You're welcome to dislike a product, but that doesn't make it universally bad.
Photographers obsess over technicalities too much. A little grain doesn't make or break a photograph, but how you use your head does.
I specifically mentioned Gibson because all he uses is Rodinal, with Tri-X 35mm film, and his pictures came out ok...
If you want high speed with small grain and plenty of contrast, I would strongly suggest you try TMY2 (Tmax 400). In Xtol it works nicely out to about EI1600 with contrast that can be tamed and with Rodinal you can get EI800 from it without any particular effort. The grain is far, far smaller than with HP5, even using Rodinal. I wouldn't hesitate to make a 24x30" print from 6x7, i.e. 11x16" from 35mm; it will have visible but subtle grain at that point.
I have several 16x20" prints (from 6x7 TMY2, so that's slightly less enlargement than an 8x12" from 35mm) which are nearly grain-free. One at EI400 (normal contrast, though the lighting is contrasty) and one at about EI3200 (extremely dim flat lighting just after sunset on a day with full overcast, developed for EI1600 and printed at high contrast for a noirish look).
And you don't need much more (IMHO) than 1/125 for street shooting. If I can shoot street at 1/125 with a 6x7 SLR (usually 110/2.8 lens), you're doing something grossly wrong if you can't get sharp shots with a Leica at that speed. I only shoot 1/250 if I'm using my 250APO.
I get tired of these threads that dump all over other people. If you think Rodinal is a terrible developer then maybe you are just a terrible photographer. Ever think of that? If your photographs are better than Ralph Gibson's, then by all means, show them to us! The world will bask in your glory... But you offer nothing Tom1956 except vitriol. Images mean everything; developers mean nothing.
Contrary to many comments some of the finest grain images I've seen made with 35mm films have been with APX100 and Tmax100 developed in Rodinal, of course APX25 was finer but it's bee discontiued for some time now.
Rodinal needs careful temperature control accross the whole process cycle including washing to get the best results but then this is true of all developer/film combinations.
Relax everyone and respect each other. This thread is just and only about having fun with testing Rodinal, to see what it can do. Not about preaching or dishing Rodinal or whatever. Please humor us in our diluted ways ....
It's about having fun and fooling around with a certain developer at hand and still having fun, not judging or disqualifying any other developer.
If I want to dwell on how get to the USA or Australia from Holland by rowing boat, you can tell me it is easier to go by plane, but if I only want to use a rowing boat this time - silly as it may be - tell me how you think I can do this best & safely, instead of comparing the track records of several airline companies over and over. I love airplanes and next time I will take one, but just for now I would like to dwell on the thought of roaming across the ocean, just because I can - like the Dutch did since 1602.
Please indulge me on my foolish ways and join the conversation just for the sake of it.....
Let go of all your experiences, certainties and traditions for once and say: what if ..... and have fun :D
The purpose of the test (and my original question which lead to it) was an attempt to get the best out of what I have. I recently changed to HP5+ from FP4+ for the reasons I gave previously. I had also used Rodinal/Adox Adonol for many years and had just purchased a new 500ml bottle, so was looking to capitalise on my investment.
I am fully aware that there are other more capable developers, but I (and a small band of sad people here ;) ) like Rodinal and the results it gives.
Like the engine in your favorite old car/motorbike/lawnmower/boat, it's a worthwhile and rewarding experience tuning to get the best from it. You will of course get a few who will say, "why not just by a new car/motorbike/lawnmower/boat".