Ilford Delta 3200: Expose at Box Speed or not?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by lancekingphoto, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. I'm planning a boudoir-style shoot for tomorrow morning, shot entirely indoors with window light on Ilford Delta 3200 film. I've used this film before on a couple of occasions (once in similar conditions), and was generally pleased with the results I got shooting box speed. However, a photographer acquaintance of mine who has been shooting film far longer than I recently suggested to me that, in his experience, Delta 3200 is best when exposed at 2400.

    Can anyone else confirm similar results? If it matters, I'll be using the 35mm version of the film. Depending on available light, I'd actually considered pushing the film up to 6400 as needed, but I'd be interested in hearing what others have to say.
     
  2. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Ilford shows this to be an ISO 1000 speed film.

    Whether to expose at 1000, 1600, 2400, 3200, or any other speed depends on what you want for shadow detail, and how flat the lighting is or is not.

    Generally, indoor scenes are flat and can tolerate some expansion during development, resulting in slightly increased speed. Also, your choice of developer can influence the speed.

    Realize that exposing at 2500 is just one-third stop under 3200, not a significant change.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If you are pleased with the results at box speed and you need box speed then use box speed. The general consensus is that you probably sacrifice shadow detail unless you shoot at max 1600 and maybe 1250. Some say the true speed of D3200 is max 1000

    For what I think is portraiture in your case I'd use the slowest film I could get away with. In 135 D3200 is in my experience quite grainy with even 5x7 prints and if you intend to print larger than this then making a virtue out of grain is worthwhile

    Frankly what counts is what you want and if D3200 delivers this then what other APUGers say is largely irrelevant

    pentaxuser
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    What developer do you plan on using?
     
  5. I plan to use D76, the only one I have on hand.
     
  6. So what I'm gathering here is that the main advantage I'd gain from shooting at, say, 1600, would be more details in the shadows. That's helpful to consider. I really appreciate everyone's input.
     
  7. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    It's a 1000 or so speed film optimized for pushing. It pushes beautifully to 3200 in my experience, but I use T-Max developer for that. I'm sure it would be better a bit slower, but the real question for a film like this is, what speed do you NEED? If 2400 is fast enough, shoot it at that speed. Or 1600. Or 1000. But if you need 3200, shoot it at 3200.
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    As there are 36 frames try the same shot at 800, 1250, 1600 and 3200. This still gives you 9 different shots and will tell you a lot about the best speed for you and maybe more importantly for your subject.

    One cassette, nine shots and you might know all you need for every future shoot with D3200.

    pentaxuser
     
  9. The actual speed I need is going to depend on the natural window light, so I will have to wait until I get there to find out. But if I can shoot it slower, I think I'll definitely try to do so.
     
  10. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    The different speeds call for different development times, so this approach won't work.

    For general work, I shoot D3200 at 1000 to 1600 and develop for the time specified for 3200. It gives good results.
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    That makes sense. I get results I really like shooting at 3200 and developing for the times listed for 6400. I do the same thing with my remaining TMZ. I've shot TMZ at 6400 with good results for some subjects, developing for 12,500.
     
  12. litody

    litody Member

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    delta 3200 is actually a low contrast film designed for pushing with a speed increasing developer resulting in normal contrast.
    If you are using Microphen stock as per ilfords recommended dilutions with microphen, then shoot at 3200 and you will get a normal contrast index negative with ample shadow detail (an 8 stop range). However, D3200 and Microphen combination will be quite grainy which may or may not be what you want.
    But you say you are using D76 and that is at least a stop slower than microphen with D3200.
    Ilford work out ISO using ID11 (same as D76 near enough) so that speed of 1000 or 1250 will be about right with D76.
    But if you must have the speed of 3200 or 6400 then microphen will be your best option, optimally at EI 3200.
     
  13. I kind of wondered about the feasibility of shooting for different ISOs on the same roll. If I do end up shooting at a slower speed, I'll bear that in mind. Thanks!
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Included in the 'some' is Ilford themselves. So I think ISO 1000 is believable!


