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CanvasChamp Review 2021

Most of the time when you look at your digital photos, you’re either gazing at your palm-size smartphone or your slightly more satisfying PC screen. You’re missing out in both cases. For a magnificent shot, there’s nothing like a mounted photo print on the wall that takes up a few square feet. CanvasChamp lets you turn your digital photos into this type of wall art at a reasonable price and with a clear web interface, though you give up some niceties found in more expensive competitors.

How Much Does CanvasChamp Cost?

CanvasChamp offers a wide selection of printing options, ranging from $4.20 for a 5-by-7-inch canvas to $353 for a 54-by-54-inch job. Pricing is a little tricky, however, since the initial $33.01 CanvasChamp cost for my 26-by-18-inch canvas test order was listed as an 87 percent discount from a list price of $333. I expect that most people will probably see the lower price. Mass-market sites like Shutterfly also offer canvas printing, but don’t let you specify a custom size; the closest size on that site (20-by-24 inches), costs $64.99 (discounted from 129.98).

CanvasChamp interface

If you’d rather have a multi-section wall display, those start at $30.45; other choices include photo collages ($6.30), hexagon prints ($18.99), split canvases ($7.98), photo mosaics ($6.30), and banners ($25). Note that those starting prices are for just 8-by-8 printouts; they rise into the hundreds for larger sizes.

Media options abound, too: You can specify acrylic ($18), metal ($10.99), wood ($37.99), and even engraved prints ($24.49). That’s more surface options than CanvasPop offers, but fewer than you’ll find on offer at mass-market photo printing sites like Snapfish and Shutterfly.

You can get started with your order without setting up an account or entering a credit card number. CanvasChamp doesn’t ask you for all that until you’re ready to place your order.

Choosing Your Print Details

After you choose the type of print you want and its size, you simply upload your picture, or pick it from your Facebook or Instagram collection. If you just want some generic wall art, CanvasChamp lets you print from its collection of inspirational stock photography.

The service accepts images in BMP, JPG, and PNG format. Some services also accept TIFFs, which tend to have more image information; others don’t even accept PNG files. If you have file format other than the three accepted types, you’re directed to HighTail‘s file-conversion service, so you can use that, too—a plus for CanvasChamp.

CanvasChamp’s upload size limit is 25MB, which is decent for the formats it accepts, though it’s not big for an uncompressed format (you can bypass this limit, too, if you use the HighTail file-upload service). The largest JPG on my system is 18MB, from a full-frame DSLR, and my iPhone X’s 12-megapixel camera produces images with complex detail in JPGs of under 3MB, so the 25MB limit shouldn’t pose a problem for most users.

After you upload the image file, you can change the print size again. You then choose a wrap and border style. The wrap refers to the part of the canvas that extends over the sides of the frame. Options for this include thin (0.75-inch) gallery wrap, (1.5-inch) extra-cost thick gallery wrap, rolled canvas, and hanging canvas (includes top and bottom boards). If you go with a wrap, you can have the photo wrap along the edge of the frame or use a solid color.

Next up is your choice of hanging hardware. Hanging hooks, which suited my purposes, cost just $1.99. You can also opt for a saw-tooth hanger ($3.99), an easel stand ($24), or a dust cover back ($9.99).

At this point of your order setup, there are some image-enhancing choices—you can go for a Warhol-Marilyn style, caricatures, or Lichtenstein. Those all add $10 to $25 to the price; Sepia and grayscale are free. The final step in setting up your order is to choose whether you want lamination to add color vibrancy and protection, and if you want minor or major retouching—all of which costs extra. I chose lamination, raising my initial price by $4.99 to $48.37. Dust and scratch removal add just $12 to the order.

You can also add text to your print, in a decent selection of fonts, sizes, and colors, and you can place the text wherever you want on the photo.

You can request a proof email and see your photo canvas in views simulating a room, in 360 degrees, and in 3D, may help you visualize the final product. The room view is a bit cartoonish, unlike CanvasPop’s realistic one, which I find more helpful.

And that’s it. You’re ready to place the order. Add it to the cart, choose a shipping method. Larger canvases offer a 10-day free shipping option; for smaller ones you pay $9.99 for 10-day turnaround. Choose the $14.99 Express option to shave two days off that; Priority ($41.16) cuts the time to one week.

At Checkout, I was finally asked to create an account. You can do so easily by signing in with your internet overlord of choice, or you can enter an email address and password manually. After all the setup, options, and shipping, my final canvas print price was $56.36—a pretty good deal! For comparison, the same order from CanvasPop cost $116.

After placing the order, the site tried to get me to share to social networks and write online reviews. Let me see the print first, please! But there is a carrot: If you get a friend to order a print, you get a free 8-by-8 canvas print order—ditto for signing up for the site’s email newsletter.

CanvasChamp shipment packaging

Order Shipping and Print Quality

My CanvasChamp picture arrived a day before the estimated date, despite having been produced in and shipped from Ahmedabad, India, to PCMag’s Manhattan offices. The packaging consisted of plastic-wrapped single-layered cardboard, with several stickers telling the handlers not to drop or place weight on its center. For comparison, CanvasPop shipped my print in a larger box with bubble wrap around the picture—safer for shipping to be sure.

The photo I used is of a small bird on a branch near the ground at dawn (a female American Redstart, or Setophaga ruticilla for the ornithologists out there). I photographed it with a Canon EOS 6D SLR using a Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens. Parts of the photo were somewhat dark, so I wanted to see how the print service handled this.

The canvas that CanvasChamp sent was of good print quality, well saturated, and tightly mounted. But I did have a couple of issues with the result. First, the service cropped my photo beyond what I had specified in my order. If you compare the screenshot above with the canvas photo below, you can see that the rounded leaf in the bottom left is in the screenshot but not in the canvas. The cropping is a lot more apparent in real life than in the images shown here. In CanvasChamp’s defense, the proof image I saw later did match what I received, but again, I hadn’t made the crop myself.

CanvasChamp print sampleCanvasChamp photo canvas.

The second problem is that dark areas lost all detail. Yes, this is somewhat my fault, but CanvasPop managed to bring out those details in their print. You can see the CanvasPop result below to the CanvasChamp photo above. It’s a higher level of workmanship, and the colors do indeed pop more. Nevertheless, the CanvasChamp product is well produced, and you may not mind the cropping or lack of brightening. In fact, if your primary goal is exactly reproducing your photo, you may prefer its lighting treatment.

CanvasPop canvas photo printCanvasPop photo canvas.

Big Prints, Small Cost

If you need a big wall-size print but don’t want to pay a big price, CanvasChamp is for you. Everything about the service is acceptable, but not outstanding—the website, the printing and mounting quality, the shipping package, and the turnaround time. A similar order cost about half what CanvasPop charged. But for those who want more attention to detail and more protective shipping materials, we recommend CanvasPop instead.

The Bottom Line

CanvasChamp produces large, wall-mountable canvas prints from your digital photos at a bargain price. The results are surprisingly good for the price.

CanvasChamp Specs

Lowest Price for 4-by-6 Print N/A
Largest Print 54 by 54
Metal Prints Yes
Canvas Prints Yes
Photo Editing No
TIFF Support No
Online Slideshows No
Mobile Apps Yes
Same-Day Pickup No

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