I just have to tell you, I just printed Water Pattern #32 (see below), and this shot, done with XP2, is about as good as anything I've ever done in the abstract vein. The grain structure is pleasing, and you have wonderful highlights, grays, and rich blacks. And the shot itself is quite good. I've done a lot of these water movement on the sidewalk shots, but this one is the best.
In other words, my Zone VI enlarger loves this film. When you look at it through the grain enlarger, it looks similar to HP5 - not quite as grainy - but very sharp.
I also printed the shot of the Mermaid Tee Shirt - and this too is great. I don't think you hear me saying these things about my own work too often - but these two shots really made me happy.
Another thing I realized, and this I realize every time I go back into the darkroom is that the silver gelatin print still the most pleasing to me, but the HP Printer (though it only does small prints) comes very close. The printer does scare me sometimes when it grabs the paper - quite a clanking sound. Once the head starts moving it is quiet.
The main difference is in the finish of an air-dried fiber vs. the glossy inkjet.
Also, doing larger darkroom prints is not really that bad - it's just that I'm cramped for space, and the real pain is setting up and breaking down the wet darkroom. I don't think I would complain about it as much if I had a dedicated room to print in. To get such a room I would need to move, and I can't afford to do it, so I'll just have to live with it. I talk all the time with neighbors who are looking for larger apartments, and when they tell me the prices I just say - well, maybe - when my ship comes in. The irony is that to afford an apartment with an extra room, I would have to go back into the business world, would shoot less, and be very unhappy.