Your question is borosilicate or soft glass for starting out. Both are great, yet they are different. I pesonally love and work both.
Here are some things to consider.
The soft category of colors, say the soda lime Italian glasses like Moretti are less expensive to work with, you can work them on a smaller torch, the color formulas are centuries old and therefore very consistent, and of very high quality (They've had the time to get it right). The color palette is extremely bright and diverse. The soft glass takes less heat to work it, and it retains heat longer, soft glass flows more readily. Moretti is also very thermal shocky, and it takes much more skill for one to sculpt it large, and/or blow it large at the torch. There is ALOT of diversity here in the soft catagory of glasses and everyone has his or her favorites, there are the Italian glasses, the other European soft glassses like Chech, and the German Lauscha, there is the Japanese version of VERY soft glasses like the Satake, and Kinari, there is the soft glass in the nineties of C.O.E. (C.T.E.) such as bullseye, spectrum, and even the furnace glasses; like the spruce pine, and gaffer glasses. They are ALL wonderful glass!
The hard borosilicate glass clear and color although "new" as compared with the soft glasses like Moretti are also wonderful glass!!! The hard glass has more colors that change to a myriad of colors (striking colors) than does the soft glass Moretti palette for one example. Borosilicate DOES have some very bright colors in it's palette and getting more of them everyday, just not as many bright "what you see is what you get" colors like the Moretti.
Here is the GREAT thing about the borosilicate!!! It's strength and it's resistance to thermal change!!! It is more durable than the soft glasses, it is extremely thermal shock resistant unlike the soft glasses like Moretti; therefore it is easier to sculpt large and to blow large at the torch. The clear in the borosilicate is of a very high optically pure quality.
Important safety note: Borosilicate glass gives off more UV (ultra violet spectrum) when worked than the soft glasses, and the borosilicate color also gives off UV and the IR (Infra-red) wavelengths of light. Therefore make sure you are using a borosilicate protective eye-wear filter with a shade 5 or greater when working the borosilicate glasses. Color requires the shade 5 or even higher in addition to the base filter. For the soft glasses, you should always wear your soft glass protective eye-wear filter. Keep in mind the type of glass you are working, the size of hot glass gather you normally work with, your distance from it, and your duration in front of it when choosing your glassblowing/flameworking protective eyewear filter choice. Always wear your protective eyewear!
Ok with all that said, there are more differences and similarities to discuss, but, enough of my compare and contrast here between the soft and hard glasses. Yet, here is my final opinion,
Fact is, I LOVE THEM BOTH!!!! But, for different reasons, therefore, I personally don't choose one over the other, but rather choose to work them and embrace them BOTH.
It may take more time for one to learn how to work BOTH the hard and the soft category of glasses....this is true, but the reward in my opinion is far greater than choosing just one. In the end, Glass is Glass! Much like people, many, many, different personalities, but still.....people.
Gotta get back to blowing glass!
Hope this helps!
Have fun with your glass!!! and above all, God Bless!!!
FlameTree Glass, Inc.
470 S. Atlanta Street
Historic Roswell, Georgia