As promised, here are my pencil comparisons:
These are samples for three different Dixon Ticonderogas, a 3 (Hard), 2 5/10 (medium), and #2 (soft, HB) in my Field Notes notebook. I tried to write my regular style with each pencil, but of course I am not an automaton and this is imperfect. But you can see how much darker the soft is versus the hard. The thing is though, I kind of think the hard is too light and sort of scratchy. I’ve had to sharpen the #2 more though, and it breaks more easily. I started them both about the same time, but the 2 pencil is definitely shorter already. 2.5 seems like the Goldilocks choice — just right. Not that I would turn down a nice HB/2 pencil, and they are the easiest to find, usually.
Also, this is like a crazy theme this week, where I post a few words about something, but then someone more knowledgeable and internet-famous posts way more in depth words about the topic.