Subtitle: "It ain't th' bitin'-off,...it's th' chewin'!"
Personal situation: Lifetime 35mm film type. Been sitting out DSLR advances for some time since retirement, awaiting a "state of the art" where I wish to make my one-time "jump" into the on-rushing stream. This adventure will not pay its own way, ...so I have held my one-shot fund for a moment that seemed right for my expected needs/wants. I imagine that this coming year's 1-series releases from Canon will give me the final nudge over the edge. ( ...been passing the intervening years with digicams and PS practise.)
The "serious" part of my amateur classification indicates that I take seriously any activity in which I choose to spend my diminishing time participating(66 yrs. old). It does NOT indicate that I engage in this pursuit continuously, or "only", to the extent that my other interests are neglected.
This being the case, I expect that my actual printer use could be limited to (perhaps CONSIDERABLY) fewer than 20 prints per month on average. I am very selective as to which images I would select as "serious-printworthy", and treasure a few prized images rather than seeking to proudly display all "my work". 240 really(!)-prized images a year?... I doubt it
If I only want some casual activity to spend my time on, my guitar playing attempts, boat-design/building, etc. will provide for that need.
But today's PS capabilities, combined with the cameras we now have, make for a delightful creative experience for anyone who prefers complete hands-on involvement and control of their artistic efforts, from start to finish.
I'm sure everyone reading this can sympathize with the temptation to equip oneself for this entire experience, conception to display.
The dilemma, as I see it:
After spending $30,000 or (however much)more for camera, lenses, accesories, etc.,...
and after devoting the time to conceptualize, pursue,capture, and process an image, ... one then turns to his/her $X,000 computer/software/calibration/printing/mounting/displaying "system".
If the desire is for a max print size of at least 16X20, certain printers are candidates. Once purchased, the next concern is ink/paper selection, ...and then we have the dependable performance question.
For me this is the point where the already nearly ridiculous becomes the absurd(for the described amateur).
The short bottom-line seems to be that ink wastage from system purgings, print-head clogging and shelf-life(in use) limitations, when added to all other aforementioned "initial" costs, make a PITN and an exhorbitant per-image expense of the whole thing,...at least for a rational person of multiple interests not among those whom my Dad would have described as having "too much money". I respectfully submit that Michael failed to discuss Achilles' "other" heel, in his review of the new Epson 3800,...the oft-mentioned-elsewhere "clogging question". (...test-time constraints, I'm sure)
After waiting hopefully for the time to participate fully in this venture,...I now find myself, instead, tottering on the brink of chucking the whole photographic art idea, and putting my time and assets into something offering more reward and fulfillment per billion dollars/hours invested.
( Let's see now,...with a pencil and paper, I have infinite control of resolution, D of F, contrast, included subject matter, perspective, plane of focus, ..., ..., ... hmmmmmmmm. If someone were to offer me $50,000 to do my "creating" in a different medium,...would I take it? And there's still that new, unplayed saxophone in the closet )