“I know a lot of you do photography and would like to know what printers you think are the best? I’d like to print as large as possible w/o the price getting out of hand!”
For the money involved, I’d just as soon pay Costco to chase the technology. For the time being, my days of giving Epson lots of money for prints that averaged $10 a linear foot are long gone.
$10 a foot? Holy shit, Mr Pre-Press! Where did you pull a number like that from? Bitter experience. Adding up the numbers on what a roll of real paper [not the low-end thin stock, which added 5-7% yellow], plus the 8 ink cartridges, etc. Never mind the maintenance.
Now, from a color proofing perspective…When I was at the Workbook, we had an Epson 7800. We’d pull target proofs from it for advertisers who for whatever reason, didn’t have one. We also had a Canon color-laser copier [17x11] in the shop. One fine day my boss asked me to pull proofs of the same spread to both machines. He laid them side to side and asked me what I saw. Both were pretty similar, the Canon within 5% of the Epson. Yes, the highlights tended to blow out at top end, ditto shadows, but the midtones were pretty accurate. Cost difference was $0.10 vs $10. We unplugged the Epson.
An Epson printer in many ways is like an ice-cream maker. You’re not going to save money on the final product, but it may enable you to craft a particular flavor. You have to decide how and what your machine will do for you, and go from there.