The main problem with scanning negs is enlarged grain, if you are shooting 120 it won't be too much of a problem compared to 35mm though. Scanning them as a slide seems to help with this a little.
I have had good results from scanned slide film (provia 100f) and then converting to b&w using the carr b&w conversion action I got off the net (the channel mixer never gave me results I liked). Slide film seems to scan much much better than neg, it's a shame since slide has less lattiude than neg film.
As for scanning b&w film, from my experiance despite what people tell you, just forget it. The tonality is horrible and the grain is huge and only gets more ugly the more work you do on the image. My next try will be acros dev'ed in a pyro developer to try and keep the grain under control, but I think it's a lost cause. Some peaple claim to do this successfully though so you could try it.
[probably some opinion here, but I regard it as fact. ;) ]
A well-exposed black and white negative that lives up to the full potential of a particular film and developer will have a greater dynamic range than virtually anything you can print it on, including silver gelatin or alternate processes. Much of the skill in b&w printing comes in making an expressive representation of the huge range contained in a good negative within the somewhat shorter range of whatever you choose to make your print. Much of the appeal of fine black and white work is in the huge dynamic range and subtle tonality it has compared to color negative or digital capture. Once you introduce a digital step (IMO, at least) you significantly chop down the dynamic range and reduce the available tonal steps you can produce.
If you can't do your own processing or printing yet, you might just try using a chromogenic b&w film like Ilford XP2 or Kodak Portra B&W, BW400CN or even their consumer "Black and White" film and getting it processed at your local minilab and getting machine prints. When you want a better print, then you can go to a local pro lab and get a handmade fully analog print of the frame(s) you like.
There's folks here who have a lot more experience with chromogenic B&W films than I, so they can probably advise you on how to choose one far better than I can. One issue, for instance, is if the base is orange or not. Clear base chromogenics are easier to print in a conventional b&w printroom, but orange base chromogenics work better with automated minilabs.
With regard to the time issue, I think an expressive print/printout of a negative/image would end up taking about the same amount of time in both a digital and a wet darkroom, both involve learning fairly specialized tasks, and I don't think one is any more difficult than the other.
I just deleted the rest of this message 'cause I could see it going down the road of comparing digital and analog, and the very very last thing I want to do is to dig another conceptual time/space sinkhole of an Analog v. Digital thread on apug. If there was an enhancement to the site that would zap anyone who started or encouraged yet another such thread here with an electrical shock, I'd be all in favor of it, actually.
'Once you introduce a digital step (IMO, at least) you significantly chop down the dynamic range and reduce the available tonal steps you can produce.'
One of the reasons that I prefer digital intermediates (ie intermediate between film origination and wet print) is that it is easy to get every last bit of shadow and highlight detail from the negative, whether it be colour or monochrome, dye or silver image. Unfortunately, I suspect that APUG is not the place to discuss this.
Digital intermediates are discussed on APUG right here --->
Oops, sorry. Quite right. I was being sloppy. I think that I meant that '...this thread in the main body of APUG was not the place to discuss...'. I don't have a problem, but I find the attitude of others, closer to the heart of APUG than I am, difficult to comprehend and thus difficult to accomodate.
John Paul Caponigro has a short but informative article on doing color to B&W conversions with (the oft abused and misused) Photoshop in Dec. 2004 Outdoor Photographer. Not my favorite mag by any means (in fact the first issue I've ever purchased), but this article is worth reading. I don't use PS, but the techniques can be coverted for use with, or approximated in Picture Window and The GIMP, both of which I do use. (In a very restrained and tasteful fashion, of course.)
Lee (abuser of parenthetical remarks)