I've always used a "standard steel" (rather coarsely ridged) for straightening the edge on German (Henckels four-star) and carbon steel American and French knives, and a 1200 grit ceramic for Western-style Japanese knives (Shun VG-10). That combination seems to work well and over the years my preference has slowly shifted to using the smoother ceramic on all knives.
But now I'm considering the alternatives and have questions for anyone who has real experience/data:
... is there really a difference in performance between the really fine hones of different materials?
... is there a need of benefit to have more than one type?
... how fine is "fine enough", especially with regard to the steel hones that come in various grades - like the F. Dick line - and is there such a condition as "too smooth" to really do any good?