Delta 400 vs. Tri-X

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pstake, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. pstake

    pstake Member

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    First, my question: Does anyone have experience pushing Delta 400 to 1600? Are you able to obtain the latitude of Tri-X as far as tones and shadow detail, whilst retaining the Delta 400 resolution?

    And now some background:
    I generally prefer to shoot fast film. I have used Neopan 1600 many times in the past, and TMZ 3200 ... both of which are fine films. But in the interest of my finances, I generally choose Arista branded Tri-X rated at 1600. It produces great tones and relatively fine grain when pushed. I like it, especially for street / documentary, which form the foundation for most of my work. But Tri-X is not as sharp as Delta 400 or TMY 400. Comparing with older negatives (my own—on TMY and Delta 400), I can see the loss of resolution and sharpness versus tri-x, using the same lenses.

    I use sharp optics all the way through from image capture to image print, and I would like to utilize them to their potential, which is why I am looking at Delta 400 — it has higher resolution according to MTF charts I've seen. I believe it has even slightly higher resolution than TMY 400, but it's also easier to process / more forgiving than TMY 400, in my experience.

    I already use Delta 100 rated at 50 when I can afford the loss of speed, usually for portraits and other non-candid photos. It is damn sharp, high-resolution film, and with beautiful tones to boot as is Delta 400 at box speed. But what if it's pushed two stops?

    Any advice is appreciated (maybe another film not mentioned here?)

    Thanks,
    Phil
     
  2. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    Have you tried Delta 3200? Take a look at these images. Pentax 645, 1/2 sec. at f/2.8.

    OccupyEverettNov2011-006.jpg
    OccupyEverettNov2011-006cro.jpg
     
  3. pstake

    pstake Member

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  4. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've not used Delta 400, but I have no problems shooting Tri-X or TMY at 400 or 1600. Pretty much same shadow detail and latitude in my eyes. I'm developing in XTOL 1:1 if it matters. I would imagine Delta 400 would stack up favorably in most cases.
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Delta 400 is just fine at 1600, I like it anyway.

    As to better or worse that TriX? That's a question, IMO, that only you can answer.
     
  6. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Delta3200 is really great and by far my favourite high speed film. And unlike TMY3200P you can get it in 120.
    I used to shoot it by the brick, but unfortunately it's $8-9 a roll now, which is a little too rich for my blood.
     
  7. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Delta400 is one of the worst films I have used. No real surprise next to hp5, tri-x, two legends.

    I'd stick to tri-x all the way. Hp5@1600 is heavenly! Why bother with delta400 at all?
     
  8. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I've used Delta 400 pushed a stop (in both DD-X and Rodinal) to 800, and quite liked it. For the record, I shot available light portraits in 120 film.

    It struck me, also, that it was fine grained and good resolution - I've got a bunch in 35mm I'm using on an upcoming trip so I'll find out more soon...but in the meantime, I'd feel confident about using it. Ilford's QC is top notch and all of their products are unique and quality material.

    I'd also add my voice to considering Delta 3200 -- I was amazed how fine grained it was, shot at EI-1600 in DD-X. It really looked like 'normal' 400 speed film to me.

    Far as costs go, why not consider bulk loading and getting film you really love, for less?
     
  9. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Don't worry, NB23 — I don't intend to purge my cache of Tri-X — ever. But I like Delta 400's resolution. It can record detail that Tri-X cannot ... at least at box speed ... but everything I've seen looks like, when pushed to 1600, Delta 400 returns noir-like contrast ... so any resolution gain is cancelled by the loss of speed.

    What do people think about Neopan 1600 versus Tri-X?
     
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  10. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/films/bw/tMax400.jhtml?pq-path=13399


    T-MAX 400


    • World’s sharpest 400-speed B&W film
    • World’s finest-grained 400-speed B&W film

    Comparing Delta to Tri-X is like comparing Tmax to HP5. They are very different grain have have different characteristic curves as indicated by their data sheets. I'd say try them all out, everyone becomes strongly opinionated about this and its very back and forth when speaking about T-grain films and traditional grain, and then even more opinionated when going into the subject of pushing.

    That being said, I've been shooting a good deal of Tmax, tmy, tmy2, and p3200. and I like it, with good lenses, the right color filters, and printing contrast, the film shines. I never liked Delta though. I have all my students learn and shoot on Tri-X.
     
