I've recently really got into black and white LF, after some time of using rever sal film only. Prints from slides was easy - go to the lab! However this doesn't seem the best option with b&w, and unfortunately there is no way that I can put a 4x5 enlarger in my apartment, so what are the best options for getting a prin t from my negatives? Several posters have mentioned that they scan their negativ es - am I right in assuming that software packages will then convert the scan in to a positive image which can be printed to a reasonably high quality? If so, wh at options for scanning and printing would people recommend, and what costs gene rally apply? For example, the Nikon 4x5 scanner I have seen is incredibly expens ive - is there a good, not too expensive scanner that will handle 4x5 (and ideal ly also 6x17), or is it best to pay a lab to do this?
ALternatively, would it be easier to find an old contact printer, and produce tr aditional wet prints? If so, how would I control contrast in the print, other th an using some kind of mask?