A few more ramblings on this topic:

What if suddenly there was only Tri-X, D76, Dektol and one kind of paper. Those who are more wedded to the craft will struggle, bitch and moan and blame the lack of choice for their inability to make great photographs.

Those who are more concerned about creating art will learn to use the materials to their full extent and keep on presenting new images and ideas.

I tell people interested in starting in B&W to use the above materials exclusively for at least one year and ideally two. Use it in all situations, test thouroughly and after that time they will be able to determine exposure without a light meter and fine tune development for every sheet or roll. They will know pretty well how any scene will print and know from looking at the negative the required print exposure and any dodging and buring that will be required. After this time they can begin to experiment with other materials.

The more time I spend photographing the more I discover that simplicity is really the best route, that 30 yr old cameras and lenses produce as good an image as modern gear for most applications.

After owning various zooms and lenses for 35mm i have discovered that I personally could photograph the whole world with 3 prime lenses- 28, 90 and 135mm. Of course not to argue gear but I would perfer a Leica.