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pdpfilms
Jan 17, 2006, 01:01 PM
They stink. I just ordered one using only shots from my D2x, and I'm really not impressed. The pages are papery and thin, not glossy and robust like you'd expect. The saturation in particular is horrible, and the photographs just look lifeless. I'm hoping this is only the 8 1'2 x 11 Hardcover that's affected, but realistically, they're probably all the same. I Just want to throw that out there before you pay $39.99 for a flimsy worse-than-do-it-yourself book.



Frank (Atlanta)
Jan 17, 2006, 07:46 PM
Are Aperture books similar to the iPhoto books? I ordered an iPhoto book and was disappointed by a few items:

1. First order had problems - think there was data corruption during the transmit.

2. Second book had partially-printed copy. To Apple's credit, they gave me a refund (I offered to send the book back).

3. I was unimpressed by image quality - has anybody tried the following:

http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20050709155622853

The iPhoto book photos weren't absolutely horrible, however, they just weren't good. And, since I ordered a book that cost ~$97, I was expecting high quality. Certainly didn't represent the quality of the actual prints.

I think it has something to do with down-resing & converting to PDF for the transfer. The book I transmitted had a file size of ~46 meg; however, the total jpg file sizes were ~10x larger... I'd be willing to burn the bandwidth to get a decent book.

I'm torn, because I really like the iPhoto book functionality; the quality, however, isn't what it needs to be.

Frank

PS: Nice camera - I just picked-up a D2x over the holidays and the quality's unbelievable. Sure the book photos didn't come close to the quality the D2x can produce. Out of curiosity, were you working with TIFF files? Problem with the D2x...file size is unbelievably huge.

pdpfilms
Jan 17, 2006, 09:03 PM
The iPhoto book photos weren't absolutely horrible, they just weren't good. And, since I ordered a book that cost ~$97, I was expecting high quality. Certainly didn't represent the quality of the actual prints.

I think it has something to do with down-resing & converting to PDF for the transfer. The book I transmitted had a file size of ~46 meg; however, the total jpg file sizes were ~10x larger... I'd be willing to burn the bandwidth to get a decent book.

I'm torn, because I really like the iPhoto book functionality; the quality however isn't what it needs to be, though.

Frank

PS: Nice camera - I just picked-up a D2x over the holidays and the quality's unbelievable. Sure the book photos didn't come close to the quality the D2x can produce. Out of curiosity, were you working with TIFF files? Problem with the D2x...file size is unbelievably huge.
Yeah, that's how i felt about it... spent alot of money, but it just wasn't worth it. It's really too bad because it's a great way to show off work... but not when it's semi-grainy and desaturated by about 30%.

I bet you're correct about the downsizing... I was using RAW photos, making the total book size about 800mb. It could be compressed alot before any quality was lost... It's too bad they squeeze them down as far as they do, however.

I'd say if I were to shoot with a camera that output pictures that actually looked like that, it would likely be a 4 megapixel sub-$300 camera.

Just frustrates me, really. I was expecting much more.

Abstract
Jan 17, 2006, 09:29 PM
Where's Applespider? Me and Applespider are always explaining PhotoBook quality issues, it seems. However, Applespider always posts in those threads right before I do, but I guess I'm first this time.

Here's what you do, since I can't be arsed to do it again. Search my name "Abstract" and "PhotoBook quality" and you're going to get 2 or 3 detailed explanations as to what is going on and how to improve photo quality. But basically, use SPOTLIGHT and do a quick search for the com.apple.iPhoto.plist file, and open it. If it opens in OmniGraffle or something, then you need to install XCode or install a separate program that allows for .plist file editing. Get it from VersionTracker. Next, change the BookTargetDPI settings for the various sized books to 300 DPI. Anything beyond that won't make much of an improvement.

Don't fret. My parents love the 3 I have bought them so far. :) Haven't seen them myself, and my parents don't really care how they turn out, but my brother is a techie and would notice pixellation and poor res and such, and he said the books turned out fine.

Frank (Atlanta)
Jan 17, 2006, 10:19 PM
Abstract,

Thx - appears similar to the MacOSXHints, I believe.

Your info seems more complete; I might try it, but scratching my head as to why the app requires me to go through gyrations to get back to baseline resolution (and, at some of the smaller picture sizes, 300 DPI won't do it). Also, don't think a simple DPI fix will address saturation issues as noted by original poster.

