A Canvas from Saal Digital

A well-made, vibrant canvas - despite a slight loss of detail

Saal Digital is a German photography lab, based in Siegen. They offer standard photo prints, alongside other services, such as posters, calendars, and wall art. They provide their products to consumers as well as professionals.

Shortly after being asked to test a photobook, I was also asked if I would test one of their canvases. I thought this seemed like a great opportunity to have a lovely photo of the Churnet Valley, taken in 2015, hanging at the top of our stairs. A few years ago, I received a similarly sized sample from another company. As this is hanging on our wall, I thought that it would make a good point of comparison. I also thought it would also be good to be able to compare the quality of the canvas to the photobook I've recently reviewed.

As before, delivery was very fast. I ordered the canvas on Monday 30th April, and received it on Tuesday 8th May. Considering it came from Germany, and had to navigate a British bank holiday, that's not bad at all!

My previous review of the photobook discusses the software and ordering process. It was the same for ordering the canvas. Obviously, there were different options, as it is a different product, but it was just as simple a process.

The Packaging

As with the photobook, the canvas came in a (relatively) easy to open cardboard envelope. I say relatively because although it had an easy tear strip, part of the cardboard had been glued down. It was fairly strong glue as well, and it took a bit of force to open it. When you consider the fragile nature of the contents, this felt risky, and perhaps a slightly weaker glue (or no glue at all!) should be used.

As with the photobook, I was very disappointed to see that the company have used a foam type of material to protect the canvas. There must be more environmentally friendly options available. It got worse too - the canvas was entirely wrapped in plastic! With the global movement to reduce plastic waste, I was very disappointed by this. It wasn't even easy to open either, and I found I had to use a knife to (very carefully) cut the plastic enough so I could tear it off by hand.

Obviously, I understand that such a delicate product needs to be securely packed and done in such a way to prevent damage being caused during transit, but there has to be a better way than this. Between the plastic and the foam, there was an incredibly sturdy piece of cardboard which I expect would protect against the average impact damage you could expect from shipping.

Sellotaped to the plastic surrounding the canvas was a plastic bag - the type with an easy open/close strip at the top, similar to resealable cheese - which contained four pieces of wood. These are used to push into the frame of the canvas, in order to re-tighten it, should it be required.

The Canvas

I ordered a 30x45cm landscape canvas, as it would fit nicely near the top of our stairs. I've hung it on the wall which overhangs our stairs, about a third of the way up. This means that it's also out of direct sunlight at all times, which should help reduce fading over time. The wooden frame of the canvas is surprisingly thick - although I chose the thinner of the two options. It is solidly constructed, and I doubt it will need re-tightening for some time. The canvas material is stapled to the frame in several places, with deep and thick enough staples to prevent it coming loose. This is much better than some other companies that use thin, shallow staples.

The canvas

One thing to remember about a canvas is that they are viewed from a greater distance than a print photograph. Close up, they are generally somewhat pixelated and fuzzy. A lot also depends on the quality and size of the photograph you use. The photo above was taken from a distance of approximately 1.5m, using my iPhone 7.

Unfortunately, the print process and stretching of the image has caused a slight loss of detail. If you look at the right-hand side of the photo, roughly halfway between the top and the bottom, there is a black patch, which should have more green. The original photo is below for comparison.

The original photo
I'm a little disappointed about the loss of highlight and shadow details in this area, but it's really only a minor concern. My partner Anneka didn't notice when she first saw the canvas, as I expect most people wouldn't. On the whole, though, I'm still happy with this canvas. The overall printed photo is more vibrant than the digital original, with the grass literally being greener and the sky being brighter. The reflection of the sunlight on the water (in the centre of the bottom third of the photo) is brighter and more obvious on the canvas. From a distance of more than 1.5m, the canvas looks better. This is the way canvas prints are with standard photos, and that's ok.


The time from ordering to delivery was met with that characteristic German efficiency. The packaging was a little disappointing and not the most eco-friendly. The company could do more in this area. The frame of this canvas is strong and durable, and solidly built. The material is securely stapled to the canvas. On darker areas of the photo, there is some loss of highlight and shadow detail, which is a shame. Generally, however, the colours are bright and vibrant, especially the greens. This canvas makes a nice addition to our home.

For more lifestyle product reviews, head over to this section of The Wax Picture!

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