Quote Originally Posted by Noble View Post
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.
Thank you for your reply. I both understand and do not understand it! Let me explain my confusion.

First off, I am very familiar with medium format color negative prints as I shot such during the '80s and early '90s. The quality from a medium format negative is just wonderful, EVEN from a 1 hour photo shop (done with care). I have many such prints back home. I stopped shooting film back in the late 90s.

Today, I am back shooting film and am so far unable to print any negatives here in China. I just cant find a shop that does it. So I am saving my negatives for when I get back home to the US.

Now I am learning that the old way of printing is not very common. The old way produced good quality. Now however, negatives need to be scanned. Not only that, but scanned with a flat bed scanner. I have seen NO evidence that flat bed scanning can even get close to the real potential in a medium format negative. Not. Even. Close. I have taken decent scans of my negatives and had them printed. The results are barely passable, forget about being full of the rich tonality of a negative print. Digital slaughters a scan film print from my observations. Again, not. Even Close.

So even after 1 year of returning back to film shooting, I still have no frick'en idea what I am going to do with my color negatives. Maybe all this is just a huge waste. I wont be happy with the results because they are going be frick'en scanned. I used to get fantastic results, quite cheaply printing from just about any photoshop. Now it seems I have to search long and wide and spend serious money to get a single print.

One year of shooting film and I dont know what the hell I am doing. It is hard to put into words how depressing this is.

On the plus side, monochrome is still viable as I intend to print that myself one day.

But I fail to see any reason at all to shoot color medium format anymore. I was lamenting the recent demise of Reala film. Now I dont care anymore.