  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Delta 400 is noticeably less fine grained than Tmax 400 II - the current version.

    I think you will need to test for yourself to see what the look is like with D400 pushed, but you will of course get a more pushed look at 1600 with D400 than Delta or Tmax 3200, because they have a true speed of about 800 (tmax) to 1000 (Delta) and so at 1600 are actually being pushed less.

    I've had some beautiful results off D400, but it is a very different look to TriX and I am personally happy to accept the loss of resolution in return for more pleasing overall look. YMMV.
     
  12. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Ilford delta 400 is somehow a strange orphan: delta 100 and delta 3200 are adored by many - but 400 not. I am sharing this opinion also :smile:
     
  13. pstake

    pstake Member

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    So I was thumbing through my old Kodak Black and White Darkroom Dataguide when I came across a comparison of all its films, which includes each film's resolving power in lines per millimeter. Thought people on this thread might be interested. I was surprised to see that Tri-X compares favorably to T-Max 400, and that T-Max 3200 (when rated at 800) actually resolves as much as T-Max 400, too.

    This book was published in 1988, so the information for the T-Max emulsions, which were reformulated in 2007(?), may not still be accurate.

    Tech Pan = 320 ("Extremely High")
    Commercial 4127 = 100 ("High")
    T-Max 100 Professional = 200 ("Very High")
    Ektapan = 125 ("High")
    Plus-X = 125 ("High")
    Super-XX Pan = 100 ("High")
    Tri-X Ortho = 100 ("High")
    Tri-X Pan Professional = 100 ("High")
    T-Max 400 Professional = 125 ("High")
    Royal Pan 4141 = 80 ("High")
    T-Max 3200 (true speed of 1000 ISO, exposed at 800) = 125 ("High")
    HIE = 80 ("Medium")
     
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  15. 6x7

    6x7 Member

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    Delta 400 pushed to 1600 is not problem. Nice tonality but very different from Tri-X or even T-max. Grain structure is also different. I did a couple rolls in DD-X 1:4 and really liked the look. For certain subjects (street, urban, industrial) it's very nice.
     
  16. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    From my experience, TMY-2 resolves a lot better than Tri-X. TMZ was about the same as Tri-X; maybe a hair better, but hard to see with the extra grain. This wasn't with a resolution target or anything. You can find this stuff in the Kodak PDFs for each film too...

    Then again, resolution isn't everything, but the above experiences do inform my film choice periodically.
     
  17. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Delta 400 and Tri-X are very different.. Delta 400 is has extended red sensitivity with a sharp drop off, Tri-X has extended blue/UV.

    I like Delta 400 for landscape over many other films work pulled to 100 (not simply less contrast, it looks like a completely different film this way), Delta 100 doesn't have the extended red, but Delta 3200 does.

    Haven't tried pushing Delta 400.
     
  18. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    It's not accurate at all, it's using the wrong information, T-Max 100 is 63 lp/mm not 200, as stated by Kodak's document, T-Max 400 is 50.



    Those above figures are all for 1000:1 contrast, useless unless for scientific imaging, astro work, etc.

    As the all your high spatial frequencies in a pictorial scene occur over low contrast, so use the 1.6:1 figures for making a base comparison. Your only high contrast high spatial frequencies in a pictoarial scene is usually a single line pair. A dark object, against a bright sky etc, that single high contrast edge. The detail/resolution across the surface of an object is low contrast.
     
  19. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    Athiril, you are mixing up "lines/mm" and "line pairs/mm." Those are different.
     
  20. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    They are 1000:1 figures and incorrect to be used as the resolution, 1.6:1 figures should be used for pictorial detail if you do not look at the MTF + contrast curve of the film.


    They are written as lines/mm. Look at the PDF whats written as lines/mm and then compare that to the MTF.

    Just to re-iterate the quoted figures were 1000:1 figures, look at where they fall on the MTF for those respective films, you should not rely on those figures for pictorial high spatial frequencies (surface detail).

    T-Max films http://wwwau.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/f4016/f4016.pdf
     
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  21. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Why is it not accurate at all? Both numbers are in Kodak's documents...

