This is funny! I was searching for some information on a specific topic and found a link to this thread. I read the first post and became interested in the entire topic. Even though the thread is old, I was about to post a reply when I found that I had already done so a couple years ago and pretty much said exactly what I would say today so that saved me some time. But with the passing of a couple years in this time of rapidly changing technology, I have an update to make.
Well, I'm still a film shooter! As I mentioned in my original post, that's because it suits my shooting style and needs as I explained in my older post. Even two years ago I recognized that digital printing was the way to go for color prints. These days I make large display prints for hospitals, etc. and I am using a hybrid process to produce the prints. I still shoot color on large format film because I believe it is, hands down, far better than digital for that purpose and most top fine-art color photographers that I know who produce large prints still shoot on film too. But I now send my film out to West Coast Imaging to be scanned on their Tango drum scanner and, working with a consultant, I have Chromira prints made. The combination of analog and digital in the workflow is a wonderful step up and, in my opinion, Chromira prints are better than digital prints made on the latest Epson printers. For those who aren't familiar with Chromira, it is a process where traditional (wet) papers are exposed to a LED light source. No lens is involved. West Coast Imaging also makes digital prints on their big Epson printers but their own tests have shown that the Chromira prints are far better. (You can read about this at their website.)
I can't afford a Tango drum scanner or a Chromira printer so I just let the pros at WCI do that and the prints are spectacular. So, for me, digital technology has melded in my color workflow in a wonderful way.
As for b&w, I still prefer darkroom prints over digital prints. I have examined b&w prints made by fine b&w photographers and, in my opinion, the quality is simply not there. In fact, I have shown some of my own prints to other photographers and non-photographers side-by-side with fine b&w prints made by well-known digital photographers (who I won't mention but they are photographers everyone here would know) and everyone who has compared the prints, without exception, felt that the digital prints just weren't that good in comparison to darkroom prints. The difference is obvious to me and was obvious to everyone who compared them. They lack the deep, rich blacks, brilliant whites, and overall luminoisity of darkroom prints. On the other hand, for subject matter that only requires a short tonal scale, digital prints may be fine. I am talking about digital prints made with the latest Epson printers and the finest special ink sets, not something that was used several years ago. One well known photographer who is a contributing editor to one of the most well-known photography magazines published and who was a pioneer in digital technology, was almost obsessed with trying to get me to get rid of my large format cameras and darkroom and switch to a 35mm digital SLR. His obsession was actually very odd, in my opinion, and I suspect that he felt some sort of guilt over switching to digital. He was a large format photographer and a master darkroom printer at one time too so he knows the advantages of LF photography. He actually got angry with me for not switching to digital! To convince me to do so, he sent me a print that he thought would make me change my views. Being an expert on the subject, he obviously sent me one of his best examples of a digital b&w print. Although the subject matter of the print is wonderful, the print itself was very bad, quality-wise - when compared to a darkroom print. It was dead! Also, that photographer apparently has forgotten all the other advantages that LF offers - perspective control, etc. My guess is that he was lured into digital and traded quality for convenience and may be having second thoughts about that decision now. That's just a guess on my part, of course, but I can think of no other explanation for his stange obsession with trying to get me to switch to digital.
That said, I think he only makes small prints. I make large prints. Two weeks ago I went to the B&H website to read reviews on Canon's new 20+ MP camera. There were raves, to be sure, but the one consistent theme of the reviews was that film was still the medium by which digital is compared and with this hot new camera, digital had still not achieved the level of quality that film can capture. It's close, but still not there. (I'm talking about information captured, not the other advantages and disadvantages of digital.) Of course, medium format digital is a different story but it is also simply out of reach for me, investment-wise, and I still don't think it could match LF film.
My digital friend also tried to get me to switch by telling me that for only about $7,000 to $10,000 per year, I could pretty much keep up on the latest technology after I had made my initial large investment. Of course, he also admitted that I would have to constantly keep up on the latest software, etc., including finally spending the time to master Photoshop and other programs like RIP, calibration, etc. This man is independently wealthy and he doesn't seem to realize that many people simply can't afford having to constantly buy new equipment. And, in the end, if I did spend all that money and time, my images would actually be lower in quality! I simply could not produce large display prints of the same quality that I can achieve with LF film even using the best digital SLR. Even the folks at WCI mention the fact that prints made from LF film far surpasses what that can be achieved with a digital SLR and most of them shoot on LF or medium format film for their personal work.
I shoot professionally. My income depends on my photography. LF film not only allows me to produce the best images possible, but it requires almost no continuing investment in equipment on my part. I rarely buy equipment, in fact. This is a factor that I believe many digital-only advocates often overlook. My 8x10 camera is probably 50 years old! I haven't bought a lens in years.
My goal is to make the finest large prints possible. If I was to switch to a digital SLR, not only would it cost me a bundle of money, but the quality if my product would suffer. It's a no-brainer for me.
That said, digital would definitley be my choice if I was a photojournalist, sports photographer, wedding photographer, etc. Each technology has it's place. It's a mistake for someone to assume that everyone else should use the technology that they choose to use. For my type of work, LF film is the best, hands-down. And I can even do all the wonderful Photoshop manipulations that digital photographers boast about as being so great about digital (and it is!). For me, I have the best of both worlds. If you don't believe me, just put a 30x40 print made using a digital SLR next to one of my prints made using LF film. Then tell me that I should go digital!