I have used Tri-X for a long time as my general-purpose 35mm film. I use it at 400, process in Rodinal (or a clone in fact) 1+25 and using the massive dev chart times (which agree with Kodak's), and print traditionally (so, in particular I'm generally not scanning the film at all). I print typically on 16x12, image size about 15x10. I use Rodinal because I'm used to it: I know what the negs are like and I don't have to worry about made-up dev going stale if I don't process any film for a while.
I'm pretty happy with the process. But I'm not happy about the cost: Tri-X has gone up, a lot, in the last few years and it's becoming a major expense. HP5 (by which I mean HP5 plus) is a good lot cheaper and is obviously a fine film. So I've tried a few rolls of it, also at 400, in Rodinal at 1+25 for the recommended time.
I'm printing from these films now and the results look mostly good so far. But it's evident under the grain focuser that the HP5 is significantly grainier (larger grain, more obvious grain) than Tri-X: it's probably grainy enough that the difference is noticeable at my normal print size & would be very noticeable in anything bigger. This is not catastrophic: obviously if I was unhappy with grain I would not be using fairly fast 35mm film, or in fact 35mm at all. But it does mean I can't just switch to HP5 without knowing that my prints will change, so it's not a simple decision.
(I'd like to use a single film because I can then get used to it.)
So the question is two things:
- is HP5 just grainier than Tri-X and I need to get used to it and decide knowing that?
- Rodinal is known for producing somewhat grainy negs: what other dev might I consider which is painless to use (I'd like not to have to do the whole add-time-when-the-dev-is-old thing and it needs good keeping qualities when made up (months)) which might be better?
As an additional question: are there any other films I might consider? I am looking at a couple of Foma films, but have not got as far as processing them yet, let alone printing. It would need to be ISO 400 and some good: I typically can't go back and take pictures again if the negs turn out to be rubbish. The film needs to be reliably available: I don't want to change every year.