Ilford DELTA 3200, both 120 and 35mm

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by FL Guy, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. FL Guy

    FL Guy Member

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    General question related to your experience using Ilford Delta 3200 pulled to 1600 ISO or lower.

    Which developer chemistry do you have best experience/results with, and do you pull exposure lower than 1600 ISO? I have seen comments related to using the product @ 1000 ISO, but I use a lab that uses a "+1, -1" pricing for push/pull services when processing, and to consistently expect results from a lab I think you need to follow their practices as much as possible.

    Thoughts and comments, all are welcome. I would be interested in comments related to grain structure based on pulling exposure. And if you use both 35mm and MF, any comments related to format differences would be great also.

    Regards,

    FL Guy
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Delta 3200 is an ISO 1000 film.

    With its inherently lower contrast it is designed to respond well to being exposed at an exposure index ("EI") of up to 3200, and then push processed to bring the contrast up.

    Talk to your lab about what their experience is with it, and how they approach their pricing for their services.

    It may be that their "standard" processing routine for Delta 3200 is the "push" that best suits use of it with an EI of 1600 or 3200.

    I know many like to use the film with an EI of 1600, and then develop it for the time recommended for an EI of 3200.

    And at the risk of being pedantic, "push" and "pull" really doesn't refer to exposure, but rather development only.

    I prefer to refer to "increasing" or "decreasing" exposure instead.

    Hope this helps.

    EDIT: in case you haven't reviewed it, here is Ilford's "Fact Sheet" for the film: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/201071394723115.pdf
     
  3. FL Guy

    FL Guy Member

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    Thanks!

    Matt:

    Helps a lot, trying to get some grip around the balance of "speed vs. quality" of image.

    In reality, anything above a EI of 1000 is on the fringe of environments that we are typically in, so a compromise for image quality isn't a bad thing.

    Thanks,

    FL Guy
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    FL Guy:

    When you think about things like this, it is really important to realize that one of the components of the ISO film speed standard (and before it the ASA and DIN standards) is contrast.

    So Ilford and Kodak and others can decide to design a film that meets the ISO specification in one way, while minimizing contrast in another way.

    If you want to really start wondering about these things, consider why Kodak recommends the same development time for T-Max 400, whether you use an EI of 400 or an EI 800.

    The reason?

    Because in Kodak's opinion, while an increased development time may have the benefit of increasing contrast in the shadows and near shadows, that benefit will be outweighed by the reduction in the quality of how the highlights are recorded.

    The contrast compromises built into Ilford 3200 are designed to maintain the quality of the highlights when the development is increased to benefit the shadows and near-shadows.
     
  5. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I've never thought about it that way, but it makes perfect sense. I've used Delta3200 at ei1600, ei3200, ei4000, and ei6400 (all lab-dev, next rolls will be home-dev in Xtol or Microphen), and I've used TMax400 at ei400, ei800, ei1600, and ei3200, most lab-dev but recently some of my own in Xtol.
    Frankly, the Delta3200 craps all over the TMax, hands down, ei1600 and upwards. For my usage (spotlights on people on stage, large range from bright faces to dark backgrounds and 90% of the frame is Zone 1), only Delta leaves anything noticeable in the shadows. With the TMax, I scan and I scan and pull tone curves all over the place to get something respectable, sometimes it woks and sometimes it doesn't, but the Delta just always works (that also means that if I ever do a real wet-print, the TMax will probably be useless).

    Below ei1600 I haven't shot the Delta3200, only Tmax400 at ei800 and ei400. But I suppose that the same will still hold true even as low as 800, the Delta will just have more shadow detail.

    As for lab pricing, it depends where you go of course. I shot some of my first rolls of Delta3200 at ei3200, gave them to the lab and didn't say anything, they devved at 3200 without asking and they were perfect. Next time I asked them to 'push to ei4000' and they charged me 50% more (even though technically the ei3200 rolls were also a push). Another time I shot at 6400, got a different guy at the lab dropping them off, he asked what ei, I said ei6400, and he charged me regular price. Haven't shot it since, but next time I'm devving my own so I won't have to worry.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    When I first read AA's "The Negative" I was amazed to see that he found relatively little real film speed change with plus or minus (push or pull) development on a given film. In practical use, I've found this true across negative film in general. So true in fact that I almost never adjust development away from "normal" regardless of the EI I've shot at. I have tested though to see what my EI (exposure placement) limits are.

    One of the pillars of the zone system is measuring the important contrast range, the SBR, then using that info to determine the development regime. The choice of development regime (n+/n/n-) for a given situation is in essence independent of the EI choice for that same scene. Changing development in AA's context is completely about fitting the scene onto the paper. Here again over time I've found for myself that "normal" contrast negatives fit most all of my scenes nicely onto my paper.

