HP5+ vs. Delta 400

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Hello. I have been shooting HP5+ at 320/400 to take advantage of "available light" photography. In genral the grain is acceptable, if however I have to make an enlargement of 8x10 or larger the results can be dissapointing. So, the information i'm seeking is:

1. Has anyone had more success with delta 400 and can it be pushed? 2. I use xtol 1:2 would something else work better?

Thanks in advance,

Michael Haas

-- Michael Haas (incept@the-wire.com), February 08, 1999


Hi. Delta-400 is finer grained and slightly sharper than HP-5+ but as any T-grain tech film is very unforgiving to underexpolsure and processing variations. I found that Delta-400 pushes well up to one stop but above this the contrast gets too high and the grain increases. On the other hand HP-5+ still gives me good results pushed to ISO 1600. I use it in Ilfotec HC (or Ilfotec LC 29, they are identical). You can try Delta in T-Max or X-tol. I have never tryed Delta in Ilford developer, but since the emulsion structure is similar to T-Max films, any developer which works for them will be good for Delta too. I personally still prefer the tonal range and flexibility of the classical technology films such as HP-5+ and Tri-X and the grain does not bother me too much. Evgeni.

-- Evgeni Poptoshev (evgeni.poptoshev@surfchem.kth.se), February 09, 1999.

Ilford Microphen developer can get EI640-800 from Delta 400 and Tmax 400 with normal contrast and fine grain. I use it diluted 1+2 for 10 min. @ 75F.

-- Tim Brown (brownt@ase.com), February 09, 1999.

I've found Delta 400 to not want to be pushed; imho HP5+ does much better in that respect. Microphen might give you 1/3 stop more real speed than Xtol 1:2 but at the cost of significantly bigger grain. The biggest difference imho is Delta 400's reduced red sensitivity compared to HP5+; the difference is darker caucasian skin tones. BTW, curve shape of both films in Xtol is about the same.

-- John Hicks / John's Camera Shop (jbh@magicnet.net), February 10, 1999.

My experience is the same as Evgeny's and John's; HP5 pushes better than Delta 400. I have an 8x10 from HP5 pushed to 3200 ASA. The grain is remarkably small, but the tonal range makes it a bear to print. However, this film allowed me to capture an image I would not have gotten otherwise.

If you're having grain problems with HP5 at 400 ASA on 8x10 prints you might want to look for other reasons. I use a cold light head on my enlarger, which tends to keep the grain under control compared with condensor heads. However, no 400 ASA 35mm film has given me what I consider acceptable grain larger than 8x10. Maybe we're just picky. I've made beautiful 11x14 prints from 35mm T-Max 100.

-- Darron Spohn (dspohn@clicknet.com), February 10, 1999.

I find Delta 400 very nice, with a much tighter grain than HP5+.

Rather than pushing Delta 400, you might try Delta 3200, which is really about ISO 800, without any pushing. I develop it in T-Max 1+4 24 degC for 9.5 minutes. I don't claim this is the 'best' development (I haven't tried other developers), but I am very happy with the grain at 10x8.

-- Alan Gibson (Alan.Gibson@technologist.com), February 11, 1999.

Why not go in the other direction and use the grain? Push HP5 two stops anf the grain is super. I have used this for many portraits, even of ladies and recently I spotted some very effective ones in a magazine on the same basis.

-- Ron Williams (parkfield@aol.com), March 21, 1999.

For me it depends wholly on the film format. I dislike HP5+ on 35mm because of a not-beautiful grain. On MF/LF it's an excellent film with lots of tolerance for pushing, using Ilfotec 1+31. Thus far my experiences with Delta400 (in Xtol or in Ilfotec) on MF don't make me enthousiastic, a rather flat film and no bite in sharpness too.

-- Lot (lotw@wxs.nl), March 22, 1999.

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