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  1. #1

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    Delta 100 vs. Delta 400

    I've been experimenting with enlarging and obviously 8x10 enlargements come out great but I was wondering to how big I could make a Delta 100 enlargement? And could I make an even bigger Delta 400 enlargement?

    I know that the bigger you make an enlargement, the softer the image is. But I also know that the Delta brand was made to "close the gaps" when the silver reacts to light. So would Delta 400 be better for bigger enlargements than the 100? Because I also know that the smaller the ISO speed is, the finer the grain. Since the grain is more coarse in higher iso films, would that be better for enlargements? Like would that be less soft than lower film speeds?

    simple version: 1) are higher film speeds better for big enlargements than lower film speeds? 2) How big can I enlarge Delta 100 35mm film ~or~ 120mm film vs Delta 400 35mm film ~or 120mm film

  2. #2
    JohnRichard's Avatar
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    As far as I have ever seen, lower film speeds usually mean you will see LESS grain when you enlarge.
    Faster film speeds mean you will see MORE grain when you enlarge.
    - J. Richard
    4x5 Speed Graphic, Looking for another 8x10.

  3. #3

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    Within a family of films, lower speed films will have finer grain and tend to have higher resolving power. This means detail and image structure will tend to hold up better as the enlargement size increases (and with lower graininess). Increased graininess will also tend to be most visible in images that have expanses of featureless tonality (skies for example) rather than in highly detailed, "busy" images. Contrast also plays a key role.

    Those are the scientific facts. But then there are the subjective aspects - ie there are no rules governing the maximum size of the enlargement you choose to make from any film of any speed. It all depends on the subject matter, your own preferences, planned viewing distances etc.

  4. #4

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    Everything Michael said - you are the decider of what is sharp enough (which depends on shooting issues too - lens and camera quality, use of a tripod, etc).
    Grain characteristics are all over the place, and depend very much on developing techniques as well, and, in the end, up to your tastes.
    As Fred Picker use to say, "Try it, try it, try it. . . "
    Regarding large print quality, remember, you don't have to make a 16x20 print to test the quality, just raise the enlarge and make an 8x10 from a place that shows you the qualities you are looking for.

  5. #5
    MDR
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    Andreas Bitesnich (austrian photographer specialising in Nudes) used quite a lot of Delta 100 and 400 in 35mm and made 60cm x 40cm enlargments with nearly invisible grain and great tonality.

  6. #6
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akitak9821 View Post
    simple version: 1) are higher film speeds better for big enlargements than lower film speeds? 2) How big can I enlarge Delta 100 35mm film ~or~ 120mm film vs Delta 400 35mm film ~or 120mm film
    1) probably not, but maybe
    2) depends

    I recently tested both the Delta and Tmax films in 35mm, both ISO100 and ISO400. Everything looked good at 7x10 (7x enlargement). I also made enlarged sections of the same negatives to 16x (On 8x10 paper, as mentioned above) to assess the grain. They all have grain at that magnification.

    What then follows is one's subjective reaction to that grain. I had no problem with sharpness. But I did not like the look of the films at 16x (especially both the 400 speeds.) I actually preferred Tri-X to either of the T-grained 400 speed films.

    But, you may see it differently. That's the rub ...


    Now, the disclaimer: I do like the overall tonality of Delta and Tmax films when I use them in 120. This includes Delta 3200 rated at 1600. But for 35mm, I'm sticking with Tri-X, YMMV
    David
    Taking pictures is easy. Making photographs is hard.

    http://www.behance.net/silverdarkroom

  7. #7
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    Viewing distance. There is no limit to how large something can be enlarged because viewing distance will always control perceived graininess. The people who can't look past that are the same ones with their nose buried in the print.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Try it! Make big prints from both and see which you like best.

    With Delta 100 I can make 16x20 prints from 35mm that looks very smooth and with very little grain. I don't like those prints very much.
    I don't use Delta 400 much, but when I use TMax 400, or even Tri-X, I like my bigger prints much better, because of the grain providing enough texture to make it interesting to me.

    This is a very personal thing, and should not be taken as an absolute. Just use what you like best, because that is what will be more satisfying to you.
    "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
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    I recently (and finally) got all the tools needed to print 16x20. I've done about 10 from Delta 400 in 35mm and have yet to have a disappointment. On a few I even cropped some so roughly 20x30 magnification, looks fine.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

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

  10. #10

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    The issue with 400 is it needs Xtol or the two liquid developers from Ilford. I have dislikes with all. The previous version of 400 worked fine with D76. The current version is terrible unless you like hugh grain.

    It is really nice film in Xtol or DD x, but I have had consistency problems with both. T Max 400 and my homemade D76 is my choice for 400 speed.

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