    A concept that is not as well applied or considered though is that for example in my dark scenes I typically print mid-tones a bit darker than in my light scenes, the placement of mid tones closer to black in the print just seems to look normal to me, that means that reducing my camera exposure, placing mid-tones closer to the blacks does not reduce the quality of the print. My subject matter and my sensibilities simply indicate a different EI, placement choice.
     
  7. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I've had very good luck with this approach for 120.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Well, TMax 400 is a film designed for use at EI 400 or thereabouts. While it might make sense to you to compare it to Delta 3200, you have to remember that in order to get a useful comparison between two films, you have to develop them to the same contrast, or you are comparing fire trucks to bananas. You want apples to apples.

    Picture quality between TMY and D3200 should be compared with the TMY at 400 and D3200 at maybe 1,000. Then, of course they will behave differently when you start pushing them. At 3200 TMY will not have been designed to record as much shadow detail as D3200.

    For certain practical matters, it does make sense to compare the two films - at the EIs you intend to expose them at. That's for sure. But a technical comparison between the two is something different entirely. I think the Kodak data sheet on TMY states that the film can be used at 1600 with acceptable results, and 3200 with compromised results, all while D3200 is designed to be used at those speeds, with little to no image deterioration.

    How a negative scans will bear very little impact on how it prints in the darkroom, by the way. The scanner is a linear device that within its range records the tonal information of the film in linear fashion. Your enlarging paper has a very different range, and there are all sorts of tricks to get tonality out of a negative where a scanner cannot, especially dense negatives where the scanner might not see through the tones much at all.


     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I have used a fair amount of Delta 3200, both in 35mm and 120, and prints from both formats show highly similar tonality. Of course the 35mm has more grain, but it's lovely grain and not objectionable at all. The surprise of a lifetime came to me when I used Delta 3200 with Rodinal and made 16x20" darkroom prints from 35mm. The texture is absolutely beautiful, and there is a lot of detail in those negatives, almost sort of behind all that wonderful grain.

    In 120 I have to say it's almost the perfect portrait film. Beautiful film that can be developed to low contrast if you like that sort of tonality in your prints, or very high contrast if that's to your liking. The advice to shoot the film at 1600 and develop it for the instructions Ilford gives for EI 3200 is great for medium contrast lighting. I've used it with Edwal 12, HC-110, Rodinal, and Ilfotec DD-X. The results are spectacular in all developers, although a bit different. What I'm saying here is that it's a remarkably flexible film.

    Good luck!
     
  10. JDP

    JDP Member

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    This sums it up. I use it in 120 mostly for night photography, I have used D76, D23 (yes, believe it or not),pyrocat and a two part variant of D23, developers, and exposed it between 800 and 3200 ISO. An 800 'pull' improves the shadows - less grainy and more detail. All good. Choose your method to suit your goal. One of my favourite films.
     
  11. FL Guy

    FL Guy Member

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    Helpful comments!

    The comments offered have been very helpful. I thought it might be worthwhile to 'drill" into my specifics (as to exposure, processing, etc.) to get into the practical aspects I will be working with.

    Generally, I am seeking a product that I can use with both 35mm and 120, and expose at an EI of 1000 to 1600. The comments on Ilford Delta 3200 sound as if within this range I can expect a negative with broad tonal range characteristics and with possibly less grain than using the "box speed" of EI 3200. And, I believe that I would be happier with this approach compared to using Kodak 400 TMAX and exposing at a EI of 1000, with a corresponding adjustment in development.

    My lab is a mail-order environment, with a menu of processing options (like "push/pull") and the conversion of the negative into a digital format, uploading to "cloud" and burning onto CD with physical delivery of CD and negatives after processing. I think my next steps would be to ask the lab what experience they have with Ilford Delta 3200 exposed in the ranges that I am proposing. Since the lab is the post-production point in this cycle, I believe it makes sense to work from their experience rather than ignore their input. Ultimately, I will run some test exposures (probably in 120) based on their guidance and view the results.

    I realize that for those that develop their own film, and enlarge in their own lab, this might seem like a very different approach, but for now it is my best solution. For those that self-develop, is there any chemistry that you have worked with that yields bad (harsh?) results within these parameters?

    Thanks for your comments.

    FL Guy
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    First the "box speed" of any film is the ISO rating, D3200 has a box rating of 1000. Delta 3200 is just its name.

    Second shooting TMax 400 at 1000 in my world is "inside the limits". I'd shoot there and develop normally without a second thought. You should test that all the way to the print to see if it works for you. Same for D3200.

    My bet would be that you find TMax 400 less grainy and D3200 more grainy and that both are beautiful.
     
  13. luizjorgemn

    luizjorgemn Member

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    Iso 1000-1600? Try tri-x 400 plus Diafine.
    Got excellent results with this combo.


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