OK, I've been messing around with LF and alt processes for a couple of years now, but am really still a LF newbie. I have an old Ansco 8x10, a couple of lenses in barrels, and shoot mostly on Efke 25, tray-processed. I have a lot of darkroom experience from past years shooting 35 mm for a newspaper, so for the most part I get good negs. Last year I played with pt/pd, but found the process difficult to get consistent results in my little darkroom/lab. This year I tried Van Dykes, and have had much more success making contact prints that look good. Good shadows and highlights, etc. They are decent prints, I think. Here's my crisis. I VDB printed a photo, then just for fun, I printed the same scene from a digital file on my Epson 3800 with glossy paper. I took the digital pic same day and time with my Canon G9. I use my G9 as my light meter, so I always have duplicate files. Printed at 8x10, the G9 is virtually indistinguishable from the VDB contact print. With a loupe, you can see the contact print has more detail but not without it. I can tone/colour the digital file so it matches the look of the VDB. So the question is -- why am I playing with alt processes? It's discouraging, because for 1/100 the effort and time, I can pop out a digital print that equals in appearance the effort of the contact printed LF/VDB print. I've read a bunch of times how contact prints are supposed to outshine everything else. I'm not seeing it. I don't see how I can make the neg any sharper, it's damn sharp and has good tonality, but the digital camera does a darned good job at 8x10 prints sizes. And this was my G9! If I took out my Pentax K7, it would do even better, as it noticeably outresolves my G9. A Canon 5D or other full frame sensor machine would be that much better again! Obviously, at big print sizes the LF neg starts to win. I've scanned the negs and printed 16x20s from my Epson 3800; they look awesome compared to digital. I can't alt process big prints like that, however. It's a contact printing game. Please help me understand why I am messing with 100-year-old technology when 2009 tools do so capable a job. I love the idea of playing with LF and the alt processes, but it seems hard to justify when the output is so easily matched by digital. Thank you.