I work in a print/design shop of a university. We are currently printing on a 4-color Encad NoveJet proE 42" wide format printer. We've had it for YEARS and are ready to replace it. We mostly print scientific posters for conferences, and some signage and photographs. We also print through a RIP from both Windows and Macs.
After extensive research, I've narrowed my choices down to the HP 5500ps and the Canon iPF 8000. I've seen both (well, the iPF 9000 60") in action, and I like them both. One thing that stands out right away is the price of these machines: ~$11,000 for the HP, and ~$6,000 for the Canon. For my very limited budget ($12,000) that's a big difference. I know both companies "say" that we can print directly to each printer, but sometimes our files get very large and I would like to install a new RIP to handle the new printer...I think because we've been using a RIP, we'd really miss one if we did away with it.
So-- do I go with tried and true-- HP, or do I go with a new machine-- the Canon?
If I go with the Canon, I can buy the machine, RIP server and software, and still have money left over to buy extra inks and print heads. If I go with the HP, I would be able to buy maybe the RIP software and hope I still have money in my budget by the end of the FY to buy the server and some inks.
What would you do??? Any advice is appreciated!