Kodak must love you.I have had years when I have shot more test film than actual photographs.
Yes, you're correct. You test film and developers, find the best glass you can, and hone your technique -- both the craft and the art. It's the way you grow your skills. However, these internet discussion forum debates often degenerate into name-calling, straw man arguments, and faulty information. Reading these meandering rants, the new photographer gets it into his or her head that to get acceptable results, they must have the most expensive lens, enlarger, scanner, macguffin...otherwise, why even bother shooting?As for the sharpest glass, there's a ton of great glass on e-ay that is priced very reasonably. You buy a used lens, shoot some test film, examine the film and if like the lens you keep it, otherwise you send it back. As for not having the best scanner, i didn't get an Imacon or Creo until a year and a half ago, for the 16 prior years i sent my important work out for a drum scan. Bottom line is that if you do care about the quality of your work it's not as much a money issue as a time and effort issue.
It should come as no surprise that a $10,000 scanner outperforms a $500 one. I don't think anyone here who was seen the comparative results firsthand will argue against that. The question is if the scanner you want it good enough to produce quality scans in the size you need.
At some point, you have to understand that your technique and equipment are "good enough" and start shooting.