Quote Originally Posted by RattyMouse View Post
What scanner technology do these commercial printers use to get the negative in a form that can be printed? Are these drum scanned or something of lesser quality?
Most laser jet/ink jet prints are not drum scanned. The printers mentioned where you just take your negatives to them like Walgreens, Walmart, Sam's, Costco will use something like a Fuji frontier. It has a built in scanner which I assume works in a similar fashion as a Nikon Coolscan 9000. But the operator can set the scanner to scan at a low DPI to make the job go faster. They also have to make some adjustments to the color before printing. If you have a careless operator it can be just as bad as the worst 1 hour photo places that use to inhabit every American mall. There is simply no way the bulk of negatives that are printed today could be printed in the traditional fashion or via drum scanning. Both of those options are still available but they are niche and pricey. I like both of them but it is rare for me to opt for that level of craftsmanship.

I get a lot of my medium format film developed through Walmart's send out service. The developing is good enough for pictures that aren't super special. And the prints are good enough for proofing. It's saved me from having to scan a bunch of film. I now only scan the C-41 and E-6 frames I need on my computer or that I want to enlarge.