I have no firm favorite developer, although Ansco130 will certainly be used again. I find that many of my negatives print better with lith developers or "semi-lith" developers like highly dilute Gevaert G262. Ansco130 is great for the "standard" prints, and seems very long-lasting and stable.
Maybe I'll try something else when I run out of Glycin.
Interesting, I always thought Ansco 120 is considered the warmer low contrast developer while Ansco 130 is a neutral cooler tone developer.
So, because I wasn't sure I checked Steve ANchell's Darkroom Cookbook and they are listed as "low contrast developer:" Ansco 120 soft working paper developer"
Ansco 130 is listed with Neutral developers.
Of course all developers will vary with paper types and dilution ratios.
We do a class in the summer which consists of using about 15 different developers and /or ratios with a large variety of papers, THe number of papers vary with the interest of the student. I have run all most every brand of paper with these developers and they are similar but not the same. All will make an acceptable print. The difference are sutle and if an individual can not tell the difference it is not critical;; however there may be a situation when one wants a certain look or feeling to a print and then the combination of paper and developer can help bring about that vision.
I am not recommending a "flavor of the month" attitude ; just that we have a lot of tools that can effectively enhance our work.
Oh yes, I don't use Dektol ; Have been using LPD for years as the standard with neurtal or cold tone papers, Zonal Pro Warmtone developer for warmtone papers, ANsco 130 (usually straight) for Bergger Silver Supreme.
One interesting result of the testing procedures was the discovery that Super Platinum was warmer on warm tone papers than Afga Neutra warmtone developer. Of course all these results are influence by our working environment and results may vary from lab to lab and water content, etc, etc.
IF you mix your own developers Dektol is a pretty good one to learn. Reduce the metol and add glycin and you have ansco 130. Add a little benzotriazole (1-2%solution) you increase the "coldness" of the print.
If you want a warmer tone developer with neutral papers you already have all the chemicals on hand for the dektol except some potassium carbonate.
If you want another warm tone variant and already work with or mix your own Pyrocat-HD you can mix up a catechol based developer with the other chemicals on hand.
I hve been trying to move more and more to mixing up all my print developers. it is much cheaper, you mix only quantities that are required, and you only need to have about 8 chemicals on hand. This way I don't become to dependent on one company's developer and then suddenly find it has been discontinued.
Back home in my darkroom are both of the Bergger Test Packs, eight different papers to play with. In addition to what I have from before...
Since I like playing and experimenting, I'll try them in two different developers. Since I also like to have a vague idea of what I'm doing, I'll try them in two familiar developers: Ansco 130 at full strength, and Gevaert G262 at 1:6.
So that's one hydroquinone-based warmtone soft developer, and a Glycin/Metol neutral-tone normal-contrast developer.
All developers are really rather similar, except possibly lith developers. Those, on the other hand, bear a strong relationship to dilute G262... The main difference is in the sulfite level and alkalinity; and all lith developers are hydroquinone only.
Which makes me wonder is it shouldn't be possible to substitute pyrocatechol for hydroquinone - another thing to try?