Saturday, 26 July 2008

Ilford Delta 100: a first look

Untitled, Kristiansund, May 2008

Some while back I was looking for a daylight complement to my usual Ilford HP5+ black and white film, something to offer more detail and better response in bright light. So I've tried Delta 100. Only a single roll so far, but enough for me to see some distinct differences.

My recent picturing around Kristiansund has been, in broad terms, a mixture of evening street shooting and daytime landscapes. HP5+ is great for closer work and low light but is too "sketchy" for detailed landscapes. Enter Delta.

Some things I've noticed

With HP5+, I find the shadow detail to be excellent but it doesn't carry highlights well. This is mostly due to the mixture of the grain and the scanning process. I can't say anything about development techniques - I send it off to the local pro lab for that. As a result, I use a -0.5 to -1 EV compensation on my Canon SLR, which gives great results.

Delta is a different beast entirely. I was exposing as for HP5+ (-0.5EV) in bright sunny conditions - similar to anything I'd do with any camera/film. Results aren't quite what I expected. fine detail rendition is excellent, highlight detail as good as anything I've seen but shadows are distinctly disappointing.

It seems as if HP5+ has a sharp roll-off in the highlights (in terms of rendered detail - combining both exposure, development and grain effects) but a long tail at the low end. with Delta it seems to be the other way around. I reckon i could happily over expose by a stop with Delta, which I wouldn't dare with HP5+. More testing definitely required, I think.


  1. To get around the lack of toe I typically expose it at ISO 50. Same with TMAX 100 (they're almost identical).

  2. Indeed, more or less the conclusion I'm coming to. I should get chance to shoot some more this week, so I'll be doing some exposure experiments with that.


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