As far as film pricing goes, I don't see that the price it is being sold at as cheap, only that FirstCall are way over the top with there pricing. But then, someone has got to pay for all that Ilford 10 x 8 RC that they knock out at discount prices, hav'nt they!!!
Just for info, I developed mine in Thorntons two bath with his standard 'B' bath for 4 mins in each bath at 24 degrees. Personally I would take that down to 3.5 mins or adjust the 'B' bath, as I found the film just that little too contrasty for my liking. As for sharpness. Yes, very, though I have nothing to compare to as I have been anti- Kodak from day one.