I recently got into wet shaving about a month ago with a feather all-stainless DE razor. It is a great piece. The first couple of shaves were with a feather blade, and I initially thought "this is crazy, I'm cutting myself a lot" I ordered a blade sampler pack and have tried Derbys, Gilette 7 O'Clocks, Shark super chromes, and CVS (personna?) They were all smoother than my initial shaves with the feather blade. However, this morning I put a feather back in my razor, and WOW! it felt a lot smoother, and I may have only had one weeper on a three pass shave. I think I just had to get my technique down, because the feathers are definitely less forgiving than other blades I've tried. I think that derbys would be great for a beginner DE shaver, once you have some semblance of technique, then try a feather and see if it works for you. I still have a few other blades to try, but I really am liking the feathers.
Every time I've shaved with a feather, it's scared me back to using my Israeli Personnas. A feather will slice through my whiskers (and my face) without a second thought, but forget about smoothness. I do tend to get tugging with my Personnas if I don't prep enough, but they're a lot more forgiving.
Ok, I bought feather blades after 2 weeks of DE shaving with the EJ De89lbl and the Derbys it came with. I went really light when using the feathers. No problems but it seemed like the blade didn't make as much contact as the Derby under cheek beneath the jawbone. It actually took more passes for an all-over close shave that was easily accomplished with the Derby in 2-3 passes. Beard is noticeable each day but I wouldn't say barb wire tough. I am going to check to see if the blades are narrower than the Derbys. Nice shave, however and the blade didn't bite. This is a big "Verdict is still out" vote.
I honestly can't argue blades. As others point out, it depends on the razor, the shaver's technique, his face, hair, growth patterns -- i.e., lots of factors. Feathers work great for me in EJ & Merkur razors, but my brother won't touch them. Go figure.