I've done a bit of searching through the archives here and elsewhere, but I'd appreciate clarification on a couple of questions as I get past the baby steps with 8x10 and start shooting more of those (pricey) sheets of film, and getting them printed and enlarged.
So far I've been doing contact prints with the color enlargers at the local photography school, but I'd like to eventually scan the negatives, and work with a lab to get larger prints -- from 11x14 to 20 x24 and higher.
1) For 8x10 it looks like my best choice for personal scanning is the Epson 1680, with the Microtek i900 a dark horse...is this correct? I hear a lot about the Epson consumer scanners' abilities with 4x5, but I don't hear much about 8x10. I'd like to use any scanner I purchase to get images up on the web and print well at "smaller" sizes (8x10, 11x14). I'll be scanning mostly color negative (Portra 400NC) and black and white (HP5), with slides every so often (Provia, as well as a bunch of expired Kodak Ektachrome that was given to me by a pro who shoots only digital now)
2) I'm also currently working on a project with a goal of getting 6 to 9 larger enlargements in the next two months, using color negative film. Here, I figure I will use a lab to get 20x24 or 24x30 prints, maybe even a bit larger -- is it reasonable to assume that the better labs in the Boston area (where I am) can produce great enlargements from the contact prints I give them as a reference, or should I send it out to a "reputable" lab in New York City or elsewhere? Do people here have labs they'd recommend for this type of work?
I have a small lab (with a reasonable commercial clientele) close to where I live in the suburbs that I use for my color processing and some basic color printing work from 35mm and 120, but to be honest, I think their color printing is functional and not much more than that. What I do like about them is that, since they scan everything they print (no color enlargers, just digital printing), you can buy the scan very cheaply from them if you have something printed...so for a 16x20 print, I can have the scan for an extra $5. But like I said, the print would basically be a throwaway, because they don't print the way I would, even when I tell them to match something.
Anyway, sorry for the long ramble, but any recommendations/confirmations on a scanner, and a lab for doing good to superb C-prints in larger sizes from 8x10 film, would be great.