Ok, deep breaths.
Film processing (B&W, 4x5) is slowly driving me nuts. It seems almost impossible to get a really good, practical comparison; so much anecdotal stuff, usually conflicting, so much information left out. I have all but abandoned a rational based-selection. I don't (actually won't) try a bunch of different films and develops; I just don't have the interest or attention span.
I thought I had found it in TMAX/D-76. Nice grain, nice results, no real quirks, both easily available even at local sources, at least 2 different speeds available. I recently discovered (the hard way) the flaw in D-76: oxidization. I used some oldish stuff and the contrast was insane. Sigh.
So I am looking (begging?) for recommendation. I don't want some special "look"; I found the look of T-MAX in D-76 (which I suppose could be called a boring look, nothing special) to be happy for me. It is only the oxidization of D-76 that kills me. So here are the requirements:
<li>Shelf life. I do 6-12 sheets, then wait a while. I can't mix a large batch each time of something like D-76 since I will end-up throwing it out all the time.
<li>Compatible with a Jobo, 2500 series tank (i.e. no insane dilutions of a liter of solution for 3 sheets of film) at 25 degrees or so (warm house much of the time), constant agitation
<li> Reasonably easily available. I don't want something made only by midgets in Madagascar.
<li> Easy to use. I don't mind precision, but I don't want to mix my own from 10 chemicals.
<li> S-type curve....more or less. I guess straight is ok.
<li> Happy to be scanned. This mostly just means reasonable contrast. No contact printing will be done....I don't care for 4x5 prints.
<li> Not a speed killer. I could live with a little speed loss I suppose.
<li> Regular to fine grained. Acutance is not so important as it tends to have to be tweaked a lot for scanned stuff anyway.
Only a little list, right? OK, there is probably more, but I guess you can fill in your own gaps. Xtol looked good for a bit, but apparently only comes in 5l quantities. HC110 looks ok, except for that upswept curve which is in serious risk of giving way contrasty highlights in TMAX.
On TMAX...I might be convinced to change, but I really want 2 films...one ultra-fine for those detail shots, one a little faster for portrait, etc. Hence why I like the TMAX 100/400 family. But if someone can convince me Tri-X/whatever will make my year, then I might be convinced.
Thanks for reading and the therapy.