Sharpness of Delta 100 vs. Delta 400 : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I'm looking for a B&W film that I can make 20x24 prints that show a minimum amount of grain. The negative size is 645. Will Ilford Delta 400 give me similar results to Ilford Delta 100 or is there a highly perceivable difference (I'd like to use as fast a film as I can while maintaining small grain) ?

What ISO do you rate it at?


-- Craig Brown (, August 02, 1999


The Delta 100 will definitely give you finer grain. It usually requires an EI of 50 to 64.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, August 03, 1999.

My experience with 6x7 t-max 100 would indicate that Ilford 100 might not fill the bill for 20x24's from a 6x4.5 negative. With full frame 6x7 t-max 100, grain just starts to become visible in the mid tones (sky)at 16x20 sizes. A 16 x20 from a 6x7 negative is about a 7.2X blowup. A 20x24 print from a 6x4.5 negative is about a 10.9X blowup. This size enlargement will have a lot of visible grain.

If you want clean enlargements of 10x or larger, Tech Pan is the film to use. I use Tech Pan both 35mm and 120 and can assure you that a 10X enlargement will be grain free.

-- Gene Crumpler (, August 03, 1999.

Gene -- what developer do you recommend for the Tech Pan? I went to the Kodak web site and they say that the grain of Tech Pan is dependent on the developer; they then give a recommended lineup of 5 or 6 of their developers (including D-76) with no comparison among them as to resulting grain.

I'd be interested in your recommendations.

-- Paul Arnold (, August 03, 1999.


Tech pan is a high contrast film. Most developers like D-76 will develop tech pan, but the contrast is so high as to be unusable for normal(pictoral)photography.

I've used at least 3 developers to achieve normal contrast sucessfully with tech pan. The obvious one is kodak's own technidol, formulated specifically for tech pan. It works well, but agitation has to be precise and it is pricey and you get an E.I. of only 25.

A second developer I've used for several years is Ethol TEC in the 2 solution formula. It is extremely economical and you get an E.I. of 100. TEC is a bit hard to find. It also works well with other films like T-max 100. It is important that you get the 2-solution version, as problems have been reported with the liquid version for tech pan.

I'm curently using Diafine, a two solution developer. Diafine has the big advantage of being insensitive to development times, temperature and agitation. This is a big advantage with t-max 100, since t-max is very sensitive to processing conditions. With tech pan, temperature and agitation are not critical, but the time in the second "B" bath is critical. I've found that exactly one minute (60 sec)gives normal contrast and an E.I. of 100.

You give up the ability to push or pull development in Diafine, but get extremely consistant results. The only variable is exposure. If you look at the tech sheets for Diafine, you will not see a recommendation for tech pan. This 60 second "B" was discovered by another fellow who use to post here. Daifine is also very economical.

Other developers I'm aware of, but have not tired are;

Rodinal at 100:1 giving an E.I of 12

Three developers from Photographer's Formulary that give E.I.'s up to 100.

I've not found tech pan to yield noticable differences in grain size with the three developers I've used.

-- Gene Crumpler (, August 04, 1999.

Craig, it seems, like many, you are confusing sharpness with low grain. In actuallity, these two qualities are at oppisite ends of the spectrum. Fine grain developers produce negatives that are noticeably soft. Unless you are going for the fuzzy 'arty' look, this is not desirable for making large prints. A very sharp, but more grainy negative will produce a more satisfying large print. Because the normal viewing distance for a 20X24 print will be greater, the grain may not be objectionable at all, and will certainly be less objectionable than a big print with poor definition. The movie industry long ago abandoned 'fine grain' developer because the projected image from 35 mm was unwatchable on a theatre screen. The best combination I have found that offers extreme sharpness with low grain is Ilford Delta 100 (EI:50) developed in PMK (Pyro-Metol-Kodalk.) Not only in this combination blazingly sharp, but produces unusually beautiful prints. BUT, it is my opinion that you are somewhat unrealistic in your expectations from the 6X4.5 format. This format is only a little more than twice the area of a 35 mm negative. Perfectly grainless 20X24 prints require a 4X5 (or larger) negative. Sorry, but there is no way to avoid the laws of physics.

-- Michael D Fraser (, August 06, 1999.

Hi, You should also try Formulary TD-3 @ EI 50-64 Regards, Kevin

-- Kevin Kalsbeek (, August 17, 1999.

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