified on 15 January 2012, 3:46 UTC
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