In Australia we have both wet and dry labs..

The most popular lab is the Fuji Frontier, which is a wet lan using RA chemistry printing on conventional color photo paper - but using a laser to print scanned negs/digital files.

It's actually funny how often I hear local photographers comment they are "traditionalists" or "go old school" as they shoot film, but they don't realise that their films are not printed optically.

I've been involved in the photographic industry for nearly 30 years, and was a lab printer for over 15 years, and have used both typoes of lab - optical and digital. Digital labs are quicker because film scanners are much better now than they were say 5 or 8 years ago. If a lab has a older scanner where each image needs to be adjusted for exposure/color etc then it would take about the same amount of time for an experienced printer to print the same film.

However there aren't many experienced printeres left, at least those that have printed color on optical labs and can read negatives. It's relativly easy to teach someone to read color on a screen and adjust color so it looks right. I can remember about 12-14 years ago it was one of the biggest selling points with labs - now that they had built in color screens (think old fashioned CRT/tv screens) anyone with basic training and average color vision (normal eyesight) could make acceptable prints quickly..

I would love to find someone who has a optical mini lab to do printing for me, as I think the prints look better, probably because the color/density/contrast rely on having good negatives.

Plus, optical labs were set up to print almost any sized neg from 110 to 120 - you could even print minox negs in a 110 carier with care...

To be honest I usually chose to get HP inkjet prints made when I get prints done - the black and whites are far better than on conventional paper, and the color is at least as good as it is from the Frontier....