I used Image Print with a 4000 for several years. It was such an enormous hassle. The interface is moronic. I kept file folders of instructions so I could remember all the arcane ways to center an image, etc. The software is definitely not user friendly, and those who dispute that must use it on a daily basis -- and they have forgotten the early frustrations.
For an advanced amateur, who might set this aside for a month or two and then return to it, it can be frustrating.
The biggest problem is the failed installs. Image Print will tell you they have solved that problem. Baloney.
And the comment above about "upgrades" is dead on. I don't recall their wierd use of the english language, but when I asked about an upgrade from one printer to another, I was told NO! NO! we don't offer that. Finally, it turned out that I was asking the wrong question, and if you ask about some type of contract, then yes, they offer what everyone else calls an upgrade.
The last straw, for me, was using Image Print on a particular sunset I was printing. The difference between the profile for luster versus Hahn Photorag was enormous. The Luster profile simply missed huge swaths of color. I sent them the prints. IP did redo the profiles and solved that problem.
But that told me that the creation of profiles is as much an art as a science.
A month later I was at one of the Epson seminars. X-Rite was there demonstrating their Color Elite Pulse system. It appeared to be, and ultimately proved to be, fairly easy to use.
So I took a survey of Epson tech personnel and other folks in the hallways. They all assumed that individual profiles, created with a high end X-Rite or Gretag package, would be just as good as a RIP for an advanced amateur.
The only thing I miss in Image Print is the spooler, and the easy ability to reprint. Printing from Photoshop with the Epson driver does involve a few more steps, but once you master it, it works fine.
The profiles I created with the Color Elite system are equal to IP, at least to my eye. The comments above about Epson drivers improving are correct.
Buy a good spectro and profiling system, and use that on all your printers. That will suffice for high quality profiles.
Buy a RIP only if you need the extra features, and most advanced amateurs don't.
And if you buy Image Print, be prepared to deal with an interface that was cludged together and is in need of a MAJOR overhaul.
(Reichmann is quick to criticize other products, but he is in love with Image Print. I don't recall a single comment about the arcane interface that is about as non-user friendly as even the worst software products. Michael criticizes Canon in that regard for their 5000 printer, but he should save some of those critical comments for Image Print, since his glowing reviews sell a lot of their product.)
Oh yes. And good luck getting the installer to work.