Saturday, February 12, 2011

ZaZa Gallery Canvas Wrap Print Review

A few weeks back I was followed on twitter by a canvas photo printing company called ZaZa Gallery @ZaZaGallery in California. I followed them back, and checked out their website. I figured maybe I would try them eventually for a canvas print. They can also be found on Facebook. After about a week or so of following them, I noticed a promo they kept tweeting about getting a free print in exchange for a link to their site on the photographer's blog/website, and a review of the print once the photographer receives it. I tweeted back at them, and said I would like participate in their promo. They sent me back a gift certificate code, and I then ordered a print of a recent photograph I took of the Wood River in Exeter, RI. I ordered a 16X24 print with the cost of $78, and then shipping finished out the value of the gift certificate. Shipping cost was around $25. The details on the order of my print were a 16X24 gallery wrap print on a 3/4" stretcher bar. I selected no color correction or re-touching, as all of this is done in the post-processing of my work, so I kept from adding the extra cost to the print by not doing that. Just about all printing companies charge a fee for re-touching and color correction.

It took about a week for the print to arrive at my home. I live in Connecticut, and they are in California, and I selected standard Fed Ex ground for the shipping, so the shipping time was as I expected. I was excited to receive this print from ZaZa Gallery, as I have had many other prints made from Canvas on Demand and Bay Photo, both very reputable canvas printers, and I wanted to do a comparison. I am happy to report that the print quality of the ZaZa Gallery print was as excellent. It was easily as good as both CoD and Bay Photo. The print is sharp, the colors accurate, and looks just as it did on the screen of my computer after I was done post-processing. Keep in mind, it helps to start with a high quality digital file. If you send them a out of focus photo, or one shot with bad lighting, it won't look as good. One great thing that ZaZa does, is a full gallery wrap on a 3/4" stretcher bar.

The last time I ordered a 3/4" canvas from Bay Photo, they wouldn't do a full wrap on a 3/4" stretcher bar. They would only print out to the edge, then leave the wrap portion white, so you have to get floater frames to make them look right hanging on the wall. This is especially important if you have art hanging in a gallery like I do at Voila Gallery in Wickford, RI. By offering a full gallery wrap on a 3/4" bar, vice a 1-1/2" bar, it saves the photographer a bit of money in cost. That savings can be passed on to the buyer of the art, for the same quality of print. This is especially important in today's art market. People will only usually buy art when they have disposable money. If you can save the buyer a little money and still maintain the same high quality of printing, perhaps they will be more apt to buy the print.

Concerning the physical wrap on the stretcher bar, it is done well. The corners are tight, the canvas stretched correctly around the bar, and stapled every couple of inches on the back of the bar, so this print should last for a very long time based on the fact it is assembled well. The print quality should endure also, unless you were to hang the print in the path of direct sunlight, as any artwork that is, usually suffers.

If I had been paying for this print, and not receiving it as a promo, the price point would have come in below both Bay and Canvas on Demand. When you look at the quality of the print, this is an outstanding value. The differences in ZaZa, Bay Photo and Canvas on Demand are that with Bay, you have to get the 1-1/2 bar to do a full gallery wrap, which will cost more money. Also, Bay and CoD offer a dust cover on the reverse side of the print. While this isn't really a big deal, as the viewer doesn't see this portion of the print, it does give their canvas prints a bit more of a "finished" feel, but again this is a buyer preference. Also, CoD and Bay prints came with hanging hardware already attached in the case of Bay Photo's canvas (comes with a serrated hanging bracket). In the case of Canvas on Demand, they include wire, eyelets and a hook, that are easily attached with a Phillips screwdriver. I would like to see ZaZa do this in the future, as it allows the buyer to instantly hang the work, and costs little to include. I am fortunate in the fact I print and frame often enough that I have accumulated a considerable amount of hanging hardware in the form of hooks, eyelets and wire. It would be nice if they would offer the option of a dust cover, or paper covered back, as it also covers the staples up.

In the end, I think the canvas prints from ZaZa Gallery are a phenomenal value, and I highly recommend them to anyone thinking about having photographs printed on canvas. Printing on canvas looks great, clean, and is a bit different than the traditional paper print, matted and framed. The framing alone can add considerable cost to buying the artwork. The artwork, not the frame is what we're after. Right?
Awesomesauce!!!! It friggin works!!! My Pentax 16-50 f/2.8 lens failed completely for the third time this started about a week ago, focusing really slow, or not finding focus lock. I found this thread on Pentax Forums: about a week ago coincidentally, and put it in the back of my head in-case my fears were realized again....The first time the motor was replaced by Pentax, out of warranty, the second time it failed within 90 days of repair, so it was under warranty, then this morning it went while out shooting landscapes. Well I decided that had nothing really to lose this morning, since if I screwed it up, it was going to go in to Pentax anyway, so I would button it back up, and send it in. I am happy to report, after about 20 minutes of work (I am a Navy Sonar Technician, so I have a lot of electronic repair experience), via the DIY procedure, my 16-50 focuses again. Saves me $400, since it is not under warranty for the last repair anymore. Sweet.

The only things I would add to this DIY would be a bit better picture of the weatherseal position on the lens once it is replaced, or before it is taken haste caused me to not really pay attention, and the first time I put it back on, I had it upside down. Also, getting the 6 gold contacts to line up into the holes during the re-install can be tedious. Also, I would recommend the user of this procedure looks at the DOF scale on the lens while they are turning the SDM motor back and forth, as to not over-turn the motor/gearing. Un-attaching/re-attaching the spring for the apeture can be troublesome also. But if you get it on either with the spring hook up or down on the apeture hook, it will work either way, so take it where you can get it.

Below is the link to the procedure for the fix, it is pretty good, with decent photos, and descriptions.