Friday, 26 September 2008

Bonusprint – Hero to Zero

2 years ago I couldn’t say enough good things about Bonusprint for printing digital photos – they gave (and still give) absolutely superb value for money – their digital prints are very cheap, superb quality, quick to arrive and include the name of the photo printed on the back. Their software, Bonusprint Pix, while a bit archaic, was actually very good to use, easy and quick.

I had got used to telling all and sundry to go to their site and download the software and get their prints.

They even upgraded the software to something called the Bonusprint Print Service – pay attention to the exact name as it matters. The Print Service was even better – it had one clunky thing that wasn’t quite clear, but once you realised what it was doing, it made sense, and the rest was a huge improvement on something already very usable.

I often print photos for parents etc, and they use a lot of different cameras with different aspect ratios, but the most common is that they have photos in the 6x4.5 ratio but they always want them printing 6x4 ( a common problem as most photo albums are still 6x4 and similar, rather than digital proportions).

With “Print Service” you just load up all the photos, double click on the first one and the process goes:

  • Look at the crop box on the photo (it defaults to centered)
  • If it is OK, click on the arrow button to go on the next
  • If it is not OK, simply drag the box up or down and then click next

The process takes an average of 2-3 seconds a photo – important when you have 200 photos to do. You can even adjust the crop box to zoom in on an area, or not crop and have white borders. It was a SUPERB feature,

So all was hunky dory, until a few months ago…

I had a change of computer and so I had to download the Bonusprint software again. Instead of the old software I got something called the Bonusprint Photoservice.

At first I just assumed it was another update, and proceeded to start processing my pics.

Well – turns out it is a completely different program.

And it is RUBBISH.

It is slightly more intuitive at the first step (choosing which folder of photos to print) but once you choose it, it is very slow to load them into the software.

It also crashes repeatedly (in 2.4 version which I recently tried, to give it another go) – I was trying to print about 100 photos, and it crashed about 8 times when I just tried to scroll to the top of the list of photos.

Once I got it to load the photos so I could set the trims, I discovered the true abomination that Bonusprint has created. Apart from the continual crash (it puts up a dialog, helpfully saying “Abstract Error!”, it is just so painful to use.

There is no form of batch editing mode. So what you have to do, for each photo, is:

  • Click on a photo in the list
  • Wait for the image editor window to open up
  • Click on the “Crop” button
  • Drag up and down the crop box or resize
  • Click on OK for the crop function
  • Click on Save and close for the image (in the image editor)
  • Scroll down the list to the next photo

It is excruciating – the following are some ways Photoservice is worse than Print Service:

  • You lose track of where you are in the list of photos – no ‘Next’ button
  • It takes just as long per photo even if you don’t need to adjust the crop as you have to open it up to see it doesn’t need adjusting
  • It seems to have some stupid default crop that is wrong most of the time – how a simple thing like centering the crop can be done wrong is beyond me, but Bonusprint have managed it
  • If you want to print a mixture of sizes (eg have a few larger ones) it is extremely difficult – you can not set the size you want and then drag a batch in – you have to drag them in and then change the INDIVIDUAL photos to the right size (there is a global change, but that is of course useless if you want a mix)
  • If you select some by mistake, you have to INDIVIDUALLY remove them as there is no way to drag select to remove
  • Did I mention - it CRASHES a lot

The end result is that a simple 5 minute print order turns into an hour of excruciating pain dealing with broken rubbish software.

The scary thing is that Bonusprint support don’t even seem to know that the new Photoservice software is so rubbish.

It is clear to me that the Bonusprint Print Service was written by someone who actually uses the software to process their photos, but Bonusprint Photoservice was written by someone who probably still sends rolls of films off.

I did notice that there was a discount offer for people who tried the new Bonusprint software – I’m not surprised – you would have to pay me to use Photoservice it is that bad.

I have kept my copy of the “Print Service” software as you can no longer download it as far as I am aware. From the Bonusprint website all you get is Photoservice.

You can download the Print Service software at
www.jez.cc/BonusprintPrintService.zip
- you just need to unzip it and run the program (printservice.exe) – no install needed, it just works.

So – if anyone knows a better alternative to Bonusprint, please let me know. The day that I can no longer use Print Service is the day I head to Boots or Truprint.

5 comments:

ruslan said...

Jez, it's amazing that 2 different people in the world have same thoughts expressed almost equally. My story is the same word by word. I was so pissed with new buggy software that I even tried contacting BonusPrint requesting old app. Unfortunately old version no longer works with the service :(

Jez said...

Hi Ruslan, I still use the old version - I have just placed an order (21 Apr 09).
Did you try the version from the download link in my post above? It is later than the old pix software, if that is what you were trying to use.

Lucy_Chilton said...

Thanks Jez. I have spent HOURS trying to upload over 200 photos. The album is 6x4, the pictures aren't and standard cropping (centered) just doesn't cut the mustard. Honestly if I get "abstract error" many more times I will not be held accountable for my actions. Can't wait to go back and use the old software (courtesy of your link).

Donna said...

Thank you Thank you thank you! I have had no end of 'abstract error', 'invalid address location' etc etc issues, and used to be able to use their product perfectly. When I first mentioned it to Bonusprint I was told I must need more memory, but I've got loads.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that they haven't fixed this buggy piece of crap software (writing in Jan 2011). I was unable to use it to print off around 500 photos...

Unfortunately not many other companies do digital photo aspect ratios so I was forced to use Bonusprint's equally as horrible to use website interface. Where you have to upload your entire photo collection before it will tell you how much it is going to cost :(...