Quote Originally Posted by NedL View Post
I've only been printing again about a year, but I agree with what others said about printing... that's where I've learned the most about developing film. All the changes I've made in exposure and development have had specific aims in terms of printing. I am using mostly 2 films, Tri-X and FP4+, and I like them both very much and have learned a lot about both. Whether that has slowed me down vs. sticking to only one I can't say since that's not what I'm doing, but I'm having a lot of fun and like having a choice. Actually... now that I think about it, it IS slowing me down because my progress with each film is slower than if I only was using one. That's okay though, there are many times I'm just out walking and Tri-X is a lot easier handheld.
About five years ago I was using mostly Tri-X as my main film, using Pyrocat developer. I liked that combination a lot, and then I read up on Ilford FP4+ and out of the blue somebody gave me five rolls of 120 to play with. After I adjusted film exposure and development so that both films were developed to similar contrast, it struck me how similar the two films are in terms of tonality and sharpness. Tri-X is, of course, grainier, but both of them yielded very beautiful prints, and looking back at those prints, at moderate print size I have to look up which print is from what type of film, because I can't really tell them apart.

The important piece here is, though, that both films were developed to similar overall contrast. It isn't until you do precisely that, that you can compare two films anyway. Then, of course, when you start to push the limits of what the film is capable of, FP4 will record a little bit longer range of tones, but will also react to developing changes more readily, so that while you can lean on the film a little bit more at the time of exposure, you have to be a bit more careful developing it.

Anyway, one film, two films - whatever. Just as long as we are consistent with what we do, and we closely study what happens when we use our materials in different lighting situations, and compensate adequately, the reward is going to be fantastic prints. The best thing of it all is that the results will be more because of what we know about the film(s) we use, and the satisfaction we can take from that is tremendous.