We recently trashed Kodak Gallery, and rightly so, for providing the least value of any online photo storage/printing service. Now we take that back, because with a simple change to their terms, they’ve suddenly become a viable choice again—provided you meet a couple of conditions.
The reason we said Kodak Gallery was poor value was because they recently changed their online storage policy. Now you have to make a purchase of at least $4.99 from them once every 12 months to keep your account active if you have 2 GB or less stored on their servers; the requirement jumps up to $19.99 annually if you go over that limit.
No other popular online photo service forces you to buy from them to keep your photos stored online. However, yesterday we received an email from Kodak Gallery announcing that they will soon allow free downloads of your photos in their original sizes. That’s something no other service offers—you’ll pay $10 or more (sometimes far more) to retrieve your high-rez stored photos elsewhere.
So that’s the trade off, and now Kodak Gallery might not be a bad choice if you’re the following type of customer:
- You naturally spend at least $20 annually on photos and photo gifts anyway (rendering the “minimum purchase” requirement moot)
- You want to be able to rely on the service’s online storage as an affordable backup system for your photos.
There are plenty of other online photo storage solutions, and the most affordable one for you depends on the size of your photo collection and your usage patterns. Don’t focus solely on retail sites, either. For example, if you host a website through Dreamhost, your account comes with 50 GB of dedicated file backup space (it grows to “unlimited” if the photos are part of a website and not just stored as a backup). For $25 a year, you’ll get unlimited archive space on Flickr with free downloads should you need to retrieve the pics.
If you frequently buy photo products anyway, though, Kodak is back in the running as a valid option to consider.
Note: Although this is definitely an improvement in their policy, the don’t state the date it will go into effect—just “soon.” If you’re not currently a Kodak Gallery user, we certainly don’t think you should run over to their service until we see what really happens.
(Photo: Stephen Cummings)