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  1. #1

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    Ilford DELTA 3200, both 120 and 35mm

    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. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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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
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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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. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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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.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5
    Dr Croubie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    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.
    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.
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL Guy View Post
    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
    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.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #7
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    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.
    I've had very good luck with this approach for 120.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Croubie View Post
    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.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL Guy View Post
    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
    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!
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  10. #10
    JDP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    What I'm saying here is that it's a remarkably flexible film.

    Good luck!
    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.

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