Pushing 35mm Delta 400

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I am looking for suggestions for pushing Delta 400 to 800 in Xtol. I find the Worlds biggest B&W development chart to be off by about 15% for my set up when rating Delta 400 @ 400. Should I try the reccomended time X 15%? How forgiving is the film of development? Is their a difference when using Delta with flash as apposed to natural light?

-- Melvin (bramley@nanaimo.ark.com), October 26, 2001


I have found Delta 400 very forgiving of overdevelopment. The first time I tried it, I used a time close to what 400 Delta (older version) required. Delta 400 requires considerably less development, so the negatives were quite dense, and I thought they'd be murder to print--not to mention, grainy. In actual fact, however, printing them was not difficult at all. I did have to use a lower contrast paper than I normally would, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice the prints looked. Grain clumping was not nearly as bad as I expected, either.

As for pushing it from 400 to 800 in Xtol, I'd try a moderate increase from your normal processing time, say, +25%. I'm assuming you are already using Xtol for EI 400.

My first thought, though, was why not use the same time you normally do and just print on a grade higher paper? Delta 400 has exceptional latitude, so I think you'd probably get a better result (sharper and finer grained) by pushing development very little, or not at all, then printing on a harder paper.

-- Ted Kaufman (writercrmp@aol.com), October 27, 2001.

I just looked at my records & found the following. Suggested time for Delta 400 @ 400 in Xtol 1:2... 14 mins.I had good results at 15.25 mins but still had to print with grade 3 to 3 1/2 filtration. I had similar results using Xtol @ 1:1 again having to print with more filtration. I am concerned that by increasing development time I will finish up with more grain! WIll Xtol @ 2:1 keep the grain down @ 800? If so I will try it & increase the suggested time 10% ??

-- Melvin (bramley@nanaimo.ark.com), October 27, 2001.


I am curious how you determined you were off 15% and not 25 or 50 %?

Usually getting that close is not noticable unless one uses a lab standard densitometer. It can certainly be made up for in printing very easily, as mentioned, by using a grade harder paper or filter and exposure increase.

One of the basics of Black & White exposure is "Do Tests". At the cost of one roll, one can determine the correct development time for a given camera, lens, film developer combo.

The absolute best explanation I have seen is in Fred Picker's "Zone VI Workshop" book. Other books on B&W bsics cover the same stuff.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (richardjx@hotmail.com), October 28, 2001.


I've been shooting the new Delta @ 1600 in 120 and 35mm. Developed in DD-X at 1-4 for 15 mins @ 68 in a Jobo. I only ran one roll at 800 because I could barely tell the difference between the 800 and the 1600. This was in 35 mm printed full frame on 8X10 and the grain is very well contained.

Just my 2 cents...


-- Mark (mrichter@att.net), October 29, 2001.

i've been experimenting with this lately, it prints so beautifully, one test i did was developing 2 rolls (one shot at 500, the other at 800) in the same tank for the same time to get some visual data (i dont have a densitometer, i just judge my negatives by how easy they are to print & how the print looks)... for this i used xtol 1:1 for 14 min (it's between the recommended times for 500 & 800) the results are that both rolls make for easy printing with #2 filter on my condensor enlarger, there is just ever slightly more grain and perhaps highlight density with the roll shot at 500 so i think it could do with a bit less but the 800 roll seems just about right.... regardless this film seems to have a good development latitude and i dont think a 15% time error should cause a printing disaster..... even though i hate the way my prints scan and look on the web (compared to the original) i have a scan of one print from the 800 roll on line if you'd care to see it:


i'm moving on to 1600-3200 testing now as i cant ever recall getting such great tones at 800 with other films, best of luck to you


-- Joe Holcombe (joe1013_@excite.com), October 29, 2001.

Thanks for the varied avenues of response.To be honest I can only conclude that the correct way to go is to test for "real" film speed. I have a desitometer available so I have no excuse. As long as I do not have Xtol failure I will pursue this combo untill I "really" understand what it is capable of.

-- Melvin (bramley@nanaimo.ark.com), October 30, 2001.

Yeah, the new delta 400 looks like a 640ish film in emofin for me. And I am betting with it's S shaped curve that it will look fine pushed to 1250. And the grain looks nice, especially when compared to TMZ at these speeds. The next question: is there any reason to still use HP5+ and Tri-X if the new delta has finer grain and the nice S curve (for the first time in a "T" grain film?) of these older films?

-- Russell Brooks (russell@ebrooks.org), October 31, 2001.

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