    Steve.
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Sorry, I need to elaborate here. My advice on speed alteration is intended to give the user an indication of shadow detail which is only marginally affected by development times. I'd use the time for 3200 which may blow the highlights a little for the slowest speed but given that most users agree as has been stated by Allen that the next higher film speed dev time should be used because D3200 is a low contrast film then even the dev time for 3200 will only increase highlight density a little.

    If 1250 to 1600 turns out to give the required shadow detail then the time for 3200 will be close to the right time

    I think that Allen has got it right but the OP may need to discover for himself. Unless he experiments he will never know for himself what his right speed is.

    The alternative is 9 shots at 800 then 9 at 1250 etc and cutting the film in the dark into four sections and developing separately and with knowledge of leader measurement to frame one and markers on a bench for nine frames this kind of cutting is possible with the loss of one frame at each cut but it is quite an ordeal unless the OP is familiar with and has had experience with such a procedure in the dark.

    pentaxuser
     
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Microphen isn't the only speed increasing developer available. I agree that something like it (phenidone, no?) will be better than D76, but it doesn't HAVE to be Microphen. I can tell you from experience that T-Max developer works beautifully, and I'd guess that Xtol would work well too, though I have no experience with it and this film.

    Of course Ilford recommends their own developers.

    Where this film really becomes superb, IMHO, is in 120. Now if I get around to shelling out the money for that 80mm 1.9 for my Mamiya...
     
  18. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    If I was getting the result I wanted, I don't think I would change it the night before the shoot just because someone said something.... even if that someone was an expert. I might take a backup camera with the new setting and might shoot concurrently, however.

    If it is an indoor portrait, you aren't likely to encounter extreme brightness range anyway.

    Based on my personal experience, I got a good result shooting Delta 3200 at ISO 1600 and develop it as if EI 2400 but that's with my camera, my developer, and my thermometer....

    Seriously, I won't fool would what works this late in game.
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    +1
     
  20. litody

    litody Member

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    correct, there are other speed increasing developers. But very few as fast as microphen but I haven't used them all.
    DDX for 18 mins using 1+4 @ 20deg C shot at 1600 will work well and give finer grain than Microphen. But if its pure speed you want then Microphen is the developer of choice IMO. It really comes down to making a choice between speed or grain or what the lighting level dictates and if the lighting level really dictates a required speed of 3200 or 6400 then microphen is the best choice for a normal contrast negative. T-Max or XTol will give finer grain but you won't achieve 3200 speed with them. i.e. with most other developers you will lose shadow detail unless you expose at slower speeds which isn't what the OP asked for.

    I hear time and time again people quoting ilfords ISO 1000 figure for D3200. But people just don't seem to know or understand that that figure is derived from using ID11 and not a push developer. Its called D3200 because thats what you get with microphen and not with ID11. And beating Ilford for promoting its own developers is a pointless exercise. Not only do they promote them but they develop and test films using their own materials. Infact they optimise their films and developers to work together. Kind of makes sense to use them together, especially if you want maximum speed film.
     
  21. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    From all I've ever heard of this film - shooting at a lower speed gives you extra shadow detail (not a bad thing, given that you want a softer look for this particular shoot) while still getting that lovely grain.

    FWIW, I've always shot this film at EI-1600 and developed for 3200. It's a unique film and another hit from Ilford, I say.

    Good luck.
     
  22. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation - I may have to get some Microphen and give it a shot. Since I'm usually shooting it in 120 (mainly 6x4.5) grain is not the concern it might be in 35mm, plus I like some grain.

    This strip is D3200 shot at 3200 and developed per the instructions for 6400 in T-Max developer.

    I've posted this before in another thread about this film, but here are a couple of shots on it shot at 3200 and developed in T-Max, in this case shot with my Yaschicamat 124. I'm not sure it would be reasonable to expect better results, but maybe I could get similar results a stop faster in Microphen:

    [​IMG]
     
  23. litody

    litody Member

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    Looks good. You can but try in Microphen if's ultimate speed you require. Like you say, in 120 grain is not so much of an issue.
     
  24. Thanks very much!
     
  25. That degree of experimentation is probably more than I want to delve into using just a little changing bag. But I do appreciate the insight.
     
  26. Thanks, but unless my local photo supply store carries Microphen, I'll probably just stick with the D76 for now. I'd hate to risk messing up with an unfamiliar developer on something more important than a test shoot!