Ilford 'traditional' vs delta films.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by digiconvert, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Can anyone suggest what differences I could expect when using FP4+/HP5+ compared to Delta 100/400 ? I have used thwem all in the past but not really known why I should use them. Now I'm getting almost past newbie stage I was looking for a little more information on how they should appear to the viewer.

    Thanks ; Chris Benton
     
  2. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    As you have already used them all, which did you prefer, FP4 Plus or Delta 100? The same question applies for HP5 Plus and Delta 400 and you have answered your own question.
    Also consider Kodak Plus-X and T-Max 100, Tri-X and T-max 400,Fuji 100 Acros and Neopan 400, then make the films you prefer your standard film stock.
     
  3. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Since the film is an intermediate step I have to side with Keith, and say use them, and print and compare. There are so many variables to take account of, almost everyone will produce a different result.
     
  4. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    As a rough guide, T-grain films like Delta 100/400 give better sharpness and less grain when exposed and developed with care. If overexposed, they will give horrible grain, particularly if overdeveloped as well, and they seem to respond less well to push/pull processing, especially pull - if you're going to pull-process, T-grain films seem to need a greater exposure increase. On the other hand, get exposure/development right and results can be quite spectacular!
     
  5. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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  6. digiconvert

    digiconvert Member

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    Err.. sorry I can't really pretend to fully understand that. My Physics suggests that HP4 is more sensitive further into the IR spectrum whereas Delta goes towardsd UV (shorter wavelength) so presumably Delta would give more detail on a clear sunny day. FP4+ on the other hand should be better for indoor/incandescent light.
    My experience is that Delta seems 'smoother' (can't think of another description) than FP4+. I guess I am really trying to find out what I should see in the print from each type. The implication of one post is that FP4+ would be a little more forgiving, I guess if I am trying to get shadows and texture in portraits this suggests that Delta is better.

    Right or wrong ? Sorry if I seem a bit dense.

    Cheers CJB
     
  7. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    CJB

    Two of the films you mention are the two main films I use all the time, Ilford Delta 100 and HP5.

    I can only tell you as I find and why It is I use them.

    I use Delta 100 developed in Prescysol EF for my landscape work. The reason being is that it gives me very sharp prints up to the size I print, 11 x 8 ish.(it will go beyond) The grain is very fine and almost non-existant, and smooth in the sky areas.

    whowever.. if I use it for a portrait it is too sharp. Good for the chiselled moody look of a male, showing every line and hair on the face...but...any women wouldd slap you for using it...

    So... I go for HP5 in Prescysol for portraits as it gives smoother flesh tones (IMHO) and softer edges. I do not use it for landscape as I find it a bit too grainy for my liking, espescially in the out of focus areas and the skys. Beautiful for Baby shots as their skin looks like porcelain.

    I must add...These findings are for these films in my chosen developer. Different developers will change a films character.

    I hope this helps a little.

    Stoo..............(not spell checked, sorry)
     
  8. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    The characteristic curve plots the negative density against (log) exposure. Traditional films like FP4 have a rather S shaped curve with a higher slope in the middle which means more mid-tone contrast.Films like Delta have a nearly straight upper section with higher slope,they give more contrast in the highlights.
    If you like this tonality of FP4 you have to give up the fine grain and better sharpness of Delta (IMO).
     
  9. percepts

    percepts Member

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    I wouldn't pay any attention to the characteristic curves in the Ilford datasheets. You are never likely to reproduce them in your own processing.
     
  10. MMfoto

    MMfoto Member

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    All things being equal, they do give you a point of reference to compare with other films/developers.
     
  11. don sigl

    don sigl Member

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    I use HP5 almost exclusively. Years back I tried the delta films and found them to be a little sharper, but almost impossible to handle due to film curl (120 size). They were also quite a bit more expensive at that time. I went back to the HP5 and have stayed with it. For me, it was an easy decision.
     
  12. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    T-max/Delta emulsions have less exposure latitude than conventional ones. This is due to the fact that the grains are more homogeneous in size.
     
  13. percepts

    percepts Member

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    I disagree. From personal experience I know that the published characteristic curves are less than accurate. I would not put any reliance on the published curves. This is not a reflection on the product which I think is excellent, but the data sheets are lacking in accuracy and as I have already said, you will never reproduce those curves anyway.
     
  14. couldabin

    couldabin Member

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    The manufacturer's published data suggest FP4 has more exposure latitude. Is that something one ought to believe?


     
  15. eddym

    eddym Member

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    That was pretty much my observation about Delta 400, too. It was nice, but certainly not worth paying more than I pay for HP5+. Of course, I think HP5+ is REALLY GOOD film!
    I do like Delta 100, though.
     
  16. percepts

    percepts Member

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    the ilford delta films hit the shoulder sooner than traditional films but what do you mean by latitude. You can have a film which can capture 14 stops or more but have you ever tried making a decent print from a neg which is that dense. You may be able to pull it back with the right development but again we are talking extremes here. The vast majority of scenes are well within the range of the delta films and if you are exposing very high contrast subjects then you should be testing your films to such an extent that any data in the data sheets is virtually irrelevant and the development contraction required to pull the film back will significantly alter the charactistic curve so what relevance does the data sheet curve have? And that assumes that what is printed in the datasheet is correct which is not a safe assumption.

    Do your own testing to be 100% sure of what the films limits are.
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have, several times. The negatives aren't dense, just long. Maintaining a decent tonal separation in the midtones without blowing the highlights or blocking the shadows is fairly easy with lith printing.

    Scenes with 14 to 17 stops are far more common around here than you'd expect. FP4+ does a great job in these cases.