I agree with pretty much everything everyone is telling you. I replied to this one simply to point out that HC-110 need not have a more complex dilution regimen. You don't have to dilute it once to stock and again to working strength per Kodak. You can just dilute more from syrup concentrate as needed. Instructions for this are on the web and on here somewhere.
Originally Posted by MattKing
But the basic idea that differences in developers, at least THESE developers, pale to almost (but not quite) insignificance compared to differences in film choice are right on. There are other developers that make a bigger differences - pyro developers that stain the image, for example, will print differently on variable contrast versus graded papers, and two bath developers like Diafine are significantly different. But these are more like different brands of orange juice. The differences are there but vanish compared to, say, pineapple juice. Ok, silly analogy but you get the point.
I use primarily T-Max RS, because I like the ease of dilution from concentrate and the tonality, mainly with Kodak films and Delta 3200 (because it's also an excellent pushing developer.) I also stock D76 which I use for other films, mainly because starting development data for T-Max and RS for many films is scarce from the manufacturers, all over the place (by which I mean, you can find times that vary hugely) on the web, and I don't feel like working out new times from scratch for every film when I can just use cheap, simple, effective, proven D76 1+1 and have very good data that will provide workable negatives first time every time, that I can then fine tune a bit if needed. I also keep Diafine because it does things for me that I have not found any other developer to do and that I occasionally find very useful. It lasts forever (almost) and is super simple to use so it's not like I'm fooling with another developer that takes lots of tweaking and experimentation - besides, I've used if for decades and I pretty well know exactly what to expect from it with certain films.
Xtol is fine and a great developer but I dislike the 5L quantities and though it's cheap enough I could just mix it fresh every six months and throw out probably three liters of that I also found that it tends to expire rather unpredictably with no indication that it's dead. For someone developing as infrequently as I get to do, that's not a good thing.
Since I don't develop film nearly as often as I'd like I am considering changing from D76 to HC-110 though.