My reason for Microdol
I don't think that 1:3 actual defeats the purpose. For me it is a perfect balance. This combo was suggested to me by a Magnum printer and I have enjoyed using it since. Not only do prints appear sharp up to full 16x20, but the negatives are very easy to print. I view one goal of the 35mm negative to be as thin (flat) as possible and still get all the detail in the shadows. It is much easier to bring up contrast to fit onto a piece of paper than to contract a contrasty negative to fit onto a piece of paper. Since Micro-X is a softer working developer (only has Metol as developing agent), you can easily produce these thinner negatives that also appear very sharp because there isn't a lot of density. Also, becuase they are thinner, print times are shorter, which I like. Xtol is very nice, but is a harder working developer. Although the times with Microdol-X 1:3 are long (and be careful with NEW and OLD Tri-X, the times are significantly different), the effect of being off a little on time has little effect. Also, I would rather spend the extra minutes developing than printing. I realize that you can pull back on other developers and get flatter negs, but I also just like the look.