Question: Using your method, does the resultant book PDF approximate the summation of the individual jpg file sizes (or TIFF files, etc.)?

There's a pretty simple app fix: before sending a book for printing, one could have an option to choose DPI. Or, for simplicity, have 3 resolution options: "original", "medium", or "low". Better yet, let me choose resolution by picture size.

Afterall, people are trying to print books (oftentimes, costly books using photos made with high quality equip) - why would the default be down-res'ed photos?

Thx,
Frank

Abstract
Jan 17, 2006, 10:30 PM
iPhoto is offering photo album printing to consumers. iPhoto is a consumer level app --- nothing more. However, this has sort of been lost on consumers, as even photographers or regular people who have 15000 to 30000 photos seem to try and use iPhoto. And now people who want super-high quality books are using this service. I don't really think it was meant for people who analyse their photo's qualities.

Again, my mum and stepfather got their photobook and were ecstatic when they saw it. They didn't even know such a service existed! They don't even know what DPI is, nor would they really care if it was printed at lower quality. It looks cool, feels nice in their hand, and is a step up from getting photos processed and shoving them into an $8 photo album with no labels or personalizations.

While I absolutely hate iPhoto and how it handles your photos, and believe they should rewrite most of it (it's too bloated for what it does, and even the updates to this program are 10-30 MB at times.....or the size of a completely separate program), I can't blame iPhoto or Apple for this one. They're not aiming at people who even know what colour saturation is.

However, I'd hope that for Aperture users, Apple has a better photobook service for them. Anyone who uses Aperture is obviously NOT just a typical consumer and demand higher quality, and that's what they should get, no matter what the uploaded file size is gonna be.

EricNau
Jan 18, 2006, 01:38 AM
Didn't Apple increase the pic quality in their books with the release with iLife '06? :confused:

pdpfilms
Jan 18, 2006, 02:17 AM
Didn't Apple increase the pic quality in their books with the release with iLife '06? :confused:
I remember hearing something like that... improved photobooks... sounds mighty familiar.

Chaszmyr
Jan 18, 2006, 02:26 AM
Didn't Apple increase the pic quality in their books with the release with iLife '06? :confused:

Yes. It's unclear whether or not that applies to Aperture, but I would assume it probably would.

pdpfilms
Jan 18, 2006, 02:28 AM
Yes. It's unclear whether or not that applies to Aperture, but I would assume it probably would.
Unfortunately, these books were all purchased after that announcement. Maybe they just haven't implimented the upgrades yet? I'm hoping..

Applespider
Jan 18, 2006, 04:15 AM
Where's Applespider?

Asleep! ;)

The improvements that Abstract mentions to iPhoto book quality and changing the settings to 300dpi (Prefsetter is the name of the little app that can do this) make a big difference to the size of the file that sends. My first one went from about 30MB to just over 50MB so there's a massive increase in size. It's still not the same as the original pics. I suspect that most consumers wouldn't really see the difference between 150 and 300 dpi so in order to save them bandwidth/time updating, they left it at 150.

One thing to remember about the photo books is that they're not photographs. To me it looks more like a magazine/catalogue. If you hold the book at your nose, you'll see some ink dots. If you hold it at book distance, then it looks pretty good. My colours seem to glow off the page so I'm not sure why they're looking flat.

qzak
Jan 18, 2006, 09:58 AM
i remember when Aperture was announced they said the photo books would be of better quality, so right off the bat if you ordered the books from Aperture they should look better. This is dissapointing as I've been putting together a book of my nephews i was planning on giving my sister.

pdpfilms
Jan 18, 2006, 12:21 PM
i remember when Aperture was announced they said the photo books would be of better quality, so right off the bat if you ordered the books from Aperture they should look better. This is dissapointing as I've been putting together a book of my nephews i was planning on giving my sister.
Well I ordered about 3 more copies of this same book, so I'll let you know. Maybe it was just an issue with this one book... We'll see once I get my hands on the others.

josephaboothii
Sep 4, 2006, 09:08 AM
Just wondering if any of you talking about the books from Apple have had a chance to view samples since this thread was written.

I would be quite interested to know your views on books created using the Aperture BUY BOOK function. Also, the iPhoto books.

Please post your critique if you actually bought a book using this service.

Thank you,
Joseph

iGary
Sep 4, 2006, 09:58 AM
I've always had good luck with their photo books (great for portfolios), but it's been a while since I have ordered one.

Different vendor, perhaps?