I've done all of this to some degree (Even shot a roll of fuji velvia 50 (not currently being made, but rumored to be coming back...)
If you got this film drum scanned, it would rival most any DSLR camera on the market currently. That was scanned with my 70 dollar Epson scanner.
As for B&W, Kodak Tri-X is my favorite 35mm film. The problem being that the price has doubled in the past year. HP5+ is very good as well, but also costs about 40 bucks for a 100 foot roll. I have won 6 bulk film loaders on ebay over time (cheaply) and shoot only home-rolled film in 35mm. It's at least 1/2 the price of buying film retail, by the roll, if not closer to 1/3rd the price. So I recommend getting a Watson bulk loader or two and buying some plastic 35mm cassettes (plastic are better than the metal ones.)
I like shooting all types of B&W and hate people who stick with just one thing. They badmouth other films as being "harder to work with" or "inferior" but really you can make good photos on ANY of it, if you find the right developing chemical combo and routine. I can post examples of several film/developer combos I've tried. In the end, they all have subtle differences, but to most people, they all look similar.
Some people shoot ONLY tri-x or hp5, etc.. Kinda boring to me.
I've been shooting a lot of Foma film (czech republic) from
They sell it as a house brand (Arista EDU Ultra) and I like it all 100, 200, and 400 speed stuff. I guess I don't care much for the 200 speed in 120 size. In 120 size, the 400 is great! The grain is still visible and it's got a good look.
Anyway, it's cheap and looks nearly as good as Tri-X. The film is more 'flimsy' but once it's dry, there are no issues with printing it.
For me, using film is about the grain structure. If I wanted a sterile, grain-free photo, I can always get out my digital camera. So shooting t-grained films like Kodak Tmax 100 or Ilford Delta 100 don't really appeal to me.
http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_prod.p ... d=&pid=983
This stuff is 50iso Ilford PanF+ film at a bargain basement price. I use it and though it's more tricky to work with than Tri-X, you can't beat the price.
Developing: I just use a Paterson 4 tank and have two plastic reels for it. You get one reel with the kit, and then buy another, so you can do 2 rolls of 35mm at a time. The reels pop apart to widen to accomodate 120 film. I could create a whole inventory list of things you'd need to buy minimally to develop film at home. It costs about 100 dollars to buy everything initially.
Each aspect of b&w photography could have a book written about it.. films, chemicals, papers, and the use of all of them.. So I won't go into developing. I use common film developers like D76, HC110, Rodinal, Xtol, and Diafine.
Contact printing is really only effective if you're doing 8x10 large format photography. If you have the chemicals and means to do contact printing, you might as well buy the enlarger and just do traditional printing. Over time, I threw together my darkroom. Half of the stuff in it, I bought at the ISU surplus sales, including a negative contact sheet easel.
I could come up with an inventory list of a barebones darkroom if you want. I just bought the basics and am now making prints... I imagine I have less than $400.00 sunk into my darkroom, including the sink and plumbing I installed. 90% of my stuff was bought used.
The payoff of all of this seemingly pointless, analog activity is your hand-made silver prints. I suppose the same sort of feeling someone gets when they rebuild a car engine or make a piece of wooden furniture: