I use D76 for pushing and pulling roll films but for sheet film; it has to be pyro - I don't understand why you would so quickly discount those. PMK or PyrocatHD (I now use the latter) It is cheap realiable and does things you just cant do with D76, D23, Microdol or any of those other non-pyro developers. The precautions you take with Metol are plenty good for pyro - don't get it in you or on you. My very best work has been in the care of these chemicals for years and they have never let me down - they compensate the highlights, build in unparalleled sharpness and are very forgiving. And of course the film of choice is TRI-X. I gave away my tab grain (B&W)films a long time ago. I may re-visit them some day but when I hike into the woods with my LF camera on my back and get a once in a lifetime shot of a sunrise over a waterfall with a certain cloud formation (or whatever), I know that my Pyro times and methods will give me a good printable negative without worry over loss of shadows or blocked up highlights.
Well all this information :). Looks like the votes are counted...Tri-x, good ole Tri-x !. On the pyro, yes what I seen in "AA" the print, and online it does do quite well. I just don't want to deal with it, even tho it works better.
Thanks for all the information. Time to spend more money, and by the end of the month, i'll be up and running.
I was going to have a digital darkroom....but I can't find a digital safelight !
I really don't think you will be disappointed with your choice. There is a wealth of data and experience available here and elsewhere if "things happen" :-)
I've use this stuff since, nevermind, and still go back most every time I try something new. One or two other films you may want to consider are the 100-125 ISO films like PXP, Classic, and FP4. They are slower of course, but seem to have superior grain characteristics, if that is important to you - it ain't that important in general.