That reminds me of the automobile analogy sometimes used to illustrate the low and high levels of abstraction used in fields as diverse as computer science and anthropology.
“You don’t need to know how a car works to drive a car and you don’t need the ability to drive a car to be a auto mechanic, but sure helps if you want to be a good one.”
It is certainly easier and cheaper, but it is a loss of control of your image at the very last stage. It is also a loss of consistency.
A good lab will recalibrate at least every day, but even with the best Noritsu or Fujitsu machines, you are still looking at a wet chemical process and images printed in the morning will be different from those printed later in the afternoon.
Before large format pigment ink printers, if you were exhibiting photographic prints with an option to buy copies, you would have to have all those copies made at the same time. It was a lot of overhead without any way of predicting which images would sell better than others.
i have often felt we can get a bit carried away with the want/need "The Prefect Print"
My working photography was mainly domestic work where the expression
is more important than the actual print quality to most clients who could never see a colour cast in a photo. Clients were amazed at the lab printed photos I rejected and most of those rejects were my
mistakes. It would make little difference if I printed in house or at a lab. I didn't read the photograph correctly
At the Aust pro-print awards, I often found it rather amusing at how the judges waffled-on about things most of us could not see. But of course it was important to them and the industry
, and I take my hat off to anyone [including you Brian] with that level of expertise and professionalism.
The big problem I feel for most amateurs is they cannot or have not learnt how to "read"
a photographic image on the screen, even if they have the most accurately calibrated screen. I'm often amazed to what some never see whether it be a colour cast or lack of/too much contrast. But then I have often posted photos only to have someone pointed out the obvious (mistake) me. I'm then left wondering what the hell was I thinking lol
I'm very much into not making digital photography harder than it has to be for those new to photography and I have spent many hours typing "gear alone doesn't make someone a better photographer
. Great pro gear (including printers) may produce a better quality photograph but IMO there is a big difference between a photograph and photography. Great photography can be displayed in 5 x 7" photograph. My favourite photo size is the humble 8/7 x 10". Yes I have some 30 and 40" photos but they were mostly to impress others (to spend more $$) and today I only need to impress myself.
Sorry to waffle-on
so much, and I hope the OP doesn't mind the off topic comments