Ilford Delta. : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I've noticed much discussion about Kodak film, and very little about many others. What about Ilford Delta? A woman in a class I was in used it quite often and with great results. Very fine grain from a 35mm, even when enlarged 16x20. What has been your experience with this film? I've been using tri-x for the past year with good results but I feel I need to try something new. I have not tried Ilford except for the HP5+ and didn't care to much for the results. If I was to use Ilford Delta what are some processing tips? Thanks in Advance

-- (, August 26, 1997


Ilford Delta

Ilford Delta is really good and is no different than TMAX, in my personal opinion, except that it is not as temperature sensitive when developing. The preponderance of Kodak information probably reflects it's greater abundance in N. America and also could be cultural in nature. I think you can't go wrong with either one. I've heard alot of good press on Agfa's newer films as well.

-- Andy Laycock (, August 26, 1997.

The Delta films are nice, clean working, predictable and sharp but are not as pushable as the TMax films. For longer exposures, TMax 100 is the fastest film on the market due to its excellent reciprocity characteristics. If you like your friends results with Delta, try it & see how it does with your personal style. ID11 at 1:3 is a good developer for it. Ilfort techs say the Delta 100 and that developer combination will give you the sharpest negs of any modern emulsion other than Tech Pan. It is not as time/temp sensitive as Tmax either. One real plus if you aren't very controlled in your processing. Try some & see as that is the only way you will really know. Every good shooter gets his favorites & this could be yours. Mine in 35mm is HP5+, which you don't like. I love it, especially pushed to 3200 for sports work. We all have our favorites & for many different reasons. Good luck

-- Dan Smith (, August 27, 1997.

I've just tried a roll of Delta 100, developed in Paterson FX39 for 11 min at 20 deg. It really is EI 100 (well, 107), CI=0.78. The curve doesn't have such a pronounced "toe" as T-Max 400, the slope doesn't flatten much, so the shoadow detail is well defined.

And it's sharp. With good lenses, I get 52 line pairs per mm (TMY gives 37).

Grain, what grain? Well, yes, there is some, but it's nice and sharp, which I like. (I used to find Tri-X grain soft, which I didn't like. HP5+ had sharp grain.)

You may find that Kodak T-Max 100 (TMX) is similar to Delta 100, as T-Max 400 (TMY) is similar to Delta 400. Both use a newer image structure than HP5+ and Tri-X, giving much finer grain.

-- Alan Gibson (, August 29, 1997.

I have been using Delta 100 and 400 for some time now. I fyou like the Tmax films, you will like the Delta films. If you dislike Tmax films and perfer "traditional" films such as Tri-x or FP4, then stay away from Delta. Advantages over Tmax - easier to develop, it responds more like other B&W films. The other developing advantage is Tmax seems to give good results only when used witha c ouple of developers - Tmax, D 76 and most recently Xtol. Delta however works well in just aobut anythig form HC110 to Rodinal. Disadvantges? - Slower film speed. I have seen lots of debate over this topic, but you should rate Delta 400 at an ISO of 320 to start then work out the best speed for your own use. Otherwise an excellent film.

-- Joseph O'Neil (, August 31, 1997.

I Shot Ilford Delta 400 all summer, and will probably stick with it for as long as it's available! As people have said, It's alot like TMax films, but with better developing characteristics. I really like the Shadow detail! Most b&w 400 films will gain sharpness @320 and so will this one, but I've had no problems with it @ 400. In fact, I like it so much at 400 that i see no need to use Delta 100!.

My favorite combianation is with XTOL(1+3) @ 16.5 min. @ 68F (20C). But agian, experiment with developing times @ 320 , i use 15.75 min.(68F)

You'll love the shadows!

-- Adam Southerland (, September 01, 1997.

Hey, Thanks for the tips. I'll give them a try and see how things go.

-- (, September 02, 1997.

I've used Delta 100 extensively for two or three years and can offer the following information (4x5 and 35mm): Delta 100 (and 400) are quite different from their T-Max counterparts. The highight gradation is better seperated with Delta; T-Max almost looks stepped, like bad digital! Delta 100 is NOT a 100 EI film. For 0.1>B+F, EI:50. This was measured on 4x5; 35mm, because of slightly more fog, might have a little more speed, but not significant. I measured Delta 400 at EI:250. Now for the best developer: PMK! Gordon Hutchings 'Pyro- Metol-Kodalk' available from Photographer's Formulary, or easily mixed yourself. (See "The Book of Pyro" or Steve Anchell's "Darkroom Cookbook")Here's why: Pyro is a staining developer. This means that part of the image is made up of stain in the gelatine rather than silver halide crystals (grain.) Like XP-2's 'dye clouds', but with- out the aggrivation of C-41! But where XP-2 has poor accutance (because C-41 doesn't produce Mackey lines) Pyro produces extremely high accutance. The result is VERY low grain and VERY high sharpness, further enhancing Delta 100's already excellent properties. Besides sharpness and low grain, Delta 100 is a 'beautiful' film. That is, of course, purely subjective, but if you are a photographer, you know what I mean. Some films are just prettier than others. Tri-X is still popular because it is beautiful. Likewise Agfa 25. Other Agfa films are strangely ugly. But the prize for ugly goes to T-Max. Once you get your proper developer and time/temp down with Delta 100, you'll never want to use anything else. By the way, HP-5+ in PMK is stunning, very low grain, all the loveliness of Tri-X, but with less fog. HP-5+ can be very grainy (for special effects) by developing in Rodinal. Hope this helps.

-- Michael D. Fraser (, September 10, 1997.

Have any of you tried to develop Ilford Delta 400 in D-76 or Edwal FG-7? P.S. my address has changed

-- (, September 13, 1997.

Re: Delta inD-76, Edwal FG-7

No.D-76 is obsolete. It would be pointless.

-- Michael D Fraser (, September 14, 1997.

D-76 obsolete?

Are you saying D-76 is discontinued or that you personally don't like it?

-- Andy Laycock (, September 15, 1997.


There's nothing particularly wrong with D-76, but developers have improved dramatically over the last 10-15 years. D-76 is used, mainly by commercial labs, because is can be replinished over and over. The new Xtol from Kodak is now becomming popular in labs. The question was if I had used D-76 with Delta. I haven't, but I haven't used D-76 since I first used HC-110. Delta film can be developed in just about anything and still produce very good results, but to take advantage of its extremely high sharpness, a developer that produces high accutance is best. Dilute, one-shot developers are best for that. PMK (Pyro-Metol-Kodalk) is even better.

-- Michael D Fraser (, September 15, 1997.

Ilford 400 Delta in D76

I've been using 400 Delta for several years. The best combination that I found with D76 is 1:3 @ 75F for about 10 min @ ei 200. As others have said, PMK Pyro is superb with 400 Delta (rated @ 200--I use what could be considered N-1 most of the time), and have discontinued the use of D76. I too have found that TMAX is an overly touchy pain in the neck--400 delta is much better, and I use it exclusively. Kevin Kalsbeek

-- Kevin Kalsbeek (, July 01, 1999.

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