I'd like to have available an 800 -1000 ISO film. I have so far used Ilford films and developers and would prefer to continue to do so. I like them, I'm used to them, and I can get them relatively easily. So, my choices right now are between pushing HP5+ or Delta 400, and developing in Ilford DDX or Ilfosol S. I might be able to special order other developers, but would prefer to stick with one of these two unless there is a compelling reason to change.
I considered pulling Delta 3200, but I travel quite a bit and it doesn't like airport X-Rays. Possibly the other two rated at say 1000 wouldn't like X-Rays either, but I've never had an X-Ray problem with HP5+ or Delta 400 using them at their rated speeds.
Any thoughts on a good safe starting point would be much appreciated.
To get more real speed from a 400-speed emulsion measured as shadow detail with relatively normal contrast, it's best to use a developer like Acufine, Diafine, or Microphen. Other developers will increase contrast with extended development times, but won't improve shadow density, and all you will have will be contrastier underexposed negatives--sometimes not a bad thing, but maybe not what you are after.
My preference is Tri-X 400 at EI 800 in Acufine, but if you want to stick with Ilford products, HP5+ may not be a bad choice and you could try their recommendation in Microphen.
Alternately, Delta 3200 is really an ISO 800 film, so you might try that. There are some good recommendations for it at:
I second David's recommendation. for real 800 speed, with adequate shadow detail, Delta 3200 is perfect.
Fuji 1600 has a true ei of 500-650, but I never liked it, much finer grained than the delta, but the negs were too black and white with little in the way of intermediate gray tones.
the delta films are a nice family with 100, 400 and 3200 producing a similar gray scale. this lets you mix and match with a similar looking print.
Someone here uses a formula for an Accufine substitute - I would sure like the recipe. I probably have most of the chemistry on the shelf now.
Thanks for the advice. I'm still a little nervous about travelling with Delta 3200 because of the X-Rays, but in fact I've never (touch wood) been refused a hand inspection when I have taken it.
I'll try and get some microphen when I'm next in the big city, and try it out with HP5 and Delta 400.
How about pulling the 3200? Still Microphen recommended, or would the DDX be a good choice in this case?
Changing the subject a bit, most airport X-Ray machines say they're safe for up to EI 400 film, and I've had no reason to doubt it. Would this still hold true if you plan on using it as 800 EI film?
Again, thanks for the prompt replies. My house has been renovated, and I've almost got my darkroom back so am anxious to try this out.
Arguably, exposing Delta 3200 at 800 isn't pulling, since it's really an 800-1000 speed film (meaning: with most developers, if you expose it at around EI 800, you'll get a Zone I density of .1). Ed Buffaloe's results in PMK look good at that speed (check the unblinkingeye page referenced above). Microphen is a good developer when you want more than the ISO speed, so you wouldn't use it necessarily for EI 800, but you might use it for EI 1600 or faster.
If you want to avoid carrying ultra fast films such as Delta 3200 and TMZ because of the risk of X-ray fog I'd recommend something like TMY at EI 800-1600 in Microphen.
Use the developer as stock solution, straight up, no rocks, no chaser. I see finer grain, better gradation and a more effective speed boost this way than with any dilution. The used developer can be reused several times this way. I reuse a liter 10 times this way.
Shadow detail will be somewhat inferior to Delta 3200 but in my results grain is finer and midtone gradation smoother with pushed TMY. And there should be less risk of fog from airport X-rays.
I travel mostly in Asia, and their security hasn't changed in the last few years (but it's pretty hi-tech). I carry the film in ziplocs, and usually they just look at the bag, say "film" and wave me through. I have more security and overweight luggage problems in the little airport where I catch a Dash-7 to Vancouver, the nearest international airport (unlike one post I read, I have never had someone want to open the metal cannister to physically inspect the actual film).
I put my 400 EI film through the X-Ray machines if I'm in a hurry or it looks too hectic to ask for a hand inspection. They few times I've taken Delta 3200 I keep it in a separate bag for the hand inspection. As I said, no problems so far. "Mildly Concerned" would describe it better then "Really Worried". I'll try out the three films here before deciding which one will be my 800 EI film.
I wasn't very fond of Delta 3200 as 3200, but it sounds like a different film at 800, and I would prefer to use DDX as a developer simply because I can get it easily and I may be too chemically challenged to mix powders. ("Chemically challenged" in the sense of ... oh never mind).
I've read some interesting posts about travelling with film in the U.S. From what I've read a)yes, they have to hand inspect it if you insist, b) they may also inspect every other item in your baggage and c) you may very well miss your plane while they do it.
I have thought about developing film while away. We'll see how I do with powders here first.
The first time I traveled by plane with sheet film, I didn't want to explain to the airport security that they couldn't open the box. I just put it through the x-ray. That was about 10 years ago. Since then, I've stopped worrying about it and even put Delta 3200 through the machines. I've never seen a problem. Maybe there is a slight rise in base fog with the super speed films, but nothing to affect print quality.
That said, I don't think Delta 3200 is a very good film at 800. It's really flat and dull except in extremely contrasty lighting. It's also very grainy for 800 speed. My favorite 800 speed film is Neopan 1600, it's my standard 35mm film now (but I only really use 35mm in low light). It may be a little contrasty, but I tend to prefer that to too flat. After Neopan, I'd try pushing one of the 400 speed films. I think the results will be much better than Delta 3200 at 800.