Why I Shoot Digitally
When I was younger, I shot B&W on 35mm film for many years, then moved to 120 roll film (6x6). Eventually, I swapped my Bronica SQ for a car at a point when I was a poor student, and stopped doing photography at all for several years. When I restarted, I used exclusively digital gear, going through a few point and shoot cameras, but ending up getting excessively hooked again about 3 years ago.
I still shoot almost all B&W, entirely digitally, using medium- and large-format. I have a Bronica ETRS with a Megavision E4 monochrome back, and a Cambo Legend 4x5 with a Better Light Super-6K scan back. If you care about stats, that means 16 megapixel, 4096x4096 images in medium format or 48 megapixel, 8000x6000 images in large format. In colour, the Better Light doesn't use a Bayer matrix so it can legitimately claim to manage 144 megapixels.
In terms of resolution or contrast, film doesn't come close. Prints from my ETRS system are way sharper than anything I managed with 120 roll film, and utterly incomparable with 35mm. The results from the 4x5 are sharper still, though the difference is more that they 'feel smoother' -- it's hard to describe, but it's quite tangible when working with scans. Both backs have more dynamic range than any film, ridiculously so in the case of the Better Light. I've never shot 4x5 film personally, but other people in the Better Light community have, and it's generally accepted that you need to go to at least 10x8 or bigger to equal the results. Since most postprocessing these days is digital, the Better Light avoids the need to scan film, which is actually very difficult and costly to achieve if you want to preserve the image quality -- a low-end scanner basically loses all of the advantage of going to large format in the first place.
I use both cameras primarily in the field for landscape shooting. All I can say is, they really work. They can be a pig to use, frankly, particularly the 4x5, and way more temperamental than any other cameras I've ever used, but the results are worth it. Someone in another thread mentioned that they found that using smaller format cameras made them not really take enough time over a shot. Try turning up with a huge tripod, two big camera cases full of gear, then spending half an hour setting up before you get to take the first shot -- it's not really surprising that large format people take longer over composition, because, frankly, you might as well. You can take 5 minutes over framing and focussing, or even 25, and it still doesn't make a huge difference to throughput. Medium format is a bit less onerous, but with a digital back that's tethered to a palmtop Windows XP box, you have to get used to the idea that sometimes you can't shoot because XP needs to reboot!
In my opinion, the final image is everything. The end justifies the photographic means. We don't, for example, remember Ansel Adams for his dogged determination to use ancient equipment. This is because it never happened -- he was actually always pushing the limit, and even consulted for a number of companies helping develop cameras and film. If he was still around now, he'd be using ridiculously expensive digital gear, processing everything in CS2 and printing with either a high-end inkjet or maybe a lightjet. In his day, hauling around a 10x8 view camera was the equivalent of doing exactly that. His incredible darkroom prowess was basically a way of approximating, with incredibly primitive technology, what is now relatively straightforward in Photoshop. The zone system was effectively a means of checking an image's histogram in his head before he pressed the shutter. It's just not relevant any more, but the spirit lives on -- I still find myself 'placing something on zone six,' but I no longer need to do that to make sure I get a decent negative.
Ultimately, it's the artistry that counts. Choice of equipment is part of that artistry. The now-dead greats of silver-gelatin black and white almost invariably chose to use the best equipment and techniques available to them at the time. In my opinion, we should seek to emulate their artistry, without wasting time and energy trying to revive their ancient equipment and techniques.
Here's a couple of examples (I'm prepared to put my money where my mouth is!):
Rocks and Boulders, Joshua Tree National Park Bronica ETRS, 45-90 zoom, f/11, Megavision E4 Monochrome
'Mount Improbable,' Joshua Tree National Park Cambo Legend 4x5, Schneider Super-Angulon 90mm, f/16, Better Light Super-6K, Infrared
Both of these images look pretty sharp on screen, but it's worth remembering that the real versions have hugely more information -- they print pretty well as a consequence. I could have shot either image with film. If I had, I'd probably still have ended up with decent images, because the subjects said it all, really. But shooting digitally meant that I could go the extra distance to get exactly what I felt about the scene down on a print -- this is something that would have been far harder to achieve conventionally.