Jeff Adler , Dec 16, 2012; 12:38 p.m.
Medium format photography can show you extra quality which is not easy to achieve in 35mm but if you have mediocre scans made of the film, you won't see any quality difference over 35mm. When I was 16 I shot a lot more black & white than color. A 100 foot roll of Tri-X must have cost about $7 and that was good for 18 rolls of 36 exposures each. Everything costs more today. For now I suggest that you get a developing tank, a thermometer, some measuring cups and a few chemicals and shoot and develop your own b&w film. You can then save up for a scanner. Developing color negative film is more complicated than developing traditional b&w film but once you have the scanner you can have negatives made without scans and do the scans yourself. You can make contact sheets with 35mm or 120 film without much equipment. Darkroon equipment is still being discarded, given away and sold at very low prices. You can find an enlarger for very little. My first safelight was a 7.5 watt dark red small bulb.
The scanner will allow you to to put your negatives in digital form so you can enjoy seeing them on your monitor. Don't worry about not having a good enough scanner for making 16X20" prints. If you have a shot you want to have enlarged that much you can get it scanned by the place making the print. They will know what kind of scan that size print needs.