    TMX - 63 lines/mm for 1.6:1 and 200 lines/mm for 1000:1
    TMY - 50 lines/mm for 1.6:1 and 125 lines/mm for 1000:1

    Unfortunately, unless I missed something, not all of their film docs have these figures, notably Tri-X. So if the film data guide decides to quote the 1000:1 figures as a metric for comparison, then that's all we have to go with for some of these films. It should give a good sense of relative resolution between the films.

    For example, Plus-X was rated exactly the same as TMY, for both numbers. Which is exactly what pstake wrote.

    Sure, it's worth clarifying that these numbers are for higher contrasts (1000:1), but to call them 'not accurate' and then come up with a comparison chart that is pretty much exactly the same as what pstake posted seems a bit pedantic.
     
  22. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    It's neither pedantic nor 'pretty much the same', it is very very different.


    It's not accurate, because you are comparing films resolving power by their 1000:1 reported figures. The low contrast resolving power, as well as the MTF50 simply doesn't scale with the 1000:1 figure against different films, so while you may say film X = 100, and film Y = 50, but when it comes to normal usage, film X isn't four times as detailed (double resolving power) as film Y.


    Given only 1000:1 figures, you could say film X is probably sharper than film Y, but not necessarily.

    Eg, another different film X and Y. Add a film Z, and also another W

    Given their 1000:1 figures only
    W = 180
    X = 200
    Y = 125
    Z = 125

    So you assume X is the sharpest, followed by W, then Y and Z in last place, and they are the same, given your logic it'll give a relative difference of resolution, but it doesn't, not even close, it's incorrect and flawed logic.

    Because the low contrast figures for these four (real films) are:

    W = 80
    X = 63
    Y = 63
    Z = 50

    Unless all your continuous high spatial frequencies are 1000:1 (ie: not a pictorial or normal scene), then W is always going to be the sharpest, followed by X and Y giving equal detail at the lowest contrast, with X having a small edge of Y for anything that has a slightly higher elevanted contrast in high spatial frequencies (but nowhere near 1000:1) as it's resolution will rise faster over contrast.

    And Z coming last in all situations.

    At least by using correct logic by using the reported resolution figures, not simply using one end of them. I cannot imagine any single worse and inaccurate way to compare film sharpness by using the reported 1000:1 figures.


    As for MTF @ 50%?

    W = 48
    X = 125
    Y = 70
    Z = ~70-75


    Using 1000:1 figures as a relative comparison basis is flawed.

    I would even go to say that 1000:1 is the wrong figure for even test charts, if you spot meter the difference between the black and white, at maximum it is probably going to be 5 stops (32:1 contrast)
     
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  23. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    The only way the original poster is going to properly make up his/her mind is by purchasing a brick of each and get down to business of practicing with them.

    That's what it'll end up being anyway. The films are different in their specifications, but in something as subjective as art, it doesn't really say much until you start using them.

    Tri-X is hardly a high resolution or fine grained film. 75% of major brand films have better specifications, but I use it because I love what my prints look like. None of the numbers mean anything to me.
     
  24. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I agree. Plus I don't find Tri-X lacking in resolution or too rough in grain. It's one of my main films.

    A better comparison of which film to choose would be by spectral range sensitivity, I like the look of films with longer blue end sensitivity for portraits, and shorter blue and longer red (like Delta 400) for landscape work.



    As far as I know they are written as lines/mm in the manual but are lp/mm, as you need an opposing line to see that line, otherwise no contrast = no visible line. As they do not count the 'empty space' (opposing line) when quoting lines. So they count every second line, where lp/mm counts them together as 1 unit. They have the same numerical result.

    Eg; the MTF is obviously in the same format, it is cycles/mm which is lp/mm, eg: T-Max 100 MTF 50% is 125 lp/mm, if they were counting the opposing line in the figure, then lines/mm in their docs would be 2x the value of lp/mm, and that would mean the MTF 50% value exceeds the 1000:1 quoted figure of 200. 1 cycle = 1 pair of lines, as 1 cycle of a transverse wave contains both the crest (rise) and trough (fall) - which these are commonly expressed in as well.
     
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  25. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    I love shooting portraits and events with Delta 400 processed in DD-X. The extended IR response is wonderful for skin. This film-chemistry combination is outstanding when pushed one stop to 800. Event shoots are almost exclusively done at 800. I've also shot tons of this film at 1600. It just keeps hanging in there. An amazing film and it scans very well.
     
  26. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I haven't used it that extensively for portraiture, can you post some examples or a link?