Friday, 3 November 2017

Ilfords Delta films A big surprise.

I read a lot of stuff in search of inspiration and ideas for this blog. And one of the strangest things I read a lot is the lack of willingness to push creativity. For example: 'I will only ever use FP4+ - I only make landscape images.' Why? I have never understood the idea of painting yourself into a corner, creatively speaking. I have been writing this blog for around a decade now, the one thing I have discovered is that choices, likes, dislikes move on naturally and to say never say never really only means for this period of time.

Delta 100 negs
Like wise I have never given Ilfords Delta range a second thought. Why? It just has not been on my radar. I have been happy making images using FP4+ and Fomapan 100 among others. All of a sudden I find myself saying to a friend that I will purchase his out of date delta. And now I have about 15 rolls delta 100 and 3200 120 format in a box on the floor waiting for me to use it.

 I have already exposed one roll of 3200 at box speed, which just happens not to be the rated speed of the film in this case. It is actually rated at 1000 ISO something I was not aware of at the time I used it. Which means that the film was pushed five stops, something of a first for me! I've also used a couple of rolls of 100 at box speed.

Delta 100 grain seen through a focus finder
OK so what is so special about Delta film? It is Ilfords offering in the T grain category of film emulsions, Kodak call theirs T Max and Fuji Neopan. Known as tabular grain film, meaning that the shape of the silver halide is relatively broad and thin, with two well developed parallel faces. This leads to the crystal absorbing more light sensitive dye. It also reduces the scatting of light which increases resolution. This leads to a film that works in all sorts of lighting conditions. If you think about it, it is ideally suited for beginners, making it very tolerant to bad exposure.

Print from delta 3200 ISO 3200
Tabular crystals dissolve more slowly than traditionally grained films when it comes to fixing them. You are advised to increase the fix time as it takes twice as long for the film to clear when using rapid fix.

In truth I am not someone who can go out and make images of anything just to try out a new film. Even when it is well out of date, some of you may think it's a bit risky. I believe it is a waste of time if the images you make are not well composed and of subjects that you enjoy. After all a good image is easy to print and share. A project that would suite the Delta 3200 droped in my lap. I had the opportunity to photograph a number of five week old pups. When it came to photographing them they had all worn themselves out and were fast asleep. That is until I started making pictures! Its funny how noisy a Bronica SQAi with an motor drive can be in hushed conditions!

Print from Delta 3200 ISO 3200

I was a little disappointed with the 3200, although it was very bright outside the room was a bit dark and on a couple of occasions I was down to 60th sec at F2.8 which is the minimum aperture for the lens I was using and as slow as I could go hand held. It was not practical to use a tripod as they had tucked them selves into lots of little cubby holes to sleep.

Print from Delta 100 ISO 100
I developed the film RO9 at 1+50 for the suggested time of eleven minutes. The negatives look a bit underdeveloped (thin) I will, for the next film, up the developing time.

When it came to printing the negatives the underdevelopment showed it's self on the segmented test prints. Indicating that 15 secs was the best exposure time. I chose to use Adox MCP paper set at grade 3. The enlarger was set to a height for 11x12 paper but the easel was set for 8x10 paper with white margins. I did this because there was a lot of dead space on the negatives. The down side is that the prints are a bit grainy. Something I should have expected to a certain extent seeing as I have used RO9 to develop them with. The final prints were a little soft even though they have been printed at grade three.

Print from delta 3200 ISO 3200
Having read the above it may lead you in to thinking it was a bad set of negatives. On the contrary I am very pleased with the results although a little disappointed with the contrast, but then you have to take into account that it is the very first time I have worked with this film. Fortunately I have more film to play with.

I have also exposed a couple of rolls of Delta 100 at box speed developed in RO9 and by comparison they are very punchy (high contrast) they remind me of the Fomapan 100 negatives I produce with the above developer. The 100 has produced super smooth looking photographs. Something I have been looking for for sometime. This may replace the need for a ultra fine developer.

Print from Delta 100 ISO 100.
last laugh goes to the cat a sleep in the sun.