I've reached a point in my photography skills where family and friends are asking for my pictures to hang on their walls (I am mostly into wildlife and landscapes). I have an HP B9180 which is great, but the same 13x19 prints that looked huge at one time are now looking decidedly small, especially when viewed from a distance in a big office lobby.
So I am thinking of buying a 24 inch printer. From what I've read, the Epson 7900 seems the best choice currently, all things considered. Fortunately, money is not an object at this time (within the choices available). And 'she who must be obeyed' has given the nod, so it's a go. I do have some questions and would appreciate very much your responses before I take the plunge.
I am not a professional, just a passionate amateur. Someday somebody may pay me for my pictures, but right now it is just for my personal enjoyment and that of my family, my coworkers and friends.
1. Am I being stupid spending this kind of money on a printer when I am not going to sell those prints? Is there anybody else in my position?
2. What is a good price for the printer? Meridian in CA is offering it at $3075 net (along with 2 rolls of paper) - $500 mail in rebate and a $425 instant discount. This is the best deal I've found so far. They are listed on Epson's website as one of their retailers. Anybody bought from them?
3. Coming from the HP-B9180, I am in love with BW prints. Is the Epson as good, if not better?
4. Given that I may not be printing daily, is the printer self-cleaning, like the HP? How big is the problem with the clogs? I've gone over the thread on the head clogs on this forum and it bothers me a little. But it seems like other big printers have the same problems.
5. I've seen some buyer's remorse here, wrt having bought the wrong size printer. If I find myself in the same boat a few months from now (very unlikely), how easy is it to sell the printer for the 9900?
6. How about 3rd party paper? I mostly prefer matte or luster papers and I love the HP Hahnemuhle smooth fine art and also like the Red River polar matte. Any problems using those?
This is my first post here and I am sorry to ask what may be very basic questions. Unfortunately there are very few sites where a wide-format printer like this is discussed in some detail. I appreciate your answers very much.