In B&W work, for instance, you can't beat a litho neg and zink plate for sharpness and clarity of line, even on the paper they used in Motoring News!
I have found it amazing how all of the transition started taking place to digital scans probably 12 years ago. I had been using a place in Westlake Village (west of the San Fernando Valley), but I ended up being the only one who used their stat neg facilities. The last time I was in there they were using it to store bikes and crap out of their home garages ... you almost could not get to the thing. At least, when I had negs done, I knew the processing fluids were completely fresh. They did the sporadic work that I brought in just because they liked the cutaways that they got to do .. had copies of them all over the place.
After that, I found a group that had one large stat neg setup for about a dozen satellite offices .. until they shut that down. I could not find an alternative, so we did a couple of pieces digitally, but it was horrible. Because I do these things on mylar, they build a little smudging on occasion, which can be pretty much cleaned out quickly in gray scale scans. The digital scans were pure b&w, so the smudges would be approximated with black pixels. I still have two of them that I have not completed.
After moving to Orange County in 2008, I located a place that still does a fair business in large stat negs for Boeing, of all places. I am not getting things done there when I need a neg.
The comment about a litho neg being the way to go is great ... I can just do a high resolution scan from that in grey scale and it cleans out very quickly and you get a pretty decent rendition of the drawing ... almost too good so it comes off a bit artificial at times.
Better than when I started and had never known of the stat negs ... got them done in half-tone, which were really tough to work with. At least you have a "final" after you get the things cleaned up in digital, so you don't have to go back to those original negs again.
Just hoping I don't have Boeing (actually the MacDonald Douglas group here in LA) switch it up and move away from this format.
Nobody is aware of anything else using that litho neg technology in the area.