I started out with tray development for 5x4 film. Never could get it right. Consistency was difficult. Scratches were hard to avoid.

Moved to BTZS tubes. This was an improvement in some ways and not in others. Many people report good consistency with this method, but I lost some good shots to uneven development in clear smooth tones like skies. I also didn't like the way you have to nearly rip the film from the tubes because the design keeps the developer off the back of the film -- and basically causes the back to glue itself to the tube. Yucko.

Moved to a Jobo 3010 tank. All problems solved. I've put close to 1000 sheets of 5x4 film though my 3010 in about five years now. I get beautifully consistent results, perfectly even development, every single time.

I'm not one who's in photography for the process. I'm not a big fan of standing around in the darkroom -- I just want something that works, works really well, and is really repeatable. I want the process to be as close to automatic as I can get it. That means developing using a Jobo 3010 tank.

Many people try to save money and use lesser methods. I did. And I'd read the same things you have. So don't feel bad if you start out with tray developing and work your way up to a 3010. But you could save yourself a lot of time, effort, frustration, and trashed film if you'd just start with a 3010 in the first place. I'm just sayin'...