Quote Originally Posted by Doug Bennett
I think it may be a condenser/diffusion thing. I use a condenser enlarger, and yes, a very thin, boring negative works much better than those dramatic, contrasty ones.

I've yet to do the work of testing for personal film speed, but I have discovered that, for my enlarger, I can reduce dev times by 20-30% from recommended times, and not be hurt in the least. In fact, my usual practice is a 1 stop pull and dramatically reduced dev times.
I think this is pretty much it for B&W negs. I love the look of a tmax neg, but find they never print how I'd like them to -- experience being a large part of that.

Cross processed (e6 film souped in c41) negs can be stunning and near impossible to print for the same reason. With a crossed neg you can layer it with an unexposed but souped proper neg and make it manageable. I just wish ra4 materials came in grades.