What’s the best way to display your favourite photographs?
Most digital shots never get printed but spin around on hard drives into oblivion until called up from the grave for a brief appearance on a monitor. But there is an occasional image – even in my portfolio -- that deserves a better lot than that. And even a large print-out may not do justice to that shot you’re really proud of. You want its brilliance, colour saturation and luminescence to jump at you!
The PhotoGlow display unit will add that dimension to your choice photographs in a way that you’ve never seen before. And I wish I could demonstrate that in real life but the limitations of your monitor won’t do justice to it. Still, let me try and put some verbal zing into the description.
Behind the Scene
Briefly, the PhotoGlow display looks like an LCD monitor with an internal light source – good for at least 20,000 hours -- that gives uniform brightness to the special photo paper.
The result looks like a brilliant transparency on a lightbox.
Okay, that just a layman’s description. Let’s get a bit more technical.
The PhotoGlow was developed by optical physicist Ed Sinofsky who has been working with lasers in the field of medicine before incorporating his proprietary "edgelighting" technology. This allowed him to make a very thin frame, less than 1 cm “thick” on the 8x10 inch (roughly A4 size) frame that I received from the Australian distributor, Darran Leal. Let me introduce you to Darran, who is a top wildlife photographer. His many amazing images literally cried out for being projected on the very best display units money could buy and when he came across Ed’s invention he “bought the company”! No, not quite, but being the Australian product agent is almost as good! Have a look at his website at www.darranleal.com.au or treat yourself to one of the many books he’s published.
PhotoGlow is being distributed in Australia by IP Image Products in Brisbane. They have a dealer network in every State.
Back to the PhotoGlow. The lighting system is only one part of the display. Maybe even more important was the development of special “paper” (more like plastic) to give the image a brilliance unlike that of commercial lightboxes that you will have seen in airports and cinemas. I selected a couple of my own images for printing. I know I can’t compete with some of Darran’s wildlife shots (one of which he included with the PhotoGlow) but that’s not the point. I wanted to find out how well my photos would look on this display.
If you want the best results send a digital file to one of the dealers. I tried the three local labs here in Albany but their commercial inkjet printers only print from rolls and could not handle the A4 sheets. I had more success with MultiGroup Computers where Wayne, an avid amateur photographer, was happy to do some experimenting on his equipment for me. Most good photo printers, like the Epson 2200, will do justice to the product. Don’t try this on a colour laser printer! We did – just for the heck of it: the results are lousy. This paper is formulated for inkjets only. Keep in mind that not all inkjet printers can accommodate the width of the 9 inch wide paper which gives an 8 x10 nominal print. A bit of trimming may be necessary. Take good care of the finished print as the matte side on which you print is rather delicate and it’s easy to scratch or smudge it. A pack of 10 sheets of the 8x10 inch backlit inkjet media costs AUD29.
Talking about pricing: as you can see from a couple of the images with this review, the unit can be ordered “naked” (that’s what I call it anyway!) without any matt or frame. It will look heaps better with a bit of “cover” so that the innards are not visible. A reviewer, who is also interested in how things are put together, doesn’t mind the barebones look but a simple matt will dress it up quite nicely. And, of course, a proper frame will be like a dinner jacket: drawing attention from everyone in the room to its smart looks! The 8x10 light panel without matt & frame will cost AUD199 and a decent frame might be 50 bucks or more. I went to Haese’s, my professional framer in Albany, WA, for a nice frame to match my other displays (and to show off the PhotoGlow, of course!). The PhotoGlow display units vary in size from 5x7” (postcard size) to 24x36” (that’s BIG). Keep in mind that an 8x10” display unit’s overall size is 11x14 inches (frame size) but the actual display dimensions are just under 8.5” and 10”. You do need access to a wall socket within five feet. This should actually be something like 15 feet and I believe the US models are supplied with a 15’ cord. The white power cord that is attached to the unit is rather unobtrusive but it will look a lot better if you can route the wire completely within a wall cavity. Fortunately, it terminates in a 12V plug of small diameter which you can connect to the supplied universal wall adaptor.
Yes, the PhotoGlow units are pricey – particularly the larger sizes. You probably won’t have your walls plastered with PhotoGlow displays (unless you’re a professional photographer) but if you’re proud of a certain photo you’ve taken and want to have that image projected in the best possible way, PhotoGlow is what this reviewer recommends!
More info: US site: www.photoglow.com
For our Australian readers: check out www.darranleal.com.au