I'm not really sure just what the question is, because I think you seem to be asking do we do prints via scanning, or do we do prints from negs in a darkroom.

I myself do prints from a darkroom setup and my own experience is that it is really easy to get colour prints, a little difficult to get good colour prints, very exacting to get fantastic colour prints. It is however, very dooable using an analogue system from go to whoa.

I have seen a few negs come into my darkroom with a cry of help from the author. Their machine print, which these days is digitally scanned then printed/enlarged is usually very good, although often a little high on the sharpness and contrast.

I have always been able to get better, and so I should as I'm spending time coupled with my experience and money isn't a factor.

When I shoot my own film (35mm and rarely 120) I take great care with developing the film as accurately as possible, then I extract as much as possible, technically, from the neg for a print.

I am really satisfied with my home darkroom, in that I get what I want and desire from my film. I have sold a more than reasonable amount of prints, from the few weddings I have done, all of which was colour. So using that as a standard, I have acceptable results from the buying public.

I have found that I can get extremely good prints up to about 12x16" out of 35mm. If someone has a colour neg scanned and then gets it enlarged, it too can also be extremely good, but it won't look the same, even if it's printed onto photographic paper.

I know that if I wasn't printing my own negs then I would not be very happy, no matter what film I use. If someone else is printing your film then it is their version of the image you will see.

As far as different films and their characteristics are concerned, I think they are still important in that they will convey a set of grain/dye, contrast parameters that are unique to each one. Whilst you can print or scan, then fiddle, either on a computer or in the darkroom, the intangible things that make us like a certain film, will always come out in the end. An X factor I presume!

Assuming of course that you haven't altered the image so far from the original, that it cannot be recognised as anything like the original!

Mick.