I'm all for experimentation but this is one time where I can't experiment. This will be the last time ever that I'll be able to attend that event so there's no room for error. Again, thanks for all the wonderful advice. I'll be looking to minimize the grain so I'll go with Dave's suggestion to use D-76.
There are much more fine-grained developers than D-76. X-Tol is one that will be commonly available.
There is not time for testing at the event, but you can certainly test your materials and methods beforehand, which is what I meant.
If grain is really that much of an issue, I'd forget the Delta 3200 and go with T-Max 400. The Delta will be grainy no matter what.
There are 2 concepts here to understand.
Originally Posted by Kugerfang
1-Development controls the contrast rate, the steepness of the film curve.
2-Setting the EI (ISO is the film's labratory rating, an EI is what you decide to shoot it at) is simply a exposure placement choice. More exposure, EI 1000, will place subjects higher up the curve, lower exposure, EI 3200, will place the same subjects in the same scene lower on the film curve.
Even Ilford's directions are simply starting points; like adding seasonings to food, you adjust both of these to suit your own taste.
Just to clear things up: I like grain, as long as it isn't too overly intrusive and distracting. Like I said, I don't have ANY time to experiment because lo and behold, I have no film processing equipment. No tanks, no chemicals, nothing. The only reason I even ordered Delta 3200 is because my DSLR unexpectedly died on me. So, I can't experiment beforehand. I'll go the safe way and not experiment with the rolls once I get the processing equipment since I can't lose the images. Anyway, I can't thank you guys enough for all the advice.
If you don't have time to experiment before the event, buy more rolls than you need, and shoot an extra roll AFTER the event in similar conditions, at the same exposure index you used at the event. Then cut the roll in thirds and develop one third at a time until you have the best contrast at that speed. This way you can at least find out how you need to develop your important rolls. The only thing you will not be able to control after the fact is exposure. So the advice then becomes to shoot the film at a lower EI, like 1,000, in order to capture as much shadow detail as possible. It will probably be acceptable at 1,600 too.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
I find I get very smooth results at EI3200 using Xtol stock. This is not to say you can't see the grain, just that it hardly intrudes. A bigger issue is metering the situation. Dim events are often difficult because of the difference between highlights and shadows. Without some trials, I can only wish you good fortune.
Just to summarize all the info so far:
1. Shoot at EI 3200, develop for EI 6400.
2. Xtol is recommended for less visible grain.
3. Watch the camera's meter when there's backlighting; switch to spot metering if necessary.
4. Under/overexposure is the enemy.
The event's on Friday night but I like to prepared so I'm arming myself with all the info I need. Thanks for all your help!
I will just switch to spot metering if I were you. And maybe you can go the route of EI 1600 developed at times for 3200, unless the extra stop is really necessary. You have a fast lens after all. Good luck in your event!
Thanks for that VaryaV. In your film noir scenario I can see why the combo you've used would work well