Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
This is a follow-up to John's survey about which/how many developers people use.

1. I'd like to know what chemicals, film and paper people started out with - the first stuff you used. Chemicals include film and print developers, fixer etc.
I started primarily with Freestyle branded products. Arista EDU and Premium films. Arista Premium film and paper developers and other chemicals. Arista Printing Paper

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
2. In reference to the above, how did you come to start out with them? eg: Were you taught by somebody? Did you read about them in a book? Were they the materials your favourite photographer used? Were they simply the materials available to you? Etc.
I started with these simply because they were inexpensive and, since I was using ordering everything from Freestyle at the time, there was plenty of data about them for a beginner. If I had any questions it was an easy thing to send an e-mail, or pick up the phone, and get an almost instant answer. In my experience Freestyle's customer service is top notch and they have earned my business and my loyalty.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
3. If you are not still using the materials you began with, why? Did you read more and want to try stuff? Were you disatisfied with what you were using? Did certain materials become unavailable? Did you get caught in the search for magic formulas, films etc? Did your style change?
I still use a lot of Arista EDU and Arista Premium films (I recently ordered a large amount of both in 35mm and 120.) My primary developers are now Rodinal, HC110 and D76. The first two were primarily because of their long storage lives, and D76 because I like how it looks. I still use Arista Fixer and now some Kodak Photo Flow. The initial reason for changing developer was that my Arista Premium Developer was not storing well. After a year I started having trouble with it. I changed to Liquidol Paper Developer a while back and found it to be an awesome product and continue to use it almost exclusively for my prints.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
4. Have you come full circle with anything? For example in the case of film developers, did you start out with D-76, then explore everything from D-1 to FX-whatever, and ultimately end up back with D-76? Same question applies to films, paper, paper developers.
For now I am pretty happy with what I am working with. I work with it because the price is good and so far it produces great results. But, I am still a student, so I once in a while I find something else I want to try. I am preparing to do some work with John's Caffenol recipe to see how it pans out, and I am now experimenting a bit with Ilford films. I still buy a bunch of Kodak and Freestyle and will for as long as I can.