First it was the 4000. I needed bigger and the following year it was a 7600. That still wasn't big enough, so two years later, it was a 9800 and today, it's the back-up to the 9900...
Most of the printing is done on 24 inch roll paper. A great way to print "enlarged" proof sheets for my use and that of my clients. A 24x36 sheet of 3x5 prints has impact!
The main reason for moving up to the 44 inch printer is several: Cheaper cost/ml for ink, cheaper cost/sf for paper, faster printing, larger images beyond 24x36, especially for any kind of canvas. About the largest canvas you can print for stretching on a 24 inch printer is just under 20 inches wide, almost too small to work, IMO. 36 and 44 inch canvas gives you more options when it comes to final size and more potential for sales.
If you have the space and do any printing for a living, the couple of extra thousand more for nearly double the width is well worth considering. Both the 24 and the 44 inch printers are the sweat spot, depending upon your needs. The 60 inch printers seem like overkill unless you have MF digital backs or a specialized market and nearly double the space it takes for the 44 inchers.
For me, the 9800 sold a major print project I've worked on the past two years and more than paid for the purchase of the 9900 which also auto cuts the canvas that I sold. Most every photo of the 600 plus images started life as a 10-12 MP raw capture carefully crafted to 20x30 to 30x40 prints. A few were from scanned 35mm and 6x6 scans, but the digital captures look so much better.
Oh, one more thing, all three of these large format printers was second-hand and found on eBay, Craig's list or other listserve. Each was well below retail and ready to print once I got them set up. One came from a hobbiest, a second was at the end of the service contract and had just been serviced (now five years since I bought it and running swell) and the last was from a lab that pulled the plug and came with lots of media and extra carts.
All three took man power to put in the back of my 4Runner and each took a crew to pack them down the stairs into my studio. Every one I bought has more than paid for itself and I'm almost sorry I waited so long in buying each!
If money's an issue, be patient and keep your eyes open for second-hand.