Zone System film - Delta 400 or HP5+ : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I just put together my first darkroom and I'm new to the zone system and black and white films. I would like to choose and stick with ONE film.

I like what I read about Ilford Delta 400 but I have concerns on it's ease of processing and whether or not I can process it according to the zone systems' N-2 to N+2 ranges.

Anybody using delta 400 with zone system (or HP5+)? What do you think? Please, any response will be helpfull!

-- Stephen Starling (, August 07, 1998


I use both HP5+ and Delta 400 for the zone system, well, my own variation of it. I develop films to a CI (contrast index) of about 0.5 to 0.8, which roughly corresponds to N to N+3. For the work I do, I don't need N-. (Quite possibly, a really precise test would show that I get N-1 to N+2, but I don't really care.)

They both respond well to variations in processing time, which is what you need for the zone system. The Kodak T-Max films are more sensitive to variations, which is bad because it means you have to be more consistent in your processing, but is good because you don't have to extend your processing so much to get increased contrast.

I develop HP5+ in Paterson Aculux, because I always have, and don't see any reason to change. Delta 400 goes in Paterson FX39.

The main difference between these films, as far as the zone system is concerned, is that HP5+ has a gentler slope on the toe. It is said that HP5+ responds well to increased EI. Certainly, I hate pushed TMY, and Delta 400 could be the same, but I used to love pushed HP4, and HP3 for that matter.

Ease of processing? No problem. A decent thermometer, and consistent techniques, are all you need.

-- Alan Gibson (, August 07, 1998.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