Evan, if you could stretch a little on your $$ I would say go for the Epson 3800! You'll recover the extra money in one year on ink savings and you can print from 4" to 17" wide.
I had the R1800, and while I was happy with the output, the cost of ink was scaring me. Not only because the 14ml carts cost more per ml but they waste a lot more ink in cleanings every time you change a cart (which you do very often)
Also if you consider the amount of ink that already comes with the 3800 (720ml total) against the ink that comes with the R1800/2400 (about 130ml total) than the difference in final price is minimal.
Think about it.
From the first day the 3800 was introduced we have seen that advice. It is still a question whether it is a good advice for everyone.
The budget is 800 $ and you will need at least 300 $ more to get a 3800. The 700 ml ink more that you get has to be consumed in about a year at least to keep consistency in the ink carts. Approx. 373 A3 prints a year. It can print larger though if you need that. The price per ml is 0.45 Euro say 0.60 $. The switch between the blacks consumes about 3 ml (1.8 $) average and takes 3 minutes. 18 switches to gloss and the PK cart (80 ml) is empty. 54 switches to matte and the MK cart is empty. The switches will take their toll on the number of prints you can make from the original ink carts. With 40 switches total it is 1,5 cart lost and 64 A3 prints less printed. Carts usually do not empty 100% of the 80 ml but I do not count that. The 700 ml at 300$ price difference is 0.43 $ per ml. That are the numbers for the 3800.
On the R2400 the ink price is approx. 0.73 Euro (0.97 $) per ml. Same amount of ml per A3 size, estimated on 1.88 ml per A3. For 300 $ you get 309 ml ink that will print 164 A3s. There is less loss of ink on a black ink switch and it takes less time but something will be lost here too.
I guess if you print less than 100 - 150 A3's (200 - 300 A4's) a year you are better off with the R2400, if you get the 3800 it has to be 300 A3's a year at least to keep fresh ink in the carts and lines.
There's an alternative in the HP B9180. it has both PK and MK ready for printing without a switch. There's one grey ink instead of the two in the R2400. Print cart size is 28 ml x 8 = 224 ml. ML price is the same as for the R2400 but it is frugal on ink, estimates are 11 ml versus 15 ml per square meter. There's no loss on black ink as it doesn't have to switch. B&W printing is good. It has an densitometer based ink calibration that keeps profiles up to date. It costs about 600 $ with 8 carts of 28 ml included. Pigment inks score better than Epson's on fading. Heads can be replaced by the user and are affordable but they should last the printer's lifetime, several years. My estimation is that it has the economy of the 3800 at an initial price lower than the R2400. It has been discussed thoroughly on the DPreview printers forum, pro and con.
[a href=\"http://www.inkjetart.com]http://www.inkjetart.com[/url] will have a review of all the printers mentioned in this thread.
An addition: there's a recent review of 3 A3 pigment printers at photo-i, Epson R2400, the HP B9180 and the Canon 9500. Less on economy as this message does but the rest is covered.