Upload & Sell: On
Good morning, everyone.
Short version of the question: can anyone help me get a rough handle on the cost-per-print of a larger printer (say 17" to 44"), so I can figure out whether I should print at home as much as possible, or buy a smaller printer and send out the big stuff? Also, any mention of favorite printers in the 24" to 44" class is welcome so I can learn more about them.
The longer version. My HP B9180 printer is dead -- long live the B9180 -- and, though I'm going to miss its beautiful prints, I need a new printer. So far, I've printed everything the B9180 could handle at home and had bigger prints made elsewhere (WHCC, Mpix, COD, what-have-you...). But now I'm wondering if it makes sense to invest in a larger printer, and if so, how big and which one.
For the sake of reference, I'm assuming a 17" printer like the Epson 3880 costs about $1500, a 24" printer like the Epson 7900 costs around $3000, and a 44" printer like the Epson 9900 costs about $5000. I've chosen a single brand only to keep the comparisons easier and to help me more easily pick out the newer models in the lineup, not because I favor Epson. But after I decide whether to buy a larger printer, I'll need to make a clean-sheet decision of which printer make and model to buy.
Labs charge about $50 for 24x36 prints and $100 for 40x60 prints. I have no idea what the costs of ink and consumables for any of these printers (HP, Epson, or Canon), though, so I have no way to figure out what the true savings is. If I'm going to spend $15 per image on ink and consumables, for example, then printing 24x36 images at home would save me $35 per image and I'd recoup my investment in the larger printer with just 43 prints. But if consumables are going to be $35 per image, then I need to make 100 large prints to recover the additional investment. And of course, even the cost of smaller prints may be different on the larger printers versus the smaller ones.
Any pointers or comments welcome, either on the printer-size issue or about specific printers you regard highly.