I have to disagree with this. I have negatives that I accidently under-exposued horrendously and as long as there is some density the scanner can do an amazing job recovering the image. On the other hand I also have negatives I've overdeveloped and are just about bullet proof, and again the scanner does a great job. Both of these types of negatives would be a nightmare to print in the darkroom. So if you are going to be printing in the darkroom you do need a decent negative to start. One way I like to judge my negatives is against a simple piece of white paper. The back of photo paper works great. Are the negatives too thick? Are they mostly thin? Can you see details in the negatives or just areas of black? Are there alot of clear areas with no density? This will tell you alot. Another way is putting the negative against a newspaper. You should be able to just read to the type through the densest areas of the negative. Once you get an enlarger and can make contact sheets it will be much easier to achieve an ideal negative.
Originally Posted by sandermarijn